How to get a Thai driving license in Pattaya?
Since the law has been enforced by the Thai police, more Thai and foreigners are seeking to get a driving license to avoid the fine and hassle of having your scooter towed.
There are 2 ways to get this driving license, either you are doing it yourself, or you are using a lawyer + school.
My advice is to use a lawyer, they are in relation with schools who will make sure that you get your driving license in one day. The regular way is less expensive but will force you to join a large group of Thai speaking people and pass the test without help, which can lead to a fail and be forced to come back. Because there are so many people who are seeking this licence, you might have to wait months to get your appointments while with the school it can happen the next week.
I went through this process so here are the requirements and the picture of what you will have to do to get yours.
First you need these documents:
- photos, you need 2 photos for the imigration and 2 for transport office (tabien rod). Go to Pattaya Klang south of Big C there is a photo shop what will charge you 120 baht for 10 photos.
- doctor certificate, any medical office will deliver it. I went to Bangkok hospital and paid 200 baht, so it won’t be more than that.
- Immigration, you need a residence certificate, take your rental agreement with you or any paper that can justify your rental place with your name and signature on it and your passport of course. It will cost you 300 baht for each license (scooter and car).
- Go to a lawyer, mine was on Sukhumvit road on the left before the Kawasaki shop south Pattaya, but any should work. The school will cost you 1500 baht for the scooter and for the car 5000 baht. But there are different options to avoid to pay a school.
Option: if you want to avoid paying the school, and you have an European / American driving license, the transport office of Chonburi (60km strait by Sukhumvit in the direction of Bangkok) will deliver you the equivalent Thai license without having to pass an exam, but only this office will work, if you go to the Pattaya’s office at motorway 36, you will have to pass the exams.
At the school (mine was located Tambon Nong Pla Lai, Amphoe Bang Lamung, Chang Wat Chon Buri 20150) you will have to see 3 movies of 2 h each. Don’t worry, you can go out, there is a 7/11 nearby, all the movies are in Thai and most people will end up sleeping – or waiting outside.
Then they will give you a Thai meal and you will have to pass the driving test, it is quite fun and easy.
Then you will pass the exam in a small classroom not more than 10 people, with someone assisting you to get the right answer and translate for you (press green, red, re, orange, blue…. until completion).
The next day you will have to go to the Tambien rod (the transport office) located a km away from the school to take your driving license card.
It will take you about 3h and waiting in 2 different queues to get your driving license. First you wait that someone check your paperwork, you will get a ticket and will have to come back about one hour after. Then you wait to pay the fee (150 baht). Then you wait to get your face into the computer that will make the driving card. Then you wait to get your driving license. All is happening in the same room.
The benefit of going with a school is that, because the exam is in Thai (and mostly without pictures, so you have to read Thai), at the school they will help you to be sure that you get the exam done without problem. You must have 40+ answers right out of 50, or you need to pass the exam again.
Now if you do not go in a school you will have to pass the exam in a secured area where nobody will help you. Worse, if something helps you or if you cheat, you will get banned. As you can see it is not that fun. Some people told me that you can pass the exam in English, I have not seen that where I was, but it must be possible since many are doing everything by themselves.
If you do not choose the school option, you will have to look movies as well, and do several boring tests like the color blind test. The problem is that you are in a group of 30+ people and need wait your turn.
I hope that you have now a better idea of what is waiting for you. It will take one day of your life but after, you are so proud to show your driving license to the police when they stop you!