May 16, 2006 - Tuesday
Bangkok, Thailand to Pattaya, Thailand

The van from Bangkok to Pattaya - direct hotel to hotel - arrives at 11:30 am (it showed up just before Noon though). Before this I'll get to breakfast, pack, take a short walk about town seeing some sights, exchange some currency and get back to the hotel to wait on the van.

The van was decent enough - four parties on board plus the driver. The A/C worked well enough and the van driver made good time - passing many and only being passed by a few. The GPS showed a max speed of 114 kph (70 mph) so it wasn't really that fast. About half way through the trip he stopped at a rest stop and everyone got off for a snack to eat. Not figuring on that I ate just before getting onto the van so I just sat inside with the A/C.

Down in Pattaya, checked into the hotel (which the LP book listed as mid-range I'd call it mid-range pricing, 950 Baht / night (US$25), with borderline budget quality facilities). I did some PC work, took a nap, then went out for a walk - the hunt is to see about finding a motorbike. I was told that the rental places weren't really listed on the Internet and that I just had to "go there" to find one. On the drive in - where I saw something of interest - I hit the waypoint button on the GPS - I have a Honda shop and an insurance company listed. Taking a walk from the hotel I passed by a couple Internet cafe's - the LP book listed this hotel as having Inet but the check-in counter guy said "no".

The maps show that the bike rental places are on the two main drags - one is a southernly one-way street hugging the beach and the other is the northernly one-way one block from the beach. I walked west, hit the beach, and turned left. The "rental shops" are nothing more than a row of bikes parked along the curb. It is sometimes difficult to tell if a bike is a "private" bike or a "rental" bike. Seeing a row, perhaps 80% of the bikes are smaller automatics - scooters. These scooters are not like the ones in Taiwan - these are more "conventional" bike in configuration and would not be as multi-purpose as those in Taiwan (not having the step-through area to place packages, dogs, kids, etc).

Each would have some "big bikes" - 400 cc units on up. One or two sport bikes (R1, R6), some cruiser bikes, and some standards. Vintage Yamaha V-Max's are common  (the V-Max is Yamaha's equivalent to my Honda V-65 Magna). Somewhere nearby there would be a guy or lady "in charge" of the assortment. I was quoted, for a three week rental, anywhere from 20,000 Baht (US$540) down to 11,550 Baht (US$312) - and each was willing to negotiate from there. Even at 540 US I think the pricing is reasonable for three weeks - but that looks like it would be worst case (though I still need to check on insurance from a third party source).

There were maybe eight or ten "rental" places in this less than one mile stretch of road. Some being right next to each other or right around the corner. A consumer's advantage in shopping.

I'm now wavering between a V-Max and a Honda Super Four. Priority #1 on a bike, aside from trying to "get a reliable one" is that it must have 1" round handlebars - for the GPS and camera mounts. That kicked out all of the smaller automatics (which I was not considering anyway), most of the sport bikes with their aluminum bars and some cruisers that had large diameter round bars.

Leaving the renta areas I stopped by a mall to enjoy some cool air and some something uneventful to eat. Back out on the street it was now after dark and the night life was ramping up. Pattaya is a bit of a hedonistic town and there were "beer bars" with lots of "single girls" sitting about looking rather board until a prospective customer would walk by. Fortunately I didn't have any guys "ask me out". Though I'm not quite sure all of the "girls" were true females. On the way back to the hotel I wasn't bothered too much for clothing offers, surveys, or girls but it was getting annoying. Oh to be on a bike and be able to see things and not be bothered.

So today, 17 May, I'll see about posting these prepared pages, finding a bank for some Baht, and seeing about some insurance - then back to the rental area to make a decision on a bike - helmet in hand.

Here's to finding a 'good bike'.

Direct shot down the highway from hotel to hotel.

A city corner, Bangkok

Construction going on - see the guys working?

There ya go.

A Tuk-Tuk. A noisy, two-stroke smoke belching taxi. Unique but I really don't have an interest in riding in one. Well, maybe for one block.

Mall and city traffic
MPG, 3.1 MB, 44 sec

Another one for "cow man" David

The mall was abuzz with these troupes. Some sort of competition perhaps. TV cameras, dancing, music.

And a BR - things weren't open yet - so no cone.

A sad looking party case

Traffic, traffic, traffic - most of it just sitting - except for the bikes.

I'm in the van now - we're heading out of town.
Small, roadside shops.

I get a chuckle out of their telephone wiring.

A bit of a rats nest.

Huge billboards

the GPS found a spot to sit. It was just able to get a lock on some sat's

And even bigger...

Tollbooth - 20 Baht I think (about 37 Baht per 1 US Dollar)

At the rest / food (7-Eleven) stop. This lady was carrying this "case" around selling something - paper items. A guy in the van seemed to think they may be lottery tickets.

A sight along the road...

I'm trying to figure out these strips. They are common on the trucks. I'm thinking they are there to "polish" or clean the tires as the truck goes down the road. Not sure but some tires had a nice polished appearance.

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