By DAN FORTEZA
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Heading from Malaysia to Thailand soon? If you are considering going on to this route via Padang Besar border, then keep reading! In this blog, I will be sharing my detailed experience of how I managed to cross the border at Padang Besar coming from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
My final destination in Thailand is actually Bangkok! It may be excruciating to some but for me, it is an adventure of a lifetime! Are you ready?
Please note that I crossed this border on August 2022 (post-covid) wherein borders are already open!
Padang Besar is a border town on the Malaysia-Thailand border. It’s the only border that has a direct rail link between Malaysia and Thailand, so travelers prefer crossing this land border. Besides that, it also has a road crossing between the two countries.
DO YOU NEED A VISA TO ENTER THAILAND?
First thing’s first. Before entering any country, you should be aware of whether you would need a visa or not. If you are from a country that doesn’t require a visa going to Thailand, no problem then. Feel free to check out the list here if you are in doubt.
As a Filipino citizen, I can enter Thailand visa-free for 30 days as a tourist.
ANY COVID-RELATED REQUIREMENTS TO ENTER THAILAND?
As of August 2022 (when I crossed the border), I was only required to show my vaccine certificate.
Travelers actually need to upload the proof of vaccination online and I wasn’t actually aware of this! But there were locals who are willing to do that for you for a small tip! I paid 2 MYR for that. You’ll meet those local Thais upon entering the Immigration site.
Once they uploaded your vaccine info, they’ll ask you to take a photo of a certain QR code which then you will show to the personnel inside the building. Then personnel will put a sticker on your passport that says “fully vaccinated” after scanning your QR code.
PS: I myself was inoculated 3 times (including the booster.)
After that, I proceeded to the line to finally get my entry stamp. More info here for the entry stamp.
MY ROUTES FROM MALAYSIA TO THAILAND (KUALA LUMPUR TO BANGKOK)
ROUTE 1: TRAIN - KUALA LUMPUR TO PADANG BESAR (MALAYSIA)
1. Buying the ticket at KL Sentral, Kuala Lumpur
- A day before my trip, I went to KL Sentral train station to buy my ticket first. KL Sentral can easily be reached by metro trains if you’re within Kuala Lumpur. Once you’re there, just look for the KTM ticket counter. Here is the timetable of the train schedule.
- I took the earliest train that departs at 07:08 AM and arrives at Padang Besar (Malaysian side) at 12:41 PM. Padang Besar is the last station of this trip. It costs me 107 MYR for the ticket.
2. Be at the gate 10 minutes before the departure time
- Look for your designated gate at KL Sentral station. It is also indicated on your ticket. In my case, it is Gate B.
3. Enjoy the 6-hour train ride
- Yes, it is a 6-hour ride! And in case you get hungry, there is also a food bar inside the train. I bought sandwiches and a cup of coffee during my trip there.
4. Arriving at the Padang Besar station (Malaysian side)
- As I get off the train, I basically just followed the mass of people exiting as well.
- There are cars and taxis waiting at the exit of the building. I took one of those cars to take me to the Malaysian Immigration to receive my exit stamp. I paid 10 MYR for the car (Note: I was sharing the car with another person.)
- The Malaysian Immigration is in fact walking distance according to my Google map but I took the car anyway.
5. Getting the Exit Stamp from the Immigration (Malaysian side)
- The driver pointed the building to where I need to get my exit stamp. So then I walked a bit and stood on the queue where people are already lining up.
- After getting the exit stamp, I walked for 10 minutes to get to the actual border
ROUTE 2: VAN - PADANG BESAR TO HAT YAI (THAILAND)
NOTE: There is a railway train at Padang Besar (Thailand side) but locals told me that it is best to go to Hat Yai, the nearest Thai city, to take the train or any other means of transportation. From what I understood, it will take a couple of hours or so for the train to arrive.
NOTE 2: There is also a van going to Hat Yai at the exit of the building of Thailand immigration, but I went ahead and walk to the town to find a money exchange shop first.
1. Getting the Entry Stamp from the Immigration (Thailand side)
- So I am officially in the land of smile, Thailand! But before anything else, getting the entry stamp is a must!
- There are local Thais there who are welcoming travelers at the Immigration entrance site. But they are actually those people who asked for a small fee to process your COVID vaccine certificate online (as mentioned here). I paid 2 MYR, not bad.
- Then I lined up for the immigration queue. But when the Immigration officer found out I am a Filipino, she asked me to go to her supervisor’s office. I believe Filipinos are subject to interrogation due to the rising numbers of Filipinos working there without proper documentation. The supervisor guy asked me about my intention of coming to Thailand–which I replied purely for tourism purposes. Then he gave me a visa-free stamp for 30 days.
2. Finding a Money Exchange Shop at Padang Besar (Thailand side)
- After getting the entry stamp, I walked for another 10 minutes heading to Padang Besar town (Thailand side) to find a Money Exchange shop since I still have a couple of Malaysian Ringit banknotes with me. I found this Chop Thai Saeree shop (as pictured below).
- The shop is opposite the Krung Thai Bank, refer to this map location.
3. Heading to Hat Yai, the nearest Thai city from the border
- There is a van terminal, within walking distance from the Money Exchange shop. Here is its map location.
- I paid 60 THB for this trip.
- The drop-off is at Hat Yai terminal.
ROUTE 3: VAN - HAT YAI TO BANGKOK (THAILAND)
1. Heading to Bangkok from Hat Yai
- There are different means of transportation going to Bangkok from Hat Yai: train, bus, or van. But I took the van since it is the one that is leaving the soonest.
- I paid 925 THB for this trip. And it took around 14 hours for its arrival in Bangkok! That’s a lot but I did enjoy the ride.
- The drop-off is at Mo Chit Bus Terminal in Bangkok.
Train: Kuala Lumpur to Padang Besar
- 107 MYR (price)
- almost 6 hours
Van: Padang Besar to Hat Yai
- 60 THB (price)
- 1 hour
Van: Hat Yai to Bangkok
- 925 THB (price)
- 14 hours
And there you have it! Did you find this blog useful? I hope it did!
Anyhow, have a safe trip to Thailand wherever you may be! =)