Posts Tagged ‘toyota’

Building A Private Test Track To Pass The Thai Practical Driving Test

Back To The Real Thai Driving Test Track

The next day (Saturday) after failing the Thai driving test we went back to the test centre to measure up the test track. My intention (which I have done) was to build a full-sized replica test track in our garden.

But first we had to go back to the real Thai Driving License Test Center to measure it up.

Being Saturday the normal entrance gates were closed. So we had to find another way in.

Photo of Way In Test Track Thai Driving Test Centre

Way In Test Track Thai Driving Test Centre

Photo Of Alan At The Thai Driving License est Centre

Alan At The Thai Driving License est Centre

Next I took photos of the dreaded Stop Lines.

Photo of Actual Thai Driving Test Stop Lines 3

Actual Thai Driving Test Stop Lines 3

Image of Actual Thai Driving Test Stop Lines 2

Actual Thai Driving Test Stop Lines 2

Image of Actual Thai Driving Test Stop Lines 1

Actual Thai Driving Test Stop Lines 1

Then photos of the reversing lane and the reversing box.

Photo of Thai Driving Test Reversing Box

Thai Driving Test Reversing Box

Image of Thai Driving Test Reversing Lane

Thai Driving Test Reversing Lane

Image of Thai Driving Test Reversing Box

Thai Driving Test Reversing Box

Plans And Dimensions Of A Real Thai Car Driving License Test Track

Below are actual scanned copies of my notebook showing the measured shape and dimensions of the actual Thai Driving License Test track for cars at the test center in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand.

These sketches will be invaluable to you if you ever need to build your own version of the Thai Driving License driving course.

The first sketch is the long reversing lane and the parallel parking box.

Image of Test Track Plans Dimensions - Reversing and Parking

Test Track Plans Dimensions – Reversing and Parking

The second sketch shows the Stop marks.

Image of Thai Driving License Test Track Plans and Dimensions - Stopping

Thai Driving License Test Track Plans and Dimensions – Stopping

Components For The Private Thai Driving License Test Track

On the way home we had to buy all the components and materials to build my own Thai driving license test center.

Photo of Test Track Thai Driving Test Poles

Test Track Thai Driving Test Poles, Paint

Poles to go into plant pots and cement mixed with stones from the drive to make concrete to hold the poles on the pots.

Photo of Cement For Poles For Thai Driving License Test Track

Cement For Poles For Thai Driving License Test Track


Photo Finished Poles For Thai Driving License Test Track

Finished Poles For Thai Driving License Test Track

Experience On The Thai Driving License Test Track

And  now for some photos of the finished private Thai driving license test track.

Photo of Thai Driving License Test Track

Thai Driving License Test Track


Image of Test Track -Thai Driving Test Stop Lines

Test Track -Thai Driving Test Stop Lines

Test 1 Reversing Into The Box

As I said earlier I learned that this manouver is so tight and so difficult that you have to find every inch of space available.

You have to put the car hard on the left side (nearside) so that the wheels are a gnat’s whisker away from the base of the posts.

Then you have to start turning about half a car’s length from the box carefully watching the front wheels as the car’s bonnet pushes out towards the posts.

By the way in our car the Toyota Vigo Pickup, there is no chance to turn in the seat and look through the rear window as you would in a normal car. No, everything has to be observed through the wing mirrors plus leaning ot of the window to see the front wheels.

And once you’re in the box the challenge is not over. You have to get out again!

And that’s almost as difficult because you have to trace the car’s path into the box in order to get out again without clipping a post base.

Test 2. Stopping on the Lines

My technique on my test track is to drive until you can no longer see the yellow line then drive further until where you thing it is is in line with the wing mirror.

I have only succeeded once and my re-test is in two days time.



Getting A Thai Driving License – The Driving Test

I’m out this morning in our Toyota Vigo Hilux pickup getting some practice for my This driving license test this afternoon.

I could find more interesting and enjoyable things to do on Friday afternoons but heh it’s got to be done.

It’s years since I drove the pickup and I never did any serious or close-up reversing. The truck is just too big and visibility too poor to do anything but basic reversing.

But the Thai driving tests requires you to reverse into a car parking spot.

Under the Thai driving laws you are supposed to do that with the wheels not more than 250 mm from the curb. I don’t know yet if that is a requirement of this afternoon’s test but I’m practicing it all the same.

