3 Things I’ve Learned While Driving In Thailand

Living in Thailand is an eye-opening experience in many ways, but driving here is a whole other thing. These 3 things are the most interesting and strange to me.

3 Things

1. Who Needs a Car?

~~When you can have a scooter instead?~~

This one amazes, scares, and infuriates me all at the same time. There are many people who own cars here, but still many more people cannot afford the cost and so they have scooters. And often times on those scooters, they carry their WHOLE family. All at the same time. It is not uncommon to see up to 5 people straddling a scooter, all without helmets. Or to see a whole group of students leaving the local elementary school all together on one scooter sans parent or helmets.

By Ines Yeh (originally posted to Flickr as Hua Hin Town) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
A whole family and only one helmet. The only law about helmets here in Thailand is that the “driver” has to wear one. Crazy right?!  By Ines Yeh (originally posted to Flickr as Hua Hin Town) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

2. As Long as It’s On Your Head It’s a Helmet.

~~Okay, besides a beanie maybe~~

I have seen people wearing bike helmets and hard hats. Not sure that those are legal, but maybe they help a little? Hopefully they never find out.

 

This guy should obviously be on a scooter! By Palmer, Alfred T., photographer. (Farm Security Administration - Office of War Information Collection) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
This guy should obviously be on a scooter! By Palmer, Alfred T., photographer. (Farm Security Administration – Office of War Information Collection) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

3. Space is not necessary.

~~To drive that is.~~

You learn quickly here that the normal space needed for driving down a lane or road in the USA is vastly wider than most streets here. Roads that I would turn around and find another way back in California are a normal size road here. My driving in small spaces prowess is now on a whole higher level!

I could totally squeeze my way through this. (WT-en) Chmouel at English Wikivoyage [CC BY-SA 1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
I could totally squeeze my way through this. (WT-en) Chmouel at English Wikivoyage [CC BY-SA 1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons 

 

Now it’s your turn! What are some of the crazy things you see on the roads where you live? Leave a comment and let’s chat!

 

  14 comments for “3 Things I’ve Learned While Driving In Thailand

  1. Chamisa
    August 29, 2015 at 4:28 am

    What?! A group of kids can all ride one scooter home from school?? That’s just insane. I have to admit my husband wishes we had had our Vespa while living in Europe so that he could’ve put a kids seat on the back like the Italians do (and no, I am not on board with that plan!). I miss the orderliness of German and Swiss highways. People drive in the right lane and stay there except to pass. Seems like it’s just the opposite here – people hang out in the left lane with no intention of ever passing or moving over for faster traffic behind them. Not as exotic as what you see on Thai streets though :).
    Chamisa recently posted…The Reluctant Homeschool: Our Educational Journey Thus FarMy Profile

    • andthreetogo
      August 29, 2015 at 7:45 am

      I don’t know if I would call it exotic or chaotic. 🙂 lol
      So they do that in Europe as well! Can you imagine the flack one would get for having a small child on a scooter in the USA? Oh my…
      The legal driving age here is 17 I believe, but I have seen kids that look as you as 8 driving scooters with multiple passengers. Scary!

  2. aviets
    August 29, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    Wow, looks and sounds scary!
    aviets recently posted…I tried. Really.My Profile

    • andthreetogo
      August 30, 2015 at 7:16 am

      It definitely can be! When we first moved here it took for a month and a half to get the courage to drive here. 🙂

  3. kemkem
    August 29, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    Hah hah! The first time Fede went back to Nigeria with me..he was floored.. :-). How about a family, and a goat with it’s legs tied being held by the mom? Or furniture..big ones too..and coming down your side of the freeway because their side is too crammed. Helmets?? Yeah, just the driver has to wear one..and most people just cut a plastic bucket in half..who can afford a real one..Love this post!!! 🙂
    kemkem recently posted…The Pillars of the Earth – Fab Friday Find BookMy Profile

    • andthreetogo
      August 30, 2015 at 7:21 am

      Oh my goodness! That sounds just like here but times a hundred! Ok maybe Thailand driving isn’t so bad hahah

  4. Sha
    August 30, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    Totally agree about all the above…haha…about point 3. I’ve even seen people do marketing on scooters! They weave their way through the street stalls and do their purchasing without even getting off the scooters. I found that totally amazing and efficient…hahaha…:)
    Sha recently posted…My Packing List for Osprey Farpoint 40 BackpackMy Profile

    • andthreetogo
      August 30, 2015 at 8:12 pm

      That does happen a lot! 🙂 especially at the coffee stands that are everywhere 🙂

  5. Sue Slaght
    August 31, 2015 at 11:55 am

    We have definitely seen the overcrowded scooters in several countries. In rural Turkey it was often families on tractors.
    Sue Slaght recently posted…Beekeeping Adventures – A Day in the Life of Busy Bees and Their Busier KeeperMy Profile

    • andthreetogo
      August 31, 2015 at 11:57 am

      Really?! Tractors… Hmm I wonder
      If that’s safer or more dangerous than scooters.

  6. freebutfun
    September 1, 2015 at 12:59 am

    Haha, I believe you…have you tried a scooter?!
    Sorry, here the traffic is pretty organised (well, they could improve the bike lanes, Copenhagen sure does that part better). But I used to spend more time in Greece and realised once that I’ve probably never taken a taxi in Athens without it hitting something and getting a dent or loosing a side mirror or… but the attitude was always a great “no problem”.
    freebutfun recently posted…Slow MorningsMy Profile

    • andthreetogo
      September 1, 2015 at 3:27 pm

      We have a scooter with a side cart! It’s how chad and I get around close to home when we DONT have z with us. 🙂

  7. thehomeschoolingdoctor
    September 3, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    This is great! Travelling and seeing the difference in roads and transportations has always been fun (but a little scary). South Dakota has a lot of dirt roads as soon as you leave the towns and state roads. Sometimes, a dirt road will just wander to a path to a nothing! You’re in a field or slough!
    thehomeschoolingdoctor recently posted…Dear God, PleaseMy Profile

    • andthreetogo
      September 3, 2015 at 7:52 pm

      Why is that do you think? Are all the vehicles there off-road as well? Or is someone just making these little roads that lead to nowhere to mess with people? Or are they trying to show us all roads on this earth lead to nowhere? Hmmm… Now I am thinking about the philosophical aspects of a dirt road… I think I need to start reading more or something. Hahah obviously my mind is not occupied enough.

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