SPECIAL NOTICES  HOURS OF OPERATIONS  Monday: 10 am - 4 pm Tuesday: Closed Wednesday: 11am - 2pm Thursday: Closed Friday: 10am - 4pm
Driving in Thailand Traffic in Thailand drives on the left side of the road. Most drivers are well mannered, almost polite, be it up to a certain level. You will hardly ever hear a car honking and anger is never displayed. Despite this, traffic is rather hectic in and around busy Bangkok where calm driving is not really appreciated. On many rural roads or even in Bangkok's small alleys, you will find motorcycles, cars and occasionally your 12 wheel trucks manoeuvring against (one way) traffic. This situation is complicated by the fact that many of Bangkok's roads change their one-way direction at certain hours of the day and by the fact that every new governor of Bangkok has a new traffic plan to solve the city's traffic jams. Every such plan involves changing the flow of traffic, which causes one way roads to suddenly run in the opposite directions or the number of lanes being reduced from, in extreme cases, eight to one. Regular roads may become bus lanes overnight, which then causes thousands of drivers to exit from the incorrect ramps on the expressway, thus clogging up traffic worse than before. Usually this last for a few months, after which the government changes or they governor realizes that the problems cannot be solved and then things go back to normal. Several computer traffic control systems have been tested of even installed, but none of them seem to resolve the situation. It has been whispered that the local traffic constables are very uncooperative when it comes to these systems that could make their employ obsolete. Some companies may even mention the word "sabotage", when asked about the failure of their traffic control system. Driving around Thailand's country side at night is considered to be extremely hazardous, especially on holidays and long weekends. There are no tachographs installed and although drunk driving is being addressed, the situation is far from safe. Many cars have broken, or no lights at all and public buses like to race one another through steep hills and around dangerous curves, supposedly just to stay awake. Low wages, too many daytime checkpoints and very tight schedules for truck- and bus drivers guarantee that all of the main roads and highways have 24 hours rescue teams on stand by and that most of those need to head out to big accidents every single night. It was just a few years ago when it was possible to purchase a driving license without passing any test whatsoever and a lot of the licensed drivers from that period have failed to gain sufficient experience to drive safely and are still out there... Once you have been in Thailand for a period extending 3 months, you will need an Thai driving license, even though international drivers licenses are legally accepted. Several insurance companies have a fine print stating that the driver should hold a valid Thai driving license to be fully covered. Besides that: You'll offer the local law enforcement great opportunities by continuing to drive with an international license. On the positive site: a domestic Thai driver’s license can, sometimes, be used to avoid paying the typical "farang prices" (a common practice, where foreigners are charged a multiple of what Thai nationals pay for entering typical tourist places like nature parks, certain temples and palaces). A Thai driver's license is then accepted as sort of proof that the holder is not a tourist. Having a Thai driver’s license may sometimes also make police slightly more lenient towards the fact that expats cannot carry their passport at all times. Applicants for a Thai (international) driver’s license need to meet the following requirements: Qualifying requirements: •Being of sound mind and good health (not having physical or mental handicap(s) that will prevent them from operating a vehicle safely) - being at least 18 years of age •If the applicant is not Thai national, the applicant must hold a valid Non-Immigrant Visa (tourists can not apply). What you will need when applying for your Thai driver’s license: •If you cannot read and / nor understand the Thai language, you are allowed to bring a interpreter to fill the forms and translate the possible instruction class and tests. •Valid Passport with Valid Non-immigrant Visa •Signed copies of the passport's first page, the page with the current non-immigrant visa, the page with the last entry stamp and the TM-card. •A certified letter of address from the applicant's embassy, or from the Immigration Bureau (document cannot be older than 30 days). Tip: The letter from the embassy is the fastest option, but the immigration office will provide this service for free. However, it will take them 3-6 weeks to complete and an officer from your local police station will visit your place of residence for verification. If you are working in Thailand: the blue workbook, better known as your work permit, can replace either of these documents and serve as address verification! •A doctor's certificate stating that the applicant is in good health, both physically and mentally (standard forms are available from most clinics and should not be more than 30 days