Many visitors to Thailand choose to rent a car; this allows for the most freedom in visiting places of interest and also allows for maximum flexibility in case plans change. Rental cars are readily available at airports and in major cities. Travelers can rent anything from small compact cars (usually the least expensive option) to luxury vehicles, SUVs, and vans.
Although it’s a fairly simple process to obtain a rental car in Thailand, the driving itself can be more problematic. Most areas in Phuket are less crowded than in Bangkok or other major cities, but Thai drivers are known for recklessness, and a substantial number of them never really learned how to drive. Many visitors to Thailand are amazed at how local drivers have a total disregard for the basic rules of the road.Cars are driven on the left in Thailand, so Americans and visitors from other countries where drivers stay right will need to reorient themselves. According to law, seat belts are required, although this requirement is not always enforced by police.Gas stations are plentiful in Thailand in towns and cities and along the highways, as well. You will find competitive pricing at Caltex, Esso, PTT, and Shell, among others.Another good alternative to renting a car is to hire a car with a driver. This can be convenient, since the driver can also act as an unofficial tour guide, and this option prevents getting lost as often due to Phuket’s poor signage. Many travelers arrange for a car and driver while in Bangkok, but this can also be accomplished at a hotel or resort in Phuket.
The many choices in rental car agencies in Thailand range from the major international car companies, including Avis, Budget, and Hertz, to lots of small local rental businesses. In general, the smaller local rental car agencies offer lower rates — sometimes as much as 50 percent lower than the larger rental companies. The market for rental cars in Phuket is competitive, so it pays to do some shopping around to compare pricing.