Renting & Riding a Scooter on Koh Chang

Renting a scooter on Koh Chang

Hiring a scooter or motorbike on Koh Chang is a very popular way to see the island.  Partly because it’s a fun way to do it and partly because public transport on Koh Chang is limited to ‘songtaews’ – which are white, shared pick-up truck taxis.  They ply a route from the ferry piers down the west coast of the island to Bangbao in the south.  

It’s just a matter of flagging one down and hopping son. However, it starts to add up when you are taking several trips a day in order to see the island, and, with just a couple of exceptions, there aren’t any services down the East coast.

So if you want some freedom and want to see all the island has to offer, then renting a scooter is a great way to get around the island.  However, it is important to bear in mind that there are lots of accidents here.  often due to uneven road surfaces or sand and other debris on the roads.  

Care is needed.

The 115 or 125cc automatic scooters are cheap to rent.  The go for 150 to 250 Baht / day (24 Hours).  These will get you up the hills without any problems ( usually).  It is possible to rent bigger bikes, there’s a place on White Sand beach that rents choppers and some rental places have 250cc off road bikes but there’s no need for them.  Choppers weren’t designed for twisting, hilly rads and there are very few places when you’d actually need an off road bike. So, stick with the scooters.

As you’d expect, nothing is as straightforward as it seems and there are a few issues associated with renting a scooter on Koh Chang :

1) They’re too easy to learn to ride. All you have to do is have a sense of balance and use your right hand to twist a throttle.  There’s no messing around with gears, a clutch or even a kick-starter – as they all start simply by pressing a button. Your feet don’t do anything and the brakes are in the same position as on a bicycle.  

This leads to people who’ve never ridden anything with an engine learning around corners or up hills whilst on Koh Chang.  It’s not a good place to learn.  Uneven and slippery road surfaces coupled with an above average number of mad drivers means that there are numerous accidents every day.

If you ride the length of the island on any day, chances are you’ll see an accident that has just happened.  Often they aren’t too serious, just road rash, but serious injuries and fatalities do occur.  So if you have never ridden a scooter before before and insist of doing so on Koh Chang, at least spend time getting used to handling the bike; cornering; using the brakes properly on flat roads before heading off to try your luck on the hills.

TIP: An easy way to spot someone who’s never ridden before is when they put their feet out when going round a corner or down a hill.  With their flip-flops ready to be deployed as emergency brakes.   That doesn’t work.

b) ID required. You’ll need to leave some form of ID as deposit.  Many rental shops ask for your passport.  If not then they’ll require some photo ID that you don’t want to lose.  Finding a place that will only accept a photocopy is getting much harder.  The reason is too many people are now having accidents.  Someone rents a bike, has an accident, the bike gets smashed up.  

Everyone has heard stories of people having to pay crazy amounts for repairs to scooters so, if the rental shop just has a photocopy of your passport, it’s easy to cut short your holiday and disappear.    It’s only when the bike isn’t returned to the rental agency on time that they discover that the renter has long gone.  The police aren’t going to set up roadblocks; close the borders or alert Immigration or Interpol for a damaged bike  ( It is getting harder get out of paying as the volunteer rescue guys post photos of the accidents they attend which show the registration numbers of the bikes involved.  They’ll also notify the rental shop. )

c) Maintenance. Many scooters aren’t well maintained.  The first two things you need to check on all bikes are the brakes and the tyres.   It’s easy to check the tyres before you ride anywhere.  Avoid any bike with skinny tyres and any that have worn tyres.  

Once you ride off, test the brakes, if they aren’t responsive, change the bike.  If they aren’t working properly on the flat then chances are they won’t work well coming down a steep hill either.

Checking the bike for existing damage is also another obvious thing to do before riding off.  Most rental shops have forms where the renter will enter notes of any existing damage.

d) Fuel.  The bikes use ’91’ gasoline.  Fill up at a gas station – you’ll find them in Klong Son, Chai Chet and Klong Prao.  Much cheaper than buying old whisky bottles filled with fuel from roadside stalls.  At gas stations, you don’t put the fuel in – the attendant does.  A new automatic scooter will do 50Km/litre.

