Driving a motorbike or motor scooter on Phuket Island is a lot of fun.
You have the freedom to go where and when you want to the many attractions the Island offers. Parking is easy, accessibility to most beaches, visit the top scenic sites.
Motorbike Rental Phuket offers some guidelines you should follow.
Never get angry, or show anger at another driver
Be alert at all times
Don’t drive under the influence
Wear your helmets
Expect the unexpected
Here’s some advice taken from Phuket Travel and Tours Site
Renting a Motorbike in Phuket (some information also applies to renting a car).
1. You occasionally hear of Motorbike Rental scams around Phuket. The Hirer taking back a rental motorscooter with a spare key or previous damage being claimed against the customer. The first is probably an urban myth, but the second is not. Choose the company you want to hire a scooter or any vehicle carefully. Disputes can get nasty with some unscrupulous operators. Scooters can rent for as low as 150 (manual) – 250 (auto) Baht a day but there is little insurance. In the event of an accident or theft the customer is obligated to pay for injuries and damage to the motor scooter. The bikes are worth 50,000 baht new, so that would be the maximum amount you could be up for to replace the bike (we at Cheap as Chips Motorbike rental charge out bikes at 40,000Bt). In the event of an accident, you will be required to fill in a Police Report, have applicable license, and make your own claim with the hospital(if required) and your Travel Insurance company. In the event of a dispute, the best advice is to get the Tourist Police involved. They are volunteers that help smooth out problems for Tourists. The Tourist Police number is 1155 and the regular Police 191 or 123. Do not admit to anything, let them negotiate an outcome. Choose a Hire Bike that looks well maintained, has a current registration sticker, and has tyres in good condition. Test the brakes. The rear brakes on motorbikes are easily adjusted if they are a little soft.
2. Motorbike Rental Phuket, trading as Cheap as Chips Motorbike Rental does not require you to leave your Passport, but a photocopy is required, along with a 3000Bt (100USD or 100AUD) deposit. It is in your interest to have your Passport available should the need to produce it arise. If you choose a Hirer that wants your Passport, then walk away.
3. Before hiring the motor scooter, go over the bike with a fine toothed comb. Check tyre tread, check for marks and scratches, especially the front mud guard (which previous hirers have probably jammed into a wall while parking). It is super important to check down low as well, under the foot well area. If there are any chunks or gouges out of the bike or the paintwork, be sure to show this on the hire form and if you are really stressed, take photos of it – and maybe even get the hire person to point to the scratch, in your photo! Motorbike Rental Phuket’s hire forms have damage diagrams to show existing damage.
4. Motorbikes are supplied with near empty tanks, that’s the way they are returned. The best way to buy gasoline is at a Service Station. Cost of gasoline is about 35Bt a liter. The smaller motorbikes hold 3 liters, the larger ones 5 liters. As you tour around you will see bottles of petrol for sale. They are normally 40Baht for about half a liter but will do if you are running low.
5. Motorbike Rental Phuket supplies 2 helmets with their rental bikes. We suggest you wear them when riding the motorbike. Virtually all bikes have a place to secure your helmets, either helmet storage under the seat, near the fuel tank, or hang them on the security hooks also under the seat. The Royal Thai Police CAN and DO pull up ‘farangs’ for non-helmet wearing. The fine for Tourists in Phuket is 500Baht and for locals 300Bt.
6. If you have never ridden a bike before – ever – think very carefully about starting your bike riding life in Thailand. The roads can be shocking and some roads with many potholes. Phuket is a very busy place to ride in parts, especially Phuket Town and Patong. If you ride on any dirt roads, most are sandy and gravelly (ie. really tricky) road, go VERY slowly (10kph and if it is risky, put your feet out ever so slightly, in the event the bike starts to go from underneath you in the sand/gravel. It’ll help you keep it upright. If you have ridden a mountain bike off-road, you will use many of the same skills to stay upright on a scooter in Thailand, on dirt. Use the brakes correctly. Usually right hand side brake is for front, left hand side is for rear. Always use BOTH brakes simultaneously – about 60/70% rear brake, and 30/40% front brake. If you only use full front brake, and the wheel locks, a crash will result.
7. Whatever you do – if you have been drinking – DON’T RIDE your bike. You will come unstuck. Same goes for other substances. Just don’t do it. Your dream holiday will turn to nightmare in the blink of an eye if you drop the bike.
8. Check your travel insurance policy covers motorbike riding – they generally do, up to 150cc. But read the fine print. What? You don’t have travel insurance? If you can’t afford it, you shouldn’t be getting on a plane to LOS (or almost anywhere overseas).
9. Be sure to drop back into the bike hire shop every other day to say g’day to the person who hired you the bike. Build some friendly rapport with them, buy them a bottle of ‘nam’ (water) if it’s hot. Have a chat with them, ask them how business is going today? And make sure they see you are taking good care of their bike (asset). Tell them you are taking good care of the bike ‘like it’s my own’ and that you just put fuel in it today.
10. And here endeth the lesson. DON’T STACK YOUR BIKE! Don’t ride like you are Casey Stoner. There is absolutely NO need in Thailand to ride more than about 30-40km/h – ever. Ride like the older locals, stick to the left, be conscious of cars coming up behind you (use your mirrors frequently). Don’t ride like the invincible Thai ‘boy-racers’ who fly past at warp speed on their tricked up scooters. Take some time to learn how to ‘double’ with someone on the back seat. It changes the entire dimension and ride-ability of a scooter. Watch out for crazy Europeans who come round corners and forget what side of the road they should be riding on (happens all the time). Shoes are a good idea too (barefoot = insanity). If you stack your bike and cause damage, expect to part with somewhere between 3000Baht right up to the cost of full replacement of the bike 40,000THB (You do the conversion and work out what a bummer that will put on your trip, if you don’t take care and heed this advice). Thai dogs have a suicide gene in them. They just love to wander onto the road when a farang comes hurtling up the bitumen on a scooter. If you see dogs (or young kids) – on the side of the road, up ahead … EXPECT them to wander out in front of you. Be prepared for it.