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Registering your Motorbike: How to get a New Sticker in Chiang Mai

I was freaking out because the Honda Dream I bought had stickers that were two years old, and although I was pretty damn sure it was simple as register the bike and get this year's registration, the old retirees and know it all expats on various forums and facebook groups said it couldn't be done if it wasn't in your name. They also freaked me out as they said my motorbike would now be worthless and no one would ever buy it if it wasn't under my name. It's this fear mongering that makes it so a lot of people ask  "is it under your name" when they buy a bike.

But here's the thing. They were wrong and overreacting.  It took me less than 20 minutes to get this year's insurance, register the bike and get the latest year's stickers on my scooter and the bike wasn't under the person I bought it's name. In fact, it was under a random Thai person's name that owned it a few owners ago that I had no contact with and never met.  Also when I went to sell the scooter 4 months later, I sold it without any issues and have now bought and sold over a dozen scooters in the ten years I've been living on and off in Thailand without any issues. Here's how I did it.


My Honda Click with New Registration Stickers



Registering Your Motorbike: 




1. Go go the Thai DMV which is at the dead end next to the Holiday Inn Hotel.

2018 Update: Double check the directions as the Thai DMV may have moved. Check the comments section for the latest address and info.







2. Pay 180 baht ($6US) for insurance, which is mandatory and covers 3rd party liability.


Don't worry about the paperwork, just bring the green book.

2. Go next door to the "Bike Inspection" area.  They will make sure your headlights, brake lights, horn and turn signals work. 

Tip: Even if you don't think it's a big deal, just fix everything that is wrong with the bike as soon as you buy it.  Chances are it'll cost you less than 500 baht ($15) and it'll be easier to sell when you leave.  My broken speedometer costed me 100 baht ($3.30US) to replace.  


3. Go next door and pay 222baht ($7.50US) for your new sticker.  You can also use this time to put the bike under your name, but honestly if your bike is worth less than 30,000 baht ($1,000US) there's really no reason to and is more hassle than it's worth. 


Total time, 17 minutes.
4. Go to the parking lot and buy a plastic sticker for 5 baht to attach the new registration to your bike. Make sure you throw away the old stickers first. Also you might want to use scissors to trim down the sides of the sticker so it fits better on the bike and in the plastic sticker, protecting it from rain. The blue on the right side and top aren't needed. 


Things to bring:



1. Green Book
2. Motorbike you wish to register.
3. 407 baht ($14US)

That's it.  If you want to change the bike to your name you'll need your passport, apartment lease agreement, residence certification and a copy of the previous owners driver's license.  But for a $500usd scooter, I personally wouldn't bother as it's not worth the time or energy to go through the multi day process and hassle, especially if you're going to sell the bike again when you leave. 


Stop Stressing, it's easy:



As for the retirees on facebook and thaivisa forums.  Don't worry about them, they have too much time on their hands to complain and worry.  If you're staying in Thailand for 4 months or more, it's a no brainer to buy a motorbike instead of renting.  Just do the math instead of spending 2,500 baht a month renting, you can just buy a used scooter for 10,000-20,000 baht and sell it for the same amount when you leave. I buy and sell all of my scooters on the Chiang Mai Motorcycle Facebook group here. You might be able to get slightly cheaper bikes if you speak Thai and browse locally, but it's not worth the $30 you might save usually. 

I'll happily spend $300-$400 on a scooter, drive it around for a few months and get rid of it even at a loss instead of the hassle of trying to save a couple of bucks digging through Thai junk yards.  I'll leave that up to the old guys and their Thai wives with nothing but time on their hands. 


My trusty little Honda Dream Scooter

In Summary:


Yes you need a Green Book.
No you don't need to care whose name the bike is under. 
It's super cheap and easy to register your second hand motorbike in Thailand.
Just make sure you have the latest sticker and you're fine. 
Don't stress or listen to the retirees. 

You can pay even pay a Thai mechanic or 3rd party to do this process for you if you know someone instead of doing it yourself as you don't need to go there yourself. 


Have fun in Chiang Mai,  and remember to wear a helmet. For more tips about living in Thailand, check out my book 12 Weeks in Thailand: The Good Life on the Cheap and/or read my blog post below for more tips and tricks about Chiang Mai and Thailand. 



Read this blog post next for more tips on Chiang Mai




Warm Regards,

Johnny


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Post a Comment

  1. Hey Johnny,
    This is Jon (the other Asian American in Thailand). Great informative article. Thats a great thing about living in Chiang Mai as you can go down to the DMV and everyone working there can communicate in English at least well enough to deal with foreigners. Im still in a place that even when you go to the closest big city, you would be lucky to find someone working in the DMV that is comfortable to speak even a few words of English. Lucky for me my wife does all that for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's pretty easy to get by in Chiang Mai not speaking any Thai. I can't actually understand or communicate with the people at the Thai DMV, but it was still relatively easy being polite and patient.

      Delete
    2. We were thinking of moving to Chiang Mai before. But we thought against it as its pretty far from my inlaws and all our friends but maybe we should reconsider it again because I loved it in Chiang Mai when I last visited.

