Driving in Thailand

Hi. Yesterday I needed to cross the border and have my visa renewed. I decided to drive myself this time as it is not far from Bangkok to the Cambodian border at Arunyaprathet. I live in an area where it is easy to get out of Bangkok in that direction and so I left at 0730 and arrived at the border after a relaxed drive at 1030.

Anyway I wanted to mention about the drive. The roads were great. Remember that this is a poor country and people here pay about 3% income tax. The roads were fantastic. Actually added to that petrol here is subsidised by the government as well. In Australia a huge part of the petrol price goes to the government supposedly for roads. So the roads were extraordinary.

I saw no accidents or signs of accidents anywhere along the way. There were plenty of service stations and places to stop and rest along the way. And most amazingly everything was signposted extremely well. Not just in Thai but in English too. This is the case all over Thailand. The roads are very easy to use and generally so well sign posted.

The trip cost me 1100 Baht in petrol and 1000 Baht for crossing the border and I was back in the late afternoon.

I also recently drive around the North of Thailand and also had a similar experience there. So I wanted to highly recommend driving yourself around to look at this amazing country.

15 responses to “Driving in Thailand

  1. Thailand is very consistent in that they exhibit stupid behaviors when driving by ignoring the road traffic laws of the land. Lawless death have been seen many times.

  2. yes it beets me, why the roads are so bad in Australia, considering, the high income taxes, fuel excises, GST, stamp duty, land tax, capital gains tax, gambling taxes, luxury taxes on cigarettes, alcohol, expensive cars and other taxes.

  3. Your quite right. Thailand does have a great road network.

    Even in fairly isolated areas in Isaan you find large well sealed roads – and for a Farang, the added bonus of dual language road signs, together with a good map means that its not that difficult to find your way around the country.

    Over the years I have also scratched my haead over how the Thai Government funds large infastructure like roads from such a small tax base.


  4. Yes i love driving in Thailand and was surprised how good the condition of the most streets is! Even my experience with the Thai police was always ok! The tickets much cheaper than in Germany! But even so i would say its better to folow the rules, because the police do everywhere take care!
    But if i got in some trouble, a nice ” Sawadee krap” did help to turn the situation in a nice way!

  5. I have to disagree. The driving there is awful. I never once saw a stop sign. I saw maybe 8 stoplights my 2 months there. People got into auto/motorcycle accidents everday. People don’t stay on their side of the road. There are no speed limits.

  6. Hey..I came across your blog today—yah..after almost a month your blog was posted. Anyway, I agree taking a road trip around the country gives you a better and fun trip overall. Little things you can see better than flying. I find it very entertaining to drive up north from BKK to Chiang Mai, especially with foods. I remember stuffing myself so badly last time I made a trip to Chiang Mai. You can taste different kinds of food along the road. The best part is….you will be passing many provices before reaching Chiang Mai, and that means more great food along the way. Sorry..I just love eating, and well who doesn’t?

  7. Traffic in Thailand is a joke! 50% of all Thai drivers doesn’t have a driving licence, and a huge part of the remaining 50% doens’t give a damn about the traffic rules!
    I’ve seen so many accidents and traffic killings in my 8 years in Thailand of which the greatest part of accidents are involving motorbikes driven by young teenagers from 13 to 15 years of age. I’ve even seen accidents with children aged 9 to 11 driving the motorbikes….
    Not to mention the grown up’s drunk and drug driving!
    In my opinion Thailand has the worst traffic problems in the world! Look at Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket, and you will know what I mean!

  8. Interesting to see people have had some very different experiences. Certainly my driving experiences have generally been good in Thailand so far (over 4 years).

  9. I wonder how many people are going to be badly affected by the new visa run regulations announced yesterday?

  10. It’s a pain to drive in Thailand. I agree with a guest above who mentioned that half the people here don’t have a driver’s license and the other half don’t give a damn about traffic laws. I would also like to add that the half who have driver’s license probably still don’t know how to drive properly because they all bought their licenses. It’s getting harder to buy a driver’s license in Thailand nowadays, especially in Bangkok, but practically anyone can still buy one from the provinces, especially with the right connection and a little bit of cash. I own a car but I only use it on weekends because it’s very stressful to have to hack my way through traffic in Bangkok every morning. But compared to other places in the world, Thai drivers are very polite and very forgiving, so you don’t have to worry about getting the finger whenever you inadvertently cut someone off, but you will probably get a very loud and long honk, which can be taken for expletives.

  11. one thing more I saggeust the blog owner make some more blogs like this . so we get more info on it. This is say very great way to learn any thing or if u don’t have knowlage but some thing than u just ask a Quession and u well get a anwser. Its simple great.

  12. Thailand is unique in driving. I have driven there for many years and have no fear of doing so, but then I have also driven in Malaysia and Korea.

    You have to watch out for the occasional speedster but generally a little toot on the horn alerts them to your presence and all will be ok.

    The roads are great and the signage is excellent. I can’t say much for the other countries I mentioned.

  13. Doug Beaudoin

    According to a recent survey, South Africa
    has the worst drivers, next is Portugal.
    But, driver beware, Thailand has the highest
    accident rate in the world. 6.6 people are
    killed or injured per 10,000 registered
    drivers. As compared to Europe with
    1.8 per 10,000 registed drivers.
    Passing on curves, 3 or 4 abreast on a two lane is considered normal. Most traffic lights and signs are considered advisory buut not mandatory. So, you may never have a accident, but the odds of having a serious life threatening accident in Thailand is 5 times or more greater than in Europe or the USA. I drive and live in Thailand and found the best way to adapt is be as careless and inconsiderate as most of the drivers. Nom my wife says, “You were a lousy driver when you first got here, but now you one of the best” Thais idea of being a good driver means to go as fast as you can go and show little regard for the other driver.

  14. Paul Garrioch

    I just drove from BKK to Chiang Rai to Mae Hong Son to Chiang Rai again and back to BKK (don’t ask why). Oh, and lots of places on the way. Again I must be very lucky because I was amazed at how good the roads were, how few people were on them and just generally how pleasant a journey it was. I saw no signs of any accidents. Oh no, wait. I did see one on the way out of Chiang Rai a couple of days ago. Looked like someone had tried to overtake a truck on the left and the truck turned left, so his car got a bit squashed. Didn’t seem too serious for driver but car was wrecked. That was it for about a week+ on the roads. Seems OK to me.

  15. Love driving in Thailand. The Phetkasem from Chumphon to Phuket is a bikers dream. Very little traffic, nice curves and a 5km straight outside Kra Buri. Get out of BKK if you want a pleasant driving experience!