Ideally rent a bike that doesn’t have a full tank of fuel. Whilst most rental shops are honest, there is a minor scam that can occur if you rent a bike with, what appears to be a full tank.

The fuel gauge will appear to show the tank is full.  However, the tank can probably take a litre or so more fuel from when it shows ‘F’ on the fuel dial. When you return the bike, the shop owner will check the tank and fill it up in front of you. They will fill it to almost overflowing.  And charge you for it.

When you have gone, they can siphon a litre of fuel out, the dial will still show ‘Full’ for the next renter.

Not a major scam, but annoying.

e) Helmets.  Rental shops always provide free helmets when you rent a bike. It’s compulsory to wear a helmet whilst riding a motorbike in Thailand – although you’d never know it.  On the roads on Koh Chang, it’s around 50/50 for helmeted and non-helmeted riders.

The main reason is that enforcement is pretty lax.  The only time the police will stop you is if they have a checkpoint set up, which happens every week or so.  Then anyone not wearing a helmet is pulled over and fined 200 Baht. Fortunately, rental shops usually get advance warning and will tell you to wear your helmet as there’s checkpoint.

Likewise, if there’s a checkpoint ahead, often Thai riders will pat their heads to indicate that you should put your helmet on and drivers will flash their lights – which is the international warning sign for police ahead.

h) Indicator lights.  They are your friend.  Don’t fear the flashing orange lights.  Learn to love them and use them to warn other road users of your intentions.  It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of scootering and forget to indicate at corners or when overtaking.  You’ll remember that you should have indicated a split second after you are sent flying by the pick-up truck that just hit you.  

Most Thai drivers aren’t telepathic, regardless of how many amulets that have on the dashboard of their vehicle.  So they rely on riders giving them hints about when they are about to slam the brakes on and turn right.  Your left thumb controls the indicators.  Flick the switch to the left or right to activate them.  Then press it to stop them after maneuvering.  The indicators on a scooter aren’t self cancelling, like those on a car.

The headlights on the bike will be on all the time – don’t look for the off button, there isn’t one.

g) Insurance.  You’re going to ask the rental shop if the bikes are insured. They will say ‘Yes’ .  This is correct.  The bikes are insured, they will have the legal minimum Third Party insurance.  But it’s impossible to get Fully Comprehensive insurance for a scooter as there are too many accidents and that would bankrupt the insurer.  

So if you have an accident involving another vehicle it will be expensive.

Bear that in mind that not only do you have to pay for repairs to the bike, but if you end up in hospital it will likely be in the super-expensive International Clinic which you’ll pray your travel insurance will cover.

But the chances are that your insurance doesn’t cover a scooter accident.  Either scooters will be excluded in the small print or riding without the appropriate international motorcycle license will invalidate the insurance.  Insurance companies will look for any way they can to avoid paying out.  The rental shop isn’t going to check if you are licensed to drive a scooter or not.  They don’t care.

Out on the road.

In general you need to look out for small potholes and uneven road surfaces, plus debris from trucks and sand on the roads.  Even if you are going slowly it’s possible to a bike to slide on some corners and hills. More so when it rains.

But if you’re sensible and if you stick to anywhere on the east coast of the island or the road between White Sand and Kai Bae then you should be fine.  There are no big hills to negotiate.   The stretches of road where you need to be particularly careful when riding a scooter on Koh Chang are from Kai Bae down to Bangbao and from Klong Son to White Sand beach.

Between Kai Bae and Bangbao the road looks like a mini rollercoaster.  It’s narrow, undulating with several very steep climbs and hairpin bends.  When it rains the surface can get slippery and it’s near impossible to get down some hills without having an accident.  And between Klong Son and White Sand beach, you have the ‘Big Hill’ so called because it’s a big hill which comes complete with hairpin bends; trucks belching smoke; slow moving traffic and people trying to overtake slow moving traffic around blind corners.

