How to get a driving license in Phuket

How to get a driving license in Phuket
How to get a driving license in Phuket
4.3 (4 votes)

How to get a driving license in Phuket

How to get a driving license in Phuket… If you plan to stay in Phuket for a while, you probably will consider renting or buying a motorbike, in which case you will need a driving license. If you have an international one, then you have no problem, but if you don’t, driving without a Thai license will open the door to potential and serious problems. The smallest of them is to be stopped by police, especially in Patong or Chalong where they know they can make a lot of pocket money on tourist as most of them don’t carry one when renting a bike. If you claim that you forgot it at home, the fine is 1000 baht but on average you will be charged 300 baht. In most cases you can settle the problem on the spot, even if you have to pay a bit more as the time wasted to go to the police station plus the round trip by motorbike taxi or tuk tuk will cost you more anyway. More serious is the case of an accident. Without a license you would be considered the wrong driver whatever the circumstances of the accident were. Insurance basically don’t really apply. This might be the end of your holiday, or worse.

(Read also 13 Livesaving Tips to Survive Driving a Bike in Phuket)

how-to-get-a-driving-license-in-phuket

To get your driving license, you will need to go to the transport office in Phuket town with a copy of your passport and a copy of your work permit or a Certificate of Residency from immigration if you don’t have a work permit, in which case you will need to be on a Non immigrant visa, not a tourist visa. You will also need a simple medical certificate proving that you are fit to drive. Get the medical certificate done in a small clinic, it’s a lot faster than those big hospitals. In any case you will need to bring the originals. Note that there is a copy machine at the coffee shop next to the license office. There will be no need for photos as they do have a camera/printer that does the whole process on the spot. There used to be a time when you could ‘buy’ your license but this time seems to be gone, since the day female officers took charge of the driving license office 😀

phuket-driving-office

Come as early as 8am to get the paper work ready so you will be able to get the 10 am video and theory test. Someone will review your docs and tell you if anything is wrong or missing and you might still have time to get it fixed.You will then go through preliminary tests designed to check if you are color blind, have slow reflexes or if you are obviously unfit to drive. You will be sitting in front of set of driving pedals: one for the gas, one for the break. In front of you will be makeshift traffic lights… when the light turns green, press the gas, as soon as it turns red, press the break. Sounds simple? it is! but I’ve seen some guy not reacting at all… several times! Was he not able to react or did he not understand the game? I don’t know, but the inspector told him to go home… 😀

There will also be the classic color blindness tests but as the cards start to be faded, it is a bit hard to tell.

phuket-driving-test-1

Once these are successfully completed you’ll be asked to come back for the second part at 10 am. You could bring a book or an ipad, but the place is very hot and it’s not fun. As you came by bike like everyone else, go have a coffee in Phuket town, it is a better alternative, or if you didn’t study at home, learn your traffic road signs from the signboards on the walls and practice the question on the computer made available for this purpose in the waiting room.
At 10 am, a lady will take you to a classroom and give you a short but clear brief of what is the video and test are about and strongly recommending you not to even think of using a third party company to get your license done or to get a fake one.

The English video lasts maybe 30 mn, soundtrack is not very good and the TV sets are quite small so a good advice is to sit at the first rows, which is usually easy as almost everyone does what they used to do at school: run for the back seats… big mistake! 😀 What will be said is important and fortunately, despite the poor sound the English narration is very good.
This 14 or 15 chapters video is the key of your test success so be attentive… a good clue is that when it is important, it is repeated two or three times. A lot of questions rotate around ‘where to park and not to park’, U-turns, who goes first at intersections and when to take over. Note that there are questions about traffic signs, but none are explained in the video, you need to learn the BEFORE you get there. You can review most of Thailand Road Signs here, they are not much different from sign in your country, but you might be surprised by how little we remember.
Once you are done with the video, trying to hold few figures in your head, you’ll be taken to the next room full of numbered computers resembling old arcade games. Insert the card you will be given and the game start: one question with or without illustration, 4 possible answers. You have one hour to answer 30 questions which is more than necessary.

phuket-driving

Here is a tip that actually was my downfall the first time: when you answer a question, the dot in front of the question on the right hand of the screen will turn GREEN, this does NOT mean it is correct, it just means you answered it! As all my questions were turning green, I was building confidence and started to answer faster. You just need 23 correct answers out of 30 to pass, so with all my green dots I thought I was real good at this game… wrong! When the verdict ‘Failed’ fell, I was in shock! For my defense, some of the questions were really weird and some other questions came back 3 times!

