No Way Around it…Buying A Car In Thailand (And Backstory)

In blog, family friends by Michael Michelini4 Comments

Seems Must Do It – Buying A Car In Thailand (And Backstory)

Been delaying this reality – but seems we must do it – buy a car here in Thailand. Moved out here in mid August last year (2018) and had the goal to get a private driver to take our kids back and forth to school each day as well as helping with some shopping trips.

It worked for a while, but there seems to be a high turnover and we got tired of always finding someone to take our kids to school.

Now we have moved our house twice already too, so that added to the complexity – but our newest place is pretty close to the school – but walking to school just isn’t possible (it is a 10 – 15 minute walk but you need to rush across 2 super highways like a person running across a country border.

We have been lucky to bump into some other families living in this same village (gated community) who have a car and their kids going to the same school – but here’s a crazy story I need to share.

Finding a family literally 1 block away from our complex with a daughter in the same school (well the next building over as she was in high school) it was like a dream come true. The father would drive to our door and toot the horn and kids would hop in. If my wife or I wanted to go with them or on the way back – no problem.

We arranged a 1,000 RMB monthly fee for this (they were a Chinese family – notice I’m using the past tense here now). And this went on smoothly through 2018.

Issue came up in our new year, we couldn’t reach them. Talking to them (well my wife) in Wechat, the wife there told Wendy that they had moved to another house and could no longer help with the driving to school anymore.

Which is fine, we can find ANOTHER option (been through a ton). But then Wendy told me something.

They borrowed 4,000 rmb from her (about 600 usd). She said they asked for it just before she flew to China for visa processing, and felt that if she didn’t loan this money, they may not agree to help with the kids school transportation or not be as happy about it.

I wish I knew about this.

Turns out, this family was borrowing money from other Chinese families and also delaying / not paying back.


So we got beat out of 600 bucks and dropped like a rock with our kid’s school transportation.

Wendy and I have been looking at other options, school bus seems crazy it costs more than Grab tax (Uber) and also they would pick up our kids first (at 7am) and drive them all around town picking up other kids, and then be the last ones to drop off (not sure what time, maybe 5pm or later?)

We found another Chinese family which has been much more legit feeling (so far – disclaimer!) but they have different schedules after school on certain days. They aren’t accepting a payment from us, we are helping out with the baby sitting and exchanging each other’s help today.

To take a Grab (Southeast Asia’ version of Uber) there and back – we have done that quite a few times actually. Seems such a waste. But it is CHEAPER than the school bus option. Yet it requires an adult to accompany them (I have a strict rule about my morning writing and morning work sessions) and is kind of clunky with communicating to a new driver twice a day about where to pick us up, drop us off, etc.



Man, this was the drawback of living out in a more remote outer part of Chiang Mai. But I thought we would get a private driver or school bus service and then just use Grab cars when needed.

Guess it is part of transitioning to a dad. Using Grab with a whole family has been kind of awkward. Funny to have them pick us up at the supermarket and we load up the trunk with groceries – not sure how common the Grab drivers see that.

I’ve always avoided buying a car, have only had one in 1998 when I bought a user Chevy S10 from my dad’s friend for 4,000 USD. Just seems like a waste of money, and just a waste of effort (fixing the car, parking the car, oil, etc).

Well, this is part of the transition to suburban life. Been getting better at working home alone day in and day out – hope you guys like it I am blogging more (thanks for noticing Dan Andrews!) and just “grinding” more as well.

Will keep you all posted – currently researching about car financing options, etc – Karsten’s blog on Thailand is amazing – and I recommend for those also looking to buy a car in Thailand check out their blog post.

Or me, I am just a daddy getting a daddy-mobile. Hatchback anyone? 😉

Related Posts


  1. Do you see yourself moving back to the US soon, Mike? Seems like suburban life would be easier to setup in the States vs. Thailand.

    Good luck!

    1. Author

      hey Jenny,

      Buying a car here would make it one step less likely to move back to the states – but i do understand your input – US does seem easier. Yet like my wife said – while the car stuff may be a hassle, a lot of the other parts of living here are more relaxed. Once we get a car then we can do some camping and check out the further outskirts of Thailand.

      So basically – planning to stay here at least 5 to 10 years.

      1. Very cool…Love your adventurous spirit Mike

Leave a Comment