But rather than me bore you with descriptions of all the roads on Koh Chang.  You can be bored by these videos instead.  A real time scooter ride from the main ferry pier in the north east of the island all the way down the west coast to Klong Kloi beach in the far south of the island. Each video is around 10 minutes in length.

1) From Ao Sapporot Pier to White Sand Beach.  There’s a small hill just past the ferry pier which will get you ready for the big hill that lies in wait just after you pass through Klong Son village.  If you’re nervous then don’t ride up it when there’s a lot of traffic that’s just come off the ferry pier.  Expect vehicles slowing to a crawl right in front of you and taking corners wide when they come in the opposite direction.

Click the links below for the other videos . . .

2) From White Sand beach to Klong Prao village.  This stretch is on a wider road with no steep climbs.  It’s just a mater of watching out for fellow riders and drivers doing stupid things whilst you’re passing through built up areas. If you crash anywhere on this stretch, take that as a bad omen and end your scootering adventure on Koh Chang.

3) From Klong Prao village to Lonely Beach.  The road is still good all the way to Kai Bae.  Once you come out of Kai Bae village you’ll notice that it narrows and goes into a steep climb up to the viewpoint – which is well worth a stop.  From there you’re passing over the hill and dropping down to Lonely Beach.  Probably the most hazardous stretch of road on the island is the hairpin bend on this section.  Stop to allow traffic coming up the hill to pass as vehicles take the final turn very wide.   If it’s wet be extremely careful on this section.

4) From Lonely Beach to Bangbao & Klong Kloi beach.   Ride through the backpacjker’s paradise that is Lonely beach, south to sleepy Bailan and then it’s just a couple more kilometers on the rollercoaster of a road before you reach Bangbao.  To see Bangbao, you’ll need to park your scooter at the start of the pier and walk along the pier.  Scooter’s aren’t allowed on the pier – unless they happen to be ridden by local kids, ignorant tourists or lazy dive shop employees.  The last stop is Klong Kloi beach, another kilometre or so past Bangbao on the south coast of Koh Chang.  A popular spot with daytrippers and if the sky is clear you’ll be able to see as far south as Koh Kood.

5)  Along the Bangbao Peninusla – It looks like the road ends in Nirvana Resort.  But it doesn’t. Keep going and you’ll be rewarded with some great views over the bay as as the road heads up onto the side of the hill.   park at the end of the road and then walk 100 metres to the shrine to Thai sailors.  And more great views looking into the bay.

6) From Ao Sapporot Ferry Pier to Dan Mai – Not a lot of interest here to be honest. 

7)  From Dan Mai to Salakkok – Down the sleepy east coast to Salakkok fishing village. It is an easy ride. No hills, no traffic, just a sea of green. A lot of fruit is grown in this area, especially Durian. From April – July, you’ll see it being sold outside locals’ homes by the roadside.  Plus a couple of waterfalls to stop at on the way.

8) From Salakkok to Long beach – This is the best road on the island.  A bit dull for the first couple of kilometres and but as soon as you turn off the main road and head towards Long beach you’re in for a fun ride.  This video was taken before the road was paved. As of late 2016 the road has been paved and so you can get to Long beach by car easily.  but in the past it was a dirt track, great fun on a scooter.  Now it’s a bit simpler but the views are still as awesome.  In high season you can get food and drinks and the ramshackle Treehouse bungalows on the beach. 


  • “You need a motorcycle license to ride a motorbike anywhere in Thailand.” And by motorbike, you also mean scooters? Wow, there must be thousands of illegal drivers out there every single day, then?!

  • You need a motorcycle license to ride a motorbike anywhere in Thailand. The same as most other countries. What’s different is that the majority of tourists ignore the law when they are on holiday and rental shops don’t care either. So long as you don’t have an accident then this isn’t usually a problem. Maybe a 500 Baht fine if the police have a checkpoint and ask to see your license.

