Borders with Malaysia
All the border crossings are pretty straightforward and hassle-free if all your paperwork is in order. The most common crossing is by train at Padang Besar (Border 3), to/from the Malaysian North-west coast (Penang) to popular stops such as Hat Yai, Surat Thani (Ko Samui) and onwards to Bangkok. Other top routes are Satun / Ko Lipe to Langkawi island (Border 1), and Su-ngai Kolok (Border 6) if heading to/from the Malaysian North-east coast, usually bound for the Perhentian Islands. Note - Nok Air operates daily flights from Bangkok to Hat Yai. Flight prices vary by day, but you can pick a flight up for as little as 600B. They don't operate their Fly'n'Ride service to Satun anymore despite it still being listed on their website, but you can just catch a minivan to Satun (3 hours) from the station near Hat Yai. See the Nok Air website to book. Border 1 - Satun / Ko Lipe (Thailand) / Langkawi (Malaysia) A popular sea crossing from either Tammalang Pier (11km south of Satun on the mainland) or Ko Lipe island, over to the Malaysian island of Langkawi. Red Songthaews run regularly between Saturn and Tammalang Pier, taking around 30mins (30B). If you are coming into Tammalang Pier from the islands, you can also arrange full journey transport to places like Trang, Krabi and Phi Phi. The Langkawi Ferry has 4 daily services between Satun and Langkawi. You can just turn up at the port to buy your ticket and it takes around 80 minutes. Border 2 - Wang Prajan (Thailand) / Kaki Bukit (Malaysia) Only practical if you have your own transport as public transport to/from the border is very limited. The Thai side runs through Thale Ban National Park. Border 3 - Padang Besar (Thailand/Malaysia) - Open 24 hours Trains run directly from Bangkok through Padang Besar to Butterworth (Penang) on the North-west coast of Malaysia, where you can change to continue to Kuala Lumpur to Singapore. Oddly, Padang Besar town straddles both sides of the border. The major train station is on the Malaysian side just next to the border. If crossing by train in either direction, the train stops for you to disembark to clear customs. Border 4 - Sadao (Thailand) / Changlun(Malysia) - Open 24 hours Good transport exists between Sado and the border and on to Hat Yai, as it has been popular for visa runs. However, transport on the Malay side is very limited so it doesn't make a great place to cross. Border 5 - Betong (Thailand) / Pengkalan Hulu (Malaysia) The location of this border makes it a very unlikely place to cross. If you do end up here, you can get share taxis to the border on either side, 7km to Betong and 6km to Pengkalan Hulu. Border 6 - Su-ngai Kolok (Thailand) / Rantau Panjang (Malaysia) A popular crossing if you are going to/from the North-east coast of Malaysia. There is a train station in Su-ngai Kolok which runs a couple of daily services all the way to Bangkok (around 20 hours), stopping at Yala, Hat Yai and Surat Thani (as well as many others) along the way. The train doesn't have a passenger service across the border bridge; it's a simple walk across. You can easily get transport to the border from Su-ngai Kolok which is just over a kilometre away from the station. The Rantau Panjang bus station is just 100m away from the immigration post. In Su-ngai Kolok you can easily get an air-con bus or minivan to places like Bangkok, Krabi, Phuket and Ko Samui from the Thanon Wongwiwat bus terminal. Minivans also run regularly to Hat Yai (4 hours, 200B). At the Rantau Panjang bus terminal buses run to Kota Bharu (90 mins) via Pasir Mas every half hour. Border 7 - Ban Taba / Pengkalan Kulor This border is crossed by boat across the Golok river. You just by your ticket there. You can easily arrange onwards transport from the tiny Ban Taba to the nearby small town of Tak Bai and onwards to either Su-ngai Easy to arrange transport to and there are regular buses on the Malaysian side to Kota Bharu.