Travels around Thailand: Chapter 2 – Bangkok and beyond

Bangkok My next visit was by airplane and I stayed for a while in Bangkok exploring the lesser known parts away from the more sordid side. Bangkok has more canals than Venice and on the major ones run a fast ferry/bus service but on the smaller canals run smaller long tailed boats with a car engine mounted on the transom and a three meter drive shaft with a propeller at the end for propulsion.  I tried one of these out with no idea of destination or direction and what followed was one of the best white knuckle rides I’d had in years. The driver tried to scare me and I couldn’t stop laughing and this spurred him on. The canals are about 40 foot wide and the boat 4 so plenty of room but  travelling at 30 mph with your rear end below the water level made it all a bit fast, we were taking bends like a formula 1 car with the added bonus of the bilge water making the nether regions quite wet.

I was staying with a friend who lived in Thailand at one of the more popular resorts and had enough of the “Ye olde English pub” so I rented a small motorcycle and headed out of town. I carefully took a straight route out to ensure I could find my way back and soon found myself in a tranquil countryside with rice paddies and coconut groves which is what I had come to see. Then the return home, later after crisscrossing streets for ages and passing increasing familiar places going in different direction I knew I was lost. Solution? Gave a taxi driver the address I wanted to go to and followed him on the motorbike.

Steve Francis I got bolder and hired a car or rather a pickup as the roads demand some sturdy suspension sometimes. Fortunately they drive on the same side of the road as the UK so more effort could be spent avoiding the locals’ lack of road sense. You can turn left at red traffic lights providing the road is clear but the “road is clear” bit somehow hasn’t reached the masses. The car part that never wears out in Thailand is the indicator bulb although they do have a strange habit of putting on the hazards to indicate they are going straight on at road junctions. I soon got over my initial fright and realised how much there was to see on the open road. I tried a run out from Bangkok to the “Bridge on the river Kwai” first and soon engaged the services of a taxi driver to lead me out of Bangkok (note to self DO NOT ATTEMPT TO DRIVE IN BANGKOK AGAIN ) as driving in Bangkok is not for the faint hearted.

•  Read Chapter 1: The first visit
•  Read Chapter 3: Kanchanaburi and getting around by train
•  Read Chapter 4: Travelling around Thailand
•  Read Chapter 5: The road from Nan to Chiang Rai
•  Read Chapter 6: Mai Hong Son and higher mountains
•  Read Chapter 7: Encounter with a monocled cobra

131 people found this helpful

Share Article:

Steve Francis

Thailand tour guide

Leave a comment


Sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest travel tips on top destinations.

Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Most Recent Articles

Mark Nicholls visits Austria’s snowiest ski resort and stumbles across a chapter of pop history….

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.