Amazing is a word which will forever (one hopes), be attached to Thailand. The Tourist Authority of Thailand (TAT) uses the word in its main slogan, ‘amazing Thailand,’ and that jingle rolls off the tongue without a questionable thought because the country really is striking in so many ways. Amazing Britain doesn’t hit such a sweet chord, and it can’t be too long before we sell the ‘Great’ from GB. Any suggestions on which country might buy it?
I am continually amazed when travelling around Thailand by many of the things I see. Who wouldn’t be astounded by the magnificent looking temples of Thailand or enticed by the glorious white sands of Koh Chang. For me, when I travel by train, bus or car, green countryside unfolding before my eyes is always an amazing sight. Yeah, that’s my favourite one.
However, sometimes those amazing things we see, are not necessarily astonishing in a striking kind of way. And when it comes to Thai travel, then alarming and bewildering, might be better descriptive words.
I’m always amazed at the way Thais travel about on those small buses (songthaews) in cities and rural districts. When these buses get packed inside, passengers still pile on and perch precariously on the back steps. The young man in the photo above is cool and calmly leant against the side rail, hands free, and the bus was travelling at a fair old speed.
The photo was taken on the Udon Thani to Nong Khai highway and the road is of a high standard but not without the occasional bump, and at high-speed anyone falling off the back would be facing very serious injuries.
Once these buses turn off the main highway, amazing and madness roll into one. Rural roads can be bumpy and their standard dips nearly as deep as the countless potholes the buses meet.
I’ll never forget travelling Thai style with an old friend on my last Christmas holiday.
Wonderful Wi and I were taking a bus ride from Udon Thani city to our village home, and the bus conductor was Khun Bai, an old friend I hadn’t seen in a long while. Bai is as mad as a hatter, in a nice kind of way.
A young army man in full kit was travelling on the bus and he nonchalantly sat against the back rails riding the bumps and dips. When Bai noticed me clicking my camera at the serviceman he just had to get in on the act himself. Khun Bai wasn’t about to be outdone.
We were speeding along at about 70 kilometres an hour when Bai all of a sudden wrapped his legs around the back rail, folded his arms, and leaned back into thin air. Amazing, and don’t forget, this was the bus conductor.
I can hardly leave this post on the alarming antics of Thais and travel, without mention of motorcycles and the madness which wraps its legs around them.
I really do love sitting outside a Thai roadside bar or café watching the world go by. You don’t have to wait long for a motorbike to go by, but you never can guess how many people are going to be on it.
No matter how hard I try to get a photo of three or four Thais riding on the same motorbike I always fail. I either miss the target completely or get a shot which is fuzzy and unusable. Credit for the photo on the right goes to sandyapple.
Four people on a motorcycle and not one crash helmet between them. That’s crazy. Just look at the young kid at the front. They are probably one happy family but it astonishes me how many times in one day you see Thai motorcyclists going about in this fashion. Amazing is the wrong word. Outrageous is nearer home base.
The bottom photo is a mystery to me too, as I can’t recall exactly where it was taken. I just know it was somewhere in, or near to, Udon Thani Province. The photograph tells the same old story.
Two Thais on a motorbike and no crash helmets. The chair is a puzzle to me. Perhaps its a new form of motorcycle taxi. I just hope it’s not the kind of chair people ‘crash out’ in. Amazing Thailand.
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