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Car rental in Phuket

Mai Khao / Phuket April 25, 2020 0 comments

Car rental in Phuket in less complicated than you may think! If you wish to get around the island while staying at our vacation rental apartment in Phuket, you may want to consider renting a car. We have been staying in Mai Khao Beach both with and without rental car and I will share some of our experiences in this post.

Disclaimer: Information in this post is based on our own experiences. Please always refer to official and original sources for recent updates.

Getting prepared: International Driving Permit

First, in order to drive a car in Thailand, you need to have either a Thai driving licence or international driving permit (IDP). IDP is a translation of your national driving licence and you will need to carry it along with your national licence when driving in Thailand.

In Finland you can buy and get your International Driving Permit issued by The Automobile and Touring Club of Finland (ATCF). Make sure to apply the “1949 version” of the permit with one-year validity, as this is the one which is accepted in Thailand. In Finland this costs 32 euros and handling time is 10 working days (excluding the time taken by post deliveries). If you are in a rush, you can pay 23 euros extra for express delivery within 3 working days. For the application you will need a passport photo (no older than 12 months) and copy of your national driving licence.

How to rent a car in Phuket

We have used several car rental companies and never had any issues. For convenience, we like to use car rental companies, which have delivery/pick-up point at Phuket International Airport.

Recently we rented our car (Honda City) through Chic Car Rent but have good experiences also with Avis. When arriving to airport, look for the booth of your chosen rental company. You will do the paperwork at the counter after which you’ll guided to check and pick-up your car at the parking area outside the terminal. Do check the car carefully and notify staff about all the scratches defects visible on the car.

Normally this whole process takes time around 20-30 minutes, after which you are ready to turn on the air-conditioning and start your 20 minutes ride to Mai Khao Beach.

(We don’t get any commission from the rental companies mentioned above – we are purely sharing our experiences to help you to plan your stay at our apartment.)

Pros & cons of renting a car in Phuket

To start with: let’s be clear, you will manage perfectly also without a car when staying at our apartment in Mai Khao Beach!


Pros of renting a car in Phuket

+ Obviously, renting a car will give you all the convenience of moving around whenever you wish. There are good indoor & outdoor parking facilities at Baan Mai Khao and the guards will be happy to assist you carrying your luggage or shopping bags to the apartment, which add to the convenience.

+ If you daily move around further than to the nearest restaurants or shops, renting a car will most probably get cheaper than using taxi. Last time we paid for our short term car rental 800 THB (roughly 23 EUR) per day (plus gasoline). If you take a taxi, you often end up paying at least 500 THB one-way. Remember though that you can reach nearest shops and restaurants either by walking, by bicycle or by the free shuttle car service.


Cons of renting a car in Phuket

– Traffic in Phuket is…different. It is not aggressive, but it will take a while to get used to it. To start with, it is left-handed unlike in most countries. You will also notice that u-turns (instead of junctions with traffic lights) are very common in Thailand even on busy roads.

–  With a longer car rental period, you may end up paying for the car also for the days when you don’t actually need or use it. Just do your math in advance and estimate if rental is the right choice for you.