Thailand travel car in Thailand

Published on September 27th, 2012 | by Paz

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Road trip in Thailand

Driving through Thailand was something we never imagined we would be doing for Zeek’s 30th birthday. Our winter in China was very cold and we wanted some sun. Crazy idea…how about we drive and then get to see more of the country. It took Zeek all of 2 seconds to decide that is what we were doing. Plan: Rent a car in Bangkok and then drive to Krabi which is at the end of the country. We would take roughly 3 days to make the 13 hour drive, stopping along the way and spending the night along the coast. Thailand being previously occupied by the British drive on the “wrong”side of the road or otherwise known as the left side.  Never having driven on the wrong side of the road we were a go! “Hope we don’t get into a head on collision.” hahah no serious, hope we don’t. After scouring the internet for cars and about 10 phone calls we decided to use VIP Cars. They were the most affordable and legit service we found while searching from China. We were able to rent a full size SUV (4 wheel drive & 7 seats) with 2 car seats and GPS unit for about $35.00 a day and it came with complete insurance. Zeek was ecstatic. We landed in Bangkok at 2 am after an awful trip to the airport and no sleeping on the plane for well…the parents. We brought our nanny with us, however she slept. hmmm

Arriving in Bangkok at 2 am brings lots of benefits but the best was that it was empty. VIP Cars’ car was with Hertz so we had the Budget guy page the Hertz clerk and within 10 minutes we were being waited on. Side note….we were able to change money and purchase our Thailand SIM card so that our phones now worked in Thailand. Can’t drive across the country without a cell phone. No problem in getting the car, it was exactly what we expected and brand new. Zeek was in love. After over a year of not driving he got a brand new 4 wheel drive SUV, with a great sound system. Boyz! We had to clip in the car seats…no one knew how to get them in, pack up the car and we were off. Considering we only had 3 days to get to Krabi due to a reservation at a bungalow on Railey Island we decided not to stop in Bangkok. Departing Bangkok took us only 30 minutes due to a fancy highway. We decided to drive about 2 hours and then we stopped at a gas station and slept for about 1.5. We awoke to some awesome heat!!

Bathroom break

Weather in Thailand

After enduring a cold winter in Guangzhou we were so happy for the 90 degrees surge that hit us as soon as the sun started rising. We decided to stop and get some food at a stand on the side of the road and then got out the suitcases and broke out the shorts and t-shirts. Amazing heat had never felt so good.

Population

This had been the first time we had been outside of China or Hong Kong in over a year and we couldn’t believe how EMPTY Thailand felt. We had become so use to the 15 million people that we lived with every day. There was so much room and empty space. We found it hilarious considering we had grown up in a city with 5,000 people that now cities of 200,000 felt empty and desolate.

Dolphin Bay Resort 

This was our first stop to get our beach fix! No reservations, we rolled up bumping in our SUV…seriously Zeek was bumping music like he was JayZ. Maybe they thought he was…. The kids were ecstatic to see the ocean. They ran into the water clothes and all. You have to love the ocean and how free it makes you feel.

We could swim in the ocean due to a lot of jelly fish, we were warned by Dolphin Bay Resort. So we scooped the kids out and then went into their wonderfully designed kids pool. The room was clean, there was a pool and it was 95 degrees.  Oh and the hotel had a restaurant that served beer. Zeek found his favorite beer very quickly.

The food at the restaurant was awful! If you stay there make sure to get out and eat, not worth the money to eat there. We had dinner down the road at a little shack on the beach for 1/3rd the price and it was delicious.

Zeek enjoying a meal at the restaurant down the road. Some one is happy.

There are a lot of foreigners here as well. Lots of kids and smiles just what we needed.

Driving 

Driving in a foreign country can be nerve racking. What did we learn about Thailand?

  1. Don’t drive slow in the left lane…that is the fast lane! They will stay 2 inches from your car if you are going too slow and they want to get around you.
  2. You have to exit off the main road onto these side roads to get to the gas stations. Don’t miss them!
  3. If you do miss a gas station, don’t worry there are like a million 7 elevens in Thailand, where you can get everything…yes everything.
  4. Make sure you look right and then left before crossing traffic. It can get confusing.
  5. Tailgating is normal…and they swerve around you to let you know that they are behind you…in case you didn’t see their blaring lights behind you.
  6. Get GPS…a tip never drive in a foreign country without a GPS. Who wants to argue over directions?

Best Part of Driving Through Thailand 

The best part of driving through Thailand was our ability to make unexpected stops. There are all these roads off the high-way that you don’t know where they go. Well what is a curious family to do…stop and check it out!!
We pulled off the high-way numerous times and 4 wheeled down dirt roads to find huts and lots of nature. We went to the Elephant Nature Preserve and drove up to see elephants in their natural environment with monkeys hanging from near-bye branches.
Monitor lizards are known as ‘Tua Nguen Tua Tong’ are everywhere and they are huge!! We had some 3-5 feet long cross in the road in front of us. No one got out of the car to say hi!
driving in Thailand
Mongoose pets! At one food stop we found a little store with a pet mongoose. It was on a cord near the owner. Of course our kids want to play with it and cuddle it. Hmmm no, thank you. They did end up keeping their distance, but we figure the only reason that anyone keeps a pet mongoose is to kill snakes, so how many snakes were near? I guess I was happy to be next the mongoose.
Pineapple fields. I don’t know why I thought pineapples grew from a tall tree….so wrong! I blame my science teachers for my ignorant misconception. lol No they grow from these bushes that look like the top of a palm tree but are much more concentrated and a lot spikier. We saw thousands of them along the roads. They are beautiful. My new favorite fruit plant.
Food stops! We were able to stop and eat food at the most unexpected places. This is more Zeek’s favorite than mine, but the kids love the crazy treats and I like that none of it cost more than 10 USD for all of us to have some amazing food.
 driving in Thailand
Meat on a stick with a 40 on the side of the road.

Arriving in Krabi 

We arrived a little after our expected time. However we had an amazing time and Zeek loved driving through Thailand and completely embraced driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road. If you are skeptical about driving in Thailand don’t be. You will be fine…our only piece of advice is don’t drive slow in the slow lane. Happy travels.

What country is your favorite to drive in?


About the Author

Paz is an avid adventurer in life and food. Traveling across the globe with her family they enjoy cultural immersion and checking out the local eateries.



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