Homebound – Driving To Toyota Motor Thailand’s Assembly Plant (Ban Pho) During Songkran
Having spent three days in Bangkok during Songkran, we felt that it was time to venture a little further out for a quick “breakfast run”. Tollways linking from other provinces towards (and out of) Bangkok were free of charge from the first day of Songkran (Wednesday 13 April), at least till Monday the 18th of April – a nice touch given that these fees can be pretty hefty. *A drive from Bangkok to Pattaya costs around THB150 for toll fees alone, but you’ll benefit from roads that are of much better condition than those that run parallel to tollways.
This time round, instead of heading southeast (read about our trip to Rayong a week ago), we drove eastwards to Chachoengsao province, shooting past Suvarnabhumi Airport and went for a quick 2 hour drive (both ways) to grab some pastries. The journey was a mix of straight stretches from the elevated tollway, tapering off to narrow streets flanked by padi fields.
We reached our first destination – Pu Ka A Bakery. Apparently this place is famous for its triangular-shaped pandan cakes stuffed with generous coconut slices. The carpark was already half filled at 9 am, by those we reckon who want to return to Bangkok before the post-Songkran jam piles up.
Now that we’ve settled our tea breaks for the week, we made a quick dash back home. This time, Google Maps alerted us to a “megafactoy” just opposite the bakery. Toyota Motor Thailand’s Assembly Plant (Ban Pho) I believe is one of three factories in Thailand. This specialises in assembly, and after some Googling, my car could very well have rolled out from this factory three years ago!
And I wouldn’t be surprised if Toyota cars bound for the local market have vehicles tested within this factory’s vicinity. At least from my experience with the Yaris, the suspension soaks up potholes the size of craters well. There’s still much to be desired when tollways make way for twisty roads though – the car does not tempt you to embark on corner carving activities. I had to take it slow, and signal to allow raging Ford Ranger / Isuzu D Max drivers overtake me on B roads.
It was a short 2-hour drive in total, 120km clocked, but a fulfilling process nevertheless. I will be back for sure to grab more pandan cakes, while also telling myself that I will be driving the Yaris homewards, to where it all started…
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