Tag Archives: Beach

Wanderlust: Day Trip to Pattaya Beach

Phrom Phong Bangkok to Pattaya Beach
Phrom Phong to Pattaya Beach

Total Distance: Approx 300km

As you can see from my last post, I bought a new motorcycle. Since then, I had been bitten by the wanderlust bug. My hands had been continuously itching to take the motorcycle on the highway. So, the soonest I could, I decided to drive from Bangkok to Pattaya Beach.

I have done this trip before, but that motorcycle was not suitable for highway riding and I wanted to do it again, the right way.

Bangkok to Pattaya

On the morning of the ride, I woke up to find the city soaked in rain overnight, so I left with caution. The way out of the city was painful with morning traffic, but outside, I opened up the throttle a bit.

Since the motorcycle is new, I had to follow running-in restrictions. I drove at a steady 60kmph with occasional 10-20 second bursts up to 70kmph. At this speed, I could not keep up with traffic on the motorway, so had to drive on the frontage road.

Frontage road at Bang Phli
Frontage road at Bang Phli

The motorway from Bangkok to Pattaya is highly developed, with 22 lanes (8 lanes on the upper level, 8 lanes in the lower level and 6 lanes frontage) in most places. There are restrictions on where motorcycles can be driven, so need to pay close attention to Google Maps, which is mostly correct as long as you select the motorcycle option.

The route is mostly scenic, passing near some lakes and khlongs and over the Bang Pakong river.

Stopped to take breaks many times to give the engine a break (and also sneak in some photos). Was quite impressed with the low-end performance of the engine. Gear shifts were mostly not required, as the bike can thump its way up in 5th gear from as low as 35kmph.

In Si Racha district, the view is quite nice as the road passes in between various hills.

Near a hill at Si Racha
Near a hill at Si Racha

Pattaya Beach

Because I stopped so many times, it almost took me 3 hours to get there. Once there, I spent some time chilling at Pattaya beach.

After getting my feet wet, I went to a cafe to drink some coffee and have a snack. It was typical below-average tourist fare.

Pattaya to Bangkok

On the way back, I focused on making good time and only stopped at one place to take the below photo of the Bang Pakong river.

At a bridge over Bang Pakong river
At a bridge over Bang Pakong river

On the way back, it only took me 2 hours to get back home.


The Tripper proved its worth, as it provided very clear directions and I didn’t have to stop and look at my phone (which was nested safely away in my saddle bag) even once. On the 3 hour ride to Pattaya, my phone lost 23% charge, with tripper navigation as well as audio streaming (And the occasional photo).

Also, found a weird bug in that the tripper’s display and my polarised sunglasses seem to have the same polarisation plane when I am seated normally, which completely blanks out the tripper. If I move my head 10 degrees to the left or right or rotate my head 10 degrees clockwise or counter-clockwise, the display comes back.

This happens only with polarised glasses, regular sunglasses work fine.

Lessons Learnt

Learnt the below lessons which I plan to apply to my next trip(s).

  1. Need to buy thick handlebar grips, as the factory default is too thin and cramps up my hands.
  2. Always wear AirPods even if I don’t want to listen to anything. Active (and worst case Passive) Noise Cancellation is worth it to protect ears from traffic and wind noise.
  3. Always wear sunglasses during the day time, even if it is not too bright, to protect eyes from the wind (I cannot, for the life of me, see through any helmet visor And keep it lifted up).
  4. The USB charger is quite slow. So rather than wait for battery to drain and then charge the phone (Phone gained only 11% on the 3 hour trip back on charge, with navigation and audio), it is better to keep it connected from the beginning.

This trip also pushed my motorcycle over the first stage of running in, next trip should be faster.

My Thailand EV experience

In Thailand, I see EV everywhere. I had even been on a few EV Taxis. But, before, this, I had never driven an EV before, in Thailand or elsewhere. My association with EVs started and ended with this article I researched 14 years ago.

This week, we had many holidays, so we decided to take a day-trip to a nearby beach. Opening the car rental app, I was surprised to see that the cheapest car for that day was an EV. Normally I wouldn’t have given it a second thought, but the deal was too good to pass up. So I went ahead and booked it, an Ora Good Cat.

The first few hours after booking were a bit stressful. I had never driven an EV before, much less a rental. So I started researching everything about how to drive an EV in Thailand.

First, I made a list of EV charging providers in Thailand.

The below providers do not allow expats to register at all, because a Thai ID number and verification is necessary.

The below providers allow registration of expats without the need for a Thai ID number.

These providers all have helpful apps which let you locate a charging station on a map.

Using this app, I also found out that there are different charging standards and sockets.

Ora Good cat charging connector
Ora Good cat charging connector

I found out that the Good Cat accepts an AC Type 2 connector (Up to 11KW) and a DC CCS connector (Up to 64KW).

Using this information, I was able to locate charging stations near the beach, on the highway while coming back and near the rental agency to charge it before returning.

Having completed my research, now it was time to finally drive an EV in Thailand!

The Car

The first impression of the car is that it is actually much bigger than it looks. It is the size of a Suzuki Swift or Hyundai i20. The rental came fully loaded – Apple Wireless CarPlay, wireless charging, Sunroof, partial autonomous driving assist.