old) •2 photos, 1 x 1 inch and not older than 6 months (photo service is available on the premises). •Valid international driver's license plus signed photocopy or translated regular driving license from the applicant's home country, certified by Embassy or consulate. (if available). •Note that 1 set of these documents is required per license applications. However, when applying for both a car and a motorcycle license, an extra copy of the doctor's certificate and the letter of address will suffice for the second application. The application procedure: Note that room numbers and other locations within the building are specific to the Hua Krabu branch in Bangkhuntian district in south bangkok. •Take the Thai language application form from the room behind window # 35 and fill out the form, applying for the 1 year temporary driving license. •If you did not bring any pictures, you can have them taken at the booth in the application room, while your translator waits in the queue for windows #35. •Hand in all above listed documents and move over to the left window and wait a couple of minutes. •The documents will be handed back and you will be told to head over to window #20 for another verification of the documents. Once you receive their approval stamp, you can go back to window #35. •After another administrative action they will direct you towards the test area on the 3rd floor, where you will need to pass 3 tests: 1.Color Blindness Test: One of the officials will point to colored dots on a poster and you should responds by stating the dot's color. Answers in Thai are preferred but generally English words are understood as well. 2.Reflex Test: Be seated behind an alternative gas and brake pedal and push the accelerator until the green LED starts to light up. Hit the brake pedal before the led's reach the red zone. You will have to repeat this test twice. 3.Depth Perception Test: Use forward and back buttons to align a moving pin with a fixed one, in a small box at app. 10 meters distance. Initially it looks more confusing than it actually is, but if you, like me, have a problem with 3D vision, you can click here to learn how to pass this test without any risks. You will need to repeat this test twice. •If you have passed all of these tests, your documents will be signed and handed back to you, at this point. Then it's back down to the window where it all started out, where, if everything is in order, you will receive a queue number. Move over to the windows on your left (1 thru 6, I believe it was) and wait until your number comes up on the board. Handover your documents and your passport (and work permit, if that was used for address verification). After they have been checked for a very last time you will be allowed to pay the 105 Baht fee. A few minutes later your name will be called (best to react to anything that starts with Mr.) and 2 signatures later you will be the proud owner of a 1 year temporary Thai driver's license. •Behind the main building, in between the food stalls and the toilets you will find a small shop that will cut and laminate your license for a minimal fee. •get in your car and drive off with a smile, pleasantly surprised at the excellent service you have just received. Apply for a Permanent License Once you have enjoyed your Thai temporary driver's license for a year, you need to get a "real" driving license. If you are a foreigner in Thailand, these real driving licenses come in 1 and 5 year versions. There seems to be quite a bit confusion about what license to apply for and when. We can only speak from personal experience and from a few statements as they were made by the friendly officials at the Department of Land Transportation, in Bangkhuntian district in Bangkok. It is possible that the rules may differ slightly in other provinces away from the capital, although it's said to be unlikely. According to a number of web boards and "all about Thailand" booklets the only way to get a 5 year driving permit is to let the old license expire first and report to the DLT a day late. "Nonsense!", we've been told and proven. There is another fable that talks about having to apply for a regular 1 year driving permit first, before you can get the pink 5 year driver's license in Thailand. We believed this to be logical and very likely to be true, but we were proven wrong and were told to change the application form and apply for a driver's license that is valid for 5 years. How easy it is to get a driver's license that is valid for five years: •Enter the DLT building at any time during the opening hours, although it's probably wise to avoid the lunch hour and the early morning's queues for first time applicants. It's advisable to bring a translator, but it is not required. •Go to the driving license application window and request a driving license application form •Ask your translator to fill out the form while you get your pictures taken (70 bath for 6 pictures at the Bangkhuntian location). •After verifying this information with the person at the application window, make copies of following pages in your passport: the first page, the visa stamp page, the last entry stamp page and the page with the last visa extension, if any. If you have a work permit