Day 9 – Bangkok to Rayong
I would normally advise those unfamiliar with Thai roads to avoid driving in Thailand at night, because this can be a rather daunting and potentially dangerous experience, especially on the small country roads. On this day, I went against my own advice, because we could not set off any earlier due to our visit to Kidzania earlier on in the day. Thankfully, at 180km, this would be the shortest leg of our entire road trip, and most of the journey would be along the well-built Motorway 7 between Bangkok and Pattaya.
We set off at around 6pm on a Friday evening, and having to navigate the incredible traffic jams to get out of Bangkok was no joke. It was tricky even following the GPS due to the complexities of the road network in the Thai capital, with the little side roads and the viaducts adding the confusion. I took a wrong turn and it turn out to be a detour of about 20 minutes just trying to find a place to U-turn to get us back on track.
In the end, I gave up following the GPS and went old school, relying on the road signs to guide me. Around Bangkok and along Motorway 7, tolls are required. Payment can be done in cash at the booths along each lane. Just remember to avoid the M-Pass / Easy Pass lanes if you intend to pay in cash. I suffered the embarrassment of going down the wrong lane and have to reverse out to change lane.
Once you get on the Motorway 7, the drive will be the smoothest drive in all of Thailand. With a top speed limit of 120km/h, you will cover ground fast, but do watch out for speeding cars which will overtake you at high speed from either the right or the left. Always look in your mirrors before changing lanes.
Needing dinner, we stopped at the main rest area at the midway mark on the motorway. There, we found an abundance of dining choices.
We settled on Hong Kong noodles with stewed pork, which was perfect for the kids. After a brisk dinner, we quickly set off again as we did not want to arrive at our destination too late.
After getting off the motorway, the rest of the journey would be on route 36. This would be the scariest leg of our entire trip as it was in almost pitch darkness, without any reflectors along the road. The other reason it was so dark and scary was that both my left and right headlights had blown, which I didn’t realise until I sent my car for servicing after the trip.
Thankfully, after a 3 hour journey, we arrived at Rayong safe and sound at 8:45pm. Most people know about Pattaya in Chonburi province, which is quite the tourist trap, but few have heard of Rayong, which is the province just to the east of Chonburi.
The reason we wanted to pay Rayong a visit was because we have good friends there, the teachers from the Rayongwittayakom School. Their hospitality is legendary, and even though it was late and after a long day of work for him, my friend Ben insisted on dropping by to take me out for a midnight drink at the local pub. It was really wonderful to catch up!
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This is part 11 of my 2018 Drive from Singapore to Thailand Blog Series, click HERE for part 12 where I share about our memorable day out in Rayong, visiting the fruit orchard and having dinner by the beach!
2018 Drive from Singapore to Thailand Blog Series:
- 2018 Drive from Singapore to Thailand
- Getting a Grip
- Taiping Tyrannosaurus
- A Completely New Border Crossing
- First time in Hatyai
- Cantering Towards Chumphon
- Passport Panic
- Breaking the Bangkok Barrier
- A Home Away From Home
- Kids Love Kidzania!
- Rayong Night Drive
- A Rayong Adventure
- Time to Head Home
- Driving in Heavy Rain
- Craft and Japanese
- Rock Climbing and Mini Golf
- Scenic Drive Through Phang Nga
- From Money Changer to Money Taker
- Putrajaya Paradise
- The Last Leg with my Concluding Thoughts
- Route Summary
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- 2019 Cameron Highlands Brothers Drive
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- 2019 Drive from Singapore to Thailand (Krabi, Phuket)
- 2018 Drive from Singapore to Thailand (Bangkok, Rayong)
- 2017 Drive from Singapore to Thailand (Krabi, Phuket)
- 2016 Drive from Singapore to Thailand