I can just about manage it now but not at any particular longitudinal position. If i had a s,all car it would be a piece of cake. I have read on various websites that you can hire a car just for the test on the day for 100 Baht and if that’s available I’ll probably do that.

So today it’s do a bit of typing here, go practice reversing, do a bit in the workshop, practice reversing etc.


Look At These Photos From Our Retirement House Build Project In Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand, And It’s Clear Why Kanyah Sacked The Thai Builder

It’s so obvious from the photos below why Kanyah terminated the contract with our Thai builder who was supposed to build our dream retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand, that you almost don’t need any commentary from me.

The builder has installed the wooden walls on the second floor of our house before the concrete beams and columns have been completely rendered. In fact only one or two columns have been rendered, the remainder are very rough and in the ‘as cast’ condition as you can see.

With the wooden walls in place it will be impossible to go back and render the walls and to paint them.

Why has the builder done this and not had the walls completely rendered and painted before he installed the wooden walls?

That is a mystery. And if you scroll down the page you’ll see why, after I have looked at the builder’s “Working Schedule” (we call it a Construction Programme in the U.K.) it becomes even more of a mystery.

He Was Dead Wrong In Underestimated Kanyah’s Determination

I had complained passionately to Kanyah when I was in Pakchong a few weeks ago, as reported on the “Thailand Retirement House Build Plans Dashed” post, that she was not taking suffient interest in the quality of the builders work and was letting the builder get away with it.

My rants and raves in Thailand must have had some effect on her because in this issue over the walls being installed before the concrete columns were rendered she has really dug her heals in and resisted the builders attempts to ignore her demands that the work be done properly and in the correct sequence.

Kanyah and her nephew, Jalan, had complained to the builder that he should finish the rendering before putting up the wood walls. but he ignored them and put the wood walls up on all four sides of the house.

Kanyah insisted that he take down the walls and do the rendering before putting the walls up. No move from the builder so she kicked him off site – permanently! And she didn’t pay him a single Baht more. In fact we had already paid him for far more than he had completed.

Kanyah has found a new builder who will be removing all the wooden walls and rendering the columns and beams before putting them back.

Now, let’s look at the photos and I’ll explain the problem in detail in case you aren’t familiar with rendered concrete.

Image Showing How Rough The Concrete Columns Are Before Rendering

Showing How Rough The Concrete Columns Are Before Rendering

Above, it’s clear to see that the column and beam have not been rendered. The column has had the first stage preparation – rendering the corners – ready for main rendering. Refer to the sketch on Concrete Rendering Causes Thai Builder To Be Sacked From The Thailand Retirement House Build for details of what I mean by this.

Image of Column Rendering Complete Not complete But Wooden Walls Installed

Column Rendering Complete Not complete But Wooden Walls Installed

Above, it looks as though this beam and column have been rendered, but the adjacent beam has not. Even so, the rendering should have been painted before installing the wooden wall planks.

Everything You Wanted To Know About Rendering cast-In-Situ Concrete In Thailand – But Were Afraid To Ask…

I appreciate that on this page I am basically assuming that you know what ‘rendering’ is and how and why it is done in Thailand. If you aren’t sure then could could visit the Concrete Rendering Causes Thai Builder To Be Sacked From The Thailand Retirement House Build Post where everything about cement rendering of cast conrete beams, columns and concrete block walls is explained in detail, fully illustrated with sketches and photographs.

Image of Wooden Walls Installed Before Concrete Beam Rendering Complete

Wooden Walls Installed Before Concrete Beam Rendering Complete

Above, you can see how rough the concrete beam is before rendering.

Actually, wood itself looks quite nice in these photos.

Image of Wooden Walls Installed Before Column Rendering Complete

Wooden Walls Installed Before Column Rendering Complete

Above, a clear contrast btween a rendered column and one that is not. It will be impossible to render this column without taking the wooden walls down, which our new builder will have to do.

The Builder’s “Working Schedule” (Termed a “Construction Programme” in the U.K.)

Before we signed the construction Contract in January, 2011, the builder handed us his planned “Working Schedule” (Termed a “Construction Programme” in the U.K.) which is not referred to in the Contract and does not form part of it.

However, there is also a Payment Schedule comprising two up-front advances and 10 staged payments. The stage payments do relate to the tasks listed in the “Working Schedule”, where each task has a sequential ID. At the time we had paid him for Stage 6, although I knew that he had not completed all the work in Stage 6. From what Kanyah was telling me I was assuming that the wood walls were in Stage 7 and that he was doing that before finishing Stage 6 so that he could get paid for Stage 7 even though he had not completed Stage 6!