So as you cannot take the test twice the same day, you’ll have to sacrifice another day, the lady will keep your documents in the room up to 3 months so you don’t have to go through the first phase and just show up at 10 am. The good thing is that if you fail the first time, succeeding the second time feels like the day you got your first driving license when you were 18!

phuket-driving-test

Once you successfully passed your theory, you will or go and collect your license in case of a renewal, or will have to come back at 1pm for the driving test, which is usually a walk in the park (or a piece of cake) as all the people coming to get their license come… by bike!
Prices for a license renewal is 160 baht, for an expired license renewal 360 baht and for a brand new one I don’t know but will find out soon, I was too excited to ask. Once all paperwork has been duly done, move to desk 5 where the lady will retake your photo with her own camera and print you a beautiful shiny driving license right there, in just one minute! The first license is valid for a year, the next one for five years. If the license has expired, you would be charged a small fee when stopped by police, maybe 300 baht, but worse: if like me, your license has expired for more than a year, you’ll have to take the whole theory test again! (not the driving.

Congratulations, you are now safe to drive, but don’t forget it at home and do wear your helmet!

Disclaimer: This is my personal experience and things may vary, especially for the required documents. Please go and check first!

driving-license-phuket driving-license-in-phuket driving-test-in-phuket road-signs-in-phuket driving-license-classroom how-to-get-a-driving-license-phuket phuket-driving-test-officer driving-license-phuket-1

Driving License Office Map


Written by

Born in France a long long time ago, I started to travel the world in my 20s and never stopped until I finally settled in Thailand in 1994. Then for the past 23 years, my passion for photography and my natural curiosity has taken me to every corner of Thailand, jumping frequently between Bangkok and Phuket and basically everywhere I could go. I run 2 blogs: Phuket101.net and BangkokUndercover.com, I also manage 30 online travel guides in Asia and beyond, including Phuket.com, Bangkok.com and Bali-Indonesia.com

The Best FOOD Stuff
  10 Most Romantic Restaurants
  10 Best Local Restaurants
  10 Best Seafood Restaurants
  10 Great Thai Dishes
  10 Phuket Typical Dishes
  10 Best Classic Thai Dishes
  10 Hardcore Thai Food

The Best EXPLORER Stuff
  14 Hidden Beaches of Phuket
  15 Islands Near Phuket
  18 Nicest Mansions in Phuket
  13 Viewpoints in Phuket
  10 Things to See Off the Beaten Track
  10 Most Quiet Beaches of Phuket

The FUN Stuff
  16 Things to Do with Kids
  10 Ways to Party in Patong
   10 Best Rooftop Bars
   7 Night Clubs
  10 Romantic Things to Do in Phuket
  10 Reasons Why We Can't Leave Thailand

The USEFUL Stuff
  10 Questions People Always Ask
  10 Mistakes People Do on First Trip
  13 Tips to Save Money
  12 Things to Do on Small Budget
  10 Quick Facts about Phuket

The WEATHER Stuff
  10 Things to Do When It Rains
  What To Expect in Low Season
   7 Beaches for Low Season

The TOTALLY SILLY Stuff
  13 Really Weird Things in Phuket
  10 Tips to Spot a Ladyboy
   10 Insects for Gourmets
  10 Clues you have been in Phuket TOO LONG!
  10 Cheap Fun Things to Do in Phuket

USEFUL

Phuket Airport: Things to Know
Phuket Weather
Phuket Event Calendar (NEW!)
How to Pronounce Phuket

35 BEACHES OF PHUKET
Patong Beach ☆☆☆
Kata Beach☆☆
Karon Beach ☆☆
Kamala Beach ☆☆
Nai Harn Beach ☆☆
Kata Noi Beach ☆☆
Laem Singh Beach (now closed) ☆ ☆
Bang Tao Beach
Mai Khao Beach
Surin Beach
Nai Yang Beach
Naithon Beach
Rawai Beach

HIDDEN BEACHES
Freedom Beach ☆☆
Paradise Beach
Banana Beach ☆☆
Ya Nui Beach ☆☆
Ao Yon Beach
Ao Sane Beach
Tri Trang Beach
Panwa Beach

15 ISLANDS NEAR PHUKET
Similan Islands ☆☆☆
Phi Phi Islands NEW!
Bon Island
Coral Island
Khai Islands
Racha Island
James Bond Island
Koh Panyee

BEST THINGS TO DO IN PHUKET
12 Things to Do When it RAINS
John Gray Sea Canoe ☆☆☆
Phang Nga Bay ☆☆☆
Buddha Cave in Phang Nga
Phuket Town Walking Map
Thalang Road - Old Phuket Town ☆☆
Phuket Walking Street ☆☆
Simon Cabaret Show ☆☆
Phuket Fantasea ☆☆
Phuket Trickeye Museum
Upside Down House
Kao Rang Hill
Phuket Aquarium

10 PHUKET VIEWPOINTS
Big Buddha ☆☆
Karon Viewpoint (Kata Viewpoint) ☆☆
Wassa Homemade Bar ☆☆
Windmill Viewpoint
Black Rock Viewpoint ☆☆
Samet Nangshe Viewpoint ☆☆
Promthep Cape Viewpoint
Panwa Viewpoint
After Beach Bar

