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Getting around in Issan
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  1. #1
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    so happy! Getting around in Issan

    A friend and I, women in our 60s, will be traveling to the Issan area in late October. We are thinking of taking the train to Khorat and then renting a car to travel around the area - dropping the car off at Nong Khai where we will enter Laos to visit Vientiane for a few days. Is this is a reasonable idea? I have never driven in Thailand, or any left side driving, but it seems this area would be the best place to try it. Would hiring a car and driver be smarter? We don't take packaged tours as we want to set our own schedule and be open for the unexpected. I'm a little concerned about the road conditions after the recent flooding but maybe that won't be a problem.

  2. #2
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    Re: Getting around in Issan

    If you have never driven on the left side of the road it could be quite scary, especially if you are faced with a sudden crisis and have to act quickly, as you could easily revert to your natural instinct and go onto the wrong side of the road. We sometimes hear of US drivers doing that when they first arrive here in NZ. They come straight off the plane and straight into a right-hand-drive rental car (never having driven one before) and then drive off into rush-hour traffic! Its a recipe for disaster.

    On the other hand, hiring a Thai driver could be equally disastrous, as most of them have no idea at all about safe driving. So its a 50-50 toss-up really between those two options. If you could first be sure about the ability and experience of the Thai driver, hiring a good one would be an excellent idea but I'm not sure how you could check that out first. Perhaps go for a short drive with him first on a trial basis? But you would need to have some Thai language to explain that.
    Ӽ

  3. #3
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    Re: Getting around in Issan

    Try reading Tips on driving in Thailand which you might find useful.

    October/November is the time when rivers are at the highest levels and the roads are more prone to flooding. However, you shouldn't have too much difficulty.

  4. #4
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    Re: Getting around in Issan

    Driving tips entry was both informative and a little terrifying. I'll have to give real thought to it. My idea was less traffic which might not really be what we'd find but I was also wondering about finding our way from place to place as I'm directionally impaired. Luckily, I live on an island so I always know were the ocean is. I've been able to quickly adapt to the left hand traffic as far as walking goes but I know that driving is a different challenge. My first experience was in London where they have helpful LOOK LEFT painted at street corners. If I do drive I plan to have a brightly colored sign taped to the center of the steering wheel. Mahalo for the info. Aloha, CT

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