In Case of Rapture – Please Let My Buddhist Wife Know What Happened

Some clown has been saying for years that May 21, 2011 is the day Jesus Christ comes to earth to take the chosen ones to heaven. The rest of you will be sucking on coconut shells and rubber trees for water because the earth is going through some sick shite for the next couple of years.

Me? I plan on going. If I see Christ – I’ll beg him… what’s he going to do, say no? He’s gotta forgive and forget – right? Isn’t that part of the whole deal?

lol…

At any rate, my Buddhist wife probably believes this is a possibility MUCH more than I do.

I’m not joking about begging to get in the door though…

Cheers heathens.

Thailand Motorbike Break-In Period Not Necessary?

We bought a new motorbike, a Yamaha Mio 125. Right before the mechanic that pre-flighted the bike let us drive off I asked him…

How many kilometers do we need to go slow for?

My wife then asked him in better Thai – about how slow we need to go and for how many kilometers.

The Yamaha mechanic replied that we needn’t go slow at all – just drive as fast as you want. No break-in period required.

Really?

Did we finally reach that point in technology where there is no break-in period needed for a new motorbike? Is Yamaha doing something different than other motorbike manufacturers, or, is this the norm all over now? Or, is our Yamaha mechanic wrong?

When we bought our first Mio back in 2005 we were told to drive under a certain speed for some number of kilometers – can’t remember what the rules were.

Is that out the window now? Anybody know?

We’ve gone under 70kph for the first 200km. Can I max it out now, or ?

Yamaha Mio – A Very Reliable Motorbike in Thailand

We bought a Yamaha Mio MX or ZX or something, in 2005. We drove that thing into the ground – usually 2 of us on it, and we did many 150km trips on it – 50? More?

When I had open road I was going 115kph, all the time. It was maxed out at that. With two of us on it – we could hit 120 down a hill. We were maxed out every time we rode long distance.

It was at about 80,000 km that the engine died. I think it got low on oil – and it started to seize. I drove slowly and got it to the Yamaha place. For 4,000 THB they redid everything important in the engine – and we drove it another 12,000 km and then gave it to my wife’s older aunt. It runs better than it did new with the engine parts. Not sure what they did, but the power from that little 114cc engine was awesome.

That factored into our decision to buy the latest 2011 (I think, maybe 2010 – but, these colors are nowhere to be seen on the streets yet) Yamaha Mio MX or RR or something. I don’t pay attention to the model since they are all the same engine – just the plastic has changed.

We got a 125cc Mio that is liquid cooled, and not fuel injected – like the hondas. Yamaha tweaked the carb and kept it traditional carb to pass emissions.

The thing is quite powerful. On par with the 135cc Nouvo’s – we’ve rented them. The speeds must be very similar up to 100 kph, but maybe even faster as the Mio is lighter – much lighter.

The seat is lower than the Nouvo – which helps for my vertically challenged wife. Otherwise, I wanted the Nouvo… but, whatever, they are probably just the same engines with more cubic displacement.

If you want a reliable motorbike – get a new Yammy 125cc. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Driving in Thailand – Video & Collection of Articles

I don’t enjoy driving a car in Thailand. A motorbike, to me, is fine. I feel much safer. I know that sounds strange. I’ve driven motorcycles in Thailand for almost 7 years now and put over 120,000 km on various bikes. I’ve had 1 mishap where the woman in front of me slammed her car brakes for no reason that I could see – and I scraped her back bumper and rear quarter-panel. I paid her 2,000 THB.

Recently I’ve been driving a car some. It is not any fun at all to me. I made a video about it so I don’t bore you with writing it all out.. See it below the links to other articles about Driving in Thailand I’ve written over the years. I’ve also included a couple other links to articles by other Thailand bloggers that wrote on this subject – and that I enjoyed reading.

  1. Driving a Motorbike in Thailand (Video) I found this video on YouTube. It’s designed to show…
  2. Driving a Car is a Horrorshow in Thailand  We’re buying another motorbike. We gave the 4 year old…
  3. Thailand Motorcycle Driving: Keeping Your Brain in Your Head  During this morning’s motorcycle trip to a city 170 km…
  4. Driving During the Holidays, Thai Attitudes  Just like Americans – I guess Thais are stressed during…
  5. Thailand Roadkill… YOU! (Driving in Thailand) As you travel Thailand and see all the wonderful wildlife…
  6. Thai Driving Habits – Can They Ever Be Changed? – Brunty from Isaanstyle
  7. Driving in Thailand – Steve at ThailandMusings
  8. Riding a Taxi Motorcycle in Bangkok Traffic – with video, by Ben Shingleton at the ThaiPirate blog.

