Posts Tagged Buying a Motorcycle in Thailand

Buying or Renting a motorcycle in Thailand

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Buying a motorcycle in Thailand is pretty easy if you have the right information.  First of all, there are sellers practically everywhere but finding one that a) won’t rip you off b) will be assured to follow through with the correct paper work c) make things smoothly are somewhat difficult.  Of course the most difficult is generally the language barrier.  So if you can grab a Thai friend or translator, all shops are open to you.  Going directly to a large dealer is ok, someone will probably speak English, but not many people want or need to buy a brand new bike.  I have been looking at bikes for sale for 2 years now and I generally see the best deals on the links I have provided below.  Do be careful as always because I have seen some ridiculously priced bikes as well.  The best deals also seem to come from foreigners because generally they are only here for a short time.  With that being said, renting a bike will cost anywhere from 2000-3500b depending on your negotiation skills, engine size, and how long you rent for.  If you know you are going to be here for 3 months, work out a deal for 3 months.  This will get you the best rate.  Renting daily will yield the highest rate of course.  If you know you are staying for 6 months or longer just buy one when you arrive.  I would do this because 5 months of any rental is the same cost as buying a used bike except you get your money back at the end of your stay.  For some people the rental might be easier but I see it from another angle as well.  If you rent a bike and get in an accident and cause damage to the bike, the shop will charge you for brand new parts.  If this scenario was to happen ( had friends go through it )  then you pay double.  Now you are at the price of buying 2 used bikes!!!  The shop also has the upper hand because they hold your passport as collateral.

Ok, so you got a bike picked out and are ready to buy.  Before you do this you need to keep a few things in mind.   People with tourist visas are not allowed to purchase.  The first step is going to the immigration office where you will have to purchase a proof of residency for 500b.    You can only use it for 30 days and will need to provide it to the registration office with the green book from the seller.  If buying from a foreigner, you will also need a copy of their pass port or even better take them with you if possible.  All documents need to have a date and signature.  If it is a Thai person they need their address, current Thai ID or pass port signed and dated.  I would not recommend meeting someone on the corner to purchase, make sure you can track them down if you need to during the registration process.

Buying big bikes is a touchy subject for a few of my buddies.  One of my friends bought a KTM 400cc.  The bike was awesome, looked great but didn’t have a plate.  If your bike does not have a plate expect to pay 50-80k to get it registered.  Then wait months for the paper work to come through.  I would advise not getting an unregister bike without a plate, but if you must make sure to account for 70k baht into the price.  My buddy got screwed royally.  After not being able to pay the 70k to register it, he just got a bunch of tickets here in Chiang Mai.  Then he blew a piston on his way to Pai. After paying to get it fixed, he ended up taking a huge loss because the buyer knew he was going to have to pay the 70k, which ultimately came out of his asking price.

I have had Thai friends and forang friends say they have been screwed in the buying and selling process.  One friend got the green book, had the bike for a year and now he is currently stuck trying to get his bike sold because the green book never got transferred into his name.  For the buyer it makes the bike damn near worthless because he won’t be able to resell it for what it’s worth.  I got a sweet bike for 3000b because my friend’s mom took the green book back to America with her.  Another Thai friend of mine got a speeding ticket in the mail.  It was a picture taken of the licence plate and mailed to her.  Only problem is she sold the car over a year ago.  Who ever bought it never transferred the green book to their name.  She had to hire a lawyer, pay 14,000b to have him work out the BS.  Just imagine if her car was involved in a hit and run, or a robbery or something.  That means the police would be looking for YOU!  So it really does not matter what side of the fence you are on, buyer or seller beware.  Make sure you take the proper steps and make sure that green book is in your name.  Note that it takes 2 days to complete or longer.  You take the bike in, they examine the bike, the breaks ect.  Then it will take a few days for them to transfer the green book to your name.  They will give you a date as to when you can come retrieve your green book.

There is a Sunday market behind Rimping on the 1001 that has hundreds of bikes.  You can find good deals there but I would always take a Thai friend with me to that market.  Here are the best places and the best deals in my opinion.

Chiang Mai Motorcycle Buy and Sell

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