My motorbike accident in Thailand
Yes, the accident. I spoiled the ending already, but that’s ok. Not a lot of people know that I had my first motorcycle accident. Not even my mom! Didn’t wanna worry her for nothing. The entire story is rather long so be warned. During my many visits I’ve seen numerous young folks walking around with bandages and scars from motorcycle accidents. Each time I would shrug and laugh a bit, but I guess karma finally got to me as it feels like I’ve finally been baptized as a wreckless backpacker. So we met up with Sander the next day, each with our own motorbike following Sander who took the lead. The ride up there took nearly an hour to an hour and half. It was quite hot on the bike despite the speed. We weren’t driving that fast, but when you’re standing at the red light, you could feel the heat. I think we were about 10-15 mins to the canyon when it happened. We were going in a turn and as usually with the thai roads, these are usually rather small and not with a lot of space to manoeuver. I was driving second, following after Sander. I must have gone too fast for my own pace and as I was taking the curve, another car came from the opposite sid and I might have thought I didn’t have enough space. I tried to avoid the car by going a bit left. But I went off the asphalt road onto the dirt and in the swift moment I tried to go back onto the asphalt. And that’s when the front wheel got stuck to the side and I went down with the bike, falling on my right side. I was wearing a helmit, but just shorts, T-shirt and flipflops. The side of my right arm and legs had tons of road rash and were bruised. Both palms of my hands were ripped “open”. Luckily I used my hands and arm to absorb the crash. I was able to get up quickly and walk it off for a bit just to realize what happened in that split second. I already knew at that point I should consider myself lucky as I was able to get up and nothing seemed to be broken or heavily bruised. Just some severe road rash. Just before the accident happened we passed by a coffeeshop/bar which was coincidentally owned by a Belgian guy. Who wasn’t there at the moment. I stumbled in with Sander and Greg and asked if they had a first aid kit. They applied some first aid and washed off some of the dirt and applied some desinfectant. The boss lady had to go back to the center as she has a bar there, and offered to take me back there as well. Once there, she asked one of her employees to take me back to my hotel where I was gonna try to clean the wound and get some medical supplies from the Pharmacy. They adviced me to go to the nearby hospital first to get it thorougly cleaned and desinfected first. Luckily it’s only walking distance from the hotel.
As I walk through the door, the manager asked for my ID and swiftly asked some of the nurses to take me to the backroom to tend to my wounds. While the nurses were working on my wounds, they had someone take of the insurance and the bike and the bike rental shop. Bit difficult as their English was ok, but not that great at times to explain everything. But that’s ok, we were able to get through it. While the nurses were cleaning my wounds (2 of them at same time!), I was glad I came here, coz I wouldn’t have done it as well as they did if I did it myself and it would have taken me much longer to heal probably.
I’ve rented a motorbike before and most of the times, they ask you if you want insurance in case something happens. I don’t remember if I took it usually, but this time I remember the lady didn’t mention anything about it. So I was already pretty sure that I had to pay for all the repairs. I was expecting to pay a bit for the medical services but didn’t have an idea on the amount. As for the bike, the repairs were a whopping 6000baht. When I showed my new Thai friends, they said they probably could have done it for cheaper, but I was already happy with this amount. As for the medical costs, after the nurses cleaned my wounds, which hurted like freaking HELL by the way, and wrapped me up, I went to wait in the lobby. The manager gave me some painkillers and sent me on my way. Wait what? YES, he just said it’s ok and that insurance would take care of the costs! OH MY GOD! I just had extensive medical help in a private hospital and I just walked out of there like that! He even said that I could come back everyday to change the bandages and get the wounds cleaned again. And if I needed it, I could get some extra painkillers too. All for free! Later that night I told my friends and they all said how lucky I was, because it was a private hospital and it would have cost a ton!
The follow up
Seeing how I was all wrapped up and could barely wash my own face and butt. I obviously had to take it easy and not to open up the wounds again or get it wet. However, our flight back to Bangkok and Koh Chang was planned in 2 days. So I talked to Greg and decided we would just skip Koh Chang as I wasn’t able to go diving anyway as I originally planned. We also liked our new friends and decided it was ok to stay another 4-5 days in Chiang Mai. The free medical assistence was a great motivator as well and surely helped me heal more quickly. Check out my Chiang Mai post on what we did in those few days.