Car Hire

How to rent a car on Koh Chang

Where to Rent a Car on Koh Chang?

Koh Chang is a large island and to be fully explored you will need to hire a car or rent a scooter. Some of the more scenic parts of the island, especially those on the east coast, are more easily accessible if you have your own transport.  But note that off-roading won’t be permitted, even if you rent a 4×4 pick up truck.  Likewise you won’t be allowed to take your rental car off the island. 

A scooter is a great way to see the island but only if you are an experienced rider as there are accidents daily.  (More information about motorbike rental on Koh Chang here.)

So for the majority of visitors renting a vehicle is a much safer option.  What you won’t find though are any of the well known car rental companies.  There’s no Budget, Hertz, Avis, Sixt or Europcar for example. However, all tour agencies on the island can arrange car hire. 

Road Safety

Firstly, some words of advice. You should take great care on the roads on Koh Chang (and anywhere in Thailand for that matter). In general there is there an extreme disregard for traffic regulations, which leads to unexpected and dangerous behavior.  Therefore assume that everyone else on the road has a deathwish – then you’ll be prepared for anyone doing a random u-turn, overtaking whilst driving around a blind corner or pulling out in front of you. 

Likewise, if you’re driving at night, you might be sober, but the majority of fellow road users won’t be.  They’ll place their trust in getting home safely in a lucky amulet rather than any weird belief that alcohol impairs their driving skills. 

There are also some very steep hills in some sections of the main road on Koh Chang. The stretches of road where care is needed are located between Klong Son and White Sand Beach and also between Kai Bae and Lonely Beach. During the rainy season bike riders often come to grief when the roads become extremely slippery.  So add scooters, and their riders, sliding past you as you drive up hill to the list of things to look out for.

Having said all that, if you are sensible there’s no reason why you shouldn’t rent a car here.  But if you prefer not to drive on Koh Chang and still want to see the island you can join a group tour which will take in the highlights.  These are usually around 900 – 1,100 Baht/person and bookable at any tour agent. 

However, in order to explore places that most visitors don’t see, I recommend taking a private tour with an excellent Thai guide called Thomas who can tailor a day trip to suit your requirements. 

Vehicles available for hireWhy Rent a Car on Koh Chang?

It’s a safe and economical way to see the island.

The only public transport on the island are shared pick up truck taxis. These will charge between 50 – 200 Baht/person per trip.  And they don’t go around the east side of the island.  So, whilst you might not need a car all the time during your stay.  It’s definitely worth it for a day or two, especially to explore the east and scenic southeast of the island.

Is it Easy to Hire a Car?

Yes.  No International License is required. However, virtually all rental agencies will ask you to leave a passport as a security deposit. 

You will be able to have the vehicle delivered to your hotel at a time you request.  The staff will show you the vehicle and will have a checklist to indicate any existing scratches or damage. Ideally you should also take photos of any scratches or damage too. You will be expected to return the vehicle in the same condition. 

Will the Vehicle be Insured?

Yes.  In Thailand vehicles are insured for any driver. This is different to countries such as the UK where only people mentioned on the insurance documents can drive a specific vehicle.

There will be an excess for you to pay in the event of you damaging the vehicle.  Excesses tend to be in the 10,000 – 30,000 Baht range. Meaning you are responsible for any damage up to that amount. 

Is Air-conditioning Standard?

Yes. Every modern car, pick-up or SUV has air-conditioning.  Thailand is too hot to drive anywhere without it. Likewise you’ll notice that virtually all vehicles have tinted window film.  This is to prevent blinding, hot sunlight and keep the interior cooler.  It’s also worth noting that virtually all rental vehicles are automatic, including the pick up trucks. 

What Happens if the Police Stop Me?

There are occasionally checkpoints on the road, on the stretch between White Sand beach and Kai Bae.  These are nearly always targeting scooter riders who aren’t wearing helmets. Anyone driving a car will be waved through. However at holiday periods – eg New Year or Songkran (Thai New Year) night time checkpoints may be set up to check for drunk drivers.  You may be asked to show your driving license. 

What Types of Vehicles are Available?

For a couple of small family small saloon or hatchback cars such as Honda Jazz or Toyota Vios.  If more space is required – for a family with larger kids or four / five adults, then you’ll find cars like the MG ZS or Toyota Innova available. 

If you prefer a 4WD SUV or have a larger group, then Toyota Fortuna or Mitsubishi Pajero Sport are popular choices. They can seat up to 7 people.  Finally, pick up trucks are also readily available.  

At present it’s not possible to rent an electric vehicle (EV).  Although an increasing number of resorts do have charging points for their guests.  These cater to domestic tourists, as the popularity of EVs in Thailand has increased enormously in the past couple of years.

Car Hire Rates on Koh Chang

Rates are for a 24 hour rental period.  They include the free drop off and pick up service at your resort. Discounts will be available for weekly or monthly rental available or during the low season.  for extended hire periods, longer than 7 days.

The rates below are from a trusted tour agent based in Kai Bae. We use them for our guests who want to rent a car during their holiday.

Car rental prices start at 1,200 Baht per day for a small hatchback / sedan.

A larger car or pickup is around 1,400 – 1,600 Baht

And an SUV, 1,600 – 1,800 Baht

Please note that the exact price will depend on time of year, how long the rental period is and availability of a vehicle.

When Should I Book?

Most people don’t arrange car hire in advance.  They wait until they are on the island and then decide.  Usually this isn’t a problem.  But if you are visiting during peak season there will almost certainly be a shortage of vehicles.  Especially as, since covid, there are fewer rental cars on the island. So there’s a good chance you might have to wait several days or a vehicle to become available or give up the idea of renting one.

How to Reserve a Car?

As mentioned earlier, any tour agency on Koh Chang can arrange car hire for you.  But if you want an honest, English speaking rental agency I recommend contacting ‘Koi’ from Lamoon Tour, Kai Bae. Her office is located roadside adjacent to AWA Resort, Kai Bae. The location is on this Googlemap.  Or send her a message on WhatsApp: +66930071668


Koh Chang Island Guide For Independent Travellers