Should I Rent a Scooter in Phuket

Are you wondering should you rent a scooter in Phuket? Well, let me tell you about my trip to Phuket in October.

I decided to hire a scooter for a few days, so that I was able to go wherever I wanted. Boy, was it an adventure! The roads in Phuket are not at all what I’m used to at home. They’re much trickier to navigate, especially if you’re not used to this level of chaos on the roads.

I found myself coming off the scooter a few times, luckily it was nothing serious, but enough to make me think twice. Driving in Phuket requires a completely different mindset. It’s not just about knowing the road rules; it’s about adapting to a whole new way of getting around. It really is organised chaos and at times hard to work out!

Wat Chlong in Phuket

So, should you rent a scooter in Phuket? Well, it depends. If you’re up for an adventure and are aware of the high potential of risk, go for it. But if you’re like me and prefer to leave the driving to the locals, maybe stick to Grab (the Uber alternative in Thailand). After my little accident, I decided to return the scooter and hire locals to take me around instead.

Personally, I wouldn’t recommend hiring a scooter in Phuket as a tourist, but if you’re set on it, I won’t try convince you either way but I’ll help to provide some information so that you’re able to make an informed decision, based on my personal experience with scooter rental in Phuket.

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Should You Rent a Scooter in Phuket?

Renting a scooter in Phuket is pretty popular way of getting and is pretty cheap, there are a lot of upsides and a lot of downsides.

It allows you to be able to explore the island without being tied to public transport schedules or joining a tour. However, I will stress that safety should be a significant concern, especially for people who are unfamiliar with riding scooters or the local “organised chaos” that they call traffic conditions.

Make sure to check your travel insurance coverages as some companies may not cover motorbike accidents, bike damage or you may be required to pay extra to cover motorbike riding. Keep in mind that you are also required to have the correct licensing to be fully covered by insurance.

How to Rent a Scooter in Phuket

To rent a scooter in Phuket, start by finding a reputable rental shop. There are plenty around the island, offering various models at different prices.

I would highly recommend that you inspect the scooter before renting (really really well!), make sure that the brakes, lights, tires, and engine are all working. You should also take photos of the bike before you leave the rental, include any exisiting damage and make sure to point this out on your paperwork.

It is a requirement to have a valid international driving license (IDL or IDP) and the shop may require a deposit to be paid, which will be returned at the end of the rental period. Make sure that you actually read the rental agreement’s terms and conditions, pay attention to the rental period, additional charges, and insurance coverage.

Here are a few suggestions for decent rental shops:

Cars and scooters in Phuket

Cost of Scooter Rental in Phuket

The cost of renting a scooter varies based on the model and how long you want to rent one for. Prices can start from as low as 150 THB (approx $7 usd) per day to around 280-350 THB (approx $7.80-$9.70 usd) per day for more models like the Honda PCX or Yamaha Aerox. You may also receive a discount for longer rentals.

I hired a Yamaha scooter (no idea the model, I didn’t really pay attention) for 250 THB per day. Originally I hired it for a week but after coming off, I decided to return it after 2 days. Driving in Phuket is seriously no joke.

Is It Safe to Rent a Scooter in Phuket?

While renting a scooter offers you the freedom to explore Phuket at your own pace, safety concerns cannot and should not be overlooked. Traffic in Phuket is chaotic, road conditions can be really bad in some spots and drivers (tourists in particular) can be extremely unpredictable.

You have experience driving a scooter or motorbike, have the ability to drive defensively, wear a helmet, and have the appropriate license and insurance. Even with this, it doesn’t mean it will stop you from being in involved in an accident.

A Phuket news site reported that within a 2 month period in 2023, there were over 500 accidents reported in Phuket involving tourists. While the WHO reports that each day in Thailand there 60 people die, 2,500 are injured, 500 are seriously injured and 20 become disabled. 

With these statistics, it’s easy to see how dangerous driving in Phuket (and Thailand) can be. You could not only end up hurting yourself but you could face hurting or killing someone else on the roads – a good way to put a damper on your dream holiday!

Views from my scooter in Phuket

Dealing with the Police in Phuket

If you get stopped by the police, make sure to stay calm, be respectful and follow their instructions. Always travel with the required documents (your license(s), insurance, and green book), be fully clothed and always wear a helmet. And for goodness sake, do not offer the police a bribe – that’s the quickest way to land yourself in a lot of trouble.

Please note: even if you have an International Drivers Permit, you may still have to pay a fine if you are found riding a motorcycle. This is especially true, if your foreign driver’s licence does not specifically state that you are allowed ride a motorbike. If you receive a fine, make sure to get a receipt.

The police in Phuket may not outwardly admit it, but they tend to target tourists on motorbikes and for good reason (this is my personal opinion based one my observations). With the above mentioned statistics of road accidents involving tourists, the Phuket police obviously want to make sure people are correctly licensed, insured and driving safely. This reddit post offers some great advice for people stopped by police in Phuket.

Renting a Scooter in Phuket Without a License

Renting a scooter without a valid driving license is possible at some “dodgy” shops but I would not recommended doing this. Not only is it illegal to drive without a license in Thailand, by doing so, you will more than likely result in fines or more severe consequences.

This is especially true is you are involved in an accident. Most reputable rental shops require a valid license (from your home country showing you are licensed for a motorbike & the IDP) for the rental process, if they don’t, then move on to another store.

Beware of Scooter Scams in Phuket

When renting a scooter in Phuket, you should be aware that there are “scooter scams”. One of the most common scam involves scooter rental companies charging you for pre-existing damage when the scooter is returned to them after you have used it. Make sure that you thoroughly inspect the scooter in front of the staff as well as taking plenty of photos (and/or video) of the scooter before you leave.

Another common scam you will find in Phuket is that the shops will expect you to pay exorbitant fees for minor damage to the bike. This is more likely to come from shops that are less ethical (dodgy), so I’d recommend doing your research on the best rental companies and go with one that has good reviews.

Another scam I’ve heard of is where a rental company will claim that the bike was stolen and hold you responsible, expecting you to pay a very high fee. I’d recommend making sure that the bike is always secure/locked when not in use and use your own locks in additional to what’s provided to you by the rental company to cover yourself.

Red tuk tuk in Phuket

Final Thoughts on Scooter Hire in Phuket

While renting a scooter in Phuket is a fantastic way to explore the island, you need to make sure that you are not only experienced in operating a scooter/motorbike and that you have the correct licenses and insurance. You also need to take into consideration of the high level of risk.

That said, (again) I personally wouldn’t recommend hiring a scooter when you’re in Phuket. Either take a taxi, tuk tuk, join a tour or use GRAB. Some hotels also offer shuttle buses to local hotspots that you can take advantage of. Don’t ruin your trip with a trip to the hospital.

Read more articles about Phuket:


  • Samantha King

    Sam, a seasoned traveler across four continents and 49 countries, is a leading authority in travel planning. Her website, Travelling King, offers tailored itineraries and expert guides for seamless trips. Sam's expertise in luxury travel, fast travel, and destination guides keeps her at the forefront of the travel community.

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