 

And a very nice video that relates to cars and driving because it is a car audio show…

Driving in Thailand – the Essentials Video

Driving a car in Thailand

If you’re going to be coming to Thailand and do any driving yourself – watch this video.

If you know someone that will be driving in Thailand – send this video about driving in Thailand to them.

I shot this on the way to somewhere I had to drive to today. It’s about 9 minutes long – but packed with good information. If you have had different experiences than I have – leave a comment. If you have had worse experiences than I have – leave a comment – I’d love to hear about them.

I have written many articles about driving in Thailand – mostly as a motorbike rider. Now that I drive a car occasionally I can write from that perspective as well. It’s scary. It’s downright ridiculous…

Much better said in the video below…

Best Places to Visit in Thailand – Wat Pah Nanachat

Wat Pah Nanachat in Warin Chamrap, Ubon Province, Thailand

Wat Pah Nanachat in Warin Chamrap, Ubon Ratchathani province, in Thailand is one place Buddhists should stop if in the area.

When I first arrived in Thailand I spent a couple of months in Phuket and left 2 days before The Boxing Day Tsunami hit – for Wat Pah Buddhist temple in Ubon. I met with the guest monk, the abbot, and was asked to spend some time there – if I wanted. I stayed overnight and then headed out the next morning. The grounds are peaceful and vast.

On a subsequent visit I had a tour by a monk from the UK that was leaving the monkhood after 3 years. He had done what was required for the years and he said it profoundly affected who he was. He was a rather bad dude in the UK apparently before he left. Anyway, we met because of a mutual friend and he gave my wife and I a tour of Wat Pah from an insider’s perspective. That was a couple of years back, and I took some photos – but they’re on hard drives buried in a box. These photos are from our recent trip there.

Wat Pah Nanachat is as beautiful as ever. There are many foreign monks ordained there, and some more people in white (laypersons) from all over the globe. When I was there and staying, I met people from Japan, Malaysia, UK, USA, Australia, and more.

If you like you can probably stay for a couple days, or weeks – if they have room and if you’re invited by the abbot or guest monk to stay.

A more beautiful Buddhist temple – you’re not likely to find… unless you prefer the garish temples of Bangkok instead.

More photos…

Chow Hall - Wat Pah Nanachat, Warin Chamrap, Ubon province, Thailand
Chow hall at Wat Pah
Path to main bot - Wat Pah Nanachat, Warin Chamrap, Ubon province, Thailand
Path to main Bot
Map - Wat Pah Nanachat, Warin Chamrap, Ubon province, Thailand
Wat Pah is located close to Ubon Ratchathani University (UBU), on the road to Sisaket Province.

Want more information on Wat Pah Nanachat? Here is a link to my first article about the place – with more photos and a link at the end of the article to a description of taking part in a retreat there – if you like.

Wat Pah Nanachat in Warin Chamrap, Thailand – more info.

Driving a Car is a Horrorshow in Thailand

We’re buying another motorbike. We gave the 4 year old Yamaha MIO with 90,000 KM (one rebuilt engine) to my wife’s aunt on our trip to the northeast. That made me feel good. I don’t make big bank, but, the woman is about 70 and driving a Yamaha from 25 years ago. She has trouble starting it – and could use the electric starter of the MIO to her advantage. Damn I hate to see people suffer through a penniless state.

We got a car, and since i’m the only driver – if you can call me that without cracking a fucking rib laughing – I’ve been driving all over the place.

I’ve come to the conclusion that Thais behind the wheel are completely intolerable on a 1 lane road, and complete fuckmonkeys on a 2 or 2+ lane road.

Yes, this is another Vern rant on Thai people that don’t know what in the world they are doing.

It’s half expected… I mean, Thais have not been driving for too many generations now. But, with the recent advent of 14 million tourists visiting the country, and the rubber prices going through the roof – many people can afford cars. Oh – and credit… if a Thai has a job – the employer can fake a receipt showing years of steady work at a rate the employee will never see in his/her life – and get the car of their dreams in just a couple of days.

Anyway… If you’re contemplating driving in Thailand I strongly suggest you reconsider.

Thais are probably the most ignorant fucking drivers you’ll ever come across. In Thailand. I haven’t driven everywhere… but, in the USA I drove in New York, Miami, Tampa, Honolulu, and Los Angeles a few times. Thai drivers are more fucked up than all of that put together.

I am not embellishing for the laughs either – they are horrendous godawful drivers.

I drove a motorbike in Thailand for 6 years with one minor accident my first year – when a car in front of me – a new driver from a city far from where we were, MASHED the brakes for no reason whatsoever and I swerved and caught the left bumper of her car. I gave her 2,000 THB for a 1,000 THB repair and we said our goodbyes.

Now, I’ve had some near misses on the motorbike that curled my toe-nails. I have had a couple of instances of escaping INSTANT death at 100+ Km/hour on the motorbike… but, since I’m usually paying attention – I lived.

