Morgan’s Top Ten: Expedition Drivers

Morgan spent 125 days travelling through 10 countries between Hong Kong and Brisbane. Now it’s time to reflect on the TOP TEN’s of the journey.

Today, Morgan rates the DRIVERS ON-ROUTE.  Riding an average of 12 hours a day, Morgan typically encountered thousands of cars, trucks, buses and motorbikes each and every day.  The expedition passed through 350 cities and towns, and these are some of the busiest traffic areas in the world.

The ratings below reflect the observations Morgan made up close and personal as he weaved his way down under.  Driver’s general road knowledge, techincal skill level, appropriateness of driving for the conditions, attitude towards motorbikes and overall temperament all form part of the analysis.

Here are the top ten drivers on-route from best to worst:


Great sense of space, pragmatic and always moving with a controlled urgency.  They respect motorbikes, rarely get irritated by congestion and generally abide by the worthwhile road rules.


These driver’s love motorbikes and couldn’t be more gracious in their road behaviour.  Malaysia misses out on the top spot because of the occasional driver frustration that emerges in the diabolical traffic of Kuala Lumpur.


What really helps across Thailand is excellent road infrastructure.  The drivers throughout the country act with a sense of purpose, move with pace and rarely get too worked up.   Motorbikes are able to move freely through traffic as an accepted part of the hierarchy.


Laos ranks this high because there aren’t many drivers.  There also aren’t many roads.  However, when confronting traffic these drivers act in a relaxed, mellow manner respecting everyone’s place on the road.  They accept the poor infrastructure never letting it bother them.


Like Laos, Timor-Leste doesn’t have a lot of driver’s, most people catch buses or walk.  Dili can be a little hairy, mostly because of the UN vehicles flying through the city with scant regard for anyone else.


Cambodian drivers struggle with poor quality roads and tend to get upset.  Perhaps its the relentless heat, but more likely the potholes.  Drivers demonstrate a lack of skill and understanding of fundamental road rules.


Flowing chaos.  A mad movement of humanity by mechanical means.  Drivers in Vietnam stare down death daily.  These drivers rate a little up from the bottom because their mindset is harmonious with the environment.  They are simply operating in a different paradigm that makes sense to them.


Surprised?  These drivers are angry and lack courtesy.  They can’t handle congestion, are rule-bound and thus possess little ingenuity or community sensibility when using the roads.  A sparse population with high quality road infrastructure should mean peaceful drivers, but in Australia road rage is endemic.  Its too easy to get a licence.


Given almost all drivers have less than 10 years experience behind the wheel, its no wonder China’s roads are dangerous.  Everyone is in a rush, tempers run high, and there is no consistent behavioural protocol.  These drivers are unpredictable and reckless.


30 days across the famed archipelago provided plenty of observation!   These drivers are the worst.  Highly emotional, careless with no sense of respect for anyone.  There are no rules and no protocols, except expect the unexpected.  The drivers have limited education and technical skills in handling a motor vehicle.  There is almost a maliciousness in some of the observed behaviour.

Agree or disagree?  Tell us about your experiences driving in these countries …