I will be arriving in Malaysia around 10th May, spending about 2 weeks there and then i'm heading up to thailand to go to the beaches. We were planning to take a train over the thai/malaysian border, but have heard that this may not be safe?
I would be very grateful for any advice on this- is it OK to travel by train, and if so where is it best to go from and to? Alternatively, is it better to get a flight? I have seen that air asia do a cheap flight from penang to bangkok.
I travelled south east asia last year and crossed the malaysian/thai border on land four times and had no trouble whatsoever. i took the bus though as i heard sometimes the thai/malaysian train times do not match and you'd have to wait around a while.
you should go by government bus or book a people carrier taxi from many of the travel agents as they sometimes take you straight to the hostel you want to stay in.
i chose the bus over flying cause it's cheaper and you get to see all the sights along the way. the borders were never too busy either so no waiting around. if you get the government bus, once you cross the border into thailand take a moto taxi (10 or 20baht) to the bus station which takes about 3 minutes, then book a bus to where you want to go. easy peasy and there's an ace food stall that sells delicious noodles outside the bus station.
wee tip for you - when crossing the border and speaking to malaysians if you say, terrima khassi (pronounced: ter-rim-ma kassi) they will love you very much and be extra nice to you, it means thank you.
hope you have fun!
In one word: YES.
However, extra precautions are advisable such as using rail transport across the border, avoiding smaller villages.
I was down that way two months ago when things were a little rough but recent platitudes, and the presence of the military, have cooled things down a little.
Over 1,200 people have been killed since unrest broke out in 2004 January in the southern provinces along Thailand's border with Malaysia.
Thai authorities blame the violence on a complex web of Islamic separatists, local corruption and organized crime.
After (north of) Pattanyi everything felt fine.
Hi- thanks for the advice.
I think we will probably try and take a bus from Penang up into Thailand- do you know how much in advance these buses need to be booked up?
Presumably it is safer travelling up the Western side of the Thai-Malaysian border, avoiding states such as Narrathiwat, Pattani etc?