Ok, back to driving vehicles.

Thais can’t follow a curve for SHIT.

That’s saying it VERY politely.

They cannot stay in their lane around a curve of any sort. Just know that – and adjust EVERY time you go around a curve.

If you are beside a vehicle in your vehicle and the idiot next to you puts their turn signal on – regardless whether the fuck they can move over in front of you safely or not, they are going to try. If you don’t adjust and compensate for the assmonkey that’s cutting you off – you will have an accident, and since you are farang – well, you have probably heard how that goes by now.

Thais park wherever the fuck they want to. We pulled into a bank parking lot today. It goes under the building. Bam… some jackass has parked right in the middle of the lane – so their car could be in the shade – there was plenty of room in the back where the sun was shining brightly – but this numbnuts parked right there under the building, blocking not only all traffic coming in – but, 4 cars that, if they wanted to pull out – could not.

To top this off – some ass-strap was hired to DIRECT PARKING in the parking lot!!!!!!! Yeah, so this dumbfucker is getting my 2 minute 45 second stare as I cannot come to grips with how he let someone park in the middle of the fucking road. How does he do that? Fire that jackfruit and make him go do night security where he can sleep off his stupidity.

Today was a real lively experience.

Today I had an 18 wheel truck – which I was in the middle of – at about the 20 foot mark (they are 40+ feet)… start coming over into my lane because the fucker didn’t want to slow down for slower traffic in his lane.

Know this – there isn’t a fuckhead driving a big truck in Thailand that:

1. Knows what the hell they’re doing behind the wheel of a large KILLER truck.
2. Cares whether or not you go flying over the median trying to avoid tires that are higher than your car.
3. Isn’t on meth and with piss-poor judgement.

Know this – Thailand is a country built on agriculture. There are so damn many big fucking trucks lugging palm seeds, and fuckknowswhat, up and down the highways – at all hours – and you cannot have a decent drive without dealing with hundreds of them fucking up the fast lanes of the country as you go from province to province.

We drove from Ubon to southern Thailand and it was horrific. It was like every jackmonkey with a fucking cracker jack license to haul buffalo shit in the 2 dump-truck Killer Trucks was on the road every fucking time we got in our car to drive.

Solution:

We are buying another motorbike and driving that anywhere we need to go within 150 KM. That’s IT. I am so fucking over driving imposters manning vehicles they couldn’t have possibly qualified to drive. I just know I’m going to pull someone out of their truck and beat them with an idiot stick.

Oh, and just for the record, driving a motorbike in Thailand – is about twenty fucking nine times safer than driving any vehicle in the auto lanes. I was worried that our daughter (16 months) was facing more danger on a motorbike!

Hell no!

It’s significantly worse driving anything in the auto lanes.

Trust me.

Someone please back me the fuck up on this.

Please.

Brunty? You had about 185 near accidents yet as you drove your VIOS over the past couple years?

Places to Visit in Thailand – Northeast

Rice field in Northeast Thailand, Khun Han, Sisaket
Land spreading out so far and wide! Oh darling I love you but, give me that country side... duh duh duh duh dutdut

We had a great time touring the northeast Thailand (Isaan, Isan, esarn) region for almost two months. There is something cool about the northeast – and it’s nothing to do with all the amazing sites and scenery you can see there – though there are a few things worth checking out – like Huai Chan Waterfall in Sisaket province. We were there the day Cambodia was firing artillery across the border – but didn’t hear anything. It’s right on the border with Cambodia.

We saw Nong Khai, Khon Kaen, Udon Thani, Korat, Ubon, Sisaket, Surin, and some baan nawk places in Sisaket where my some of my wife’s family live. All in all it was a great place to visit – and I highly recommend it if you have spousal relatives up that way. Go for the adventure.

The people in the northeast of Thailand are real gems… If your spouse comes from a decent family you’ll see the best Thailand has to offer. If your spouse comes from a family of bar workers – well, you’ll see some of the worst people in Thailand and you won’t have that great a time shelling out cash for sick buffalos, hospital visits, new cars, and short-term loans that are never payed back. Luckily I didn’t have to deal with any nonsense… they took care of me and I had an amazing and restful vacation for over a month and a half.

I’ve read somewhere that less than 2% of all foreign tourists make it to the Isaan region – even to stop in any of the cities. Isaan is a giant place – and there IS a lot to see. There are waterfalls, mountain areas, the border with Laos can be fun for a day or 2… There are lakes for fishing or riding paddle boats on them… fish aquariums… even Sisaket has a well put together fish aquarium now. Entrance fee was dirt cheap – I think even I payed only 30 THB.

