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Thread: Udon Driving

  1. #1
    Cadet silver bunga's Avatar
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    Udon Driving

    I'll be up in Udon Thani for about 10 hours on a long layover before the flight to Chiang Mai and thinking about renting a car... (I can stash my luggage in the trunk, and perhaps visit the mall, watch a movie with my girl before the flight...First time flying for her... I wonder how she will react... )

    Now I've seen Bangkok traffic and hell if I would ever risk a rental car in that nightmare of a parking lot, (only place worse I've seen was in India....) but I suspect Udon Thani is a lot better? Or would the better recommendation be to hire a driver for the day?

    Note: I drive in the US so I will need a good 30 minutes to re-orient myself... I have driven on the other side before but its been a while....

    Anyone know if I would need an international drivers license or will a valid US license do?

    Side question: How far is the drive from Udon to Sakon? Is it a safe drive? I've searched on the internet and the only answer I got was from google map that tells me at least 3 hours...

    Thanks in advance.....
    Last edited by bunga; 22nd July 2012 at 13:12. Reason: adding thanks

  2. #2
    Frequent Flyer kaptainrob's Avatar
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    You can hire a car, pick up/drop off at airport, from LEK Car Rental. Book online and pay cash at pick up. They may be happy with your US licence but legally you should have an IDP to validate it.

    LEK are excellent to deal with and all 'small print' is spelled out here > Terms & Conditions Lek Car Rental Udon Thani

    With 10 hours to spare you might shoot up to Nong Khai or down to Khon Kaen ... highway driving is very easy. Not a lot of touristy stuff to see in UT itself though you could just as easily take a taxi into town and waste many hours browsing markets, shops and malls. 10 hours passes quite fast.

    Give me yell when in Chiang Mai.
    Cheers, Rob.
    Lifes journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well-preserved body, but to skid in sideways totally worn out, shouting: holy s.h.i.t what a ride!

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    Cadet silver bunga's Avatar
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    Thanks! I tried Lek but they were all booked up.... Went with AVIS for now...
    I'll be sure to get an IDP before the trip...

    The main issue really was how do I handle the luggage... Don't want to haul it around the Charoensri shopping center which I suspect I will spend most of my time.... and I thought renting a car for a few hours would be the best bet.... as long as it isn't crazy driving like bangkok is.....

    Give me yell when in Chiang Mai.
    Thanks! I'll do that. I'll be there from Aug 20th - 25th....

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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน justcruzing1's Avatar
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    For the sake of only 10hrs I would just go with taxi from place to place. You would have to pay a full days hire, and insurance, then you can get lost, or find yourself being pulled over by MIB (Men in Brown Cops) and need to pay tea money, to avoid some trumped up fine for not indicating etc.

    Other BM's will have much better advise as i haven't been to Udon, but have been to and driven in Issan twice, the rural areas are nice, but the drivers are a worry. When you get to level 2 you can read trip reports TR's about many areas.
    "Of course you love me darling, I handsome man 55555"

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    Frequent Flyer kaptainrob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bunga View Post
    Thanks! I tried Lek but they were all booked up.... Went with AVIS for now...
    I'll be sure to get an IDP before the trip...

    The main issue really was how do I handle the luggage... Don't want to haul it around the Charoensri shopping center which I suspect I will spend most of my time.... and I thought renting a car for a few hours would be the best bet.... as long as it isn't crazy driving like bangkok is.....



    Thanks! I'll do that. I'll be there from Aug 20th - 25th....
    Surprising that LEK is booked out, a good business model for sure!

    There may be some kind of storage area for luggage. Ask on Thai Visa forums. If flying with same carrier inbound and out, perhaps they can help. If flying out to CM with Nok or AirAsia they will not check-in bags until ~ 2 hours before, sometimes less.
    Cheers, Rob.
    Lifes journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well-preserved body, but to skid in sideways totally worn out, shouting: holy s.h.i.t what a ride!

