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The Thai Driving license.

     On November the 1st, 2002 I got my Thai Driving license's for the car & the motor bike, up to now I have been using an international license. In order to get it there are a few wrinkles, first you have to get a doctor's letter sounds sensible enough. The doctor laid me down & took my blood pressure. That was that & the letters one for each where being produced. These cost 50 Baht each about $1.25 USD. Then for some obscure reason you need a letter for each from the Thai Immigration this cost 250 Baht each about $6.00 USD. This I guess you can just put down to taxation. Then there is the little photo's that was 200 Baht for a dozen so that was not to bad but I had a negative that I use for all the photo's required for various visa's that I need from time to time. I needed some of the visa photo's as well but they are too big for the license  & they could not be reduced for the purpose of the license or so I was told. If you are an expert at photography may be you could let me know it's a 35mm, negative. So I had to go & have a hair cut & more importantly a shave. The hairdresser cost 130 Baht but I have to say it was one of the worst shaves I have ever had so much so I will have to have another one next week. So I had the small photo for the license done. So as of Thursday night I had all the pieces together ready for a trip to the licensing come testing office on Friday. However there was a parcel for my friend Sam that had to be picked up on Friday & for sure that came first the license could always be done next week. However sometimes you get lucky & things fall into place, this was one of those days the pick up man came nice & early all being done & dusted by 9.30am, so the trip to see the license people was on after all. They have a new place on the Rayong road which is not far away, only about 15 minutes drive from my house. So I had all the bits that I thought I needed my passport, to do anything over here you need that, two lots of letters from the doctor & the immigration, and my international driving license. Now you know what it's like when you go to any government building there are queue's but there are different queue's for different things now in Thailand I have to give them there due, a great deal of signs, road signs included are in English as well but not so in the government offices. So I picked the smallest thinking well it's probably the wrong one but at least I won't have to wait long to get redirected to the right queue. Well my luck was really in this day as it just happened to be the right queue. The charming young lady looked at all the stuff That I had brought with me & decided it was sufficient, but & there is always a but I required 2 photo copies of just about everything there are no paperless offices in Thailand. This meant a short walk across the road to one on the many copying shops just over the car park on the other side of the road. This is the usual thing in Thailand anywhere around one of these places. If there is a need for a photo copy there will be someone with a shop providing just that, so this was achieved costing 40 Baht. I could have had my photo for the license taken there as well. So back to the lady behind the counter & low & behold she was still there you know what it's like with these government people sometimes you close your eye's to sneeze & there gone & you have to start the process all over again with a new body. However none of this today I was on a role. So now there was a written test for both the car & the bike two separate ones. To my great surprise the young lady that had shown me to one of the school boy seats produced an answer sheet in Thai but this was accompanied by the questions in English. The only thing you had to do was substitute the Thai symbol for A through to D. So I thought I can do this it's a piece of how your father etc, well Ok no I couldn't, I have been driving since 1968 & all the modern road signs are very similar in all the countries I have been to & that is a fair few. Anyway the questions where easy & I reckoned that I worked out all the correct answers but on a lot of them it looked as thought you had to give multiple answers like where do you not over take, in the UK I would have answered no to a,b,& d but here there was only one answer that was right. This gives you some clue as to why the slandered of driving in Thailand is so bad. Having completed the test thinking that I have done really well & was dying to know if I had got any wrong. I thought I have been driving for so long I just might have one or even two wrong.  Eventually one of the young ladies came over to take away my test paper, but I had already watched file being passed from desk to desk & the actual license being manufactured. Anyway the lady came back & I had 13 wrong out of 30 so this was a fail, I was thinking that I would have to go & find a book on Thai driving learn it & come back at a later date. Not so the young lady said would you like me to help you. The answer was of course yes but I had no idea what she had in mind at that time. She soon came back with the old paper marked with red dashes across all the right answers & a new paper that I just had to transfer the ticks too. This was repeated with the motor bike paper as well. Now I consider my self a good driver so I at least looked at the questions on the bike paper & I am sure glad I cheated, because the questions where in English but gibberish, one can only imagine translated from the Hebrew. Having completed both papers by cheating I had a pass rate she only gave me enough answers to get a pass therefore still allowing me to get some wrong but not enough to fail the test. So this came the time to pay while still in the class room she had told me that the licenses cost 500 Baht each & where valid for one year & that she would leave the bribe up to me. So I paid at the counter out side a total of 1300 Baht & considered I had had a very successful day.

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