Malaysia-Thailand train service resumes

Since the reopening of Malaysia’s borders for international travel, many of us have been excited about travelling again. We’ve been eyeing neighbouring countries such as Singapore and Thailand for quick weekend getaways that involve street food hunting, sightseeing, and shopping.

After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, Malaysians can now skip the airport queues and travel the scenic route from Perlis, Malaysia, to Hat Yai, Thailand, with less than RM10 in their pockets for a train ticket.

Here are the details on how you can do so.

How to travel to Thailand from Malaysia via train

Padang Besar train station
Image credit: Wikipedia

For the uninitiated, the Malaysia-Thailand train resumed services on 15th July 2022 with the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) officially announcing the return of the service last month on its Facebook page.

With the service now back in full swing, there are two daily return trips available to and from Thailand. A one-way ticket from Perlis to Hat Yai costs just RM6 (฿50). 

Malaysia Thailand Train Resumes - ETS train
KTM ETS train
Image credit: Redzuan Abd Manaf

Malaysians can easily travel to Thailand by first taking the KTM Komuter Utara from Butterworth, Penang, or the KTM ETS train from KL Sentral (KL) or Gemas, Negeri Sembilan, to the Padang Besar train station.

If you’re travelling from KL, the journey takes about 5 hours.

Once you’re at the Padang Besar station, you’ll have to alight from the train and go through immigration before taking Trains 948 or 950 operated by SRT to Hat Yai. The immigration process takes about 2 hours, if you’re travelling on the weekends.

According to the Thai Embassy, Malaysians can visit Thailand without a visa for a maximum stay of 30 days. As of 1st July, there is no need for Covid-19 insurances, mandatory quarantines, or a Thailand pass to travel. Vaccinated travellers will not need to show their proof of vaccination too – but Covid-19 testings is still required for unvaccinated travellers.

Train schedules from Padang Besar to Hat Yai

Malaysia Thailand Train Resumes - train scheduleImage credit: KTM Berhad and KTM Berhad

Train schedules of the Malaysia-Thailand train service are available on KTM Berhad’s Facebook page and website. When taking the train or checking the schedules, do take note of the time zone difference between Malaysia and Thailand.

Train 948 departs from Padang Besar at 9.55AM (Malaysian time) and arrives in Hat Yai at 10.50AM (Malaysian time). If you’re opting for a trip later in the day, Train 950 leaves in the evening at 4.40PM (Malaysian time) and arrives in Hat Yai at 5.35PM (Malaysian time).

Each train journey lasts for about an hour. It’s highly recommended that you purchase tickets to Hat Yai ahead of your trip, as the route is a popular one among travellers and commuters. You can head to SRT’s website to book your tickets online.

Malaysia Thailand Train Resumes - Hat YaiKim Yong Market’s in Hat Yai
Image credit: The Smart Local Thailand

For returning Malaysians or travellers from Thailand, there are two trains to catch to Padang Besar. From Hat Yai, you can take Train 947 which departs in the early morning at 7.30AM (Thailand time) or Train 949 at 2PM (Thailand time).

SRT Train Thailand
Image credit: Chaowanon J / flickr

From Padang Besar, you can hop onboard a KTM Komuter Utara or KTM ETS train to reach Butterworth, KL Sentral, or Gemas – whether to return home, or to check out the attractions nearby.

Travel from Malaysia to Thailand via train

With the reopening of cross-border train services, Malaysians can now plan a budget-friendly trip to Thailand without the hassle of booking expensive flight tickets. This land travel also makes quick getaways possible for us and those in Thailand, who wish to cross borders for weekend shopping and food-ventures.

Here’s to safe travels ahead.

Read more guides here:

Cover image adapted from: Chaowanon J / flickr

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