What should I expect to pay? Are there any catches or things I should look out for?
You can rent cars and bikes very easily in Thailand, however you should be careful. In nearly most places with hotels / hostels you can find scooters to rent by the hour or day. On the islands they also have little suziki 4wd's for hire as well.
You need to be careful because they will almost certainly want to take your passport as a security deposit. There is no insurance so if you damage the vehicle in any way (even scratches!) they will expect you to pay for a brand new part - and this can be very expensive!
Also even if rent by the day and return it one hour late they will charge you a (usually hefty) hourly rate on top of the daily rate. So return it on time!
You will also need to get fuel for the car / scooter, and from my experiences they always hand it over on empty. Some places will "recommend" a nearby fuel station which will certainly charge you twice or four times as much. Find a larger service station to get your fuel than the roadside ones which will try to charge more.
Expect to pay around 700 baht to 1000 baht per day (~26 USD) for a small 4wd for a day, or around 250 baht (~7 USD) per day for a new-ish scooter.
My advice is to be careful who you rent from - try to get some recommendations from fellow travelers with transport. Make sure you check the vehicle for any dents or scratches, inspect the engine/steering/brakes, and drive carefully! about 8 years ago
Lots of good advice from Ian C. Should be mentioned though that most good rental companies do offer you insurance too. They will charge extra for that, but that's fair biz practice and it can save you a lot of headaches.
If possible, get a list of some rental shops of the city/island/village where you want to rent, and just call them up and ask if they offer insurance. Much better than running arond from place to place. about 7 years ago
Just a note - Watch out for exclusions on travel insurance policies -you dont want to find out emergency and hospital expenses aren't covered if you have an accident.
Road rules arent quite what they should be in this region and there are many tourists involved in tcrashes. Check your policy to make sure motorcycling is covered and what kind of license that you need to hold. about 7 years ago
I live in Thailand. Most scooter rental places are honest, but certain areas like Phuket and Pattaya have a large number of dishonest rental places that will refuse to return your passport unless you pay a large damage fine for non existent damage, and the police are often in on the take (there are videos on Utube of this happening). If you walk away without your passport to report it stolen, the rental agency can sell your passport for a couple hundred dollars. They win either way. In fact, Thailand has many thousands of stolen passports sold every year, one of the highest numbers in the world. The recent Malaysian air tragedy had 2 cases of illegal immigrants to China using stolen passports from Thailand. In many other places here you can rent without handing over the passport, they will make a copy, and/or keep your driver's license. Most places are honest. Be aware that there are large numbers of tourists injured on rental bikes. Not a good way to end your vacation. Be extra careful if you aren't experienced with a motorcycle. about 3 years agoAnswered by marmot via WorldNomads.com