      Delete
    3. I love it. You should send that to Ian for the Tropical MBA "Entrepreneurmobile" post. Do you have to pay for storage when you leave the country for a few weeks?

      Delete
    4. Hey Max glad you enjoyed the post. I'd give Ian a shout but I'm pretty sure he has seen tons of these motorbikes since living in Saigon. There are places that will store your bike for $1 a day, but honestly I just park it at the airport for 2-3 weeks sometimes and it's been fine. Parking is free as well. Crazy easy right?

      Delete
  2. Hi Johnny!

    I'm wondering, can you sell on the motorbike to someone if you don't have it registered in your own name? I thought the previous owner needs to come with you to the DMV or at least have photocopies of his passport and proof of residency and all that stuff. If I buy it from a thai guy, how can I be sure to get those required papers for selling it on. Same with buying it from a farang, if he's leaving Thailand and I didn't register it in my own name while he was here, how can I sell it to someone else?

    I'm in CM for another 5 months and would love to buy a motorbike, but I want to be sure I can sell it on when I leave. Registering it in my name also seems a gray area on a tourist visa, since you need the proof of residency. Some people can get that on tourist visa's, while others can't.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Rien, all you need to sell a motorbike is the greenbook, and ideally a photocopy of the registered person's ID or passport.

      Especially when buying a 15,000 baht or less motorbike, it's not worth the effort of putting into your name so no one does it.

      Delete
    2. Ok cool, thanks for your time and all the great info you're sharing! ^^

      Delete
  3. Hi Johnny!

    I'm wondering, can you sell on the motorbike to someone if you don't have it registered in your own name? I thought the previous owner needs to come with you to the DMV or at least have photocopies of his passport and proof of residency and all that stuff. If I buy it from a thai guy, how can I be sure to get those required papers for selling it on. Same with buying it from a farang, if he's leaving Thailand and I didn't register it in my own name while he was here, how can I sell it to someone else?

    I'm in CM for another 5 months and would love to buy a motorbike, but I want to be sure I can sell it on when I leave. Registering it in my name also seems a gray area on a tourist visa, since you need the proof of residency. Some people can get that on tourist visa's, while others can't.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 2018 Update: I've now bought and sold over a dozen bikes without ever putting it in my name and never had a problem. Just make sure you have this year's sticker and the green book and you're fine.

      Delete
  4. Hi Johnny, thanks for this information!

    I'm wondering though, if you don't register it in your own name. How can you possibly sell it on when you leave? Since the new buyer will probably want to put it in his name and then you need to provide him/her with copies of your passport and all that stuff. This would cause problems if the bike is still registered under the name of the previous owner, which I don't know if I bought it from some dealer or a farang who's already long gone to another country.

    Putting it in my own name might also be a tough one, even if I have a lease agreement. It's not 100% guaranteed to get the proof of residency on a tourist visa, from what I read online.

    Thanks,
    Rien.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This was my original message that somehow didn't sent .. for some obscure reason it sent it now and I can't seem to delete it. So you can go ahead and delete these for me! :D

      Delete
    2. Hi Rien, happy to share. I've bought and sold 7 motorbikes since I've been in Thailand and never once was it under my name or did I care who's name it was under when I bought it.

      As long as you buy/sell a bike that is less than 15,000 baht ($430US) no one cares. You just need the greenbook.

      I've bought and sold bikes many from other farangs (tourists/expats) and it's easy to do by joining any Chiang Mai Buy/Sell/Trade facebook group.

      Don't read into all of the bullshit people post on Thai Forums, they over complicate things as they have nothing better to do all day with their time.

      Delete
    3. OK, that's good to read! I'll just go ahead and buy one and make sure I have the signed copy of the ID of previous owner. Thanks!

      Delete
  5. Hi, thanks for the advice Johnny, I used to get mine done at a garage place in nimman, but guess what, it closed :P

    Anyway, went to the purple place today, it's not on the same road as the holiday inn, but just before you get to the traffic lights if you are going down chiang mai --> lamphun road.

    So today (15 december, 2016) the charges are:

    317 B insurance.
    60 B inspection.
    101 B registration.

    Cheers,

    Andy Turner.

    ReplyDelete
  6. WTF. That's not registering it, it's just updating the tax sticker lol.

    Not actually registering it in your name is the dumbest thing ever - what happens if you get in an accident? Or you get a fine for something or the bike seized?

    ReplyDelete
  7. No. Wasting your time and the time of the previous owner to register a $400 scooter that you're going to sell 4 months later anyways is the dumbest thing ever.

    I'd rather pay the small fine, which by the way, in 10 years i've heard heard of any one having to actually do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Because you stay in a tiny bubble thats why. Ive had 2 fines in the mail this year from various trips. What happens if the old owner gets one? Or the bike is stolen? Or if you're in an accident? You're an idiot for giving that advice, it's ridiculous. You really haven't got a clue. You didn't even know you were just updating the tax sticker ffs!

      Delete
    2. But, if not in your name you don't technically own the bike. The person named in the green book could report the bike stolen at any time. Then what do you do?

      Delete

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