how to buy a motorbike thailand

How to Buy a Motorbike in Thailand

Step by Step Guide of the Rules, Regulations and procedures of How to Buy a Motorbike in Chiang Mai Thailand. This article covers buying new motorbikes from a dealer or a second hand bike from Thais or Westerners.

No question, if you are going to settle in Chiang Mai (or anywhere in Thailand) for a period of time longer than 6 months, it begins to make practical and economical sense to purchase a motorbike over renting one.

Who can buy a Motorbike in Thailand?

Anyone can buy a Motorbike in Thailand – it just takes money! But to register a Motorcycle in your own name, Foreigners will need confirmation of their ID (passport) and of their local Address (Certificate of Residency).  Generally this confirmation is obtained with a Non O Visa showing that you are living in Thailand. If you are buying a new bike, usually the dealer can get your name on the registration papers if you only have a tourist Visa, but this process is a little more difficult when buying second hand but still easy enough.

For these documents you must present the originals, not just photocopies, at the vehicle licensing office.


1) Buying a New Bike from a Dealer

Motorbike Dealer Thailand

This is the easiest way to purchase a motorbike and comes with a few advantages …

The Bike is new and in sound mechanical condition
The Bike is under Warranty The place you buy will become your mechanic
The Bike shop will take care of your Transfer of Ownership (Greenbook)

Most (but not all) larger brand name dealerships have someone who can speak English.  Shopping for a motorcycle is a simple process, you walk into a shop, see what you like, take it for a test drive, provide the required documents and pay the money.

The staff at the dealership will take care of all the rest.  It might take a few weeks for the Dealership to process the necessary paperwork especially if there is no license plate on the bike.

Documents Required:

  1. Your Original (to show) and copies of your passport including
    a. Photo Page
    b. Departure Card
    c. Visa and end of stay stamp
  2. Residency Certificate (see here for how to obtain this)

That is pretty much it!


Buy a Motorbike in Chiang MaiChiang Mai Buddy Advantage
There is a price advantage of taking a Thai person along with you when you are shopping for a Motorbike.  Many dealerships do not display the price of the bike, on the bike itself.  This is because no matter what price they are selling it for, the Westerner customers wants to get a discount for paying cash (even though this is the only way they can purchase).  You can take one of our staff along with you to negotiate the price (the Thai price) which could end up saving you thousands of Baht.


2) Buying a Secondhand Bike

Most people end up buying a secondhand motorbike, usually from a westerner who is leaving or from a local Thai person.  Often Motorbikes are available with no Greenbook.  Either the bike was previously sold and ownership is not transferred from the old to new owner, or the motorcycle could have been stolen and comes without the option to transfer ownership.  If you are intending to Register your bike and/or have it for longer than a year make sure you get the Greenbook.

The seller will have to provide you with the following documents to proceed.

The Motorbike: You must take the Motorcycle to the Transport Office. You should plan on being without the vehicle for the whole day if possible. The paperwork takes 2 business day to process, so the updated title book and receipts for payment will need to be picked up later when scheduled
(Note: If the vehicle is being transferred out of the province of registration, the registration needs to be changed over first, which also takes 3 business days. You do not need to take the vehicle for this, but will need the title book, owner’s documents.

The vehicle’s Green Book (motorcycles)

Ownership transfer Form signed by the seller and buyer  Form Link

Signed copies of the owner AND buyer’s personal documents:

Buying From Foreigners
1) Passport:
Copies of the photograph page, current visa stamp, and tm (departure) card.
AND one of following:
2) Work Permit:
Copies of every page (with writing, and one blank page following, don’t forget to check for pages in the back) of your work permit.
OR
2.1) Certificate or Letter of Residence issued by Thai Immigration 3 Office, located across from Promenada Mall (cost is 500 THB, usually takes 2 days to process, and is only valid for 30 days).
OR
2.2) Affidavit of Residence from your Consulate/Embassy –  The cost is 1500 THB – and is valid for up to 1 year

Buying From Thai People

1) ID card (Baht Pracha Chon)
Copy of front and back on one page
2) House Registration Document (Tabien Baan)
Top part is house info, second part/page is the individual’s name in the book (a book can have several pages of names in it).  This is not always required


3) Changing the Ownership Procedure (Chiang Mai)

If you are elsewhere in the country, the process will be similar to the following which is based in Chiang Mai.

Your will be going to the

Provincial Land Transport Office of Chiang Mai (Nong Hoi Branch)
405/2, Chiang Mai-Lam Phun Road,
Tambon Wat Ket,
Amphoe Mueang
Chiang Mai

Google Map Location

1 The Motorbike Check entrance is behind the main building at the front. Go to the Main Office with the counters.

2 Go to the official (receptionist) awaits you. Say “Buy Sell a motorbike” and she produces a form for you to sign and you present the documents above.

3 The official lets you sign all papers and returns them to both of you

4 Enter with your bike into the ‘Motorbike Check’ and place the bike in one of the yellow marked
boxes on the ground.

5  Give the staff your paperwork and wait.

6 The official will check the bike and will pass the papers to the wooden office in the same hall

7 The checked papers are then (typical Thai operations) taken by someone to another office.  You will do your best to sit and smile and wait (patiently)

8 Your papers will be returned to you with the seal of approval (your motorbike is safe). Take your bike and park in in the parking spots

9 Go back into the Office to the receptionist

10 They will give you a queue number and you wait until your number comes up on the electronic board
with the counter number to go to.

11 Hand over all your papers and wait while they are checked

12 When checked and signed pay the fee (about 185 Baht)

13 The official will give you a queue number and tells you when to come back (usually between 13:00 and 16:00 or sometimes the next day)

14 At the appointed time (later that day or the next) go to the receptionist and show your number. They will  send you to the counter (usually number 5) where you will receive the green book with your (the Buyer’s) name entered.