Things I Saw in Thailand Traffic

One of the things I really value about traveling, is that we have to learn to put our “Americanness” aside.  We realize that, while sometimes it does seem so, the whole world does not speak English.  The concept of “keeping up with the Joneses” is entirely different in other countries.  Safety regulations are wildly different.  We find that those assumptions that “everyone know this is how this is done” have to be completely thrown out.

Maybe nowhere moreso, than in Thailand traffic.

For this post, I actually had to decide that things I saw from the car was too broad of a category.  I had to limit this post to things I actually saw moving in traffic with me.  So here you go…

Pretty quickly we realized that driving down the road with your roadside stand  in the open air passenger seat – is just standard operating procedure:

Thailand traffic crazy things we see
Motoring along a highway with your little grill stand attached to your bike. Should we wave out the window and ask for a snack?

If you look closely at this one, you’ll see there is a person in the produce stand, wearing their apron, ready to sell you a tomato while they turn left:

Thailand traffic crazy scary things we see
A vegetable truck driving down the street… see the person inside?

This dude concerns me.  With the big… telescope?  Exhaust pipe?  Missile launcher? Whatever the big silver cylinder is, he’s gotta wear a mask while driving with it.  So I think we should keep our distance.  Reminds me a little of Trashcan Man in The Stand.

Thailand Traffic crazy scary things we see
I don’t know what this guy is driving down the road, but it requires a facemask.

I still have no idea what this guy is hauling:

Thailand traffic crazy scary things we see
I have no idea what this guy is driving down the road in Thailand

That… is trash, my friends.  More than twice the height of the truck and held on by a few ropes.  I’m sure it’s safe:

THailand traffic crazy scary things we see
Trash truck cruising down the highway in Thailand

I don’t even know where they get this bike-like contraptions.  Are these build-at-home things?  Do they come in a kit?

Thailand traffic crazy scary things we see

Ok, I’m just not at all comfortable with this:

Thailand traffic crazy scary things we see

To all the people where I live who complain about safety on a school bus – at least your kids don’t get home like this:

Thailand traffic school kids standing on truck

It was incredibly common to see more people that you think should be, on a motorbike, zooming and weaving through traffic.  I almost didn’t include this picture because, I mean, this is nothing:

Thailand traffic crazy scary things we see
Three people on a bike is nothing

On the right there, see that?  Homemade bike contraption so you can carry your family of four!  And notice, helmets just aren’t much of a thing here.

Thailand traffic crazy scary things we see
Family of 4 on one motor bike.

Yeah.  Kids too.  Just sit Suzy right up there on your lap and tell her to hold on!  This was the hardest thing to get used to.  Part of my Americanized self just wanted to gasp and haul the child off the bike:

Thailand traffic motorbike child crazy scary things we see
Yep, driving down the road on your motorcycle, with your child on the front. No helmet.

Hey!  They have helmets!  Sort of.  Ok, half of them have helmets.  And the only two with helmets are the parents.  Kids are just cruising along.  No worries.

Thailand Traffic crazy scary things we see two children on motorbike no helmet
Family of four on a motorcycle, with only the parents having helmets.

But I think this was the winner.  See what is makeshift-strapped on to Dad?  Yep, a toddler.  A very little toddler, strapped on with (as far as I could tell) strips of cloth.  No helmets, no safety gear whatsoever.  They passed us in traffic, on a highway.

Thailand Traffic crazy scary things we see baby strapped to adult with a sheet on a motorbike
A baby strapped to an adult with a sheet, on a motorbike in Thailand traffic. Nope, no helmets.

I really do try to not judge through my American-color glasses.  But sometimes it’s hard.

4 thoughts on “Things I Saw in Thailand Traffic

  1. This made me laugh. I remember all the weird things I saw while traveling around Asia. Someone with maybe 30 goldfish in individual bags, family of 5 on 1 bike, even a kitchen sink! I will never stop being amazed at how much people can carry on a bike!

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