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Phuket is Thailand’s biggest island and, arguably, one of the most popular tourist destinations throughout the world. The island is endowed with some of the best blue-water sandy beaches, excellent snorkeling spots, and diving places. Not to forget the exquisite Thai cuisine, this is, without any doubt, among the top tourist destinations in Asia at least. The vibrant nightlife, exotic locations, and so many picturesque beaches make for one hell of an epic vacation destination. But unlike many destinations in the world, Phuket, or in general any Asian destination, requires you to have your own transport to travel from one spot to the other as they are the most cost-efficient as well as time-saving option. You don’t have to worry about train or bus timings or get cramped in an already overcrowded local public transport. You should definitely consider renting a motorbike in Phuket, during your stay there to explore better.
Let’s face it, you don’t want to waste your precious vacation time stuck in traffic. Getting a rented vehicle is recommended to explore the area well in a proper way. Since there are so many hidden gems and so many unexplored destinations, you would be better off taking the road less traveled and going off-beat tourist destinations and exploring the real culture, beauty, and treasures the islands has to offer. The most preferred way to zip around town in Phuket is renting one of those gearless, small-engine scooters. They are not only economical but will save a lot of your precious time. Time in which you can explore the place better and enjoy it at your own pace. Having a rented vehicle gives a certain degree of flexibility. You can adjust things and move around at your own sweet pace.
To help you guide how you can go on about doing so, we have prepared a small guide and things you should keep in your mind while renting a motorbike
Renting a Motorbike in Phuket At Motorcycle Renting Agencies
Depending upon the area in which you have decided to stay, you will probably have an array of choices. You don’t even need to go far if you stay in one of the resort towns such as Patong, Kata, or Kamala. The trick is to discern between reputable and disreputable establishments. Look for shops that look professional and organized. Shops that keep their vehicles in a good condition.
There are multiple scams that you might witness when you go to rent a scooter. One of the most famous ones is similar to the jet ski scam where after you return the jet ski they will show damages and scratches that were previously existing and try to loot an exorbitant amount of money for repairs. Beware of such practices and always be on the lookout.
In general, you are going to pay more in peak season from November to mid-April. They charge higher rates during this time. You can check out multiple shops to compare prices and you can haggle a little too depending upon the kind of establishment you are renting from. A gearless Honda 125 CC would start somewhere from 150 baht a day. In peak seasons it can go as high as 250 baht per day. You can rent on a weekly or monthly basis to get a better deal. You might be able to get a scooter for around 1200-2000 baht on a weekly basis. If your stay is relatively low then you can also tent on a mi they basis. Sometimes you can get a deal as low as 3500 baht too. Always read the form in case you are given one to fill out. Know what you are agreeing to before signing and filling out the form.
Renting a Motorbike in Phuket Via Online Options
It shouldn’t be a surprise that there are multiple service providers who offer motorbike renting online. In this day and age, everything is moving towards digitization. Businesses don’t want to lose out on prospective customers. Sites like Bikesbooking are available from where you can rent a scooter or a motorbike according to your choice. They ask for a deposit of somewhere 1000 baht to 1200 baht. This might vary from company to company and the duration for which you want to rent. One of the biggest advantages of booking online is convenience and flexibility. You can change the date of booking as well as leave the scooter at your hotel at the end of it. Most online businesses offer pick-up and drop-off motorbike services for their customers. One thing to note here is, that do not pay all of the fees or deposits online to be on the safer side. It goes without saying that do read the form thoroughly before filling it out and agreeing to the terms.
Few Essentials to Keep In Mind While Renting a Motorbike in Phuket
- At any cost do not give your passport while renting a motorcycle. If they want to take a photocopy then it is fine.
- Always check for proper documents on the motorbike. Essential documents that you need to carry with your scooter should be with you. Don’t forget to ask for them at the time you are taking your scooter.
- Insurance is what is going to save you from a lot of scams. Always check whether the scooter is insured or not. Most provide the bare minimum which doesn’t cover the motorbike itself, just the rider and their medical costs up to a certain amount. Make sure you know what kind of insurance your scooter has and what type of repair charges they might ask for in case of damage.
- Don’t forget to take the helmets while renting. Some places might charge extra for each helmet you take. It is better to take a helmet and actually wear it than ride it without them. You not only run the risk of an accident but you can also be charged extra fines.
- Check the fuel at the time of taking the motorbike as you have to return the same amount of fuel when returning the motorbike. Filling petrol is your responsibility.
- As a rule of thumb, avoid buying roadside petrol in whisky bottles as they don’t only charge a premium but the petrol itself is adulterated.
- At the time of renting, you will have to deposit a certain amount depending upon how long you are going to keep the motorbike. The majority of the establishment would have a fixed deposit rate. This will be given back to you once you return the motorbike. Just make sure to get a receipt of this deposit at the time of renting.
- To be on the safer side and avoid being scammed, what you can do is take a walk-around video of the whole scooter. Zoom in on the damages and scratch marks that are there so that you will have something to defend yourself in case they try to take advantage of you.
The majority of resorts where you are staying can also hook you up with a motorbike. They would ask for less paperwork and the chances of you being scammed are also pretty low. You can just contact the lobby desk and they will set it up for you. One catch is that they might charge a premium from you so you have to be aware of the usual rates to discern if they aren’t taking too much of a premium from you for their service. It also saves you the hassle of returning the scooter to a different location than where you are staying.
Some Extra Tips
Phuket is nothing less than a piece of paradise for those who want to chill and spend some relaxed time by the ocean where you have an abundance of natural beauty and picturesque scenery. Just grab a scooter and start exploring.
Make sure you have a Thai driving license or an International driving license to drive a vehicle in Thailand. A hefty fine of approximately 400 baht can be charged in case you are caught driving without it. It’s better not to put yourself in a situation like that with foreign law and order. Both driver and the pillion need to wear a helmet. You might be stopped at various places just for a regular check of the papers, you don’t need to worry too much about this. You might also get stopped in case you are riding or driving just in your bathing suit. They generally won’t fine you but instead, ask you to wear a t-shirt.
Some Thai roads are old and not in perfect condition, so you need to drive carefully. The driving style, too, is quite different from the majority of the western traffic thus it might take you a day or two to adjust. Just to be cautious, you might want to drive slowly and cautiously for the first few days. Always be aware of your surroundings while driving. Don’t assume that everyone is going to follow traffic rules perfectly. You need to anticipate things. Apart from this, you don’t need to fret much. Just make sure you don’t do any reckless driving.
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Note: The hours of operation, ticket prices, and admission criteria of museums, parks, etc. may change from time to time. For the most updated information, we recommend checking the official website of the attraction directly prior to your planned visit.