Huai Chan Waterfall in Northeast Thailand - Sisaket Province near Khun Han

There are cultural things to see – morlam laos dancers and great places for som tam, gangleeung, and more… The chicken in the northeast is always better – less fatty, because they use free-roaming chickens for the most part. The som tam is the best. The spice in the Ubon / Sisaket area is the hottest in the nation that I’ve had so far. I always ask for Pedt Silopsilai – so spicy I fall down into a coma. Only in Sisaket do they take that literally as a challenge.

So, basically the best reason to visit the northeast is because you haven’t been before, and the people are great.

Go have a look, see what you’re missing. Chances are you’ll go right back to where you were staying before, but, it’s worth a look so you can appreciate what you have. That’s what it did for me – as well as make me miss the place a bit.

Amazing Places to Visit – Wat Larn Kuad

Bottle temple in Sisaket, Thailand at Wat Larn Kuad (Million Bottle Temple)
Bottles at Wat Larn Kuad - Million Bottle Temple in Sisaket, Thailand

Wat million bottle – is a wat in Thailand’s Sisaket province that was built using a lot of bottles. Whether it’s a million or not, I don’t know. I’m guessing 1.5 to 2 million. The place is absolutely covered in bottles.

I’ll have a video up of it in a few days or weeks – depending when I get some fast internet.

Go south to Khun Han from Sisaket following 221 to 2111 (shortcut). Once in Khun Han go almost to the roundabout and turn right at the school. Go down that alley about 150 meters and make a left. Go 100 m and make a right into the temple grounds.

A cool place to have a look at. They get a decent amount of foreigners. While I was there I saw 3 farangs with 3 bargirl girlfriends or wives that took them there.

You know bargirls… tattoos, dressing slutty at a temple…

Thailand Honda Jazz CVT Transmission Problems + Solution

Thailand has the Honda Jazz, called Honda Fit in USA
Honda Jazz in Thailand

I’ve been driving a 2006 Honda Jazz for the last couple of days. There is a vibration between 0 and 15kph that is unnerving. I looked it up – there are about 40 people in one southeast Asia forum online having the same problem.

If you too have this problem – it is one of two things:

1. CVTF – You need to change the CVT fluid. It MUST be HONDA fluid. The fluid is about 900 THB per liter. You’ll need about 7 liters to flush your old slush out and get the new life-giving slush in there. Pray that your problem is this fluid because the alternative costs 10 times that.

2. Start Clutch – between 0 and 8 kph Honda created a special “start clutch”. This thing dies quickly over a short time in start – stop and jackrabbit starts. Cost? Over $2,000 USD. For some Hondas the company is replacing them for free as they have finally admitted there is a problem. But, if you have a pre-2003 model – they are not. That’s the way I understood it from the people writing in the forums – so it maybe off a bit.

The Honda Jazz in Thailand gets like 20 kilometers per liter if you’re very careful. If you drive regularly – 16-17km per liter. That’s about half what a Suzuki Raider 150R gets you (motorbike). It’s also about half what a Honda Wave 125 will give you. That’s amazing. It’s not worth a $2,000+ dollar fix after driving 17,000 km though.

If you have a Honda Jazz automatic with iDsi engine – and haven’t changed your CVT fluid to HONDA’s brand in the last 20,000 km if you live outside BKK, or 10,000 km if you live IN Bangkok – go now and do it before you lose your transmission.

Update 7/2012:

We’ve driven 32,000km since the last CVT fluid flush and now the shuddering problem between 1-15kph has returned. It is almost unnoticeable right now, but I notice. We’ll take it in to get another flush.

There is a Honda Service Bulletin that extends the warranty for this issue for 7 years / 140,000KM. The number of the Bulletin is: 2010-12-018. I cannot find it online ANYWHERE since Honda has now password protected their service bulletins at the one source that used to have them.

The full process for flushing your fluid and getting your Honda Fit / Jazz to run normally again is:

1. Drain old CVT fluid.
2. Add Honda CVT fluid (original ONLY).
3. Drive up to 30 kph and coast down to zero – about 6 times.
4. Replace fluid AGAIN.
5. Drive up to 30 kph and coast down to zero – 6 times.
6. Some have said to do a CVT recalibration you can disconnect your battery for a few minutes. The next few times you drive, your transmission resets. This has helped some other people with Honda Jazz transmission problems.

The Honda Jazz iDsi engine has 8 spark plugs – instead of 4. Honda engineers tried to use up ALL the fuel that hits the engine – they pretty much succeeded.

The interior is awesome. There are many ways to fold the seats and get extra room. The dash is futuristic. The air is cold and there is enough power for easy driving and passing.

If you have a Honda Jazz – let me know if you’re having the vibration problem and what you did about it.

Thanks.

[photo by flickr.com member, jiangbabe]