I’ve just been in Thailand for 2 weeks. I thought I’d share my experiences with some of the cars around, in dot-point form.
1. Seatbelts are optional (as are turn signals, lanes, survival). I rode in a few taxis - some had them, some had them but were broken, some had no seatbelts in the rear at all. I couldn’t believe some modern Toyotas were built without seatbelts.
2. There’s some sort of mini-truck craze. Many of the Hiluxes and pickups and whatnot are 2-door, lowered, with dope wheels. See below
3. Modification is common, but it looks to be mostly smoke and mirrors - whatever looks good (where good is very subjective). Example: The pickup in the pic above has many stickers, many badges, much fake chrome. I don’t think that’s a real RS below, though it’s the right color and with all the body bits. The Mirage below shows this taken even further. Exhausts are common, even on vans, taxis and tuk-tuks. Some of the vans sounded dope. Also saw many Evo IIIs which may or may not be fake.
I point and laugh, but it’s cool to know that even in a poorer country, there are enthusiasts and they make do with what they can find.
4. Most cars are Toyotas, but there are a small group of Frenchies going around. Mostly spotted in or outside mechanic shops.
5. All the GM products are similar to Australia, but with different names. They have the Holden Cruze, Zafira and Captiva, but they’re Chevrolets! They have the Holden Rodeo, but it’s an Isuzu! Americans are probably familiar with this. No pics to back myself up since GM products aren’t very interesting
6. There are lots of cars I’ve never heard of. See the Soluna VIOS above, and the whatever below.
7. To my dismay, sports cars and coupes are uncommon. Most Thais ride motorbikes, so I guess if you get a car you’re doing it for the space more than anything. But we saw an 86, a 180SX and an MR2. Bangkok CBD had many supercars - we saw 3 Lamborghinis, all Aventadors, as well as a GT-R, 488 and a C7 ‘Vette (a real treat to me as an Australian!).
8. Motorbikes are used everywhere, for everything. Safety gear is not used anywhere ever. Not uncommon to see families packed onto a bike. This is a man riding a jetski being towed by a bike. Sometimes you’d see bikes towing 3 or 4 jetskis at once.
9. The tuk-tuks in Phuket all have phat sound systems, and often neons too. They all play the same 2 Eminem songs on repeat. Some of the vans had these too. Not a thing in Bangkok at all, just Phuket.
10. There are some absolute gems if you look hard enough. I found a random car yard in Bangkok that blew me away: a MITSUOKA!