When I started to write this Post I had not checked the”Working Schedule” to see what the builder’s planned sequence of work was. Now here it is:-

Tasks for “Working Schedule” Stage 6:-

ID Task Name My Comment Progress
21 Install wood frame walls That’s what he is doing now 50% complete
22 Install door, window Window frames installed Doors not purchased
23 Bamboo mat wall This should be the very last item of work! Mat not purchased
24 Render Wall, Plaster This should be before Task ID 21, “Install wood frame walls” Part complete

Above, you can see that I consider the sequence of working to be illogical. Surely all the finishes (rendering and paint) that are going to be covered by the wood walls should be completed before the wood walls are installed? I think so.

Bear in mind that we have paid for all of Stage 6 and not much of it has been completed. Stage 6 payment is 155,000 Baht!

Tasks for “Working Schedule” Stage 10 – the last Stage:-

ID Task Name My Comment
30 Power Lines, plugs This should be before Bamboo Mat
And so on down to…
37 Paint This should be before Task ID 21, at least for the concrete hidden by the wood walls

So now I can understand why the builder was reluctant to follow Kanyah’s request to have the walls rendered before the wood walls were installed – he hadn’t intended it that way.

Nevertheless, his sequence of works is very strange. I assume it was produced very quickly and without a great deal of care. After all it was produced before we had signed a Contract so the builder was spending his own time  making it in the hope of winning the project, so i can expect a few mistakes. What is important is whether at the time when Kanyah had the issue of the wall/rendering sequence with the builder what was his logic for adhering to his construction sequence?

This Is Not The End Of The Story

Because Kanyah had told me that the wood wall installation was in Stage 7, whereas from the above it clearly is in Stage 6, and the builders working schedule shows wood walls being installed before finishing the rendering, I need to get back to Kanyah again and put these questions to her. When (if!) I get any clarity I’ll post it here.

Kanyah Buys The Very Last Material To Be Installed – Bamboo Mat

Image of Toyota Pickup Truck Filled With Bamboo Mat To Line The Walls

Toyota Pickup Truck Filled With Bamboo Mat To Line The Walls

In the picture above, buried under the plastic protection is a pile of bamboo mats that we will be using to line the walls and ceiling of the house.

Kanyah, that’s her standing beside the Toyota Pickup, seems very pleased with her purchase which she made whilst staying at her nephew’s house in Khampaeng Phet – taking a break until the new builder is ready to start work on our house.

Now it’s fine that Kanyah is taking an interest in the finishes of the house and it demonstrates her vision of seeing the house complete, which will keep her going through what will undoubtedly be difficult times ahead, notwithstanding the new builder.

Seems Like Out-Of-Sequence Working Is The Norm In Thailand

But the bamboo mat is the very last item to be installed in the house. It goes on like a wallpaper after all the other work is complete including the electrical wiring. So this bamboo mat is just going to sit in the workshop for three months, getting in the way, and gathering dust, insects and no doubt mildew as this is the rainy season.

A nice buy, Kanyah, but completely out of sequence. You’ll be out buying furniture next!

OMG what have I said?

Our Retiring In Thailand Project Seems To Be In Deep Trouble

This is just a quick text update on out retiring in Thailand house-build project. Since I arrived here in Pakchong on Friday 22 April, 2011, we (myself and my Thai wife, Kanyah) seem to have been very busy, but not accomplished much.

In fact the house build project seems to be in serious trouble. (I say ‘seems’ because you can never quite get to the truth about things here in Thailand.)

I have taken a ton of videos and some photos here in Thailand to show you and I’ll start uploading them to the website over the next few days. In the mantime here is a quick synopsis of what we have been up to in the last 7 days.

  1. Day 1. Friday 22 April arrived in Thailand 1500 local time and met by family and friends at the Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport. Went to Kanyah’s daughter’s house (her daughter’s name is Daeng) in Bangkok for an hour, picked up some of Kanyah’s belongings and then driven to Pakchong in our Toyota Hilux Viga pickup by Kanyah. That journey normally takes two hours but we wasted two hours trying to get out of Bangkok and on to the road to Pakchong! ‘They’ blamed the new roadworks and bridge build that was going on as the reason they they couldn’t find the way..All I know is that after spending 18 hours travelling to Thailand I wasn’t very happy at spending two hours trying to get out of Bangkok and then another three hours driving to Pakchong…
  2. .

