3 things all people renting cars need to watch out for in Pattaya
I come from South America and can tell you from personal experience we do live in relatively safe city, that said, when you are new and not quite used to ‘the way things are’, there are many silly mistakes you can make that will end up in some kind of trouble. I hope that through this article we can give the heads up to those choosing to rent their own car and adventure out into the lively Street of our beloved sin city, here’s the list:
You have seen them everywhere, these taxi-pick up hybrids are the
most prolific of all public transport vehicles found in Pattaya. The main issue here is that because of the way they operate (by picking up random tourists of sidewalks at any given time) they have a huge tendency to just stop and turn towards the side walk, generally there’s no warning sign, logic not safety precautions taken as they decide to do so (and you should consider your self lucky if you get a 3 second glimpse of a turning light).
How should you behave when confronted by these unpredictable metal beasts? Always keep a safe distance and expect them to turn towards the side walk, under no circumstance think they will give any sort of sign of their irresponsible actions and certainly be ready to evade them quickly in case they do dive for the sidewalk.
I tend to drive a motorcycle in Pattaya and these guys seem to be my natural predator. They will not slow down, will park wherever they think is right, will block your parked vehicles if they need to pick up tourist and will not think twice to block 3 lanes of traffic as they do an illegal U turn they weren’t supposed to do.
Unlike the songtaws mentioned above, they do not just stop and turn towards random tourists (but they will put the pedal to the metal) so either get out of their way or refuge yourself a lane away from their path.
Another thing you might have to watch out for is the actual tourists coming out of these buses. In more than one occasion I have seen them flooding out from the bus onto the streets as if was the safest thing in the world, crashing into a bus or a group of careless tourists is really bad either way. Always keep your eyes open and your foot on the brake once you make visual contact with these tour vehicles.
I know you have heard very bad stories about our police forces, well, they tend to be all true; so make sure you give them no reason to stop you. Always carry all your papers up to date, you plate number should always be visible and your driving license handy. Worst case scenario, have some smaller bills in your wallet in different pockets than your 1000s (opening your wallet filled with 1000 baths is the fastest way to get ripped off, who said our forces weren’t efficient eh?)
If you give them no reason to stop you then you shouldn’t have any issues, motorbike drivers are more at risk since forgetting your helmet is the quickest way to loose between 200-500 THB (generally you wont have to pay any more, unless they saw your loaded wallet, so remember the tip given above!)