Chiangmai Variety

Fuel Tank Rave

Self-Service “ATM-Style” Petrol Pump Stations.

As an avid rider in Northern Thailand, I often find myself in rural locations.
One of the main concerns riding around these zones is ensuring I don’t run out of gas/petrol.
Thankfully there are often places selling bottles of gasoline, or old style manual petrol pump stations around, which look like this:

"Old school petrol pump"

“Old school petrol pump” Photo by Zed CM

This old style petrol pump involves pumping the petrol from the base drum up into the glass bottle, via a lever. The glass bottle is marked in liters and you can purchase what you need from the vendor. The downfall is they have opening and closing times, meaning you cannot always get petrol when you need it.

"Give it good fuel and it will take you places."

“Give it good fuel and it will take you places.” Photo by Zed CM

In more recent years there have been more modern self-service style pumps popping up, which are pretty handy. These pump stations are usually open 24 hours and require no assistance.

Recently I was discussing these self-service pumps with local Chiang Mai friends (both Thai and Western) but was met with confused looks.
It seems they had no idea what I was talking about!

As a Westerner it gave me a chuckle when I realised that I may know of something that many of my Thai friends no nothing of.

So, I of course had to write about it and show exactly what these pumps look like and how they operate.

First off, this is what they look like:

Self-Service “ATM-Style” Petrol Pump Station.

Self-Service “ATM-Style” Petrol Pump Station. Photo by Zed CM


"The unit takes coins as well as notes (even 1 baht coins!), and is simple to use."

“The unit takes coins as well as notes (even 1 baht coins!), and is simple to use.” Photo by Zed CM

Simply put as much money in as you wish, then grab the pump dispenser at the side and fill up your tank. You just have to make sure you keep your bike within arms reach of the green button, as you need to hit this button to start the fuel flowing.

"Put the money and be ready to rave."

“Put the money and be ready to rave.” Photo by Zed CM


Here is a video of what happens when you put your money in.


These pumps offer a very simple and convenient way to get petrol when there are no local stations around or when you need petrol outside of normal operating hours. . The only down side is the petrol is more expensive than if you were to buy at a station.

I even stumbled upon a rare one that played music, whilst out on a bike ride. Which was pretty funny.


If you haven’t seen one of these self-service pumps yet, chances are you will see one at some point. They are popping up more and more and are very handy. Personally I am very glad they are around!

Zed CM

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