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BANGKOK 23 May 2019 15:40
rick44

Were you caught up in endless backup on Road 348 (or any other Isan road) yesterday?

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Posted (edited)

To me it looked like the military stopped every vehicle going towards Bangkok, and checked every passenger.

 

They didn't seem to bother with people going the other way, even so it took me 90 minutes to travel the few kilometers up the mountains of Ta Phraya National Park and past the check-point at Nong Samet Military Base (Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/qhgGWUSiH882). People leaving Isan must have wasted hours.

 

So, anyone experience this, either yesterday or previous days? On this or other roads? And did you see how they checked the passengers?

 

I'm trying to find out if this was a one-off based on some kind of tip, or if they plan to check everybody going to Bangkok now, to try to prevent protests in the time before the crowning and the official election results are in (May 9)

 

 

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Edited by rick44

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I got backed-up on that notorious tight 'hill pass' through Tha Phraya on the previous Saturday - the day before National Election voting day.

 

But this was going south to north - I was returning from Bangkok to Isaan (and diverted south through Nakhon Nayok and Sakaeo province when traffic on Highway 1 indicated a strong likelihood of a 12 hour journey to Sisaket [normally 7 hrs]).

 

I have no idea what caused the 90 minute backup - with predictably the idiotically selfish Thai drivers filling the entirety of all lanes, so that southbound traffic could not get through either. I thought it must be a collision in the narrowness of the 'pass', but there was no evidence of such when eventually the cops got a grip on the lane-filling issue and traffic started to move slowly but steadily.

 

Now I've seen your post relating to experience 9 days later I suspect there may have been military or police checks on northbound traffic at top of the pass. Stupid or what, if that was the reason!

 

A few years ago when there was heavy flooding impacting the HwY 2+ Hwy 1 route we were stuck on the southern approaches to that pass for 4 hours plus. Eventually after 3 hours we were guided to a rest and rec place near Ta Phraya town and the BIB were telling us it was due to a lorry collision in the pass which rescue vehicles could not get to because - you guessed it - the <deleted> selfish Thai drivers had bunged up the width of the road on both approaches.

 

The Ta Phraya route between Isaan and Bangkok/Pattaya etc is a useful route when you know the HwY 2+ Hwy 1 route is likely to be hopelessly clogged. Public holidays and some holiday shoulder weekends. But it clearly is a bit of a gamble. Someone told me a couple of days ago in my local falang bar that the other option - Hwy 304 over the Kabinburi Hills has now completed its 4 laning over viaducts and thru a tunnel and flows smoothly. Damn it - I crossed over that route and decided carry on Ta Phraya when I saw the volume of traffic heading up for the hills and Korat at the traffic light intersection with Hwy 33 in the fringes of Meuang Kabinburi. I expressed surprised in the bar that the 304 upgrade has completed already - can anyone confirm if true and can anyone else confirm it is now a smooth flowing route (doesn't have to be fast over the top, provided it runs at a steady pace) even in heavy traffic?

 

Hopefully when the Bangkok to Korat toll highway is opened all these machinations will become a thing of the past - at a price. I just hope it is going to be a 120kph limit and not slowed down by a 90 limit and speed traps in the same way that Hwy 24 has almost become unusable now it's a potentially fast 4 lane structure, but littered with the easy-money BIB traps of the camera or roadside gang variety. Another 500 baht was wasted twixt Sankha and Prasat* on my outbound journey to Bangkok 14 days ago (limited myself to 98kph thereafter). Dontcha' just hate how speed traps in Thailand are all about revenue-raising and not at all about road safety?!

 

 

* I know about Prasat, but the cunning BIB had stuck a gang on the road nearer to Sangkha and on a wide open road with no warning flashing lights emanating from vehicles coming from the other direction.

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Thanks for the info SantiSuk. Most people think there are collisions causing the backups. Perhaps the Government likes it that way... A similar mountain pass over to Ranong in the south got widened to four lanes a few years ago. Nobody lives in Ranong (compared to Isan). They could widen route 348 if they wanted to.

