Is it worth hiring a car in Bangkok ?

Should you rent a car in Bangkok Thailand > Bangkok

James says - a few trip notes:

Bangkok is the second most visited city in the world, in terms of international arrivals, sitting behind just Hong Kong.

Even if it’s very easy to visit the Thai capital without a car, the sheer number of tourists who come here, combined with the natgural desire to explore jungles and coastlines beyond the city make the question of whether or not it’s worth renting a car in Bangkok a good one to consider.

Since the cost of both fuel and car hire costs are determined primarily by nternational factors, there’s certainly no reason to rent a car in Bangkok if you are mainly looking at the cost of travel. Even if you are a group of friends who can fill a car, it will almost certainly still be cheaper to get out of the city by bus. You can explore  Thai islands by using the ferries as a foot passenger.

Needless to say, Bangkok has a terrible reputation for both traffic and pollution.  Any advice on renting a car in Bangkok is going to be much more about driving out of the city, than staying within it. However, if you are planning on renting a car at the airport and then maybe staying a couple of nights in the city before driving elsehwere.

It might be useful to know that around 60% of hotels in Bangkok offer free parking. This is always going to be more likely in suburban hotels than it will be in the centre.

Bangkok Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings

Is it worth hiring a car in Bangkok ?

Our Bangkok car hire guide will start by stating the obvious! Bangkok is a huge congested metropolis which has also recently invested heavily in rail-based mass transport. All of the most popular attractions are a relatively short distance from each other.

To give an idea of its size, it’s worth noting that Bangkok also holds the distinction of being the world’s most populous city when considered as a multiple of the next largest city in that country (in this case, Chang Mai). Yet most of this size is based on endless development beyond the central core where the main tourist sites are located.

Why should you rent a car in Bangkok?

In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Bangkok?

Bangkok Car hire summary

Overall drive rating



Cheapest rate for one week




How much should I expect to pay in the peak season?





Free parking score

Total 2382 - of which 1370 have free parking. [full notes - parking]




Is it worth hiring a car in Bangkok ?

Anyone planning a visit to Thailand which starts with a long haul flight into Bangkok is almost certainly going to be looking at where else to visit outside the capital. This then begs the obvious question: Even if you might well want to avoid driving in Bangkok like the plague, is it worth getting a rental car and then driving down to some of the more famous coastal resorts such as Krabi, Phuket or Koh Samui? All of these destinations are essentially a good day’s driving from Bangkok. You might prefer just to take a bus and let someone else do the driving. Alternatively, they are both just a short flight away from Bangkok. Please see our Phuket and Koh Samui car advice pages the further suggestions about whether or not it’s worth driving in these destinations when you get there.

Is it worth hiring a car in Bangkok ?

  • Simply because Bangkok is so well connected, even if the roads are so congested!
  • Bangkok is at the centre of Thailand’s highway network – start here for a journey to anywhere else.
  • This is the most obvious place to start a Thai road trip.
  • Fuel is cheap.

Why not? Visiting Bangkok without a car

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Bangkok public transport quick facts

Train score



Water travel score


Overall public transport score


Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

(walking + cycling)


  • Another popular excursion from Bangkok is to visit the Burma railway and to see the infamous Bridge on the River Kwai at Kanchanaburi. Naturally, this is an excursion that is most appropriate to do by train, but in reality, many people do by tour bus. Yet there is still little point in hiring a car to go in this direction, as the main points of interest are all easily reached on foot.
  • If you’ve only got a few days in Bangkok and just want to take a short coastal break away from the city, then the best place to do this Pattaya, which can easily be reached by bus or train.
  • Getting a hire car in Bangkok might make sense if you want to start exploring further inland, and especially if you want to visit some of the national parks heading towards Chiang Mai. However, on balance, Bangkok is the sort of place where the great majority of visitors will be better off without one.

Is it worth hiring a car in Bangkok ?

Verdict – no


Car rental in - Bangkok Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Bangkok?

Based on comparison with transit, walking and cycling.

Is it worth hiring a car in Bangkok?

Based on value for money

Should you rent a car in Bangkok?

Weighing up the above, if you are asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?

Who is travelling?

Is it worth renting a car in Bangkok if I am a solo / budget traveller?

What about for 2 people travelling together?

For families?


Where are you staying?

Do you need a car in Bangkok if we are staying in a central area?

What if we are staying on the edge of the city/resort?

Or in a rural area?


What is your attitude towards driving?

Should I hire a car in Bangkok if I prefer not to drive?

If I am easy either way?

If I prefer to drive?



Final score:


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Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

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