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Driving the East Coast Thailand and Malaysia

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Oct 6th, 2003, 12:31 PM
  #1
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Driving the East Coast Thailand and Malaysia

Hi there. We are spending 3 weeks in Thailand next June/July. I am trying to plan the trip already. We are considering driving from Bangkok all the way down the east coast to almost the end of Malaysia stopping along the way. I saw that our first overnight stop would be Hua Hin or Cha Ahm but then there seems to be a huge stretch all the way down as far as Chumphon (sp?) where we will take the car ferry to Koh Samui. I can find very little info about this area. Are there hotels on the way down. Is it possible to "wing it" and just drive 3-4 hours each day and look for a hotel on the beach? Mostly, is this driving advisable or would you advise to fly altogether since it is not that expensive. Many thanks. A
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Oct 6th, 2003, 01:39 PM
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I believe that the subject of driving has come up in this forum several times recently and each time the consensus was to avoid driving yourself and get a driver if that is how you prefer to travel. I'd agree whole-heartedly and add that not only are flights relatively inexpensive, the alternative of a train is an interesting and viable option too.
This weekend the subject of driving, came up while looking at photos of our trip from a friend. The memories it brought back were ones which we'd prefer to forget .
During our trip, we decided to travel in two vans for a golfing beach weekend to Hua Hin from BKK. At the wheels were the program director's regular driver (a former tour guide) and in the other van, his cousin. Their driving skills, as demonstrated in the back sois of Sukhumvit during rush hour, were finely tuned and amazing. On the way back from Hua Hin, however, a boy riding a bicycle for the first time swerved into the road in front of the lead van and was hit. Within minutes, a crowd had formed around the scene and we were told by our driver not to get out of the van under any circumstances. From our vantage point, we saw the boy being taken in an ambulance to the hospital, and the police arrive and begin interrogating the director's driver. Although he was Thai, the director was Thai and well-connected, and the van was insured, the police refused to merely cite him and let him go. They demanded that he admit fault for the accident, which the director told him not to do. There may have been more to it, but in the end, the driver was taken to the local jail where he was interrogated more and spent several more hours before finally being released after the director's cousin (a police chief in BKK) interveened. In the end, we understand that there was a substantial payment made to the family by the director before all charges were finally dropped.
After that experience, any notion that I may have held of driving myself in Thailand were quickly and permanently discarded.
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Oct 6th, 2003, 04:35 PM
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Listen to whats Dywong says!

Ok, the way to go is to use car+driver, the costs including fuel is what you would pay for a rental anyway. Also you cannot take the rental into Malaysia. Here are some driving time plus places to stop for a night or sobr /> Bangkok-Hua hin 3 hrs
Hua Hin-Bang Saphan 2 hrs
Bang Saphan Chumphon 1.5 hrs
( From Chumphon you can take a boat to Koh Tao, famous for diving, then from Koh Tao you can boat to Koh Samui, then boat back to Surat Thani)
South from Surat Thani on the East coast is not that interesting, a better route would bebr /> Surat Thani-Krabi 3.5 hrs
Krabi-Koh Lanta 2 hrs
Koh Lanta-Trang/Turatao 3 hrs
From Surin near Trang there is a boat to Langkawi Malaysia ( 1.5 hrs) from Langkawi you can continue down the west coast or us local bus/train to make your way the short distance across to the East Coast.

The rail line runs down passed Chumphon to Surat Thani and onwards to Hat Yai and across the border.

At each hotel/stops the hotel/resort/ will be able to arrange a car+driver for you next 'hop', BKK-Hua Hin about B 1,500, each of the other sectors roguhly B 1,000.

I am sure you have seen posted plenty of recommendations for Hua Hin, in Chumphon the best places is the Cabana resort, lovely.
Bang Saphan is less well know, I will have a look in my notes and post back about the couple of resorts there. It certainly is a change from staying one place, the coastline is pleasant and between GHua hin and the south not that commercial.
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Oct 6th, 2003, 04:42 PM
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Try this site, go down the page and it lists recommended beach accommodation for 'beach hopping' between Hua Hin and Chumphon/Koh Tao including a couple of resorts in Bang Saphan, I stayed at the Baan Klangaoew but it was quite a while back.

http://www.huahin.4t.com/custom4.html
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Oct 7th, 2003, 06:13 AM
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Wow! Amazing information and advice guys. Thank you SO much.
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Oct 7th, 2003, 05:13 PM
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Once you get into Malaysia Air Asia has incredible cheap air fares, but the rail service is good too. If you are flying into KL a great advantage with Air Asia is you get to use their Coach/Bus service into town which is just RM 10 as opposed to RM 36 by train. The Air Asia site is also good for ideas of where to go.

www.airasia.com
www.malaysia-cheap-hotels.4t.com
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Oct 7th, 2003, 11:24 PM
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Keep in mind that Air Asia has such good deals that their flights do tend to book up quickly. Book as far in advance as you can.
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