All the way by bus and even more in Chiang Mai, I am impressed by the big cars: most Thai have SUV/pick-up. In the countryside, they transport their field productions with them, but do not see many loads in the city! Thailand development seems to be much influenced by the USA: big cars, large roads, tourism seen as a big industry (you pay for every small service), etc. It is also funny to see many tourists enjoying the traditional large clothes while most young Thai dress as western. Mostly because of these cars, Chiang Mai is now a huge, loud and polluted city.
In Thailand, you realize once again (after e.g. China) that the classic cut North/South between developed and developing countries is outdated. Thailand is a new industrialized country. But you can still find very traditional life when you go far enough from the cities and deep enough in the jungle. That is what we are looking for.