living in the ‘Land of Smiles’

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Thailand – Crackdown on Dangerous and Illegal Foreign Drivers


Via: Chiang Mai – City News

It was reported in the Bangkok Post today that foreign drivers in Chiang Mai have come under scrutiny for causing accidents, and so a centre has been set-up to teach foreign drivers about local traffic laws.

The centre aims to bring the number of accidents involving foreigners down. Police, tourist police, the transport office, and immigration will all work together in keeping the centre running.

Chanchai Kilapaeng of the Chiang Mai transport office told the press that he hoped the centre would reduce traffic problems caused by tourists who were not familiar with local driving laws.  (They have driving laws here? I actually didn’t know that.)

He added that foreigners will be targeted by police for not adhearing to local traffic laws and will also be fined if they are found driving without a license.



“foreigners will be targeted by the police”

Wilie Sutton was asked why he robbed banks, and he reported said, “That’s where the money is”.

‘Same-same, NO difference’




October 8, 2013 Posted by | transportation | , , , , | 1 Comment

Thailand to change from left to right hand driving – January 2014


Via: Thai Visa

The Thai government is proposing a change from driving on the left side of the road to driving on the right side of the road, the department of public roads has announced. The proposal will be send to parliament in June and the law will take affect on 1 January 2014, with the turning of the year.

According to Tongchai Matchamonton, spokesman for the department, the change is being proposed to better prepare for ASEAN community and meant to strengthen the economy. “Most of the ASEAN member states already drive on the left hand side and with more open trade between the countries this will make transports and logistics more easy, especially with the neighboring countries Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia.
Also important is that China drives on the right and the change will make transport to and from the greater Mekong region  easier. This is an important step forwards for our economy. Already Thailand is planning its rail transport to have the same rail gauge as neighboring countries. Driving on the same side of the road is only the next logical step in order for Thailand to become a transport hub for Asia.”

The spokesman expects that the change would be without major problems or accidents.

“We will inform the people beforehand with a campaign. “Our successes with reducing the number of accidents during holidays like Songkran proofs we can do the transition safely. The change will take place during the new year as at that time there are already a lot of check-points all over the country. They will see to it that the change will be made without incident”.

It is also hoped that the change will increase the safety of tourist, as most tourist are used to drive on the left. The department confirmed that many accidents with tourists happen because they go out and drink too much. When they get on their motorcycle they cause accidents because they drive on the wrong side of the road out of habit. This is being confirmed by Phuket police.

The government will demand that car manufacturers only sell new cars with the steering wheel on the left and is busy with consulting the major car manufacturers. It already agreed with the Chinese car manufactures’ that their new to open plant in Thailand will only produce cars for driving on the left.

As of 1 January 2014 all cars sold in Thailand will need to have the steering wheel on the left side. Old normal cars can keep their steering wheel on the right, but owners cannot sell these cars. For that the car must first be refitted with the steering wheel on the left.

Per 1 January 2020 all cars in Thailand, including old cars, must be refitted. However busses, trucks and taxis will be exempted as they are driven by professional drivers who can handle their vehicle safely.

The spokesmen further announced that the government is negotiating with car manufacturers in Thailand to set a fair price for refitting cars, so consumers will not pay too much to adjust their car. Under the plan owners of a car not older than 5 year will get half of the price for refitting back from the government through their personal income tax, so they don’t have to spend too much money.



A Thai Visa April Fools Day joke – de bastards!



April 1, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Chiang Mai – Another Death on the Roads – how long until things improve?

Via: City News – Chiang Mai

At 6 p.m. on 14thJune 2012, Col. Wittaya Wiyayong was notified of a motorcycle accident at the bottom of the bridge towards the intersection near Chiang Mai International Airport on Mahidol Road.

At the scene of the accident, the body of a man in a grey shirt and blue jeans was lying face down in the middle of the road. There were lacerations on his face, and his skull was fractured police said. Lying on the road in the vicinity of his body was a black and white Kawasaki D-Tracker motorbike with a Chiang Mai licence plate. It was later discovered that Naisawut worked at a printing factory and rushed home every day before it got dark and to avoid bad weather.

After an investigation Wiyayong concluded that driving fast under heavy rain caused Naisawut to lose control of the motorbike, prompting the bike to skid, leaving marks 50 metres from where the body was found. Naisawut was thrown off the bike police thought, sending him head first towards the ground. The impact caused immediate death because, police informed the media, Naisawut was not wearing a helmet.

Fatal accidents in Thailand could be drastically reduced of riders of motorcycles wore helmets says the Public Health Office, who have released many reports in the past on Thailand’s well known dangers facing anyone who takes to the streets on a vehicle.

Car and motorcycle accidents have been pervasive throughout Thailand for some time, with the number of accidents reaching their peak during holidays and festival that are celebrated across the country.

In a recent Guardian story it was reported that “Thailand ranks worst in the world for motorbike casualties”.


According to Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health, motorcycle accidents kill 27 Thais and injure 438 EVERY DAY.

Of those drivers involved in accidents, 80% were not wearing helmets.

In 2005, motorcycle accidents was one of the leading causes of death among Thais with 159,867 severely injured and 9,877 killed.

Road and transport accidents were the second major cause of death, with 65% of the road accident deaths involving children.




personal observation:

I believe the ‘helmet law compliance’ is much higher in Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket than it is here in Chiang Mai.

Here in Chiang Mai, they’ll do random road blocks, and will fine the drivers for the violation. 

The next day, they will do it somewhere else, and the drivers at the old intersection will go back to their ‘old ways’.

What happens to the fines they collect – well, who knows.

I believe, EVEN IF, they can clean up the problem in Chiang Mai, the rural countryside will be much more difficult.


June 15, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment