About the Thailand Malaysia borders
There are multiple Thailand / Malaysia overland border crossings (up to 20) however only about 7 are open to international passport holders. Effective August 1, 2022 Malaysia removed all COVID-19 restrictions. There is a mandatory 7 day quaratine if you get COVID-19 when in Malaysia. Likewise in October 2022 Thailand removed all restrictions on international travellers.
Currently Malaysia offers a free visa on arrival to most nationalities. However do consult with your nearest Malaysia embassy to confirm your own nationalities status first.
Do insure you have all the necessary paperwork needed before crossing these borders. This includes:
- Visas (if applicable)
- Fees (if applicable)
- Passport photographs
- Your Passport!
If planned well an overland journey from Thailand to Malaysia can be a great experience. Do take long car/bus/train/ferry times into account. Stay well fed and hydrated. Do try to obtain some local currency before crossing. Usually border exchange rates are not as good compared to larger cities.
Thailand / Malaysia border crossings
Wang Prachan (TH) - Wang Kelian (MY)
How to cross the border: Songthaews will take you from Satun in Thailand to Wang Prachan. The two immigration posts are about 100m apart so walking across is possible.
From Wang Kelian you'll need to take a taxi to Kaki Bukit and from there you can take a bus to your next destination.
Padang Besar (TH) - Padang Besar (MY)
There are two border crossings here. One for road transport and the other for rail.
How to cross the border via road: The Thailand Malaysia border checkpoints via car are complete via drive-through lanes which are about 300m apart.
How to cross the border via train: both the Thailand and Malaysia immigration stations are located at the same station in Padang Besar. Customs is also completed here so if crossing by train make sure to bring all your luggage with you when the train stops.
Ban Dan Nok (TH) - Bukit Kayu Hitam (MY)
How to cross the border via road: Expect delays at this border by road as it's on a direct road to Bangkok. There are drive-through immigration and customs lanes on both sides of the border and a pedestrian lane. There are about 800 meters between both border points where a large duty free shopping complex is located.
Betong (TH) - Pengkalan Hulu / Bukit Berapit (MY)
How to cross the border via road: It's a busy border but fairly straight forward. Betong is right on the border with Bukit Berapit which is the actual Malaysian border. Malaysian formalities however are carried out in Pengkalan Hulu which is about 6km away on the same road.
Buketa (TH) - Bukit Bunga (MY)
How to cross the border via road: This is one of the latest Thai/Malaysian border crossings (opening Dec 2007) and involves crossing the Bukit Bunga–Ban Buketa Bridge.
Sungai Kolok (TH) - Rantau Panjang (MY)
How to cross the border via train: You don't! Although you can read Sungai Kolok via train from Bangkok twice a day there is no cross border crossing to Rantau Panjang via rail. There is also no passenger train at Rantau Panjang. The nearest Malaysia railway station is at Pasir Mas which can be reached via bus or taxi.
How to cross the border via car/bus: There are no international cross border buses. You'll have to cross the border by foot over the bridge if coming by bus and then catch a bus on the other side. By car both immigration and custom services are located before the bridge.
Satun Tammalang (TH) - Langkawi / Kuala Perlis (MY)
How to cross the border via ferry: Thailand's town of Satun is predominantly the gate way to the southern most islands in the Andaman Sea. It also serves as an immigration checkpoint for ferries leaving for both Langkawi island in Malaysia and Kuala Perlis.
Thailand / Malaysia border crossings map
Border crossing names: All border crossings here use the geographical name of the border crossings. Local's may have a nickname for border crossings which you may want to keep in mind.
Southern Thailand border safety
In 2004 there were a number of violent episodes in Yala. Narathiwat. And, Pattani provinces. None were near nor involved tourists.
In 2006 three foreigners were killed in Hat Yai which is Thailand's third largest city and on the Southern train route. Violence towards foreigners was threatened along with some tourist destinations. However none of this came to to fruition.
in 2007 a bomb exploded outside a school killing one person.
In 2014 a school teacher was shot by extremist's.
There have also been numerous violent clashes and deaths between authorities and extremist's at the border.Delays occur when security is tightened.
Flooding: In recent years heavy rains during the monsoon season have dealyed trains. There have been no accidents only delays up to about 12 hours. Again, this is during the monsoon season.
Easiest border crossing from Thailand to Malaysia
While all border crossings are relatively easy so long as your paper work is in order there remain some "easier" crossings in term of comfort and duration.
Perhaps the easiest border crossing is at Padang Besar via train. Trains run directly from Bangkok to Butterworth (Penang) in Northern Malaysia and on again to Kuala Lumpur to Singapore.
It's simply a matter at getting off the train, getting stamped out of Thailand and getting stamped into Malaysia. All done within the same building.
Another easy border crossing is from the port at Satun Thailand to Langkawi Island in Malaysia. You are stamped out at Satun Tammalang and stamped in at Langkawi. The only issue is that you are on a a tropical island in Malaysia ... then again that not always a bad thing! (It's also easy to take a ferry from Langkawi to mainland Malaysia)
Thailand / Malaysia overland border crossing tips
Going from Thailand to Malaysia is relatively straight forward. Malaysia gives a 3 month on arrival free visa to most nationalities. However it is important you check with your nearest Malaysian embassy to be sure.
Malaysian immigration does require an electronic scan of your fingerprints when crossing it's borders. Some people may not be comfortable with that.
Do keep your arrival/departure cards safe. With overland borders immigration control often asks to see them. It's not a big deal if you lose it, but it's better if you don't!
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