book which you'd like to use as address verification, copy the first and second page, the page with the address of the employer and, if you had a new address listed in your workbook, page 23, where the change of address is listed. •Hand over all documents persons behind the application window, whom, if all found to be in order, will hand you back the documents with a queue number. •Wait for your number to be called or shown and hand over your stack of documents, together with your passport and possibly work permit. After this final check you will get back your passport and you will be allowed to pay the 505 baht fee (5 years validity @ 100 baht plus 5 baht for the "paper"), for which you will get a receipt. •Take a seat and wait for your name to be called. •Sign the back of the driving license and the receipt and take your brand new licence to the laminating shop. •While walking you will probably notice that the expiry date is not just 5 years from the current date, but longer: until your first birthday following today's date plus 5 years! An excellent way not to forget the date. Qualifying requirements: •Being of sound mind and good health (not having physical or mental handicap(s) that will prevent them from operating a vehicle safely) - being at least 18 years of age •If the applicant is not Thai national, the applicant must hold a valid Non-Immigrant Visa (tourists can not apply). What you will need when applying for your Thai driver’s license with a five year validity: •Temporary Thai driving license. •Valid Passport with Valid Non-immigrant Visa •A certified letter of address from the applicant's embassy, or from the Immigration Bureau (document cannot be older than 30 days). If you are working in Thailand: Your work permit, can replace either of these documents and serve as address verification! •2 photos, 1 x 1 inch and not older than 6 months (use the photo service on the premises, so there won't be an issue about how old the pictures are. Using last year's pictures will definitely not be accepted). _______________________________________________________
ROYAL THAI HONORARY CONSULATE GENERAL  CORAL GABLES - FLORIDA 2525 Ponce de Leon Boulevard - Suite 300 Coral Gables • Florida • 33134   Tel: 305-445-7577  - Toll Free: 888-336-3384  Fax: 305-974-1287 - Email: operations@thaiconsulatemiami.com  HOURS OF OPERATIONS Monday: 10 am - 4 pm Tuesday: Closed Wednesday: 11am - 2pm Thursday: Closed  Friday: 10am - 4pm  © 2011 Royal Thai Honorary Consulate General  Coral Gables - Florida  The flag icon is a Trademark owned by the Royal Thai Consulate General Coral Gables - All Rights Reserved     Website design and hosting provided by www.ibuildwebs.com
Driving in Thailand Traffic in Thailand drives on the left side of the road. Most drivers are well mannered, almost polite, be it up to a certain level. You will hardly ever hear a car honking and anger is never displayed. Despite this, traffic is rather hectic in and around busy Bangkok where calm driving is not really appreciated. On many rural roads or even in Bangkok's small alleys, you will find motorcycles, cars and occasionally your 12 wheel trucks manoeuvring against (one way) traffic. This situation is complicated by the fact that many of Bangkok's roads change their one-way direction at certain hours of the day and by the fact that every new governor of Bangkok has a new traffic plan to solve the city's traffic jams. Every such plan involves changing the flow of traffic, which causes one way roads to suddenly run in the opposite directions or the number of lanes being reduced from, in extreme cases, eight to one. Regular roads may become bus lanes overnight, which then causes thousands of drivers to exit from the incorrect ramps on the expressway, thus clogging up traffic worse than before. Usually this last for a few months, after which the government changes or they governor realizes that the problems cannot be solved and then things go back to normal. Several computer traffic control systems have been tested of even installed, but none of them seem to resolve the situation. It has been whispered that the local traffic constables are very uncooperative when it comes to these systems that could make their employ obsolete. Some companies may even mention the word "sabotage", when asked about the failure of their traffic control system. Driving around Thailand's country side at night is considered to be extremely hazardous, especially on holidays and long weekends. There are no tachographs installed and although drunk driving is being addressed, the situation is far from safe. Many cars have broken, or no lights at all and public buses like to race one another through steep hills and around dangerous curves, supposedly just to stay awake. Low wages, too many daytime checkpoints and very tight schedules for truck- and bus drivers guarantee that all of the main roads and highways have 24 hours rescue teams on stand by and that most of those need to head out to big accidents every single night. It was just a few years ago when it was possible to purchase a driving license without passing any test whatsoever and a lot of the licensed drivers from that period have failed to gain sufficient experience to drive safely and