Car Rental in Bangkok
A bustling city with market places, street food stalls and lively bars hiding around every corner, Bangkok is a place of almost endless possibilities. Home to many museums and heritage sites, the city has modernized significantly in recent years and now boasts glamorous shopping malls and high-end rooftop bars without losing its authentic origins. With many fantastic beaches and coastal resorts on your doorstep and the untouched wilderness of the country just a short drive away, renting a car during your trip to Bangkok will allow you to see some of the Thailand’s hidden gems.
Where to rent a car in Bangkok
You will find all of the usual international car rental providers at Suvarnabhumi Airport, the main international airport serving the city, including Avis, Europcar, National, Sixt and Hertz amongst others. All car rental counters are found on the second floor of the passenger terminal. Plenty of international agencies are also available at Don Mueang International Airport, Bangkok’s secondary airport. If you would rather collect your vehicle in the city you will find offices situated across Bangkok at your disposal. Many hotels will also be able to make arrangements so check with your accommodation ahead of time.
Driving in Bangkok
The traffic in Bangkok can be notoriously bad so it is best to plan ahead before your journey and avoid central areas. The morning and evening rush hours will lead to traffic jams that can last for hours, so try to stay off the roads from 07.30-09.30 and 16.30-19.30. You’ll find local drivers may behave recklessly at times and there are always motorbikes weaving in and out of traffic. You will also need to be extra careful when driving outside of Bangkok as local drivers won’t hesitate to speed and the country’s road safety record is poor. Although a lot of road signs will be in Thai and English, it is still a wise idea to get a satnav as the road system can be confusing.
Parking in Bangkok
Bangkok has plenty of multistorey and underground parking lots where you can park up your vehicle on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis if necessary at comparatively cheap prices compared to other major Asian cities. Parking will be rather difficult to find in central areas, especially at the most popular shopping malls, but eventually you will find a space if you drive around. The city recently introduced charges for street parking in many areas – it is around 1.20 AED per hour rising to 2.50 AED for the second hour. Local public transport is excellent so you can take advantage of the extensive parking lots near BTS and MRT train/subway stations on the outskirts before riding into the city if you want to avoid the traffic.
Where to go around Bangkok
Bangkok is a huge, sprawling city comprised of many districts around the city and plenty more suburban districts. If modern delights appeal to you then visit the popular Siam Square district with its world-class malls and hotels, or experience the famous nightlife of the Sukhumvit district just east of the center. Those coming to Bangkok to see the many stunning heritage sites should venture into the old center of Rattanakosin which is home to the Grand Palace amongst many other landmarks. If you only have a limited time in the city, check out 3 days in Bangkok: our destination guide. Outside of Bangkok it is less than a two-hour drive to the busy coastal resort of Pattaya known for its beaches and nightlife, or make the three-hour trip to Hua Hin for a more laid-back seaside experience. For more inspiration on where to go in the country, check out our top 10 things to do and see in Thailand.
* This information is correct as of December 2018