How To Buy A Car In Thailand As An Ex-pat

Automotiveby Sumona16 December 2022

In the U.S., buying a car is a major purchase that can take months of research and comparison shopping. Buying a car in Thailand is no different, but there are some additional considerations you’ll want to make when you’re finalizing your purchase.

Necessary Steps To Take To Buy A car in Thailand as an ex-pat

Gather your paperwork

Gather your paperwork

To buy a car in Thailand, you’ll need several documents:

  • Your passport.
  • Your driver’s license or other proof of ID (passport is sufficient).
  • Your work permit and/or residence permit—both are needed if you’re employed by an international company. If you’re self-employed or working for a local company, only the latter will suffice. These must be stamped by the Immigration Bureau and signed by your employer—if either document is not stamped, bring along someone who can certify that they have indeed been so certified.

Shop around for a car

For ex-pats looking to buy a car in Thailand, the first step is to shop around and see what’s available. You can do this by going online or by visiting local dealerships.

When you’re browsing online, there are a few things you should consider:

  • Price (of course)
  • Location of dealership/seller (do they deliver?)
  • Type of car you want

It’s also a good idea to look at the quality of the cars on offer—for example, whether their engines have been serviced regularly and how long they’ve been driven. Ask about their warranty and service history as well. Lastly, ask about spare parts costs and servicing costs—you’ll want those costs to be reasonable compared with your home country’s prices.

Find an expat-friendly dealer

As with most things in life, finding an expat-friendly car dealer is all about asking around.

The first people you should ask for recommendations are friends, family, or colleagues who have bought cars before. If you don’t know anyone who has done this before, then it’s always worth asking local ex-pat groups for their advice on where to buy a car from.

You’ll also want to look into the reputation of the dealer; do they have a good reputation? Have any customers had bad experiences with them? And finally: does this dealer speak English well enough for you to communicate what you want?

And finally: is the dealer close enough to your home so that it doesn’t take up too much time when going there and back again?

Consider using a proxy buyer service

Consider using a proxy buyer service

Many ex-pats prefer to use a proxy buyer service. This is when you hire someone to purchase the car for you and then allow them to deliver it to you at an agreed-upon time, often abroad. While this may seem like a simple solution, there are some important things to consider before making your decision.

Do I have enough time? Because most proxy services take several weeks from start to finish (sometimes longer), make sure that you have plenty of time before leaving Thailand on vacation or home assignments.

How much will this cost me? Generally speaking, these types of fees are determined by the value of the car being purchased and how far away from Thailand that person lives. These costs can vary widely depending on where in Southeast Asia someone lives as well as their nationality (Thais are generally cheaper).

However, we’ve seen some companies charge anywhere between $300-$3K USD per vehicle! So while some agents may seem affordable at first glance – keep in mind they’ll also tack on additional fees such as shipping & handling charges too!

Choose the right car

When you’re ready to buy a car, the process is pretty straightforward. You’ll need to choose a model based on your budget and needs, then compare prices at different dealerships.

Before all that, though, it’s important to understand just how different brands stack up against one another when it comes down to safety features and maintenance costs—not only so that you make an informed decision about which vehicle is right for you (and possibly your family), but also so that you can have an actual discussion with a dealer about what makes a particular brand worth looking into or avoiding.

You’ll want to keep these things in mind as well:

  • How much space does this car have? Will everyone fit comfortably inside?
  • Is there enough room in the trunk for groceries or luggage? It may seem like an unimportant feature now since many people think they never use their trunks anyway—but if you’re planning on buying this car for yourself and others are going along with it too (like parents who want something safe), then having enough space will be super helpful!

Research Thai driving laws

Research Thai driving laws

Before you make any purchases, it’s important to research the laws and regulations regarding buying and owning a vehicle in Thailand. These can range from road signs to traffic laws and fines for breaking them, so it is best to do some preliminary research before making any purchases or sales of your own.

Be prepared to make the purchase at the dealership

When you’re ready to buy a car, be prepared to make the purchase at the dealership. When you’re looking for a new car, you’ll want to bring along:

  • A copy of your passport and visa.
  • Any other documentation required by law. This will vary depending on where in Thailand you’re buying from, but most likely it’ll be either your Thai driver’s license or an international driving permit (IDP).

Once all that is taken care of and the papers have been signed and handed over, it’s time for congratulations! And just like that, you now have a brand new ride waiting outside for you!

Buy car insurance

Buy car insurance

It is very important to get a good insurance policy. Thailand has a lot of accidents, especially in the cities. You should make sure that your car is insured by a licensed insurance broker who can compare different policies from different companies.

A careful comparison of car insurance policies will allow you to make sure your insurance covers all your needs including:

  • The value of the car in case it gets stolen or damaged beyond repair
  • Third-party liability for any damage caused by the vehicle (i.e., hitting someone else’s car or property)
  • Damage liability for yourself and passengers if you are at fault for an accident where someone was injured
  • Comprehensive coverage – this covers theft and vandalism as well as other accidents such as fire or flood


Buying a car in Thailand can be a daunting experience, particularly for ex-pats. However, with the right preparation and research, you can make your car purchase as smooth and stress-free as possible.



Sumona is a persona, having a colossal interest in writing blogs and other jones of calligraphies. In terms of her professional commitments, she carries out sharing sentient blogs by maintaining top-to-toe SEO aspects. Follow more of her contributions in EmblemWealth

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