Thailand Grand Prix

Urban traffic, Thailand by Roger Lemoyne

There are many things I like about living in Thailand and my recent return has brought new joys for me—but not necessarily my wife.

Thailand is filled with exotic temples, fruits, beautiful women and scenes that will stay with you all of your life. Of course I missed many of these things while going back to the States for a year, but one thing I’m finding great joy in is driving.

Now if you’ve ever been to Thailand or most any country with few imposed driving regulations you might think I’m crazy. Can’t argue with you there. The lack of enforced regulations is the thing I like and I believe that it keeps road-rage down to a bare minimum. In fact I rarely hear about an incident of road-rage here.

When I first arrived in Thailand it was pretty much ‘anything goes’ on the speedways and small roads. It has improved to a degree but it’s still fun to watch. There is an etiquette to driving here, but it’s aggressive. If you are timid you’ll find yourself pushed to the side of the road and probably in tears. Drivers cut one another off, make their own lane, use the emergency lane—the rough lane on the outside—as a high speed passing lane and of course backup when they miss a turn. It’s crazy but I join in the circus and have a great time. In the cities a two lane–on your side—can quickly turn into a five lane road and no one seems to be bothered.

Talk about a way to relieve personal stresses! I take to the road and my worries vanish as I concentrate on the business at hand. When driving Thai friends and neighbors they always comment on how I drive just like a Thai. To me that’s a great compliment even if it’s not meant that way. People who come to visit from the States usually close their eyes for the first couple of days and the sounds of prayers are sometimes heard after a trip. I’m pretty sure I’m getting a blessing…

If ever you come to visit I’ll certainly provide a crash helmet upon request. And, by the way, I’ve never had a crash in my pickup truck—the motorcycle is another story.

Even with the political turmoil here Thailand is still a very safe place to visit and you will hardly notice any problems unless you watch TV. The people are beautiful, friendly and forever smiling.

16 responses to “Thailand Grand Prix

  1. Love this Dannie! I can imagine you being a wonderful driver. It’s funny how sometimes the more rules and regulations there are, the worse the driving becomes. In Toronto, there is almost too much road space on some streets, and cars tend to weave over their lanes because the drivers don’t pay attention. If they had only a narrow lane to drive in, then they’d HAVE to pay attention.

    It’s a weird logic, but I think it’s true. 😉


    • I’m so glad you enjoyed this, Eden. I’m sort of a regulation outlaw– but a nice one. When I drive in the States I think about everything but driving. I hate those cameras, even though I don’t drive fast. It a privacy issue for me. Speaking of wide lanes. I was dumbfounded when I saw how much space I was given to park my little car. It would be two parking spaces in Thailand. Thanks so much for visiting, pretty lady.

  2. Hey Danny Hill it’s George from Charlotte. I love your story about driving in Thailand. My mother is from Panama and they drive the same way in Panama City. It’s not for the Weak Hearted. LOL I just watched Hangover II for the 1st time Sunday. I laughed so hard at them fools and they were in Thailand ! Thanks again for your help !

    • Thank for visiting, George. I’ve just discovered you new blog on WordPress and really enjoy the funny stories about your life. I hope the others who read my blog will check your’s out. The big difference for me– and I forgot to mention it– is in Thailand they drive on the wrongside of the road. Makes it even more thrilling for me.

  3. Glad to see you posting Dannie. This is a riot! Close to driving in Mexico, but certainly far more aggressive. I agree that somehow it just works. When I first started driving in Mexico I just plunged right in and hoped not to get hurt. There’s some sort of code and the Mexican people are very kind to let you in, but beware of motorcycles with three or four people on them (no helmets) darting in and around traffic!

    • Hi Linda. So good to hear from you! Yes. In Thailand motorcycles are everywhere and many carry an entire family. The police are doing better about making them wear helmets but in the rural areas it’s another story. I’m happy to be posting again– next thing you know I’ll finish another novel.

    • Hi Brother. Atlanta was a good place to practice, it doesn’t have anything on Bangkok, except you probably won’t get shot in Bangkok. Thanks for writing. Hope you get another chance to drop by Florida when we get back.

  4. I love the photo with the elephant. As if there wasn’t enough chaos in the streets, let’s add an elephant, haha! Seriously though, I’m sure there’s some method to the madness that you’ve tapped into… a go-with-the-flow-don’t slow down or you’ll crash or be crashed into- energy. 🙂

  5. Letizia. You have successfully espied the secret to driving in Thailand. You are ready for the test drive, ha. Elephants used to be a common sight, but not so much anymore. I guess they’ve been getting too many tickets.

    Thank you so much for visiting.

  6. Wowza! Go with the flow definitely sounds like the best tactic. I’m always floored by the way people drive around Chicago. Guess it’s the norm to drive over 100mph, because everybody does it (when there isn’t any traffic, that is).

    Love, love, love the elephant strolling down the sidewalk! I’m a sucker for elephants and I have always wanted to go to Thailand. One day…

    • Thank you for visiting, Britt! I enjoy your blog very much. You definitely have to get with the program to survive on the roads over here. Another thing I forgot to mention is speeds are Kilometers per hour, so I regularly drive at 100kph plus. Normally if you stay below 120 the police will leave you alone. Even if you get stopped you end up paying around $10 USD. Can you imagine what the fine would be in the States!

  7. news channels are supposed to show the reality, but in reality they confuse us. Thailand is a very colourful, beautiful country, is not it? have seen a lot of photographs saying the same.

    • Thank you for visiting again, Sharmishtha. I think news everywhere is built on sensationalizing the bad things. There are places to avoid here during the political strife, but they are easily recognized. To be honest I haven’t seen any of the protest, but that is all that’s on the news. Thailand is a beautiful country with wonderful people and there are over 1 million foreigners living here.

      • i too have started to believe it after having friends from lot of places all across the globe.

        its not nice but news items are mostly untrustworthy! Thanks for sharing this reassuring truth about Thailand.

      • I agree, Sharmishtha. Just having good friends is new to me, but when they live all over the world– well, it’s a most pleasant experiences. If I ever get my sailing going again I have so many places and people I want to visit

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