    But if you have an accident and don’t have a license, your travel / medical insurance won’t pay any costs and you’ll have a very big hospital bill plus the cost of repairs to the bike.

  • Hi, I´ve read on a few threads on Tripadvisor that you need a full MC licence to drive a scooter in Koh Chang, is this true? And is this something that goes for everywhere in Thailand? I just find it strange, as I assume most people don´t have an MC licence,, but it seems like “everyone” drives a scooter when they are on holiday in Thailand.. (Which in many cases might not be the best idea, I know ;) )

  • I don’t know. Koh Chang is a different island to Koh Si Chang. But I guess you will have to arrange it with one of the supply boats that go to the island.

  • What if you already have your own motorcycle and you are trying to get your motorcycle across to Koh Si Chang? I have only seen ferry’s that take people across but not their vehicles. Is there someone with a boat that I can reach out to directly to see if they will take me and my bike across and back?

  • Hey! We want to launch a branch of our motorcycle rental in Chiang Mai on Koh Chang Island. How is the situation on the island now? Are tourists already starting to arrive after the flight restrictions have been lifted?

  • Hey guys, just a word of warning, DO NOT rent a motorbike from the shop near Cancun bar in lonely beach. It’s just before the turn, next to the fruit shake stand and the restaurant.

    I just had an accident due to their bike being off balance, and not only did they not remotely care about the fact that I cut open my hand, they tried to claim that they didn’t have my passport.

    You get what you pay for, spend the extra money to get a great bike. If you don’t, you may come to regret it.

  • Do NOT under any circumstances rent a scooter from the shop on the corner next to Ko Chang divers, half way down the road to Bang Bao pier on the right hand side! These people are purely out to scam tourists! You have been warned!

  • Hi Patrik

    There are so many rental places that I don’t know which are good or bad. You won’t find any reviews of 99% of places on the internet because they aren’t online anywhere or the shops don’t have a name. Main thing is to check if the bikes are in good condition – especially the brakes and tyres. And note any damage, so you dont get charged for it. If the bike has a lot of scratches then you know that the owner probably doesn’t maintain the bike well. Because people who crashed it will have paid for the damage. But the owner hasn’t fixed it. They’ve just taken the money.

  • I would appriciate scooter rentals recommendations on Koh Chang if you have Ian. Thanks

  • Some shops seem to make more money from people having accidents than actually renting bikes.

    Sorry, I had to take the name of the shop out of your post as I don’t want to be taken to court.

  • There aren’t any tours by scooter. Best just to get a map and explore on your own. You can’t get lost.

  • Are there any bike tours available? I’m a Harley rider back home, recovering from a recent bike accident. I’m coming to Koh Chang next week. It would be great to be given a tour of the island and ride behind someone who knows their way and could show me around for a while. Scooters are fun to ride.

  • We arrived at night and rented a bike for two days. The back tyre was as it looks in the picture unfortunately did not see the state of the tyre at that time.

    You must be aware that the roads in Koh Chang have crazy hills up and down. On the first ride while getting to our hotel it started raining and we slipped of on a down hill. Very luckily we were going very slow and the outcome of the fall was body scrathes on my gf’s body and mine, and my foot badly injured but no broken bones, should be fine in two weeks. The bike had a small scratch on the side.

    We called their numbers but one was off and the other didnt answer. I add them on Line and left a “hello” message which they didnt read.
    We waited two days but no replies. On this situation we paid for a taxi to load up the bike and get safely to the other side of the island where this shop is.

    On arrival they claimed 2000 baht for the scratch. When asked why they rent out a bike with a tyre on that state, they said ‘I should have checked’.
    Surely I needed to check but it was dark at night and we wanted to get to our accomodation.

    They admitted they knew the state of the tyre before hand. In other words they don’t give a fuck of your safety, they just want your money.

    ++ Edited to remove the name of rental shop. ++

  • Rental shops usually ask for either your Passport or a large deposit. This is because too many people have accidents. Daily rent is from 150 – 250 Baht /24 hours depending on the type and condition of the scooter.

