Bangkok car hire advice – would you even consider getting a rental car in the Thai capital?

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, yet 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.


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, so 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.


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.


Verdict – no