Just thought I would report that we officially survived our first day driving in Thailand in our Toyota Yaris. We had to go all the way out to the Suvarnabhumi airport (main airport in Bangkok) to get it.
It took us about 1.5 hours to get there by train. Had to drive back about 38 kilometres, AND it was my first time ever driving a right hand drive vehicle. It was trial by fire!
No accidents, and I am driving like a local already. It was an easy start because we were on the big toll roads, so traffic wasn’t too crazy, but we got to drive through a torrential downpour on the way.
Once we got closer to home we got on the local streets where you really had to pay attention. Almost no one uses their signal, and lanes are more like a suggestion. Motorcycles and scooters will rip by you regularly.
It didn’t take long before I ran a red light. Totally unintentional. You really have to look for those red lights! They do not make it obvious! Strangely enough, it was a giant, empty intersection. I thought that was a little odd. That’s okay though. We have seen local drivers do this all the time!
Went through a traffic circle too, and then finally made it to our neighbourhood. First things first, though. I had to find the Burger King drive through and get lunch.
If you ever drive here, you will discover a very smart traffic idea – proper U-turns. They either go under an overpass, or in the middle of a boulevard, but it seems to help minimize the number of vehicles having to turn across oncoming traffic.
That’s not to say the roads are safe here though, because there are literally dozens of people who die on the roads here EVERY DAY! Apparently they’re some of the most dangerous roads in the world. What was it I had heard? There are something like 20 million scooters and motorcycles on the road, and half of the people driving them have licenses.
I will get some photos at some point so you can see, but helmets are not commonly worn, and scooters are often overloaded with children and multiple family members, all wearing flip flops. Safety gear like gloves, riding jackets, pants and boots are almost non-existent.
And the distracted driving! I have never seen anything like it. People riding scooters and motorcycles who are going along with their phone in their hand, or on a mount, tapping away, etc. No wonder so many people die on the roads!
Traffic laws are just suggestions, and you will often see people riding scooters on sidewalks. That one really pisses me off. And they act like you’re the ass for being in their way.
Anyway, we survived. We got back to our parking garage and just pulled straight in. It seems everyone backs in to their spots almost everywhere, but without a backup cam, I will tackle that another day; they are tight spots!
Tomorrow we have some things to do and we will head outside the city to let Crystal drive back.