I love driving in Thailand and have done for years - if you are a timid driver or - how shall I put this - a crap one - don't bother - driving in Thailand requires good driving skills - but that is all, if you don't like it then I have to say I think it is down to the skills of that driver not others.
Having a vehicle allows you a freedom from timetables, ability to stop whenever and wherever you like and a flexibility that no other form of transport can offer.
I agree with the previously post on several points relating to the "freedom" that driving allows, but I do not agree regarding the comments about "driving competance or being timid", I am a very experienced driver of some 30+ years, without a single "scrape", and would consider myself a very competant driver in most countries.
In Thailand the majority of the time it is not about YOUR SKILLS, it is about the in-experienced, un-licenced, un-insured, person that has no understanding of standard driving proceedures, who drives at break-neck speed, veering from lane to lane, running red lights etc, etc.
Anyone that has driven in Thailand for several years will be able to relate to this, and you have to "adjust" your driving methods to accomodate it, but if you have NEVER driven in Thailand before, and are unaware of the potential dangers, then surely it is up to us "experts" to advise what we think is best ?.
Above is a fine example of what I’m talking about.
Not all countries, therefore it is DOWN TO YOU – the driver – to realise this, observe and avoid potential situations – blaming the overall road conditions and drivers is not an excuse.
Inevitably in all countries there is the chance of an incident in which you as the driver could be totally blameless, but this is not what “good driving” is about – it’s about driving in a way that recognises the dangers or potential dangers of the environment you are driving in....no adjustment as such is needed – you should ALWAYS drive like that – you may drive differently from one country to another, but you still require the same skills ALL the time wherever you are.
I’m a professional driver with more experience in more continents than most people and have spent a lot of time watching others drive and listening to them explain why it wasn’t their fault – and the most common “excuse” is they have many years driving and never had a crash before.......lame excuse, if you ask me.
If you can’t see what’s going on around you – don’t drive – in any country - but rocket science it ain’t
[ Edit: Edited on 08-Mar-2009, at 20:48 by wildfk ]
The reason for sharing ones experiences with potential novices on forums is so that they can make informed choices about what is right or wrong for them.
My comments on this thread are merely my personal observations about driving in this country, others may view that they are far more worldy in their depth of experience which I bow too !.
Based upon the previous threads it would lead you to believe that people like myself ACTUALLY cause the accidents that lead Thailand to be the 6th most dangerous country in the world in terms of road deaths as reported by by TIME Newsmagazine in 2004.
But heh, maybe in the subsequent 5 year period the standard of driving has improved, and maybe there are a lot LESS people like me driving, dur I don't think so !!
If your deductive/reading abilities are any indication of your driving abilities you probably are at fault!
they are not "accidents" - they are "incidents" - "accident" implies you are not a contributor.
[ Edit: Edited on 08-Mar-2009, at 21:59 by wildfk ]
Missing limbs Elephants? Never seen that? Hmm. As for water festival I'd second that
My 2 cents of comments.
Travel to Chaing Mai by Coach/Bus which is more safe and usually over night.
When arrive at C.Mai, check out hiring M/cycle or bicycle to travel around the area/city which can take up a few days.
If you/group are adventurous, then hire a car to explore it surrounding area. Or you can get a tour van to take you around. ( Ie:- Not getting lost or rip off in Towns )
Most of the tour vans are reasonable if bargain down. But you are in safe hands and they can show you more of the local attractions.
Train to chaing Mai Leaves at 7:35 PM arrives Chang mai 9:45 AM.
cost 881 baht.
You'd be a bit jet lagged and sleeping 10 hrs on the train is not unlikely, waking up to see the daylight and the only time the trip is "scenic". even if you only slept 8 hrs (awake 2 hrs sleep 8 hrs awake 4 hrs.) food is served and so is beer (all night, ice cold if you want it)
Be off , In a room and on the street, Fresh, looking for lunch by 11AM. Cost less that 900 baht.
Flights are Cheap if you book a month ahead (looking now at airasia) 1300 baht , if I try to book for the weekend its about 1800 baht, So you arrive at night and need a room, so that cost would be added, and of course the 400 baht to the airport. ( not sure what a taxi from the chang mai airport cost). any how you'd wake up about 10AM ish shower and be on the street by 11AM.
save about 2500 between the 4 of you for something else
OR you can do both...
If your lucky you might get to teh airport with time to catch your onward flight.