Koh Phangan continues to be free of large corporate car hire companies. If you really want to book a car online using a big and recognised hire car company your best options are still to look outside the island and try either Koh Samui or the provincial capital of Suratthani. Just as the airport construction is slow so are commercial changes in Koh Phangan. The mainland authorities have told Baan Tai party organisers to stop the outdoor parties, and even this has failed to have much of an impact on how things progress on the island.
Perhaps the best sign of things changing is a new company set up in Thongsala called ‘Phangan Car Rental’. We don’t have any independent reviewers of the business yet, but from looking at their website (http://phangancarrental.com) it looks like the bar has been raised for professional car hire services in Koh Phangan.
Phangan Car Rental is located at 44/56 Moo1, Thong Sala, Koh Phangan, Surat Thani, Thailand, 84280. Here is a list of the vehicles they have for rent and the prices.
- Toyota Yaris – 1,500 THB per day
- Ford Ecosport – 1,800 THB per day
- Chevrolet Trailblazer – 2,200 THB per day
- Ford Ranger – 2,000 THB per day
These are 4WDs and SUVs capable of dealing with the steep hills and the pot holes found in Koh Phangan. The company claims that the cars are renewed every 3 years. Since the company was set up this year (2015) this promise has yet to be tested.
Other selling points of the new company are that they are a European Managed company and that they deliver cars to hotels on the island.
The first point is to do with trust. For many travellers wondering if it is safe to dip into the Koh Phangan car rental market this probably is an important point. The avariciousness of Thai and Koh Phangan car agents when it comes to claiming for damages to vehicles is well-documented. They are often bracketed with moped agents and Jet Ski operators in the public mind as fraudsters This is all just image and unfair to those agents who are honest. Rather Phangan Car Rental set out their terms and conditions clearly:
- Renters must leave 10,000 Thai Baht or a passport as a damage deposit
- All vehicles are insured by an insurance company. You can find the specifics of the policy on the Terms Page
- According to the insurance policy you get when renting a car with Phangan Car Rental the person renting the vehicle is liable for the first 10,000 Thai Baht worth of damages caused
- Free delivery to the hotel is only for people whose hotel is within 1.5 km of Thongsala. This means that all customers staying outside of Thongsala or Baan Tai has to pay a delivery surcharge
Thus the promise of free rental car delivery is less decisive than the fact that the terms are more transparent and deal in a professional and equitable manner with the issue of damage repair bills. This is indeed a big step forward for the car rental market in Koh Phangan. Don’t expect Avis or Hertz any time soon, but do expect a change in the monopoly of car rental agents in Koh Phangan demanding a passport as deposit.