I might as well write what its like to ride a scooter or motorsai here in Thailand. People are afraid to ride in Thailand and yes, its #1 or #2 for road deaths in the world but take the good with the bad. Riding in Thailand isn’t as bad as you think.
Rules Of The Road
People see the mass chaos when they are walking around or in a taxi and think fuck me, I’m going to die if I try and drive in that.
Reality is there are rules and you learn them quickly because while Thais are shit drivers for the most part, they are a pragmatic people and understand things need to change to work. So you learn that even if there are white lines indicating lanes, they are suggestions not really meaningful.
First thing you learn is anything bigger than you on your bike has right of way. This isn’t because they are bigger and can kill you. It’s simply the fact they can’t maneuver as nimbly as a bike. So you give way to them because they have no other options open to them.
When on a bike you can weave through traffic. Cars leave space between them for bikes to do this. It’s understood and no one is riding the bumper of the car in front of them. This means you can move forward more rapidly.
It’s also cool to ride on the wrong side of the road if it means you can move forward. Don’t freak out when you see headlights coming towards you. Just realize you may need to duck into your lane if the on coming vehicle can’t maneuver. Otherwise have at it.
So basically, rules of the road explained there.
What Not To Do
Number one lesson in Thailand is don’t drive angry. You do you are fucked. Thais get road rage in like a minute. They will go full on kill you crazy. So don’t cut them off, give them the finger, rage on the horn or anything else. You do you will be news later on. This isn’t a farang Thai thing either. Thais do it to each other and its always news here. Hell, one story was a road rage where a Thai ran an ambulance off the road because it passed him trying to get a patient to the hospital.
The other thing is get an International Drivers License with a motorcycle stamp. Even though in most countries you don’t need a license to ride a scooter, here you need a motorcycle one. If you don’t you and the police are going to become acquainted in a hurry.
No joke, I get license checked at least 3 or 4 times a week. They rotate the police near where I work, if I’m lucky they recognize me and let me go because I’m legal. If not I just reach in and pull out my license. Then I get a thank you and move on.
If you don’t have that magical stamp and a license you have 2 choices before you. Pay the inflated fine on the spot or truck your happy ass down to Soi 9 and pay the fine in person. Neither are pleasant and both are irritating as hell. I have done both and for offences not related to license issues. The one time the officer got a giant fuck you when he tried to hold out for 1000 Baht on a 400 Baht fine.
So keep yourself legal and in a zen mode when you are riding a bike or driving a car.
Don’t Be Scared
People are terrified coming here and driving. It’s not bad at all. Just don’t be scared and drive confidently. Thai people generally aren’t out to die. There are always idiots driving but that is the same in every country. So don’t sit there and freeze up and panic. You don’t have to do the fastest speed, just go at your own pace.
Once you start riding here you will have a whole other world open to you because you don’t have to rely on public transportation. You will get to see things you never got to see before because now you have the ability to move about.