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Motorbike 'commute' Bangkok to Hua Hin?


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What's the consensus on riding a motorbike (650cc) from Bangkok to Hua Hin? I live between the two, and commute weekly. I don't have to travel at rush hour / peak times / weekends / at night. And I've read a fair few 'wouldn't do it' along with an equal number of 'fine if you're careful'. Having a car in Bangkok isn't viable, so am considering using the bike instead, as the bus just doesn't cut it in terms of flexibility / freedom of choice, and the train...well, of those that know, it's a gruelling 5hr slog (& thats's without delays). I get that it's a risk - isn't it always? so what makes the difference between 'yeah but be sensible' and 'woah, wouldn't risk it'? Is it solely a case of personal choice, b'cos trying to get useful, informative input seems like a constant dilemma of reading between (narrow) lines...

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Where in Bangkok? since bikes can't go up expressway, the route into town is limited to Rama2 rd, then Rama3 bridge or Sathorn rd, and those route at rush hour you can't even filter between the cars

 

If you got there before 7am it's alright, but after that it's pretty bad on Rama 2 whole day until late in the evening where you'll be mincemeat to the trucks so you really can't beat the rush hour, and on bikes using the middle lanes on rama 2 when the traffic is clear at night you'll be pulled over by the police checkpoints since you're not supposed to be on them.

 

I had to commute from Bangkok to Mahachai not even halfway to Huahin and it's a drag, but then Rama 2 bares the brunt of all the worst traffic, 

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In between, meaning half way between the 2 ... to Bkk sucks, to HH not too bad.

 

It's as safe as your experience and driving is.  Is the 5 hrs round trip, to each destination from your home ?

 

Certainly wouldn't be my choice.  If an option, I'd stay at the one I need to be near.  Use the train to get to the other, possible buy a small used scooter to use once there, if actually needed. 

 

Depending what 'weekly' means.

 

 

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5 hours on a motorbike? your hands are going to be cramped just from braking/clutch, I could barely do 1 hour commutes on a motorcycle because my hand would cramp from having to keep using the clutch/brake in traffic, although I lived in a country with no lane splitting so maybe thats not an issue here.

 

I personally would never take that trip for a few reasons 

- the longer you're on the road on a motorbike the chances of accident increases

- if it rains you're screwed, I dont know how Thai's do it, when I used to ride a motorcycle and it rained, it felt like being hit by rocks with each rain drop

- just the trip itself is going to be boring, Elon Musks idea for AI driving was to allow the rider to waste less time commuting, I find this to be true, a lot of time wasted on driving, which is why I just take taxi's instead of buying a motorbike. 

- hand cramps

 

I read online its about a 2.5h commute by car, which actually isn't that bad, but I wouldn't do 5 hours

Edited by dj230
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there are special express trains, doing in 3h 24 minutes with only 4 stops, but about 500b (still might be cheaper than petrol).

Possibly the best option.

departure from hualampong 7:50 am, return about 3pm. But I also see this rapid express returning at 2:18 am 

There are also many others, slower. Possibly even nigh sleepers 

Edited by internationalism
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And then there is the rain.  After an hour or two of it coming down in buckets . . .

 

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I just dont like to ride in BKK, outside ok, and the rain you have proper raindress for, make sure you have a proper helmet that doesnt fog up, and a pain in the heat as well when get stuck. Except from that, It would kill my spirit for riding have to commut every day in that traffic. 
 

Why not move closer to work, and spend some quality riding in the weekends instead? 
 

However, you do not have to do it every day right? One way no traffic two hours ride, with heavy traffic 2:45 ish depending where in BKK

Edited by Hummin
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In the top 10 worst road deaths per Capita in the world. >80% of those deaths are Motos. Risk/Reward is poor. 

Edited by RayOday
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I passed that stretch on an automatic Forza once, worst part of my 1000 km trip, forget doing that regularly, you need a couple of days to recover...! Horrible road, horrible traffic... 

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11 hours ago, dj230 said:

5 hours on a motorbike? your hands are going to be cramped just from braking/clutch, I could barely do 1 hour commutes on a motorcycle because my hand would cramp from having to keep using the clutch/brake in traffic, although I lived in a country with no lane splitting so maybe thats not an issue here.

 

The OP said the train is a 5 hr journey.

On a bike it would be the same as a car or quicker given that a bike can usually move when vehicular traffic is at a standstill. 


 

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Why is a car untenable? I have been trying to decide whether to buy a bike myself but no matter which way I spin it in my mind, riding around Bangkok seems like more trouble than its worth in regards to heat, traffic and risk. My last bike was a 650cc BMW and I absolutely love riding but I cannot imagine riding that 650cc through prime traffic here. I live in Bangkok and I own a motor vehicle and even driving is a hassle, so I am hoping and planning on move out of Bangkok in order to take up my riding passion again. I just need to sell my condo first LOL, not great timing for that.

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23 minutes ago, Freddy42OZ said:

On a bike it would be the same as a car or quicker given that a bike can usually move when vehicular traffic is at a standstill. 

650cc is far from small/cut thru traffic size.  Be knockin' on a few mirrors.

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12 minutes ago, KhunLA said:

650cc is far from small/cut thru traffic size.  Be knockin' on a few mirrors.

Width is not a major issue...  The adventure style bikes usually have wider bars, nearly all other bikes are are the same width (or very close to scooters). 

 

BMW G310GS – 34.7”

Honda CB500F – 30.625”

Kawazaki Ninja 650 – 28”

Suzuki VStrom – 30”

Honda PCX – 29”

Yamaha Aerox – 27.5” 

 

I rode a BMW around Bangkok (ADV) even in gridlock traffic the width didn’t catch me out much. There were a couple of occasions where I was forced to stop due to width, but most of the time when it was that ‘tight’ bikes in front had already stopped. 