  3. Day 2. Saturday 23 April. Visited the Thailand retirement house build plot and met the builder. Discussed a whole load of issues then went to the wood merchant to agree on the wood for the walls and floor and then to Home Pro to select doors and sanitaryware.

    Buying Wood For The Wooden Floors from The Wood Merchant In Pakchong (Pakchong), Thailand
    Before we went to the wood merchant, I had a look at the few lengths of wood on site. The wood was tongue-and-groove and quite narrow and thin. Many of the planks had large areas of discolouration - white colour – which even when stained still remained noticeably lighter than the darker areas of the wood. Not at all what I was expecting.

When we arrived at the wood merchant in Pakchong I must admit I was most disappointed by the lack of variety and poor quality of the wood available. I have learned a lot bout the kinds of hardwoods in Thailand and will do a separate article on wood and the hardwoods of Thailand and South East Asia later. (I’m talking about woods like Teak (obviously) Mai Makah, Mai Pradoo and many others.

I expected to see all these woods at the wood merchant, but was told that no, these woods are not available in Thailand. In fact the only wood they had was “Mai Malay” – a hard redwood from Malaysia. The wood offered was well undersized (1″ by 6″ was specified by my Thai Architect on the house plans), more like 5/8″ instead of 1″ when I measured it. O.K. I know that 1″ is nominal and sawn size and that the planed size is less, but 5/8″? Somebody is pulling a fast one here.

Many of the planks were bent (in the horizontal plane) and had the white discolouration of the planks that I saw back at the site.

After much complaining (by me)  I selected a short (about 2 m long) piece of wood that looked half decent and decided that that would be “the standard or the “sample”. Only wood up to “the standard” would be accepted. Having agreed the type of wood we left for the site with me carrying the sample piece of wood. On the way out we were asked to pay for the wood! And we paid. Not the builder – us!

Anyway, here are some photos of the wood:-

Image of Pakchong House Floorboards Sample 1

Pakchong House Floorboards Sample 1

Above, the “Approved” floorboard alongside unacceptable planks.

Image of Image of Pakchong House Floorboards Sample 2

Image of Pakchong House Floorboards Sample 2

Above, a close up of the floorboards.

The Biggest Problem Of All – Lack Of Progress

The main issue that we discussed was the program and that’s where we have a major problem. Our builder keeps asking for payment for the next stage of the build when he hasn’t even finished the stage that we have already paid him for. It seems he has a cash-flow problem and as a result our build is a couple of weeks behind program whereas a month ago I was reporting that we were two weeks in front of programme.

This is a major issue for us because the build is progressing very slowly and we wonder if this builder has any intention of actually finishing it.


It’s verging on the nightmare scenario where the builder walks away taking all the profit he has made up front and leaving you with a part-complete house to finish – if you can find another builder willing to take it on. More on this later when we have sorted it . (If we can)


  1. Day 3. Sunday 24 April. Can’t remember much about this day except that Jalan (Kanyah’s nephew who is checking the house build for us) had to go back to his farm in Kamphaeng Phet to make a claim for some government hand out to farmers and that his son, Suranat was driving to Pakchong so that he could take us to Hua Hin – Kanyah  (and myself) not knowing the way. By the way I insisted that this time I was going to get some real holiday (as in seaside and seafood) instead of just watching a house being built in Pakchong (or not being built as in our case).
  2. .

  3. Day 4. Monday 25 April. Suranat drove us to Hua Hin. Stopped at  Samut Songkhram, a coastal province at the mouth of the Mae Klong river to buy dried seafood stuff, like dried squid, dried prawns and Kapi. Found a very nice apartment to rent for 900 Baht/day for the three of us. Nice room and huge balcony where later had a seafood dinner.
  4. .

  5. Day 5. Tuesday 26 April. A day the beach at Hua Hin. Bloody hot. Apart from the heat, just like Blackpool (In U.K.) masses of deck chairs and beach vendors, including donkey rides! Had a seafood lunch (photos later) that had no taste and was very expensive. I went back to the apartment in the afternoon to get on the Internet and Kanyah and  Suranat went to Cha Am and bought  load of seafood for our evening meal. By this time I was sick of prawns and crab meat! Decided we had had enough of Hua Hin and would go back to Pakchong tomorrow.
  6. .