 

I'll be asking around regarding 304, the tunnels have been in the works for years... Should be finished by now. 

 

Here is the option I often use: Pay 400 baht and go through Khao Yai National Park. Except for the speed bumps it is a good road and very few vehicles.

 

The camera traps are terrible. Travel at 90 kph is a joke. The government is looking in all the wrong places to reduce the road deaths. People die on motorcycles on smaller roads, not on the highways by going 120. But there is no way to prevent deaths on motorcycles, so to appear to be doing something, they reduce the speed on the highways... But I think the people will not stand for this. This has to stop at some point, there will be a social media uprising.

 

 

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SantiSuk Ref the 304: The tunnels are completed the road is great, going over the hill there is still work going on. But even in heavy traffic the traffic moves at a steady pace.

 

I did from Pattaya to Yasothon in 8.5 hours last week using the 304, this included 3 stops.

 

FD😀

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Thanks guys. Rick, I was contemplating Khao Yai last week as another option, after I looked at an old thread on yellow books/pink ID cards, which morphed at one point into a discussion on whether you can get through Khao Yai at the Thai rate with a pink card. One poster said he/she could from the southern end and another said he/she had had both a refusal and an acceptance at the northern end.

 

Probably not an issue for the future given that 304 now works well and if toll-road BKK to Korat is not extortionate and 120 kph'd.

 

 

Glad I haven't had a response (yet?) from the moral minority re driving faster than 90. Got that a few years ago in a similarly info-sharing thread on Isaan to BKK! [replied I had been driving at least a million clicks over the last 50 years including some pro driving and overland London to Delhi and back in m'youth, without an accident (other than a car park reversal at 3kph!), challenged the poster how about him/her?

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, SantiSuk said:

Thanks guys. Rick, I was contemplating Khao Yai last week as another option, after I looked at an old thread on yellow books/pink ID cards, which morphed at one point into a discussion on whether you can get through Khao Yai at the Thai rate with a pink card. One poster said he/she could from the southern end and another said he/she had had both a refusal and an acceptance at the northern end.

 

Probably not an issue for the future given that 304 now works well and if toll-road BKK to Korat is not extortionate and 120 kph'd.

 

 

Glad I haven't had a response (yet?) from the moral minority re driving faster than 90. Got that a few years ago in a similarly info-sharing thread on Isaan to BKK! [replied I had been driving at least a million clicks over the last 50 years including some pro driving and overland London to Delhi and back in m'youth, without an accident (other than a car park reversal at 3kph!), challenged the poster how about him/her?

I find if you stay below 110 the police do not bother you, I have passed the cameras at 110 and got waved through at the check point down the road, but I got a ticket for 113km/h out side Suwannaphum on the 202 on the way to Pattaya last week. Not complaining it was a fair cop....in fact I was surprised it was only 113....

 

FD😀

Edited by Fatdog
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hey guys; thanks for the heads-up on this. Were going to Rayong after that horrible water festival, can't remember what it's called!

I normally turn left at Nang Rong, stop overnight in Non Din Daeng then head down through Wattana Nakhon etc.

After your advices it'll be an overnight at the Korat Resort then the #304.

Thanks again

Chris

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58 minutes ago, Patriot said:

hey guys; thanks for the heads-up on this. Were going to Rayong after that horrible water festival, can't remember what it's called!

I normally turn left at Nang Rong, stop overnight in Non Din Daeng then head down through Wattana Nakhon etc.

After your advices it'll be an overnight at the Korat Resort then the #304.

Thanks again

Chris

Songkran. Normally 348 is quite a bit quicker, but it's a gamble, as you can see. But I suppose things could get screwed up on 304 as well. Tunnel closed for repairs... whatever. Google Maps didn't pick up on the horrible backup on 348, which was disappointing. I should have been warned and redirected!

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