Hitchhiking is hot again. It reminds me of my days on the road in Asia. I hitched from Bangkok to Singapore. I never did this before, it was trial and error. Thailand and Malaysia proved to an ideal playground.

Thailand

Lot’s of people drive pick-up trucks so they don’t mind transporting people in the back. Hitchhiking is not really common in Thailand, so some people don’t understand what you want from them. Once you get over that issue, they’re very happy to take you along. Language was a barrier. Lot’s of people don’t speak English, so I made signs in the local languages and that worked fine.
One day I got stuck in the back of a pick-up during Songkran. This is the national water festival. We drove into town and I was totally unprepared. Random people gave me a supersoaker so I had some armory to defend myself against wild Thai. My luggage didn’t survive the liters of water.

Malaysia

Forget about noisy and hot bus rides, I traveled in style. Mercedes’, bmw’s, all sorts of fancy cars took me along. People were very hospitable. They always bought me lunch, even if I insisted on paying. This is a great way of discovering the local cuisine. Most drivers feel very proud to introduce you to new dishes.
Somehow I always ended up with rich people who spoke excellent English. Indian truck drivers (there are lot’s of Indians in Malaysia) thought I had different intentions. A blonde woman waiting along the road was a pleasant and exotic surprise for them.


Why try it?

  • Socializing
    I learned a lot about the culture and religion by talking to people. It’s the best way to meet locals.
  • Off the beaten path
    You discover new places that are not in the guide books.
  • It’s free
    Although the bus rides are cheap, this way of traveling is free.
  • Adventure
    It’s much more adventurous than taking public transport, but above all: it’s great fun. You can organize little races with people you meet.

Downsides

  • Heat
    Waiting along the road side can be exhausting in hot temperatures.
  • Safety
    I didn’t have any negative experiences apart from a driver who was speeding through stormy weather, but you never know…
  • Smelly cat
    You get really sweaty and dirty.
  • You prostitute?

hitchhiking asia - thailand malaysia

hitchhiking asia - thailand malaysia

This guy bought us KFC. He figured that’s what foreigners eat… 🙂

hitchhiking asia - thailand malaysia
Staying hydrated. Malaysian ice-tea rocks.

hitchhiking asia - thailand malaysia

hitchhiking asia - thailand malaysia

Local noodle soup stall – best dumplings ever

hitchhiking asia - thailand malaysia

Driving to the border of Thailand and Malaysia

hitchhiking asia - thailand malaysia

Making a sign

hitchhiking asia - thailand malaysia

Roel trying to catch a ride at a toll booth

Songkran craziness

Arriving during Songkran… ooops

The result of spending Songkran in the back of a pickup truck


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Practical links: hitch hike & carpool sites

www.eurostop.be
www.blablacar.com
www.123envoiture.com
www.backseatsurfing.com