Motorcycles in Thailand are the best way to get around. So many people rode their first motorbike in Thailand, including me.
Renting a Motorbike is quite cheap in Thailand, but is it more affordable to rent or buy a Motorbike?
Motorbikes hold around 2/3rds of their resale value in Thailand. If you’re staying in Thailand in one place for more than five months, it is cheaper to buy. A 125cc used Honda Click costs between 12,900($342.97)- 37,900($1007.64) to buy. Renting a 125cc Honda Click costs between 100($2.66) and 250($6.65) a day.
I chose the 125cc Honda Click as it is the most common bike in Thailand. You will see tons of locals and foreigners using it.
Currently, I’m paying 5500/month for my bungalow and my 125cc Honda Click, which is around 183($4.83) a day, but this is a special price. You can see a tour of my bungalow in my YouTube video.
Please don’t go anywhere. Instead, this article will detail why it is cheaper to buy a motorbike in Thailand, who should buy it, and when it is better to rent.
Why It Is Cheaper to Buy a Motorbike Than Rent in Thailand
The average cost of renting a Honda Click or a similar motorbike (100-125cc) will be between 100-250, with 200-250 being more common.
This price is fine if you only need the bike for a few days, but if you’re staying long-term (5 months and above) in one area, buying will always be cheaper.
Let’s assume you are paying 200/day. One month will be 6000($159.76), although if you take the bike for longer, you will receive a better rate, around the 100-125/day I pay now.
Above, you can see a 2010 Honda Click on the Facebook Marketplace for 12,900($343.48). The bike looks in good condition and is around the same year as mine.
Buying a bike always makes sense, even if you only stay for three months in one place.
Worse are the ridiculous prices bike rental places will charge you for ANY damage to the bike. This penalty is a big scam rental businesses do to tourists.
I heard bike agencies charging 1000-2000 for even small scratches on a motorbike from a minor fall. So at least if it’s your bike, you will pay the correct amount for any damage.
Buying a bike means you don’t have to put a deposit down for the bike or your Passport or ID, as you own it.
Want to know the correct way to rent a motorbike in Thailand, to avoid all the common scams? Luckily, I wrote a helpful guide for the best way to rent a bike in Thailand to prevent frauds that you can read here.
As motorbikes hold 2/3rd of their value, you can always sell your bike if you’re moving to another country, city, or returning home on the Facebook marketplace and not lose a lot of money.
Who Should Rent a Motorbike and Not Buy in Thailand?
If you are a backpacker and only in the city for a few days, buying a motorbike obviously doesn’t make sense.
I’m in a different situation. Although I plan to stay where I am (Ko Pha Ngan) for the entirety of my 9-month education visa, currently, I don’t have the funds to buy a motorbike.
You should have three months of living expenses as an emergency fund.
For example, I stupidly drove my rented 150cc Honda PCX into a wall and had to pay 9800($260.94) to replace the broken light and side plate. That’s almost the price of buying a 125cc Honda Click!
The cost would have been even worse if I had a bad relationship with the bike rental owner. I likely would have paid 1000s more and spent the official Honda dealership price.
Once I save three months of living expenses, I will buy a bike. The beauty of buying a motorcycle is that it’s yours, even if you travel elsewhere. For example, if I want to go to Krabi, I could leave my bike and have it waiting for me when I get back.
As a general rule, if you plan to stay 4/5 months in one place in Thailand, you should buy instead of rent. You can always sell the bike if you change your mind.
If you’re in a bigger city, like Bangkok, or Chiang Mai, it will be extremely easy to sell and buy a motorbike. However, I’m in Ko Pha Ngan, Full Moon Island. This place makes it more difficult for me to get a bargain bike and makes renting a better option.
I can buy a bike, but it will likely have to be a new one from the official Honda dealership, as there are only a small amount of bikes to choose from in the Facebook Marketplace.
What is the best way to spend money in Thailand? I recently switched to Revolut as my main way to spend money, and I couldn’t be happier. Discover why it’s your best option for Thailand spending in my helpful article.