are still out there... Once you have been in Thailand for a period extending 3 months, you will need an Thai driving license, even though international drivers licenses are legally accepted. Several insurance companies have a fine print stating that the driver should hold a valid Thai driving license to be fully covered. Besides that: You'll offer the local law enforcement great opportunities by continuing to drive with an international license. On the positive site: a domestic Thai driver’s license can, sometimes, be used to avoid paying the typical "farang prices" (a common practice, where foreigners are charged a multiple of what Thai nationals pay for entering typical tourist places like nature parks, certain temples and palaces). A Thai driver's license is then accepted as sort of proof that the holder is not a tourist. Having a Thai driver’s license may sometimes also make police slightly more lenient towards the fact that expats cannot carry their passport at all times. Applicants for a Thai (international) driver’s license need to meet the following requirements: Qualifying requirements: •Being of sound mind and good health (not having physical or mental handicap(s) that will prevent them from operating a vehicle safely) - being at least 18 years of age •If the applicant is not Thai national, the applicant must hold a valid Non-Immigrant Visa (tourists can not apply). What you will need when applying for your Thai driver’s license: •If you cannot read and / nor understand the Thai language, you are allowed to bring a interpreter to fill the forms and translate the possible instruction class and tests. •Valid Passport with Valid Non-immigrant Visa •Signed copies of the passport's first page, the page with the current non-immigrant visa, the page with the last entry stamp and the TM-card. •A certified letter of address from the applicant's embassy, or from the Immigration Bureau (document cannot be older than 30 days). Tip: The letter from the embassy is the fastest option, but the immigration office will provide this service for free. However, it will take them 3-6 weeks to complete and an officer from your local police station will visit your place of residence for verification. If you are working in Thailand: the blue workbook, better known as your work permit, can replace either of these documents and serve as address verification! •A doctor's certificate stating that the applicant is in good health, both physically and mentally (standard forms are available from most clinics and should not be more than 30 days old) •2 photos, 1 x 1 inch and not older than 6 months (photo service is available on the premises). •Valid international driver's license plus signed photocopy or translated regular driving license from the applicant's home country, certified by Embassy or consulate. (if available). •Note that 1 set of these documents is required per license applications. However, when applying for both a car and a motorcycle license, an extra copy of the doctor's certificate and the letter of address will suffice for the second application. The application procedure: Note that room numbers and other locations within the building are specific to the Hua Krabu branch in Bangkhuntian district in south bangkok. •Take the Thai language application form from the room behind window # 35 and fill out the form, applying for the 1 year temporary driving license. •If you did not bring any pictures, you can have them taken at the booth in the application room, while your translator waits in the queue for windows #35. •Hand in all above listed documents and move over to the left window and wait a couple of minutes. •The documents will be handed back and you will be told to head over to window #20 for another verification of the documents. Once you receive their approval stamp, you can go back to window #35. •After another administrative action they will direct you towards the test area on the 3rd floor, where you will need to pass 3 tests: 1.Color Blindness Test: One of the officials will point to colored dots on a poster and you should responds by stating the dot's color. Answers in Thai are preferred but generally English words are understood as well. 2.Reflex Test: Be seated behind an alternative gas and brake pedal and push the accelerator until the green LED starts to light up. Hit the brake pedal before the led's reach the red zone. You will have to repeat this test twice. 3.Depth Perception Test: Use forward and back buttons to align a moving pin with a fixed one, in a small box at app. 10 meters distance. Initially it looks more confusing than it actually is, but if you, like me, have a problem with 3D vision, you can click here to learn how to pass this test without any risks. You will need to repeat this test twice. •If you have passed all of these tests, your documents will be signed and handed back to you, at this point. Then it's back down to the window where it all started out, where, if everything is in order, you will receive a queue number. Move over to the windows on your left (1 thru 6, I believe it was) and wait until your number comes up on the board. Handover your documents and your passport (and work permit, if that was used for address verification). After they