After two (more) weeks in Phuket to meet with family, it was finally time for us to leave our beloved Thailand for the second time, only this time to head south and cross into Malaysia.
Little did we realise the adventures that awaited us, but first we had to cross the border and get there. Read on for a point by point of our journey from Phuket to Malaysia.
Note: Our starting point was Phuket, but in the much more likely event you’re starting in Bangkok there are regular direct buses to Hat Yai from Bangkok’s Sai Tai Mai (South Terminal). Buses take upwards of 11 hours and cost anywhere from 650 THB to 1150 THB depending on the company, your desired level of comfort and your haggling skills.
From Patong To Phuket Town:
Catch the local bus from Patong to Phuket Old Town which usually leaves the terminal at the southern end of the beach at quarter to and quarter past the hour. The bus stops all along the main beach road, Thanon Thawewong, so you can easily flag it down. If you’re unsure, head to the large ‘Patong’ sign at the end of the Bangla Walking Street and wait there.
The bus costs 30 Baht (€0.84) per person and takes around 45 minutes depending on traffic, so make sure you’re on the bus no later than 4.45pm/5.15pm.
When it reaches Phuket Old Town, remain at the final stop, at the roundabout, and wait for a similar songthaew which passes both Bus Terminal 1 and Bus Terminal 2. It will cost 15 BHT (€0.42).
The first time we took this local bus it was pink, but the second time it was blue so be sure to ask the bus driver when he pulls in. In our situation, the bus driver shouted his destination out the window (maybe the backpacks gave it away!) but either way, know they run until 8 pm so be patient.
We think it is a case of blue songthaews pass by the bus terminal entrance and pink songthaews actually enter the bus terminal grounds. It is also worth a mention that there is more than one pink songthaew and as far as our memory goes it is the #2 pink songthaew that you need to get. But always triple check!
Busses stop at this roundabout to collect passengers every half hour or so and run from 7 am-8 pm. It’ll take around 20 minutes to reach Bus Terminal 2.
From Phuket To Hat Yai:
The first bus heading to Hat Yai leaves at 6.40 am, with others at 7.45 am, 8.45 am, 10.20 am 11.45 am, 1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm, 5 pm, 7.30 pm and 8.50 pm. The journey takes roughly 7-8hours.
Funnily enough, the overnight bus, leaving at 8.50 pm was the cheapest at 255 BHT (€7.15).
Note: It does pick up and drop off passengers along the way and there was only one main stop (around 1 am) and no toilet onboard.
It arrived into Hat Yai at 4.30am.
From Hat Yai to Pandang Basar border:
The minivans to the Pandang Basar border crossing start running from 6 am so it will be a short wait at the minivan terminal (we had a little kip on the benches!).
Before 6 am, head to Window #43 and pick up your tickets for 50 BHT (€). The minivan then departs from platform #24. It runs every half hour or so from 6 am – 8 pm and takes roughly 1.5 hours depending on traffic.
Great news! For the majority of Europeans, there is no visa fee or restrictions for entering Malaysia.
A visa on arrival is available at the border at no cost and you will receive 90 days to explore the cultural hot-pot of a country.
Of course, always triple check the requirements for your nationality via your own embassy or the Malaysian embassy and never go by any blog or word of mouth when it comes to visas. We do know for 100% that Irish and UK passport holders can enter without any fees or restrictions.
The minivan will drop you on the main road outside the immigration office. Head in and enter the building on the left-hand side. We were the only foreigners and the only people crossing by foot at the time.
It was extremely quick to stamp out (don’t forget to hand over the visa departure card that you received on arrival).
Exit the building and follow the road which eventually veers to the right. Walk up this road for about 5 minutes, passing a duty-free shop on your left-hand side. Eventually, you will see the queues of traffic turning left towards Malaysian immigration.
Skip the entrance which states ‘for trucks only’ and take the next left onto the first laneway straight towards the small window. Again, it is a quick stamp in and away you go.
Onward From Here:
Depending on your destination, you can either head right (after immigration) towards the train station, trains run all the way to Kuala Lumpur or follow the main road straight towards the roundabout.
On the left-hand side of the roundabout, you will find the public bus to Kangar which is the gateway to Kuala Perlis where you can catch the ferry to the Langkawi islands. The Kangar bus costs 5 MYR (€1.09) and takes a half hour.
Don’t forget Malaysia is an hour ahead of Thailand so update your watch and phone.
For those looking to head onwards to Langkawi islands, from the Kangar station take the T12 public bus to Kuala Perlis which is where you can catch the ferry.
The bus leaves at 6 am, 8 am, 9.30 am, 11 am, 12.30 pm, 2 pm, 3.30pm, at 5 pm, 6.30 pm and 8 pm and costs 2.50 MYR (€0.54).
The bus will drop you at the corner near the bus terminal, facing a Parking Lot for the Langkawi Ferry. At this corner take a left and head down towards KFC, you will see the ferry port on your right-hand side. The ticket counters are found in the large plaza looking area on the left-hand side.
There are ferries leaving at 7 am, 8.30 am, 9.30 am, 10 am, 11 am, 12.30 pm, 2 pm, 4 pm, 5.30 pm and 7 pm for 18 MYR (€3.92).
As usual for the visual tour, you can check out our Instagram highlights here.
If you have any comments or questions please feel free to contact us, we’d love to hear from you. In the meantime…
Happy Travels TUG x
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