Drive from Bangkok to Khao Kho

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Thailand Fly & Drive – Part 6

On day 5 of our trip, we finally start our road trip proper. We pick up our rental car from the Hertz / Thrifty Car Rental Outlet just around the corner from our accommodation at the Empire Place.

Extremely good deal we got when we booked via the Holiday Autos website: 21 days rental for only US$334, with an additional 4% rebate because of our lifestyle membership programme!

  • Car: Black Honda Jazz hatchback
  • 91 Octane or 95 Octane Petrol
  • Keyless Entry (ARGH!!)
  • Documents required: Valid Driver’s License (Singapore License is good, no need for International Driver’s Permit), Credit Card for THB50,000 deposit, Passport, Printed Out Rental Voucher.

I must say the pick up process was very smooth, the staff spoke good English, and I even managed to change the drop off location to the Airport, with a free extension to 6pm, saving us the hassle and cost of getting a cab ride back to the airport on the last day!

Before handing over the car to me, the staff drove me to the nearest Shell petrol station, and topped up the fuel to full tank in my presence. Great service I say!!

Our rental being pumped up at the nearest petrol kiosk before being handed over to me

I then drive back to the Empire place to pick up my family and the luggage, and we are off one our way!

We get stuck a bit in Bangkok’s famous traffic, but thankfully we make it to the highway in reasonable time, paying a combined toll of THB110 to get out of town.

Go for the correct lane at toll booth!

Remember to go for the CASH lines and not the EASY PASS lines. I got stuck in the wrong line on our first drive to Bangkok, was quite embarrassed about that because I had to reverse back out and get to the correct line, inconveniencing the drivers behind me.

Beautiful weather!

Clear skies, clear highway, a great day to be driving! It is theoretically a 5.5 hour drive from Bangkok to Khao Kho, covering 402km. There are two possible routes. I believe in the end we opted for the alternate route along Route 32 passing through Singburi.

Very smooth ride, save for two minor scares. One was a tractor-trailer attempting to do a scary stunt, cutting across the highway at right angles to the main traffic. He caught me off guard a little and I didn’t see him until rather late. Thankfully, he allowed me to zoom past before completing his maneuver. The other scare was even more dramatic. I saw a sizable rock approaching on the road, but the BMW in the front right lane didn’t. He ran over that rock at full speed causing an instant tire puncture and flipping the rock in my direction. Thankfully, the rock didn’t hit my car, and I managed to take some evasive action. The BMW wasn’t so fortunate. I saw the tire explode. Thank God the driver managed to retain control of his car, bringing it to the shoulder safely.

This is what the drive up to Khao Kho looks like!

We arrive at the entry point to Khao Kho in good time, and take the Route 2258 up to the highlands, which are about 1000m above sea level. The roads are windy, but in good condition, and every now and then opens up into two lanes to allow for the easy overtaking of slow-moving traffic. Perhaps this is good warm-up for our attempt of the legendary 1864 curves at the Mae Hong Son loop in the next week!

We arrive at our accommodation, Tonkho@Home, in time for a beautiful sunset!

Sunset view from the campsite just beside our accommodation.

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