have been checked for a very last time you will be allowed to pay the 105 Baht fee. A few minutes later your name will be called (best to react to anything that starts with Mr.) and 2 signatures later you will be the proud owner of a 1 year temporary Thai driver's license. •Behind the main building, in between the food stalls and the toilets you will find a small shop that will cut and laminate your license for a minimal fee. •get in your car and drive off with a smile, pleasantly surprised at the excellent service you have just received. Apply for a Permanent License Once you have enjoyed your Thai temporary driver's license for a year, you need to get a "real" driving license. If you are a foreigner in Thailand, these real driving licenses come in 1 and 5 year versions. There seems to be quite a bit confusion about what license to apply for and when. We can only speak from personal experience and from a few statements as they were made by the friendly officials at the Department of Land Transportation, in Bangkhuntian district in Bangkok. It is possible that the rules may differ slightly in other provinces away from the capital, although it's said to be unlikely. According to a number of web boards and "all about Thailand" booklets the only way to get a 5 year driving permit is to let the old license expire first and report to the DLT a day late. "Nonsense!", we've been told and proven. There is another fable that talks about having to apply for a regular 1 year driving permit first, before you can get the pink 5 year driver's license in Thailand. We believed this to be logical and very likely to be true, but we were proven wrong and were told to change the application form and apply for a driver's license that is valid for 5 years. How easy it is to get a driver's license that is valid for five years: •Enter the DLT building at any time during the opening hours, although it's probably wise to avoid the lunch hour and the early morning's queues for first time applicants. It's advisable to bring a translator, but it is not required. •Go to the driving license application window and request a driving license application form •Ask your translator to fill out the form while you get your pictures taken (70 bath for 6 pictures at the Bangkhuntian location). •After verifying this information with the person at the application window, make copies of following pages in your passport: the first page, the visa stamp page, the last entry stamp page and the page with the last visa extension, if any. If you have a work permit book which you'd like to use as address verification, copy the first and second page, the page with the address of the employer and, if you had a new address listed in your workbook, page 23, where the change of address is listed. •Hand over all documents persons behind the application window, whom, if all found to be in order, will hand you back the documents with a queue number. •Wait for your number to be called or shown and hand over your stack of documents, together with your passport and possibly work permit. After this final check you will get back your passport and you will be allowed to pay the 505 baht fee (5 years validity @ 100 baht plus 5 baht for the "paper"), for which you will get a receipt. •Take a seat and wait for your name to be called. •Sign the back of the driving license and the receipt and take your brand new licence to the laminating shop. •While walking you will probably notice that the expiry date is not just 5 years from the current date, but longer: until your first birthday following today's date plus 5 years! An excellent way not to forget the date. Qualifying requirements: •Being of sound mind and good health (not having physical or mental handicap(s) that will prevent them from operating a vehicle safely) - being at least 18 years of age •If the applicant is not Thai national, the applicant must hold a valid Non-Immigrant Visa (tourists can not apply). What you will need when applying for your Thai driver’s license with a five year validity: •Temporary Thai driving license. •Valid Passport with Valid Non-immigrant Visa •A certified letter of address from the applicant's embassy, or from the Immigration Bureau (document cannot be older than 30 days). If you are working in Thailand: Your work permit, can replace either of these documents and serve as address verification! •2 photos, 1 x 1 inch and not older than 6 months (use the photo service on the premises, so there won't be an issue about how old the pictures are. Using last year's pictures will definitely not be accepted). _______________________________________________________
ROYAL THAI HONORARY CONSULATE GENERAL  CORAL GABLES - FLORIDA 2525 Ponce de Leon Boulevard - Suite 300 Coral Gables • Florida • 33134   Tel: 305-445-7577  - Toll Free: 888-336-3384  Fax: 305-974-1287 - Email: operations@thaiconsulatemiami.com  HOURS OF OPERATIONS Monday: 10 am - 4 pm Tuesday: Closed Wednesday: 11am - 2pm Thursday: Closed  Friday: 10am - 4pm  © 2011 Royal Thai Honorary Consulate General  Coral Gables - Florida  The flag icon is a Trademark owned by the Royal Thai Honorary Consulate General Coral Gables - All Rights Reserved     Website design and hosting provided by www.ibuildwebs.com