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Tips for Expats Driving in Hua Hin

Driving in a new country can be daunting. These tips offer insight into what to expect when driving in Hua Hin.
Tips for Expats Driving in Hua Hin

1. Understanding the Driving Culture

Driving in Hua Hin, can be a unique experience. The traffic rules are not always strictly followed, and the driving style can be quite aggressive compared to Western countries. It’s essential to be alert and cautious at all times. Motorbikes are prevalent, and they often weave in and out of traffic, so always check your mirrors and blind spots.

2. Car Recommendation

Compact cars are recommended for driving in Hua Hin due to the narrow roads and heavy traffic. However, if you plan to explore the countryside or mountainous areas, a 4×4 vehicle might be more suitable. Automatic cars are also more common and easier to drive in heavy traffic.

3. Parking Situation

Finding parking in Hua Hin can be challenging, especially in the city center and near popular tourist spots. However, parking is generally not expensive. Some places offer free parking, while others charge a small fee. It’s always best to check the parking situation before you go.

4. Driving with an International License

Foreigners can drive in Thailand with an international driving permit (IDP) for up to 90 days. After that, you will need to obtain a Thai driving license. Your IDP must be accompanied by your national driving license.

5. Obtaining a Thai Driving License

To get a Thai driving license, you will need to go to the Department of Land Transport with your passport, valid visa, proof of address in Thailand, medical certificate, your national driving license, and your IDP. You will also need to pass a written test and a driving test. It’s recommended to hire a translator or go with a Thai friend as the process can be complicated and most of the staff do not speak English.

6. Be Aware of the Left-Hand Driving

Remember that in Thailand, people drive on the left-hand side of the road. This can be confusing for those used to right-hand driving. Practice in less crowded areas before hitting the main roads.

7. Always Wear Your Seatbelt

While many locals might ignore this rule, it’s crucial to always wear your seatbelt, both for safety and because it’s the law. The same goes for wearing helmets if you’re on a motorbike.

8. Be Prepared for Random Checkpoints

Police often set up random checkpoints to check for drunk drivers or those without licenses. Always carry your driving documents with you and cooperate with the police.

Joshua WoodJoshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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