Renting a minibus
A group of 10 friends will visit Phuket in September and we would like to rent an 11-seater minibus to tour around in.
Is it legal for a foreigner to drive a rental minibus? Or must they hire a Thai driver?
I asked a well-known rental company and they said that a foreigner is allowed to drive a rental minibus, but I remember reading a few years ago about a European being fined by police when he tried to drive off Phuket in similar circumstances.
Thanks in advance.
Stuart Hooper, Patong.
Foreigners are allowed to drive rental minibuses in Thailand, but they must have the appropriate driving license, which is different from a normal car license.
The PPTO will not issue a foreigner a Thai bus driving license, but we will issue a permit that will allow them to temporarily drive a rental minibus if they can prove to us that they have been issued a bus driving license in their home country.
Note: To receive the permit the foreigner must bring a current bus-driving license issued in his home country to the PPTO office in Saphan Hin. If no member of the group holds such a license, the group will have to hire a driver.
Chatchawarn Ngarmtup, chief of the Phuket Provincial Transport Office.