Ora Good Cat Front Console
Ora Good Cat Front Console

The CarPlay display is big (and wide). Apple Maps can even detect that the car is an EV and overlays EV charging stations all over the map. Apparently it can even take range information from the car and warn you if you are too far from the nearest charging station, but I didn’t dare test that out.

Anyways, this is not a car review, so I will now focus on the EV aspects of the drive.

The Drive

The first thing that comes to mind when driving an EV for the first time is – power. It is unlike anything I have ever experienced. I had driven high-end ICE cars and this low-end EV blows them out of the water. The torque is instantaneous, linear and never-ending. If the cheapest EV feels like this, what do the premium EVs feel like?

Overtaking on highways is a breeze. Just a tap of the accelerator and the car races ahead, pushing you back in its seats. I pushed the car up to 180kmph and it still felt like it had more torque left.

However, all this was marred by range anxiety. I couldn’t help but notice the range indicator all the way to the beach, counting down kms as we drove. Am sure seasoned EV drivers have trained themselves to not notice these things too much, but it was always on my mind. I even felt guilty playing music – will it discharge the battery even faster? The biggest power draw (after driving), though, is the AC. It easily takes away 20-30% of the promised range.

While on the way to the beach, we stopped at a gas station to pick up some coffee. There was an EV charger there so I decided to top up for 10 minutes. Unfortunately the charger was out of service. Bad sign.


We reached the beach exhausting 60% battery with 40% left. I immediately went to the charging station I had decided on in advance. Fortunately, there was an empty slot. Charging the car was easy. I had already downloaded the EA Anywhere app and a quick scan of the QR code opened up the door on the side with the charging cable. The app guided me through the rest of the process and I was up charging in no time.

This was a 40KW DC charger so I went from 40% to 95% in less than an hour. There are faster DC chargers available as well (I couldn’t find one near the beach) but most other chargers are AC and much slower.

Ora Good cat charging
Ora Good Cat charging

Technically I could have left my car to charge and gone to the beach (the app would have notified me when charging was finished), but I was afraid someone would disconnect the charger so I hung around. Later I found out the charger gets locked while charging and cannot be removed without stopping manually from the app. There’s also an overtime fee if you don’t disconnect the charger within 5 minutes of finishing charging.

Fast charging an EV is a dramatic affair. The EV’s cooling system is on full blast, the charger is blowing wind like a hurricane. An MG4 in the next bay overheated twice and stopped charging.

While returning, I was more frugal with performance and drove steadily at 90. I needed to return the car with at least 40% charge, so I was a little anxious, still. I even switched off the AC for the last few kms when the charge dropped below 50%. Luckily, I was able to return the car with 46% battery left.

Overall, driving an EV was both fun and stressful. I have never driven anything quite like it. However, the stress is too much for someone like me who already suffers from anxiety. But I am sure the second time will be easier than the first.

Crazy Sofa at Bang Saen

During my last trip to Bangkok, I had a yearning to go visit a beach. Me and my Indian friend decided to head to Bang Saen, which is a beach in Chonburi province, a little more than an hour’s drive from Bangkok. He also brought along his Indian roommate. His name, translated to English literally means Snake 🐍, so that’s how we’ll refer to him for the rest of the story. 

Bang Saen Beach

The Snake is your typical Indian tourist who doesn’t want to part with any of his money & is always on his guard thinking that everyone is out to cheat him. He cribbed about paying 10 Baht to use the changing rooms (why can’t we just change behind that tree?), paying 50 Baht to use the beach chairs (we should have brought our own chairs). He cribbed about paying for food (so overpriced). When we decided to ride the crazy sofa, he immediately began to haggle with the operator. Note that, he paid for none of the above things; he is just a habitual haggler.

Unlike a Banana boat, which is streamlined and cuts through the water gracefully, a crazy sofa is inherently unstable and would bounce and flop around even in the most stable waters. So when the snake haggled with the operator and the operator agreed to reduce his rate, but with a nefarious smile slowly spreading across his face, I knew something was wrong.

So started our crazy sofa ride, with me and my friend on each edge and the snake in the middle. It soon became clear that the operator’s main agenda was to punish us for haggling like every other Indian that had crossed his path in the past. The ride was simultaneously the most thrilling and the scariest experience of my life. The operator was going much faster than usual, the sofa was bouncing like crazy and we were holding on to the plastic handles for dear life and screaming for the guy to stop (he conveniently forgot how to understand even the most basic English words).

A Crazy Sofa ride, not our Crazy Sofa Ride

Now would be a good time to mention that the snake easily weighed >100kg and was bobbing around both sides and hitting me and my friend (who were already bouncing hard) and only sheer terror made us hold on and prevented us from being thrown off the sofa. Multiple times, the sofa was airborne for more than 5 seconds at a time and more than a couple times, it almost overturned.

When the operator finally stopped the Jet ski and let us off, we literally toppled into the water from sheer exhaustion and took a long time to wade back to the beach.

Next day, woke up with soreness in unusual parts of the body, like the joints of fingers etc. This was one adventure, though, that I am unlikely to forget soon.