My Chinese friend who recently bought a house in Thailand said that she could no longer drive to Thailand. Something about the rules being changed so she has to fly out there.
i think the rule was that if you drive and enter Thailand, you are only permitted to drive in the province that you enter. So it might still work for Chiang Mai, but need to check.
I just confirmed with a friend who drove to Thailand. That bit about staying in the province where you entered is accurate. He said the paperwork is nasty too.
Can anyone share recent experience driving to Thailand? My family is considering driving to Chiang Mai in the fall instead of flying, as we'll be there a few months and it would simplify things having our own vehicle there. @AlPage48, any idea what the paperwork is like and if there's anything special we need to do before leaving Kunming?
Just wanted to refresh this question, has anyone driven to Thailand recently and knows what the requirements are?
It's quite difficult. You will need a permit issued through the Thai Department of Land Transport and a guide. You would need to contact a Thai travel agent with a tour licence to do the paperwork, which includes a temporary Thai licence in the province of entry if all you have is a Chinese driver's licence.
Overall it's going to be very expensive. Today coincidentally marks the second anniversary of when the rules first went into effect; about 6 months later there were some amendments, which allowed driving outside the province entered but a guide and lead vehicle became mandatory, making driving into Thailand from China feasible only for those driving in convoys.
I think the demand from Chinese tourists to drive in convoy, usually in SUVs, was too large to ignore. It was probably the main leverage for change.
The regulations you mention may well be for Chinese registered vehicles to cross the border.
I don't know if these regulations affect Thai registered vehicles hired in Thailand.
@tigertiger, yes that was one issue as well as lots of accidents too.
No problems hiring a Thai registered vehicle for driving in Thailand. However, they are starting to crack down on tourists hiring motorcycles without an appropriate licence (at least in Pattaya) and you'll want to be in possession of one especially in case of an accident (for insurance purposes).
@Asanee, it has been like that for years. A lot of people rent bikes without a license, and the cops just rake in the fines at random checkpoints. It is a revenue generator.