Thailand for farang

How to get a Thai driver's License for a motorbike

Thai-driver's-license-2 If you are driving a motorbike in Thailand (or anywhere in the world), you have to have a license for it. If you have an international driver’s license, although it might expire in years, you can not use it more than 3 months in a row in a foreign country. As I wanted to be in order with the law, my husband and I both have to get driver’s license for the motorbike.

We did not have an international driver’s license for the motorbike so we had to do the Thai driver’s test, follow a course and take a written exam. I asked if the course and written exam would be in English several times to be sure and they replied with “Yes in English” everytime. We signed up for the course and test about a week in advance. I guess you already know where this is going…

After a week we had to be there at 8:00 am. They started by asking me what language I preferred. As I can not read Thai and don’t understand everything I had to choose English too. They sat my husband and I apart while a large group of Thai people went into a video room. After the majority came out of the room they sat us down in that same room and asked if there was anybody who could translate for us to English. I think I could hear crickets after that question. So they said, just watch you’ll get it. It was an instruction video of what the driving test was going to be. Luckily it was not that hard to understand what was visualised and and I could translate the details for my husband.

After understanding what they were expecting from us we went to the court where they take the driving test. There were about 20 people waiting to do their driving test. One supervisor came and explained again what she expected from all of us. Again in Thai only of course. The intention was to drive the track and follow the traffic regulations while doing so, drive over a curb and do a zigzag between cones, both without falling or putting your feet on the ground. Piece of cake if you’ve been driving for over 15 years of course.


After passing the test, we had to attend a course which they realised was only going to be in Thai. They gave us a book with traffic signs to take home and come back in 2 hours. They could have given us the book when we signed up but I guess they liked to make it a bit more challenging. We read the book as it had been 10 years since we took our driver’s test in Belgium. My cousin told me there was going to be 50 questions of which you could make 5 mistakes. I thought they were going to ask 50 signs as we only got that book, but boy was I wrong. After 2 questions I started sweating as it were questions about traffic regulations in Thailand of which we did not got a course. I calmed myself down and just answered the questions by logic thinking and by reflecting on what the law prescribed in Belgium. It was quite a tense moment when I pressed finish. It was a very close call but I passed with 5 mistakes.


The man supervising the examination centre was so friendly to translate the “strange English” back to Thai sometimes, which I then translated to Dutch for my husband. My husband can speak and read English as well as I do, but it was .. let’s keep it at “strange English”. The supervisor complimented us for passing without taking the lessons and doing it in a language that is not an official languages in our home country. After the test it was picture time! This time I didn’t look like a forest ranger like on my car driver’s license.


It was an exhausting day with a lot of waiting and brain breaking moments, but I’m glad we are driving legally now.

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