As an expat with a valid licence, it is not too difficult to acquire a drivers licence or two in Thailand.
First, go to your local embassy and get an affidavit “This affidavit is to request the Thai authority to issue me a Thai Driver’s Licence”
My local embassy was found in a tall building. When I asked the security guard if my embassy was in it he said no. He was wrong, a taxi was driving out and noticed lost me. The lady was so nice that was the passenger of the taxi, She said yes it is in this building! Yay! I had found the correct spot.
On the way in I had to give some ID to the front desk so I could go up the elevator luckily I have a few pieces of ID apart from my passport and licence, which I needed in the embassy. After I got up the elevator I went through another security had my bag scanned and my phone held at the front desk. I waited and waited for my number to be called and then the rest was fairly simple. Just pay and get the paperwork to take to the DOT.
To find the DOT office I got on the BTS and rode all the way north to Mo Chit. Then I walked to the office and then to another and then to another until I finally got to the #4 building which is where the licences get issued. When I got to the DOT on the second floor they requested my doctors clearance which I didn’t have, so they gave me an envelope and said give it to a driver out frond and they will take you to the doctor. A motorcycle taxi driver took me to the Doctor and then waited for me and took me back to the local authority. It was all very efficient. It was 100baht for the medical clearance at the place they sent me. The first floor has photocopiers which come in handy. One Baht per page photo copied. I had to get 10 pages done by the end of the process. I had to get my passport copied and my licence copied and then the whole package copied so I had two applications so I could get a car licence and a bike licence.
I was sent to the next area which I sat and waited in until I realized I wasn’t in the right area and walked around until someone pointed me to the correct cubicle. The cubicle that dealt with foreign licences. I handed over my paper work and then got it back and was sent to do my eye exam. The eye exam was not just and eye exam. First I tell them what colours appear on the signal lights. Next, I do a depth perception test which they have to explain a few times to me. Apparently you have to make the two sticks even in depth by pressing a green button or red depending on which is farther back. Then quickly onto the next test which is to test your reaction speed. There is a gas pedal on the ground and you press it until a green light starts to go up then press the brake to stop the light from getting to the red area. As in stop it while it is still green. The first time I didn’t understand what they wanted me to do. But I got it the second time. Finally, The last test was a peripheral vision test where you said what colour you saw. I don’t think she even cared what side it was on as long as I said something when a light came on. No problem. All done. Go back and get my passport back with the paperwork and hand it in.
If you don’t have a valid licence from another country then you will probably have to do a skills test in the parking lot or something. I have a valid licence for scooters and cars so I didn’t have to do a driving skills test.
I was asked to smile for my picture and then they printed two licences off for me. One for the car and one for the motorcycle. It was painless to get my licences. But it is only a one year temporary licence. This time next year I have to go back and get my 5 year renewal licence. Yay! I know what I am going to be doing for my 36th birthday.