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    ประเทศไทยเพื่อน Founding Member Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน PatongBeachBoy's Avatar
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    I have driven around Udon and surrounding areas a couple of times now.... very laid back pace, the complete opposite to BKK. I highly recommend a car for up north as it will allow you a lot of variety in seeing the place and also an opportunity to escape from the GF's family (if required). Udon is a bit of a gate way to many places around Udon with most of them being within an hour of the city, like KR said you can easily drive to Nong Khai or even pop over the boarder to Laos.
    I don't know what's involved in getting the international licence in the States but in Oz it was a matter of paying around $30 and having a passport size photo... IMO it is a worthy thing to get as it is actually required in the case of making an insurance claim as well as keeping the local coppers from trying to fleece a couple of hundred Baht off you.
    Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.

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    Frequent Flyer kaptainrob's Avatar
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    I forgot to add that despite the OP's familiarity with driving on the RIGHT hand side, it's fairly common practice here also! 555

    Around Isaan, you'll find Thai's regularly using ALL of the road. In CM city it's also common to have oncoming vehicles, on the wrong side, at traffic lights as they pass slow traffic in an attempt to beat the lights.
    Cheers, Rob.
    Lifes journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well-preserved body, but to skid in sideways totally worn out, shouting: holy s.h.i.t what a ride!

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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Chob's Avatar
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    I'd have no problem at all driving in LOS , even Bkk , but have lived here a while.
    Seems you are basically filling in time , so JCs logic of keeping it stress free by having a driver is a good idea.

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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน justcruzing1's Avatar
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    I have enjoyed my riding and driving in Los, especially the rural regions.
    My thoughts/advise was more on the financial side of things, why go pay a full days hire and insurance for 10 hrs, then risk further cost from MIB or a possible acedent.
    All things that can quickly change a great holiday into a sour one. Besides, you get to see so much more as a passanger than a driver.
    "Of course you love me darling, I handsome man 55555"

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    ประเทศไทยเพื่อน Founding Member Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน PatongBeachBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by justcruzing1 View Post
    I have enjoyed my riding and driving in Los, especially the rural regions.
    My thoughts/advise was more on the financial side of things, why go pay a full days hire and insurance for 10 hrs, then risk further cost from MIB or a possible acedent.
    All things that can quickly change a great holiday into a sour one. Besides, you get to see so much more as a passanger than a driver.
    Just parts of Udon can be quite remote, there's Udon city and then there's Udon rural covering a huge area..... IMO you will really see a lot more of that region with a car over a couple of days and get to see some really amazing places.... You should just check that your travel insurance covers for car accidents.
    Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.

  11. #11
    เมืองเชียงราย Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Rivo's Avatar
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    For 10 hours I would be paying a Taxi driver, just easier IMO


    I have no problem leaving my luggage in the boot of a Taxi, I always lock the bags, take a picture of the Taxi driver ID and the vehicle number plate, I have often said to a taxi drive come back in 2 hours, and we go sight seeing, if they are getting paid they are not interested in your luggage, they just want to get paid.
    A Wise Man Once Said "Nothing"

  12. #12
    Cadet silver bunga's Avatar
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    So I ended up renting a car from Avis and had a good time. I always enjoy driving in a new country and had a good time, especially reminding myself to always be on the left side of the road. Its the left turns that usually end up being tricky as I keep almost swinging over to the right side!

    So Im driving with my gf, her aunt and her friend. We are going back to the airport from the shopping center. They are giving me directions telling me "Saai" and"Kwaa" over and over again... and about 15 minutes later we're right back at the shopping mall..... 5555 so we laugh and they start giving me direction again and we're off to the airport!!! About 15 minutes later we're now back at the shopping mall but on the other side.... So I laugh but a little less this time cause I'm jetlagged and getting really sleepy. So they tell me "saai" and "kwaa" again but now arguing with each other about whether it is "saai" or "kwaa"... and about 15 more minutes later we are completely and absolutely lost.....

    So I park the car, get out my phone, turn on GPS and find our way back to the main road in about 10 minutes....

    Thinking to myself "yea... I guess its the same in my country also.... 5555"

    But it was fun driving...
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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Moo Uaon's Avatar
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    You take your chances getting directions from any woman really,especially Thai 55

    UT airport is a little hidden away and hard to find though,as it`s not like there`s a flight coming or going every 5 mins to point the way.

    For anyone wanting to rent a car in LOS Argus Rentals are good>you book online and they can rent the car cheaper than the provider (ThaiRentaCar,Avis etc). They search all the Rental companies for availability and the best deal.
    Last edited by Moo Uaon; 9th September 2012 at 12:55.

