Renting a Motorbike In Thailand
When renting anything, RENTER BEWARE!!! People in Thailand want to remove as much cash as they can from you, legal or otherwise.
If you take a few simple steps at rental time, you can save a lot of money heartache and stress later on. This goes for renting anything in Thailand, just think of the jet ski scammer on the beaches of the south, well others will also have locals police connections, so you may not receive to much assistance there.
You know you don’t want to be in this all to familiar situation… “Hey guys! I need your guidance if possible, it’s a bit of an emergency. What’s the best course of action if a motorcycle shop is insisting on charging exorbitant fees for damage they are claiming has happened, and they are refusing to give your passport back? Is it to pay the crazy 5000 baht fee, or is it worth calling tourism police, filing a report and then applying for a new American passport? Any thoughts or advice on this would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!”
When you rent ANYTHING, make sure you do a few simple steps.
Check you travel insurance, you do have travel insurance, don’t you? Just to see if you will have coverage for riding motorbikes is part of it.
Before you go make a copy of your face page of your passport.
Never give your passport to the rental company. If they insist, find another, there’s plenty!
Wear a helmet!!! It may look bad, but it hurts less than a tree!
Maybe talk with your local restaurant about a good rental company, or have a quick chat with the business near the rental company to see if they have many problems with people renting bikes at that company.
Have up to 5000 baht, just in case for a deposit, although most shops ask for between 1000-3000 baht.
Check and double check what insurance coverage you get with the rental. You get coverage for your or others, for property damage or nothing.
Do NOT give them your passport.
Check around the bike for prior damage. Take photos. Take frontal photos, side photos, top photos. And behind photos.
Take the bike for a short test drive. Check front and back brakes are working. Check out how to refuel and what fuel to use. Check how to start and open compartments.
Wear a helmet!!! It hurts less than when your head hits the road.
Make sure to have a contact phone number for the shop and a rental contract. Take photos of all.
If you have any problems with the motorbike, contact the rental company first. i.e. accident, mechanical issues, any little things – tell them. They will probably come and assist you to fix the situation. They (and you) may be able to suggest alternatives or good shops to make the repairs.
Do NOT give them your passport.
Be sure to read about How to Ride a Motorbike in Thailand .
If you have a problem with a rental company.
Try to negotiate, but remember these guys are doing it all the time. They will plan these things ahead of time.
Talk with a local person or tour company and see if they can assist with talking with the rental company. Maybe they can help out.
Talk to the local police, but they probably will have some connections to the business.
If you have made some damage, advise the rental company and try and get it repaired prior to returning the bike.
Maybe your embassy or countries representative can assist you, but it is probably not a priority task for them, however they may be able to give some advice.
If you are in Chiang Mai, rent from Mark at Mango Bike Rentals (he is a mate and very helpful).
His shop is located just north west of the old city in Chiang Mai – https://goo.gl/V7epDd
The shop phone number is 087 728 0515.