Renting a motorbike in Samui

Renting bikes while in Thailand is a popular choice for getting around and there are numerous places in Samui providing 125cc scooters. They are surprisingly easy to ride, and give you the flexibility to get around as and when you please, avoiding the rip off fees of the local taxis. Typically they rent for about 200 baht a day; more if you want a new, automatic model, or more powerful bike.

Many hotels and guesthouses rent them, or can arrange one from a nearby tour company, otherwise wonder through the popular tourist areas to find whole fleets parked outside ready to go. It’s a great way to go further afield than your beach, and discover more of the island.

You’ll need to leave your passport or ID as a deposit, and they’re generally not insured, and don’t come with the option, so any damages, scratches etc., are for your account, and you might be at the mercy of an unscrupulous operators. Ensure you use the steering lock too, to guard against theft.

The bikes are very easy to ride, low on the ground, with a step-through design for ease of use whether you’re male or female. There is no clutch, and some are automatic transmission. However, the cheaper ones are often in an unroadworthy state, so check first or return it without hesitation.

Look out for roadside petrol vendors away from the main beaches, which consist of a 44-gallon drum with a pump and measure on top. It costs about 200 baht to fill a tank, which will be enough for several days’ worth of pottering around the island. Note: the newer bikes take 91 gasohol (E10), but can survive on 95 gasohol or 95 benzene.

Note: Exercise extreme care and prudence when riding these bikes, especially on Samui which has hilly road passes between some of the beaches such as Chaweng and Lamai. The largest number of foreign fatalities in Thailand is from bike accidents. Usually they result from riders being unfamiliar with the bike and terrain, riding without helmets and sometimes drunk. Drivers in Thailand tend to be reckless, even if they are used to avoiding the many bikes in the traffic, so be on guard.