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Travelling from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur overland

Travel Forums Asia Travelling from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur overland

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1. Posted by nobby84 (Budding Member 3 posts) 7y

Hi, I am thinking of travelling from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur over land, but I'm not sure if this do'able.
Can it be done? and whats the best way?, or should I just forget the whole idea and fly?
I was reading the Foreign & commenwealth office site, which advised against it because martial law is in force in the southern provinces at the Thai/Malaysia border.

2. Posted by withouck (First Time Poster 1 posts) 7y

we are planning to go from Bangkok to Penang with the train should be safer than taking the bus
we would stop in hat yai to go to koh lipe for a few days
we are a bit woried about hat yai, safe to do this ???

3. Posted by nobby84 (Budding Member 3 posts) 7y

The FCO advises to stay away from Songkhla, Hat yai and Pattani, because they are under martial law. The rail network linking Thailand and Malaysia runs through Hat Yai. Check out these websites for more info.

www.fco.gov.uk (for information on Thailand)
www.seat61.com (has info on train and bus networks)

4. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 1594 posts) 7y

Quoting nobby84

Hi, I am thinking of travelling from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur over land, but I'm not sure if this do'able.
Can it be done? and whats the best way?, or should I just forget the whole idea and fly?
I was reading the Foreign & commenwealth office site, which advised against it because martial law is in force in the southern provinces at the Thai/Malaysia border.

In November I took the train from Bangkok to Hat Yai, I would have gone all the way to Penang/Butterworth but I had to get to Singapore to meet a flight. There are trains from Hat Yai to Butterworth (near Penang) and from there to KL. I was in a hurry and the train from Hat Yai was several hours later. I took local transportation to the Malaysia border and from the Malaysia side a taxi to Butterworth where I picked up the train 7 a.m. the next morning.

If you book your ride 3 or 4 days ahead of time you can get a sleeper car from Bangkok to at least Hat Yai. If you take the train from Butterworth to KL you can get the first class seats if you want, they recline pretty good.

I was too late for the sleeper train from Bangkok and took 3rd class. Seats were okay, got a free chicken and rice meal, some free beverages and a Thai desert. Train is cold, A/C works pretty good! On the Thai run to Hat Yai they passed out a blanket. Keep a long sleeve shirt available or thin jacket. The Malaysia train was pretty cold too, no free food though. Chicken and rice meal was pretty cheap, same for coffee and chocolate.

From Bangkok - travel agencies routinely book buses to Hat Yai and from there to Penang and KL. Occasionally there some complaints when backpackers book their bus rides in the Khao San Road area. For long distance buses I would first inquire about a ride directly from the bus station.

In Hat Yai the King Hotel was not too far from the train station. Across the street from the King Hotel is a travel agency that also books buses to KL. When you take trains and buses you have to allow for long rides. Bring books to read, a few snacks too! In November when the airport in Bangkok was closed there were thousands of extra travelers heading through Hat Yai for flights leaving from KL and Singapore. I haven't read about any problems that any foreigners had. Songla, Pattani and Yala are trouble spots but so far I don't think it has been a problem for any tourists in transit. Nothing is ever for certain though!

Good luck.

[ Edit: Edited on 26-Jan-2009, at 21:19 by karazyal ]

5. Posted by frank_bkk (Full Member 101 posts) 7y

In reply to #3

Songkhla isn't under martial law, only Narathiwat, Yala and Pattani. Songkhla and Hat Yai have hardly ever been targeted - last time a few years back. No worries about travelling through Hat Yai - in fact, visitors should be more concerned about just crossing a Thai road!
Take that Penang-Bangkok international express - fab.

6. Posted by nobby84 (Budding Member 3 posts) 7y

Thanks for the advise I have made my mind up, I will go by train I think.
:)

7. Posted by stretchy (Budding Member 6 posts) 7y

depends where u want to go imo, flights from bkk to krabi,phuket and kl with airasia.com absolutly cost nothing, like 20e one way bkk to krabi (link to Phi phi), same to phuket & KL. depends on how much time u have to play with.

but trains must be booked in advance to get the 1st/2nd class sleepers. the actual distance is that not vast really.

my itInary would be;

BKK-KO TAO-KO PHANGAN-KO SAMUI-PHUKET-KO PHI PHI-KRABI-PERENTAHIAN ISLANDS-KL

8. Posted by frank_bkk (Full Member 101 posts) 7y

Good one Nobby - you wont regret it!

9. Posted by jumpybongo (Budding Member 15 posts) 7y

Quoting nobby84

Hi, I am thinking of travelling from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur over land, but I'm not sure if this do'able.
Can it be done? and whats the best way?, or should I just forget the whole idea and fly?
I was reading the Foreign & commenwealth office site, which advised against it because martial law is in force in the southern provinces at the Thai/Malaysia border.

you can take the train the whole way from bangkok to singapore, and back, if you so desire.

i did over xmas ny 08 best trip of my life cost $100 bkk kl sin kl penang , i then flew back for 30 day visa.

try and book a lower berth as it has more space, loads cheap/good food on trains from vendors/food cars.

google maninseat61 for all booking details.

enjoy

ps penang/langkawi islands much cheaper and less seclucded than phuket for example

10. Posted by opospa (Travel Guru 1836 posts) 7y

dont worry about southern thailand. i suggest you to take bus from Sai Tai Mai in Bkk to Hatyai. And from Hatyai, take train to KL.