On of my biggest dream is to have an overland trip experience, especially around ASEAN border. So last year I made it happened, with my other 2 girlfriends, we did it! Thanks to Internet and everyone who shared so many information around the cyber world, we didn’t get lost and arrived safely in Bangkok.
Here’s my payback for other travelers who might have same dream with me. A little writing bout how to go from Penang (Malaysia) to Hat Yai (Thailand). Hope you enjoy and have good travel experience like we had.
1. Ferry from Penang to Butterworth (5.45am-06.00am MY time; Free)
Penang is an island outside Asia mainland, so to go from Penang to Thailand, first thing to do is to go to the mainland by ferry or crossing Penang Bridge. What we chose was going by ferry.
We asked the Uber driver that we rent to go around Penang to pick up us very early in the morning (5.15am from Super 8) to the port. There’re 4 girls in our group, 1 will leave by plane to KL, the other 3 will continue to Bangkok. So he charged us RM40 to go from Super 8 – Ferry Port – Airport starting 5.15am. It’s a good deal for us, since there’s no public transport early in the morning.
We’re trying to catch the 1st or 2nd ferry from Penang, we arrived around 5.30am at the port, it’s quite far to walk from the outside gate till the ferry. So please spare some time to catch the ferry, around 5-10mins walk. We catch ,I think, the 1st ferry from Penang around 5.45am. It only takes around 15-20mins from Penang – Butterworth.
Ferry fee: Free (Penang – Butterworth)
2. KTM Komuter from Butterworth to Padang Besar (06.35am-8.20am MY time; RM11.40)
Once arrived at Butterworth port, it’s already integrated to the train station. Just follow the sign around to catch your train. Just another 10mins walk from the ferry to the ticket counter, located on the 2nd floor of the train station. We arrived at the ticket counter at 6:06am.
The train we chose was KTM Komuter, departed at 06:25 from Butterworth to Padang Besar. You do not need to book ticket ahead, just come to the train station and buy one. It’s a commuter, so no seat number registered. The ticket was also very cheap only RM11.40 for single trip. It took around 2hours for this trip. The train was so clean and very cold, so bring your jacket to keep you warm. We slept during our trip, the train started empty, then very crowded during the trip since it was time for people to go to work then empty again once we arrived at Padang Besar station. Along the way, the view was beautiful, many hills and rice fields around.
Actually there’s another train you can catch, KTM ETS. It’s more expensive train with numbered seat like airplane & bus. From what I heard, govt. will close this ETS route from Butterworth to Padang Besar since they now have this Komuter. Anyway the Komuter schedule is once in an hour, so if you miss this schedule, you can catch up the next 7:25 train.
You can find more update information on this website: Train36.com. (very reliable website to build your own schedule and itinerary).
3. Padang Besar to Hat Yai (9.55am MY time – 11.00 TH time; THB70)
We’re very excited once we the train stop at Padang Besar, even though we’re wondering what would happen here. LOL. Leaving the train we started seeing around and asking the guard how to go to Hat Yai.
You do not need to go outside the train station if you would like to continue by train. just stay on the train station and ask around, it’s not a big station. Immigration office located on near the end of station. Just wait around that office till they open. Usually everything will start around 9am, so when you arrive on 8.15am, you just wait inside the train station.
What you should do are:
a. Purchasing the shuttle train ticket on Thailand Immigration office.
>> you must pay in exact amount of money, so be prepared with THB70/person. The officer don’t care about any change. The location of ticket box is on an office, they had sign outside their door that said “Ticket sold at 9am.” So, don’t push the officer to sell the ticket earlier. Just follow the sign… Imo the Thai immigration officers weren’t friendly, so do not be a brag there.
b. Filling the arrival document for Thailand border, just follow the sign to Immigration, they will give you the card to fill in.
>> once the ticket office opened, there’ll be someone passing around Immigration card to get in Thailand border. Just take it and fill in this card, this will be your Visa during your trip. Make sure to keep this card or just attached it inside you passport.
>> Once everything ready, the officers will start open the immigration locket (inside the building). Just take a queue for passport stamp.
Around 9.45am the train from Hat Yai will arrive, and we can start enter the train. I wasn’t sure what happen with our train, but we wait quite long for the train to depart. It’s behind schedule.. We departed at 10.45am MY time / 9.45am TH time, 1 hour behind schedule.
The train took around 1 hour, it’s quite good interior. But it’s a locomotive one, so not so fast comparing to Komuter. On the train, there’s a guy selling Thai SIM card, DTAC, cost only THB200 w/ internet package for 1 week and some credit. Good thing we found him, so we could have Internet connection without worry to lost in Hat Yai.
There’re 2 shuttle trains per day from Padang Besar-Hatyai, detail information click here: train36.com
4. Hat Yai to Airport
After 1hour in the train, we arrived at Hat Yai train station, from there we just take a walk to Lee Garden Plaza Hotel (10mins walk). Almost everyone who visited Hat Yai will go there, since it likes a good place to start your trip. Lee Garden Plaza is actually a little shopping mall, surrounded by many travel agents and public transportation. It has McDonalds and Swensen’s Ice Cream.
Our flight schedule is 07.55pm from Hat Yai to Don Muaeng Airport, so we spend our noon napping at McDonald’s, going around Plaza, then had Swensen’s Ice cream..After that, we purchased our dinner for takeaway from the foodcourt in the LG. To go to the airport, you can choose Tuktuk outside the Plaza, but I was not sure how much. One of my friend had family in Hat Yai, and I asked her to book us a taxi to go to the airport, it cost 250THB. You cannot find any metered taxi around the plaza, only tuk-tuk. And if you wanna order taxi, you must order by phone. It only took around 30mins to go to the airport, not too far.
- Train in Malaysia is very good, the schedule is quite reliable, so be on time. I recommend you to choose the same schedule with us from Butterworth (6.25am) in order to prevent any delay in Padang Besar. 7.25am train is also still okay to catch 9.55am shuttle train, but your schedule will be very tight.
- Train in Thailand is not that punctual and good as MY. In order to prevent and issue on your connecting train or flight in Hat Yai, please spare sometime from your arrival time. Our shuttle train arrived in Hat Yai 1 hours behind schedule, due to delay of departing in Padang Besar. But you do not need to be so worried, spare just 1-2hours is okay.