How do I get from Hat Yai to the Malaysian border?

Reader’s E-mail:

I need to cross out of Thailand and come back in because Tourist Visa is nearly expired. I plan to go to Hat Yai, but how do I get to the border from there?

Reply from Thailand Info

You have two options: go to Sadao or Padang Besar. By far the better of these options is Padang Besar.

Padang Besar is Closer to Hat Yai

The border at Sadao is further away and much busier as it is the route people take to Penang. I always go to Padang Besar as the staff seem really friendly and there has been no queuing.

Minivan From Hat Yai Bus Station

To get from Hat Yai to Padang Besar you should take a minivan from Hat Yai Bus Station.

Minivans at Hat Yai Bus Station
Minivans at Hat Yai Bus Station

The bus station is 2.8 km from central Hat Yai where the train station is located. from the centre of Hat Yai a good way to travel to the bus station is to take a motorbike taxi.

Motorbike Taxi to Hat Yai Bus Station

Agree the price in advance and pay no more than Nung Roy Baht (this means ‘100 Baht’). The current local rate (2018)  for the journey from the train station to the bus station is 40 THB

Buying a Ticket to Padang Besar

Once at the bus station ignore the travel agent touts directing you to their shops on the road by the station and go inside the bus station itself. The booking kiosk you need is at the far right end of row of counters. There is a helpful sign on the glass screen saying both ‘Padang Besar’ and ‘Border’. You turn up and buy tickets just before you travel. The cost is 50 THB each way and the journey takes 50 minutes to the border.

Getting to Padang Besar Before The Border Closes

The border is open 05.00 to 22.00 every day and there are minivans there about every 30 minutes during that time. They tend to leave when full so your best bet is just to turn up and wait.

Arrival At Padang Besar

The minivan driver will take you at the immigration centre. Once you are there at the border take a motorbike through the two borders and then back to the bus station in Padang Besar for the trip back to Hat Yai.

Motorbike Taxi Over The Two Borders

These motorbike taxi drivers are genuinely helpful and for 70 THB they will take you quickly through the border into Malaysia and then back again without getting off the motorbike. The borders are several hundred metres apart and walking between is not going to be any fun, particularly as there is no pavement and lots of traffic.

Where to Stay in Hat Yai

If you stay the night in Hat Yai do yourself a favour and book into the Lee Gardens Plaza Hotel near the Central shopping centre in Hat Yai. There is not much to do in the evenings in Hat Yai and you will find that having a nice hotel really improves the experience. It costs around 1,500 THB a night but you can entertain yourself in the gym and pool and watch English language TV in your room. There are several Western fast food outlets like KFC and McDonalds in the shopping centre next door and I normally buy a take out and eat it in the room with a few beers.

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