How to obtain a Thai motorcycle driving license?
In Poland, I never got a driver's license. In Bangkok, I usually travel by public transport, but the fact that you can't get everywhere without getting stuck in traffic and at reasonable prices made me decide to look into getting a motorcycle driving license in Thailand. After a short research, it turned out that the whole process is much faster than in Europe, and after dealing with a few formalities, I should be able to exchange it for a Polish one.
How to start?
Here, it all depends on whether someone already has a license in the category they want to have in Thailand, or not. If someone already has it, practically speaking, you just need to get a residence certificate and go to the office to exchange it for a Thai one. But if someone doesn't have it, there are two options. First, someone knows how to drive and just wants to get a license - in this case, you can go to the office and sign up for the exam (which lasts 2 days). Or, like me, who has never learned how to drive a motorcycle, you can sign up for a driving school (you can take the exam at some driving schools in Thailand). After doing a little research on the internet, I decided to sign up for a basic course (2 days) at the Honda Safety Driving Center. The course took place on Monday and Tuesday, and after receiving a positive opinion from the instructor, I signed up for the exam on Thursday and Friday for a driver's license.
Driving lessons at the Honda Safety Driving Center in Bangkok
I decided to go to the Honda training center in Bangkok after watching a one youtube video about what such a course looks like. In addition, the course is at a particularly advantageous price (2000 baht - 2022). Honda has several training centers, and it turns out that the one in Bangkok is not particularly adapted to serve foreigners. If you want to take the course, it may be better to go to Phuket or Chiang Mai, where courses are designated as special English courses for foreigners. Nevertheless, I contacted the center in Bangkok, and within a few weeks, a mini course for English speakers was created. My group was very small - only 2 people - so I had better learning opportunities and better contact with the instructors. Although the instructors were not used to teaching in English, they tried their best to convey information and were very helpful. On the first day, we learned how to ride an automatic scooter, and the next day, a scooter with gears. I learned a lot about technique, and after 2 days, I felt quite confident in handling the scooter.
Driver's license course
The driver's license course differed mainly in the number of people, as I was in a 2-person group on the course. This time there were many people, mostly Honda employees who had to get a motorcycle driver's license, but also people from outside like me. Interestingly, it turned out that since I had previously participated in a 2-day driving course, the driver's license course was free for me.
On the first day, all psychophysical tests were conducted on us. After the tests, we returned to the room and listened to theory for many hours (in Thai), so I used this time to look for questions on the internet to prepare. In a few hours, I went through so many questions that I was able to pass the theoretical test the next day without any problem.
The next day, the real practical and theoretical exams were to take place. I wasn't sure about either of them. Maintaining balance on the "ramp" for 10 seconds during the practical exam was something I wasn't sure about. And on the theoretical exam, some questions are very detailed and misleading and you just have to memorize them. We started the practical exam with a warm-up and additional group training, then took the exam. I managed to pass the ramp on the first try. But even if someone didn't pass on the first try, they still had a few chances (much better than taking it at the DLT where you only have one chance). The rest of the practical exam was rather easy. After a few more hours, we took the writing test. Since I am a foreigner, they said I have one trial test and then I have 2 attempts. The theoretical test has a English version, so there was no problem understanding what and how. As I had trained for several hours the day before with various questions, I had no problem passing it on the first try.
As I wrote above, the questions on the theoretical exam were sometimes quite misleading and sometimes you just had to memorize them. At the same time, I was unable to find good app for Thai driver's license tests anywhere. For this reason, I decided to create an application/website that allows you to practice before the theoretical exam.
Visit to DLT and obtaining a driver's license
At the Honda center, I received a certificate that I was to take to the transport office to obtain the document. I was also informed that I had to come to the office with a residence certificate (I already had it earlier, because I got it at the embassy when I opened a bank account) and a medical examination certificate (I found information about a mini practice located near the DLT in Bangkok, the cost of the examination was 170 baht - the whole process took about 10 minutes). After collecting these documents, I went to the office where the clerk checked all the documents, asked for a copy of my passport (which I made in the room next door), and set a date for picking up the driver's license in 3 weeks.
Three weeks later, I appeared at the office to pick up my driver's license. Unfortunately, the officials began to review the documents again and something did not please them with my residence certificate (it turned out that I was the first Pole with a document from the embassy and they had no reference as to how such a document should look), fortunately, with a little smile and persistence, the employees contacted the embassy and confirmed that everything was okay. All that was left was to pay 105 baht, smile for the photo, and wait for the document to be printed. In a moment I could already enjoy my Thai driver's license in category A. In a few years, I also plan to test how it will look like to exchange it for a Polish document and then I will certainly describe the entire procedure.