How to Get from Malaysia to Thailand by Bus

When planning a trip around South East Asia, many travelers find the cultural variety of the region’s countries irresistible. Crossing a border will often mean a drastic change in food, language and dress. Observing how cultures map out the physical landscape really can help travelers understand the region better. Among the many northbound transportation options available from different points in Malaysia, many choose to the speed and convenience of traveling by bus from Malaysia to Thailand.



The Options

Trains, planes, boats and buses all make their way up to Thailand. Which type a traveler chooses will depend largely on the point of departure. For example, a flight would make the most sense for people wanting to get quickly from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok, whereas visitors will find the frequent ferries from Langkawi Island to Thailand a practical option. For those who want to take in the landscape overland, trains work, but they don’t match the speed of minivans or buses.


Tourism Bus near Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Tourism Bus near Kanchanaburi, Thailand



A grueling trip on a bus from Kuala Lumpur all the way to Butterworth and then onto Thailand may be a bit much for most people. Instead, the vast majority of visitors break the trip up into stages to stop by Butterworth and Penang for a few days, head to the border at Padang Besar and continue on to Hat Yai in Thailand. After a little rest there, visitors will find plenty of buses offering service in the direction of Bangkok. Direct buses from Butterworth to Hat Yai and Bangkok also ply the route. Passengers should have all their documents ready in order to pass quickly through immigration so they don’t miss the bus on the other side of the immigration checkpoint.


Chiang Mai Bus

Chiang Mai Bus




The Southern provinces of Thailand that border Malaysia, though, are not places to wander around taking local buses. Political trouble in this region of Thailand has restricted most travel to one corridor. Travelers should stick to the main routes offered by transport providers to avoid security concerns.


The Overland Travel Experience

Whether it’s in VIP and first class buses with air-conditioning or in second class buses with fans, crossing the border into Thailand should not pose any serious problems. The distances can be daunting, so cutting up the route into several legs makes the most sense. Either way, travel by land can provide unique insights into the similarities and differences between these two countries.