  • Hi Ian,
    Do they require10000 baht deposit for renting scooters everywhere?
    Do you think it’s better (cheaper) to rent a scooter right at the pier or elsewhere on the island?

  • From Kai Bae to Salakphet is about an hour. Note that the mangrove walkway is collapsing now and so not easy to walk on. You have to take care not to fall through the broken boards The walkways in Salakkok, not far away, is better.

  • Hi Ian

    How long does it take to ride around the whole of the island? My husband and I are coming in early April and we are staying in Kai Bae Beach but we’d like to go to the Salakphet Mangrove Walkway.


  • Hello,
    I need to rent a motorbike at the AO Thammachet pier or the one when arriving from
    mainland to Kho Chang. I arrive on 29.11. in the afternoon. Can you help?

  • There are rental places on the main road in Klong Son.

    You can also rent a scooter from the main ferry pier at Ao Sapporot. There’s a rental office in the area where the pick-up truck taxis park.

  • Do you know if there are any scooter rentals in klong son village, the first village after the pier?

    I know there is on in centre point pier (they want 10000 baht deposit) but not at the other pier.

  • The new automatic scooters can take two adults up the hills without any problems. So you’ll be fine renting one for yourself. No need for a chopper or big bike.

  • Helle Lan, thanks for your info. Im like 100KG and considerably very strong, will the normal scooter suit me or I have to rent a heavy duty chopper. Budget is not a problem.

  • Dear Ian,

    I just wanna say Thank You for your continuing effort for an updated straightforward and very helpful website!!

    Greatly appreciated!

    Bert, Dutch tourist with family (3 kids) beginning of August 2017

  • Yes. There are scooter rental shops at both piers. At Centrepoint pier, get off the ferry walk towards the main road about 20 metres and you’ll see a a rental place on the right. At Ao Sapporot pier, get off the ferry and walk t the main road where the white pick up truck taxis are parked. There are a couple of stalls selling snacks and drink and also one small rental shop with a few scooters.

  • Hi Ian
    Great information about riding bikes (scooters) on the island, My Fiancée and I will be coming down that way in late August. Is there a scooter rentals straight off the Ferry like on Koh Samet.

  • You will see a lot of people with 2 adults & a child on a scooter. The police won’t care, so long as you are wearing helmets. But make sure your travel insurance covers you for any accidents.

  • I will come with my wife and 5 year old son. Can we all ride on 1 scooter? Is there any options?

  • Hi Vladimir. We’ve got a couple of scooters for rent, no problem to get one when you are here.


  • Hi Jan!

    And is it possible on arrival to you book a scooter from you. My scooter ride will be limited: Baan Rim Nam – Baanta+7 Ileven – Baan Rim Nam? :)


  • There should be somewhere nearby you can rent a scooter from. There’s a minimart on the main road they might have one. Or the staff at Parama will know.

  • What’s the best route to admire the scenery of the route as well as the sunset??

  • Hi. You can rent cars on Koh Chang. Any tour agent will be able to arrange it for you. It should be around 1,000 to 1,200 Baht / 24 hours for an automatic car.

  • No. They will only stop you if you are not wearing a helmet. But if you don’t have a motorbike license then you shouldn’t rent a scooter. As your insurance wont cover you if you have an accident.

  • hi Ian,
    when there is a police control do they check if you have a driving licence?

  • You’ll find a few places that rent simple mountain bikes but you wont find a god quality racing bike for rent. Not many people ride bicycles here.

  • You are missing the ride from Long Beach and to the main road. Pretty crazy hills. Do you even mention Long Beach. Far away bur the nicest Beach ever om Koh Chang

  • Hi Lana. There are lots of scooter rental places. So just go to one near your hotel. The price is still 200 – 250 Baht. But check that the tyres are in good condition and the brakes work properly.

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Koh Chang Island Guide For Independent Travellers