  7. Day 6. Wednesday 27 April. Suranat drove us to Pakchong. Stopped again at Samut Songkhram again to buy seafood stuff. This time they bought a load of Hoy Dong – a kind of fermented or preserved clam. Seafood lunch (again!).
    On arrival at Pakchong (a seven hour journey by the way including  breaks for shopping & lunch) went directly to the construction site. Our neighbor reported that nothing much had happened while we were away. A bit of wood delivered and some rendering – that’s all. The site labour had asked our neighbour for money to buy food because our builder had not paid them!  Had a beer or too and a joke with the neighbors listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival‘s “Have You Ever Seen The Rain” and others.
  8. .

  9. Day 7. Thursday 28 April. Waiting for Jalan to return from Kamphaeng Phet so that we can have a meeting with our builder and see how to progress the build. Finally met the builder late in the afternoon on site at our land in Pakchong and held an impromptu meeting.
    The meeting was held on site with with drawings and papers placed on a variety of  desks comprising various planks of wood covered in cement droppings,  a pile of wooden window frames, the drop-tail of our pick-up and so on. Not the kind of environment I am used to for site meetings in the UK. (Remember I am a professional engineer in the construction industry).


    The subjects discussed fall into two categories, one being various technical standards, materials and methods used in the build, and the other being the program and money. In short an agreement was reached on all subjects, although I conceded  on many of the issues and agreed to pay the builder 50,000 Baht towards buying wood for Stage 5 even though we had already paid 100% for Stage 5 and it was not complete. I’ll be posting more info on these discusions in the next post, but this is long enough already so I’ll wrap it up now.

  10. .

See you in the next post.

Collected The Toyota Pickup Yesterday

Just a quick update on buying a car in Thailand.

If you have read an earlier post on this Retiring In Thailand website where I describe how I went about buying a car in Thailand, you will know that we settled on a brand new Toyota Pickup (Toyota Hilux 4WD 2.5 D-4D HL2 Single Cab 2dr) for 550,000 Bhat. That included road tax and one years free insurance.

Well on that day almost a month to the day my wife paid a deposit of 100,000 Baht for the pickup to the Bangkok car dealer, due to be available for collection on the 15th March.

When she called them near to the time to ask about collection they confirmed that yes, the car (pickup) would be ready on the 15th. And so it was. But.

There’s always a but! For some unexplained reason she didn’t go to pick up the car until yesterday, 16th March. When I called her later on the 16th she had taken the pickup home and complained about some problems with the windows and keys!

When I here the word ‘problem’ coming out of Thailand my wallet gives a twitch and snuggles down deeper inside my pocket. ‘Problems’ always need money to sort them out…

Anyway, as she explained, the pickup when she collected it was provided with manual windows (wind up – wind down by hand0 and you had to lock each door with the key. Now when she was talking about locking doors, keys and problems, my first thought was that she had locked the keys inside the pickup.

No, it seems she asked the car dealer to change the windows to electric operation and the door locking to central locking, radio controlled type.

She said all that was done for ‘only 6,900 Baht.

The other thing she mentioned was that it was ‘a lovely colour’.

Explaining this to a friend later I made the comment that I didn’t understand why she hadn’t spotted those things when she first inspected the cars on sale in Bankok paid the deposit. His reply:- “Because she’s a women. She was probably more interested in the colour”. Well I did then tell him that her delight about the colour was one of the things she liked best about the pickup!

Anyway, seems she took possession of the car without too much hassle. I was worried how she was going to pay for the car – I didn’t think the idea of carrying and handing over 450,000 Baht in cash was very safe and asked her to get a debit card form her bank and pay using that. I still have to check with her what she dis in the end. Also she is taking some photo’s today of the car and I’ll post them and some information about the dealers address etc as soon as she emails them through to me.

So that’s a brief update on buying a car in Thailand.

Of course, it’s only about a Thai national buying a car in Bankok, Thailand, not how a farang can buy a car in Thailand.

For more information on why we decided to buy a brand new car in Thailand rather than a second-hand car please read the previous post on buying a car in Thailand.

New! Just Added – Complete Car Information And Photos

Today (18 March 2010) I have just created a new page on the website giving all the details of the Toyota Hilux Viga pickup we bought in Bangkok, Thailand.

There is a mass of information on that web page including a breakdown of the cost for the car itself and the extras, a full list of what was included in the price, the name and address of the car dealer and a few photographs.

This detailed information will be invaluable for anyone thinking about buying a car in Thailand.

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