PHUKET WATERFALLS
Bangpae Waterfall
Kathu Waterfalls
Tonsai Waterfalls

PHUKET MUSEUMS
Baan Chinpracha
Phuket Mining Museum
Thai Hua Museum

TEMPLES of PHUKET
7 Buddha Postures for 7 Days
Big Buddha ☆☆
Wat Chalong ☆☆
Buddha Cave in Phang Nga
Wat Kao Rang and Sitting Buddha
Wat Phra Thong
Shrine of The Serene Light

NIGHTLIFE
10 Tips to Spot a Ladyboy
10 Ways to PARTY in Patong
Simon Cabaret Show
Paradise Complex
Party Drinks in Phuket
Phuket Fantasea
Rock City Patong

PHUKET BEACH CLUBS
Cafe Del Mar ☆☆
Catch Beach Club
Dream Beach Club
Kudo Beach Club
HQ Beach Lounge
Iguana Beach Club
Xana Beach Club

INSIDE GO GO BARS (HOT)
Suzy Wongs A Go Go (HOT)
Devil's Playground (HOT)
Diablo A Go Go
Exotica A Go Go
Harem A Go Go (NEW)
Rock Hard A Go Go

SOI BANGLA ROAD
Soi Seadragon (HOT)

PHUKET NIGHT CLUBS
Illuzion Phuket
White Room
Seduction Phuket
Tiger Club

SHOPPING
Central Festival Phuket
JungCeylon Shopping Mall ☆☆☆
Phuket Price Check

PHUKET NIGHT MARKETS
Chillva Night Market ☆☆☆ NEW!
Phuket Walking Street ☆☆
Phuket Weekend Market
Phuket Indy Market

PHUKET MARKETS
Banzaan Market ☆☆☆
Phuket Amulet Market

EVENTS & FESTIVALS
Loy Krathong
Songkran
Patong Gay Festival
Vegetarian Festival

SPORTS & ACTIVITIES
Diving in Phuket NEW!
Thai Boxing Training
Wake Park
Dino Park Mini Golf
Elephant Jungle Sanctuary
Go Kart
Kayaking in Phang Nga Bay
Phuket Tree Adventures
Spas and Massages
Splash Jungle Water Park
Surf House Kata Beach
Surf House Patong
White Water Rafting

INFORMATION
Phuket AIRPORT: Things to Know
Phuket Travel Tips and FAQs
10 Quick Facts about Phuket
Phuket FAQs
Driving and Renting a Bike or a Car
Phuket Price Check
Phuket Map - with all locations
Bangkok Blog

HOTELS & RESORTS
21 GREAT HOTELS IN PHUKET

MAI KHAO & NORTH PHUKET
Sala Phuket Resort
Renaissance Phuket Resort
Banyan Tree Phuket
Hyatt Regency Phuket
Maikhao Dreams
Pullman Arcadia Naithon Phuket
Phuket Marriott Nai Yang
The Slate Phuket NEW!
Trisara Villas
TwinPalms Phuket

BEST HOTELS IN PATONG
Amari Phuket Resort Holiday Inn Phuket
Kalima Resort
Phuket Graceland NEW!
Le Meridien Phuket
Novotel Phuket Resort
The Kee Resort
Impiana Cabana
Swissotel Patong

BEST HOTELS IN KATA BEACH
Kata Rocks
The Shore at Kata Thani
Katathani Beach Resort
Mom Tri's Villa Royale

KARON BEACH
Movenpick Resort
Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket NEW!

PHUKET TOWN
Westin Siray Bay Resort
Novotel Phuket Phokeethra
Little Nyonya

ISLAND RESORTS
Six Senses Hideaway Yao Noi
The Racha

BEST RESTAURANTS in PHUKET

MOST ROMANTIC RESTAURANTS
La Gritta at Amari Phuket
Wok Pagoda NEW!
Da Maurizio
360 at Pavilions
Mom Tri's Kitchen
Pan Yaah Restaurant
Tunk Ka Cafe
Gaetana Italian Restaurant
Blue Elephant
Panwa House at Cape Panwa

10 BEST LOCAL AND THAI RESTAURANTS
Mor Mu Dong Restaurant
Pang Prai Restaurant
Kan Eang 2 Seafood
Kan Eang @ Pier
One Chun
Kaab Gluay
Raya House
Tunk Ka Cafe
Paknam Seafood
Suay Restaurant
Kru Suwit Restaurant
Thanoon Seafood
Osha Phuket
MORE PHUKET RESTAURANTS

STORIES
8 Sunset Photo Tips
Phuket Funniest Photos
Phuket Tsunami