I am glad you are still following on the third part of Tips on Driving to Thailand.
At the Border
It took about 5+ hours to reach the border at Kota Bahru from Selangor. With very little stops in between. Upon reaching the border, park your car on the reserved parking lots on the left.Don't simply stop anywhere. We learnt our lesson....
Each and every passenger is required to disembark and queue up at the Immigration Counters.Cars and Buses are different. Make sure you queue correctly.After getting a chop on the passport, the Driver can proceed to go to the counter to get his approval to Enter Thailand. Make sure you bring the documentations for your car along.Only the person stated on the Car Card can register the car.
Once that is completed, you can board your car. After passing the Immigration and upon entering Thailand, there is a small counter on your left whereby you are required to purchase Insurance. Just tell them how many days you need and they will process accordingly. I am not sure if this is a mandatory procedure but we have done this each time we enter Thailand.
Welcome to Thailand!!!
Its good and almost a must to have a map with you. You can either purchase one from bookstore eg MPH. Alternatively, you can buy one in Thailand.
We have a very simple map of the whole of Thailand with routes of highway. The map was purchased at one of the 7-11 outlet many years ago.
To get detailed map of each town, its a good idea to visit the Thailand tourism office at each town. They are very helpful and have heaps of brochure for local destinations. We have taken most of ours from them. Be warned that most staff can speak English or at least broken ones but not all.
You might be able to get from hotels too. If you find a large hotel, they sometimes provide.
Language is a huge barrier at small towns. I scraped through with my little Thai. So there were almost no incident.
If you don't know the language there are few ways to go about
1. Bring a dictionary. Worst case scenario, point to the word in your bilingual dictionary.
2. Find out someone who speaks English reasonably well in the hotel you are staying and keep his number with you. Explain to him that you might need translation help in case of emergency. Quite often they are more than willing to assist. After all, Thailand is well known for being the Land of Smiles.
3. If you have a local friend, keep his number with you. Make sure you buy a local pre paid number. It is very cheap but useful. We always do that. In fact, we even bought two numbers, the last time.
One of the best things about driving adventures in Thailand, is trying out local food. Needless to say, the Thai enjoys eating as much as we do, if not more.
I discovered while residing in Bangkok, that they are an eating- out-culture. Many houses does not even have kitchens. There are heaps of small peddlers selling food which provides for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and desserts. Every corner.
Food are packed in small plastics which provides for a one person meal. Rice too.
Experience tells me to enter a crowded restaurant, if I am not familiar with the area. I know its a little wait. The Thais, like Malaysian, stick with the value-for-money mantra.
With this in mind, we discovered a restaurant along the way from Phatthalung to Nakhon Si Thammarat. It was absolutely delicious and the queue was horrendous, the service good, the food even better and value for money! Till today, I still think about it.
Another way of finding good eateries is to ask the hotel staff. Don't be shy. They are not offended if you don't eat there. Even if they are, they will not show it. Its the Land of Smiles. I learnt that from local Thai friends. They seemed to do it at each hotel rather than scouting around.
This can be tricky. I have a hard time remembering names of food. Very often we order by pointing at photos of food. Of course there were costly mistakes.
Once at Phatthalung, last year, we ordered a cray fish with Thai salad. It was totally disgusting that we abandoned it after one bite. Other times we took recommendations from the waiter and ended up eating a whole platter of raw vegetables with a "sambal belacan" type of dip. Who wants to eat raw eggplants?
There is part 4 to come!
posted from Bloggeroid
posted from Bloggeroid