Renting a motorbike in Koh Tao is a must if you want to the best tourist spots on Koh Tao. Though at the same time this island is very infamous for its motorbike scams. So what to do? Miss the cool spots? Or take a leap of faith and go for it? In this Thailand travel blog I will point you out to a motorbike rental in Koh Tao with scratch insurance and explain why it is hard to drive around the island. For more general tips for renting a motorbike in Thailand click on this link.
First of all you have to consider your own motorbike driving skills. Are you going to feel comfortable driving a motorbike and did you ever do it before? This is not your home country where traffic is properly regulated and roads are in a perfect state. You are on a Thai island with shitty and steep roads!
May you decide to rent a motorbike in Koh Tao then there are a couple things you need to be aware of here on the island. Dont let this adventure ruin your trip to Thailand! Very important to know is the geography of the island. There a several hills and to reach most hidden bays, you have to cross those hills. Some roads can be extremely steep and on top of that not even paved. To reach for example a popular spot called Mango Bay (also one of the best viewpoints in Koh Tao) some serious off road adventure is waiting for you. There are loads of tourists who drive to this bay on a motorbike every day without having any accidents or whatsoever, but it’s not for the faint-hearted! As I said not all roads are paved, you will for sure encounter loose sand and dirt tracks even some off road tracks as well.
In total I lived for almost half a year on Koh Tao and have been traveling to Thailand almost 20 times. All my experiences are bundled in almost 50 Thailand travel blogs. I can help you with Thailand itineraries, island hopping adventures, what to pack for Thailand, finding cheap domestic flights and much more.
Where to rent a motorbike in Koh Tao
Renting a motorbike in Koh Tao is like buying a hot dog in the US. You will see the ‘motorbike for rent’ signs everywhere. Apparently a lot of locals have seen the potential of making money with renting out brand new looking motorbikes to tourists and that is probably also a reason why Koh Tao got infamous for its motorbike scams. Paying a ridiculous amount of money for some simple scratches you might not have even caused yourself is daily business. Unfortunately scams happen quite often and you will find many bad stories on the internet about it.
Still looking where to stay in Koh Tao? Click on the link for Koh Tao accommodation suggestions and the best area to stay.
A good way to avoid being ripped off while renting a motorbike in Koh Tao is first of all renting your bike in a reliable place. Always ask your hotel if they have motorbikes for rent. Hotels will not that quickly try to make money off you from a wrecked motorbike, as it is not their main business and they don’t want any bad reviews on the internet about motorbike issues.
Motorbike rental Koh Tao with insurance
Obviously another more stress free rental is if you find a motorbike that comes with insurance. I did not know they existed but lately I stumbled upon a smart Thai that started renting out motorbikes in Koh Tao with insurance. You will pay about US$2 extra but at least you are covered for any scratches. That means you will definitely drive around with a lot less stress. Be aware though that this insurance will only cover the scratches, any dents or broken parts will still be charged! Breaking some parts will most probably only happen though when you have a serious accident. The place is called KP Travel Koh Taoravel Koh Tao and is located on the beach road in Sairee. You will see the motorbikes outside with a sign saying ‘insurance included’!
The going rate for a simple motorbike will be somewhere around $5 for 24 hours. Although handing over your passport to an unknown Thai seems dodgy, this is Koh Tao and Im sure you will find this everywhere when you travel to Thailand. Without a passport, no motorbike! Regardless what people tell you, if you are not willing to hand in your passport, you wont get a motorbike in Koh Tao!
So may you decide to rent a motorbike on Koh Tao then my advice is:
- Rent it from a reliable place, like for example a dive shop or a hotel;
- Make photo’s AND a video;
- Pay that little extra for insurance;
- Drive slowly and responsible, you are on a holiday!
Regarding the last point I unfortunately have to admit that there are a lot of dickheads on the road thinking they are driving around in a stunt movie. More and more tourists are finding their way to this little paradise and traffic gets busier. Drive carefully! Have a look around you. So many tourists/idiots are bandaged and that is most likely not from scuba diving or going out in Koh Tao and drinking cocktails on the beach. Sadly accidents are very common. Don’t let your Thailand island hopping adventure be ruined by a bike accident!
Keep in mind that despite the fact that you hardly see anyone wearing a helmet, it is officially illegal to drive without!
Koh Tao motorbike rental scams
In case something would happen be honest about it when handing in the motorbike. Don’t try to hide it, these Thai guys know exactly what they are doing! Act like an adult admitting your mistake. Arguing with someone who holds your passport is not the smartest thing to do anyway. You were well aware of the consequences when you rented the motorbike; you even signed the document stating what would be the consequences in case of an accident. Try to change your attitude and be funny about it, you might get discounted!
I also wrote an article about tips for renting a scooter in Thailand, with all the ins and outs and rules you officially need to follow.
A couple years ago I scratched my motorbike as I drove up an extremely steep road. It was impossible to make it, but I still wanted to give it a try. I ended up tumbling over into the bushes and slid down the hill together with my motorbike. Luckily only a couple parts on the bottom were scratched but nothing too bad. As I handed in my motorbike I told the guy what happened he took a quick look and smiled. Nothing too bad he said and he told me he was not replacing the scratched items. Therefore he charged me only 50% and I ended up paying only US$20.
Motorbike scams by police officers don't happen that often in Thailand unlike places like Vietnam, Cambodia and Indonesia where they stop you constantly, read my stories in renting a motorbike in Bali.
Longer on the island than a week or two? Consider buying a scooter and selling it at the end of your stay. Go and take a look at the Koh Tao trader Facebook page and you might find a bargain! Want to enjoy 4G while on the island? Take a look at my article best SIM card In Thailand for Travelers and choose wisely!
Koh Tao travel tips
This little paradise has been my home for almost 6 months and therefore I know all the ins and outs of island. Looking for a secret sunrise spot high up on a mountain? Check out my article about the best Best Viewpoints In Koh Tao. Are you interested in a coastal walk away from all the noisy motorbikes, a path that is only accessible on foot and leads you to the most remote bays or want to check out a spooky abandoned resort on the deserted side of the island? My article What To Do In Koh Tao is definitely worth checking out!
Are you going with your partner or are you going to party hard? Don't end up on the wrong side of the island! Let me help you find the perfect accommodation for you in my article Where To Stay In Koh Tao. For sure other islands will be of interested for you as well. Check out my Island Hopping Thailand Tips, What Is The Best Island In Thailand or Thailand Island Hopping Routes. All of them with a lot of information so you know what to expect on which island.
I hope these tips for renting a motorbike in Koh Tao were helpful for your future trip to Koh Tao. If you like these tips, please share this link on Twitter for me, pin it on Pinterest or share it in a Facebook. For you a small thing to do, which could make a big difference for me. Thank you very much!
May you have any specific questions about traveling to Koh Tao then please leave me a comment and I would be more than happy to answer them!