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Thailand

Posted on 3 Apr 2013 | 0 comments

First impressions are great. People are helpful, polite and cars and trucks even seem to indicate what they are doing. Roads so far have been good and there seem to be heaps of restaurants and shops, the Thai certainly don’t do things by half.

The border crossing from Malaysia into Thailand

We stopped before the border to change money (Ringgit to Bhat) and pick up our Thai 3rd party vehicle insurance (55 Ringgit, approx. 19 AUD) at a little Zurich insurance place. It doesn’t look like it’s worth the bit of paper it is printed on, let’s hope we won’t be needing that. After hopping back into the car we got our Malaysian exit stamps at a little drive-through booth, very efficient.

Malaysian customs

Malaysian customs

As we needed our carnet stamped we parked just after these booths to find the right customs guy. As usual the Malay were very helpful and took us straight to the little office that was hidden around the back somewhere. No waiting, no queuing and a few minutes later our carnet was stamped and the exit bit of paper kept at the office.

Getting the carnet stamped out in Malaysia, it was a bit of a search for the office but the Malay custom officials were very helpful

Getting the carnet stamped out in Malaysia, it was a bit of a search for the office but the Malay custom officials were very helpful

We got our carnet de passage stamped as we exit Malaysia

We got our carnet de passage stamped as we exit Malaysia

It’s a short drive in no-man’s land and at the booths for the Thai border we were told to park first. Inside the main, big building we had to pick up our arrival and departure card, fill it in and walk through the customs booths. We were given 60 days in the country. Again done in a few minutes.

Next stop was the customs car rego papers. We were given (at no charge) a Thai translation of our registration papers, signed them and were told to pick up the car and drive through the customs booths. All they needed to see was our original registration papers from Australia. I assume we could have done our visa at the drive through booths as well, but we were waived through so it didn’t really matter.

arriving at the Thai part of the border

arriving at the Thai part of the border

getting our registration papers translated (for free)

getting our registration papers translated (for free)

Once we drove past the customs booth and they actually saw the car we were given the Thai rego papers.

We’re in!! Definitely a nice, easy border crossing so we can get used to them. Quite a few to follow still!

The border crossing from Thailand into Cambodia

For more details about this border crossing check the Cambodia page.

The border crossing from Cambodia into Thailand

For more details about this border crossing check the Cambodia page.

The border crossing from Thailand into Laos

For more details about this border crossing check the Laos page.

Roads

Most roads in Thailand are in good condition and it is easy to drive at 80-90km/hr. There are some smaller roads which have lots of potholes and sometimes even turn into dirt roads unexpectedly.

Route

This is the route we drove in Thailand. If you are interested, you can click on this image below and it will take you to the actual Google Map online. You can then zoom in (or out) to have a more detailed look.

our route in Thailand- click on this image for the interactive Google map

our route in Thailand- click on this image for the interactive Google map

The first part of the route is in red. We then drove a loop through Cambodia before returning to Thailand and driving part 2 – in purple.

We might show our campsite locations on here too at some point if we have time to get that organised.

Sim card

We buy a local sim card from AIS, including 1.5Gb data and some local calls. It’s quite expensive here (750 Bhat, around USD25), especially considering there is hardly any 3G in the country (only in Phuket and Bangkok apparently and maybe Chiang Mai)… As we bought the card in an AIS shop it was easy to swap it for a smaller card for the iphone 4, don’t think you will be able to get one easily from the 7/11’s which is where most people seem to buy their sim cards.
0800 388 053 is our Thai number if you want to send us a text 🙂 you’ll have to find the country code yourself though.

Food and Shopping

What we write about food is of course utterly subjective, but we just want to give you our impression of Thai food and shopping. We’ll try to do this for every country we go to. As Jude is a vegetarian who does eat fish we’ll try to comment on the availability of vegetarian options or fishy dishes in restaurants too.

Thailand was a country where we ate out nearly every night as the food is so cheap. With the country surrounded by the ocean or near rivers there is never a problem to eat a fishy meal.

A lot of people love Thai food, but we weren’t too impressed. Simply because it is just too spicy, way too spicy for our taste buds. In our western world most Thai dishes are probably ‘dummed down’, but in Thailand we struggled to find a nice local meal that wasn’t too hot. Even when we asked for ‘no spice’ or ‘mild’, the steam came out of our mouths. We had a few nice meals when they managed to keep the spices down and sometimes we opted for a pizza. Really sad, but sometimes you want to just enjoy a meal instead of fighting it 🙂

That said, if you love spicy food: eat your heart out in Thailand! Tom Yum soup is a good one if you like hot food, we found fish curries and anything with yellow curry were the least spicy and once you picked the many chilies out of these curries they were quite tasty.

To not put us off rice and noodles we prepare our own breakfast and lunch (muesli, porridge, sandwiches…) and as said before, in Thailand we eat out every night.

Shopping for food in Thailand was easy and we could find things like cheese, bread, milk, butter easily in their massive supermarkets. They even have big Lotus Tesco supermarkets here, usually on the edges of town.

Animals

We’ve seen a lot of cool animals in Thailand already, here are some pictures of some of them:

turtle

turtle

trumpet fish

trumpet fish

trevalli

trevalli

stone fish

stone fish

squirrel

squirrel

puffer fish - they make themselves a lot bigger when they feel threatened

puffer fish – they make themselves a lot bigger when they feel threatened

cheeky monkeys on Lara

cheeky monkeys on Lara

nudibranch

nudibranch

macaque with  baby

macaque with baby

super-sized moth

super-sized moth

cool lizard

cool lizard

lionfish

lionfish

jellyfish

jellyfish

gibbon!!!

gibbon!!!

giant moray eel

giant moray eel

super cool type of gecko

super cool type of gecko

such a cute frog

such a cute frog

the lone elephant

the lone elephant

dragon fly

dragon fly

sambar deer

sambar deer

other type of deer

other type of deer

anemone crab (who hides in the anemone like a nemo fish when there is danger)

anemone crab (who hides in the anemone like a nemo fish when there is danger)

blue dragon (nudibranch) - super cool

blue dragon (nudibranch) – super cool

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