 

The main issues with that commit are: 

- Concentration for that length of time is in the heat is quite an ask.

- Elevated risk of mistake and accident when someone does something stupid and concentration has drifted.

- Weather (we’re in the tropics, it rains regularly).

- Heat - You’d have to gear up (jacket / pants / boots etc) its just too hot as soon as you enter BKK traffic.

- Lots of trucks on that road (elevated brake failure / lap-nai / flookwittery risk). 

- Night riding - visibility, tireless, other drivers poor eyesight.

 

Up to Halfway from Hua Hin is fine.

But from 1 hr outside BKK into BKK is no, it just gets too busy with drivers ‘hustling’ to get past the car in front. 

 

 

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13 hours ago, marvw said:

Is it solely a case of personal choice, b'cos trying to get useful, informative input seems like a constant dilemma of reading between (narrow) lines.

It's fine if you like riding a bike and the weather is fine.

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2 hours ago, KhunLA said:

650cc is far from small/cut thru traffic size.  Be knockin' on a few mirrors.

In narrow streets, like for example Sukhumvit in Bangkok, for sure, sometimes you even get stuck there with a small bike. But big bikes are actually not as wide as some people might anticipate, you still fit through quite a lot of gaps.

Filtering through traffic from Bangkok to Hua Hin is no problem on a bigger bike, so you will probably be faster than with a car.

 

14 hours ago, dj230 said:

5 hours on a motorbike? your hands are going to be cramped just from braking/clutch, I could barely do 1 hour commutes on a motorcycle because my hand would cramp from having to keep using the clutch/brake in traffic, although I lived in a country with no lane splitting so maybe thats not an issue here.

More like 2.5 hours. You can replace the clutch with a hydraulic clutch, makes it a bit easier.

For regularly riding in city traffic a motorcycle with a manual clutch does of course just suck. If I would live in Bangkok but wanted a motorbike and not a scooter, I would get something like a Honda NC750X with DCT.

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In 2020/2021 I rode Victory Monument to/from Hua Hin at least 6 times. This on my ADV150 which can keep up with most but the fastest cars and pick-ups on the route. A 650 would be a lot easier. First time was quite nerve wracking (but I had only recently bought the bike). Getting out of the city not difficult but very hot when stopped at lights. Section along highway 35 (Rama 2) busy and ongoing construction. Lots of truck traffic too with all the factories. After Samut Songkhram things get easier and calmer. None of it could be described as relaxing. Would not want to have to do it as a regular commute. Heat is bearable but doing that in the rain, at night or on a schedule? No thanks!

Edited by soi3eddie
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Safety and comfort of driving VS fun of riding. How do you balance between the two will come down to individual preferences. Do it a couple of times you will then figure out for yourself. If you love riding a 650 at highway speeds then it’s worth doing it. How often? I dunno!!!

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4 hours ago, FriendlyFarang said:

More like 2.5 hours. You can replace the clutch with a hydraulic clutch, makes it a bit easier.

For regularly riding in city traffic a motorcycle with a manual clutch does of course just suck. If I would live in Bangkok but wanted a motorbike and not a scooter, I would get something like a Honda NC750X with DCT.

I definitely agree.... having to feather the clutch in stop-go slow traffic while lane splitting and filtering gets tiresome...   As you said and auto-clutch with DCT is a much better option and the storage options on the NC750X make it an extremely practical motorcycle...   but, you have to also get over its looks too !!!...  

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Does it have to be Huahin? any beach town on the other side of the bay from Bang Saen to Sattahip is reachable to Bangkok within 2 hours on a bike even if you can't go on the motorway, the Bangna road's bad but not as bad as Rama 2

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Just get a private taxi for 1500-2000 baht, outside of traffic jam, and have no worries or stress at all.

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Hi Marvw,

 

I have done this route a few times.  Other posters have said some good points, forgive me if I repeat some things.
It is doable, but on a weekly basis, could be a mental struggle, and physical as well.  So I question the sustainability, even in a young person.

 

That said, for sure avoid doing this route at night.  Lighting is horrible to non-existant in some places.  I am blessed somehow with good eyesight, but even I struggle at night.  Plus many vehicles big and small with no lights, you would definitely be playing Road Roulette.

 

So ya, I would agree with other posts, avoid (busy) traffic times, as will be hot.  Plus Rama 2 and beyond are busy with that construction, so need some patience.  So ya, pick your spots, and good luck.

 

--M.

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I would consider a additional cheap one bedroom apartment instead of commuting often to and back from BKK.

 

 

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on a 650 the ride should be quite enjoyable. I assume you aren't in a great hurry?

I'd make sure I've got google maps and a plan that avoids routes that M/Cs can't use - It could be a good opportunity to explore the lesser used routes. Once you get to Samuk Songkram, leave the main road and just follow the coast down.... smaller roads, it's really nice!

 

M/Cs are counted as "vulnerable" road users. 73% of all road deaths are riders or passengers of M/Cs, but this doesn't have to be you. Even on a bike that can keep up with highway speeds you need to bear in mind that M/Cs are not very visible - a simple lamppost by a junction can obscure a motorcycle for several meters before the junction and Thailand has a lot of poorly designed road furniture.

 

Those narrow lanes on the sides of road aren't motorcycle lanes, they are hard shoulders. Some roads even have M/C lies - although I've never used them.

 

Of course the main roads have a lot of service roads running along side too.

Edited by Thunglom
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there's only about 70-80km of coastal route you can take off the main road between Samut Songkram and Cha-Am

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