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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Uber Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Nomad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moo Uaon View Post
    You take your chances getting directions from any woman really,especially Thai 55
    What blows me away is the confidence my TG has in knowing the way. Perhaps it is because time is not seen as a valuable commodity, so a few detours are not a big issue.
    "Don't wait around for your life to happen to you. Find something that makes you happy and do it. Everything else is just background noise." George Mason

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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Moo Uaon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nomad View Post
    What blows me away is the confidence my TG has in knowing the way. Perhaps it is because time is not seen as a valuable commodity, so a few detours are not a big issue.
    Agree about the time thing.

    But when it comes to looking around i`ve always had to show TG`s around LOS as they don`t have much clue (except for the mo baan/area they grew up of course). So your`s would be the exception rather than the rule.

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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Uber Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Nomad's Avatar
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    On both occasions it was places she had been many times, yet never driven to. She started thinking the GPS was a good idea after we paid tolls three times too many. However, TG's young brother was very happy as I would give him the change from each toll.

    The basic maps App on the iPhone got us there. Helps with overall direction, but not the fine detail re lanes etc so easy to get on the wrong track leaving BKK airport.
    "Don't wait around for your life to happen to you. Find something that makes you happy and do it. Everything else is just background noise." George Mason

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    ..........................
    Last edited by Fionn; 16th May 2013 at 11:42.
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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Moo Uaon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fionn View Post

    I got very use to driving there and actually prefer it to driving in Australia.
    You certainly have to be very flexible and drop what you have learnt as being "courteous".
    There is no such thing as being "cut off" in LOS but instead you have to do whatever you can to avoid people who are in front of you (or using that bit of road before you) even if they are coming straight at you on your side of the road!!

    Road rage is seen as a weakness and very unThai and should be avoided at all times no matter how infuriating the twats appear to be 555 you could well end up with a few bullets coming your way if you choose to abuse the wrong people.

    But as far as letting your car "free wheel" over the speed limit on a downhill section (whatever it might be) or travelling at 120`s plus where it seems ok there`s not too much of a problem as radar guns and speed detection is extremely rare there.
    The complete opposite of how Oz is now.

    If travelling on the open road in the right lane (or overtaking lane on 4+ lane divided highway) and cars coming the other way start flashing their high beams best to get into the left lane as there`ll be MiB up ahead and they`ll be pulling over people in the overtaking lane and fining them for speeding as thats seems to be how they judge speeding,although i`ve been able to talk my way out of a ticket a few times now from those exact circumstances,the fine is only 200 baht anyway!!

    Overtaking is a breeze as oncoming traffic always peels to the side and allows you back in if it is close.

    You can certainly get away with a lot more driving around here and the whole big brother thing is virtually non existent as well as road tax (rego) and insurance being a fraction of the cost of back home.

  19. #19
    Organic AI Quarky's Avatar
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    MY ex TG was an excellent driver (up there with the best I have experienced anywhere). She also had a great sense of direction... as have I. First girl I have met that could read the angle of the sun better than me...
    My only experience was in a pie making factory managing the gravy team


  20. #20
    Frequent Flyer kaptainrob's Avatar
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    Moo sums it up pretty well. I prefer driving here compared to Australia, particularly NSW/Vic with all those damned revenue collectors! Last time in NSW, despite having a radar detector in my ZX, I was in constant fear of missing one of the fixed cameras that are EVERYWHERE.

    Friends of mine in Qld use a combination of iPhone with Trapster app, Road Angel for pre-warning of fixed cams + RDD.

    Driving around BKK no longer fazes me now, especially since I got a GPS. Jo knows her way around BKK ok but NOT which lane to be in and that can cost lot's in lost time alone.

    Chiang Mai's a breeze to drive around although motorbikes are a constant worry. Mind you, when I'm on the Mio, I tend to drive like a Thai but at least i wear a helmet! 500m wrong way down busy Hang Dong Road is safer than crossing 3 lanes and 2 U-turns.
    Cheers, Rob.
    Lifes journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well-preserved body, but to skid in sideways totally worn out, shouting: holy s.h.i.t what a ride!

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