How to Cross the Malaysia Thailand Border at Wang Prachan

How to Cross the Malaysia Thailand Border at Wang Prachan

Between Malaysia and Thailand there’s a staggering 30 border checkpoint crossings. We chose to enter Thailand via a less frequented one; the Wang Prachan border crossing. As guidebooks don’t tell you how to do it and the rest of the internet is void of any information, I’ll tell you what to do. Worth noting, unless you have a vehicle it requires a bit of hitchhiking. Read on…

The Wang Prachan border is located in the north west of Malaysia and south west of Thailand. It’s used frequently by locals on either side, but hardly sees any footfall from travellers. This makes it a good place to enter Thailand though. There’s unlikely to be any queuing and it’s the best place to cross if you want to visit Thale Ban National Park or the islands of Tarutao National Park. An alternative is the nearby Padang Basar border crossing. Yet that will take you hours out of the way, up to Hat Yai and then hours back down to Satun. That doesn’t sound like fun!

Getting to the Wang Prachan Border

The quickest way to the Wang Prachan border is to take a train to Padang Basar. This might sound odd as I’ve just told you not to cross the border at Padang Basar. Don’t worry though, we’re not going off track.

Feeding birds
Feeding the pigeons in Butterworth Train Station

Train services to Padang Basar run from Padang Sentral (Butterworth; near George Town). The KTM Komuter train starts running at 8:25AM and departs at 25 minutes past every hour until 21:25 (check for any updates to times here. The cost is a bargain RM11.40 ($2.70 USD) and the journey takes 1hr 50m.

It’s also possible to travel to Padang Basar from Kuala Lumpur (KL to all you aficionados). Again, it’s the KTM Komuter, costs RM76 ($18.15 USD) and leaves at the times shown here. 

What to do when you reach Padang Basar

At Padang Basar train station, exit the station and walk for five minutes to the MyBas bus stop. You almost pass the Padang Basar border checkpoint, but remember that will take you hours out the way.

Malaysia roundabout
Look for the Pedang Basar Roundabout a you leave the train station

I’ve marked the MyBas bus stop location on the map below. It’s outside the bank, but a local will be able to direct you if you’re unsure.

Top Tip for border crossings

At this point I’d also like to recommend that you download Maps.Me with Malaysia and Thailand maps for offline use. They are invaluable for travelling in remote areas. All locations, such as bus stops are pre-loaded in to the offline maps (Google Maps doesn’t even have as much detail as Maps.Me).

Back to it…

Getting the bus from Padang Basar

MyBas T11 goes to a place called Kaki Bukit. The bus leaves at these times and the price is RM2.20 ($0.50 USD). The journey takes 15 minutes.

Arriving at Kaki Bukit you’ll see how tiny it is. Nothing more than a garage and a few shops, where locals pass by and stare curiously at you. “How did you end up here?” their eyes seem to say.

Ghost town Kaki Bukit Malaysia
Arriving in the ghost town of Kaki Bukit

A local soon approached to ask where we were going. Enthusiastically telling us there were no buses or taxis, he could take us to the Wang Prachan border for RM50 or $20 USD. In small towns it’s understandable that people need to make a buck, but that was a lot of money to go 10km. We politely declined.

Hitchhiking to the Wang Prachan Border

Now, this is where your hitchhiking skills will come in handy. We don’t have any skills in this area, but waving a thumb and a smile seemed to do the trick. After around 20 minutes, a friendly man and his wife stopped. “Thailand, Thailand” he shouted, waving a thumb and giving us a smile. Off we went, trowing our bags in the back of his pick up truck and clambered in to the back seat.

Hitchhiking traveller
Doing our best to hitchhike to the border

Although he spoke no English and we spoke no Thai, it was easy to understand where we were both going. Establishing where we were to be staying, he communicated that he’d take us there and it was on his way. What a lovely human being.

At first we passed a check point. Laughing, the guard asked why the man had two people in the back. He appeared to respond that he had just picked us up and we were all going to Thailand. The guard was jovial, checked our passports and asked a few questions. How long we were in Malaysia, where we’d been, where we’re going and so on. Of course, we knew the answers so got waved through with a smile. 

Thailand land border crossing
Approaching the Thailand land border

Crossing the Wang Prachan Border

Next up was the actual border crossing. We all piled out the pick up truck. There were the usual formalities of scanning forefingers and stamping out the country, but nothing complicated. We had now left Malaysia.

Malaysia land border crossing
Leaving Malaysia

Back in the truck for 30 seconds and then it was time to get out again and clear Thailand customs. I recommend you always check the visa requirements with your country’s embassy in advance here. Worth noting, you may only enter Thailand twice via an overland border crossing in a calendar year. Customs Officials may also ask you to prove you have 10,000 Thai Baht (the country’s currency), although I understand this is rarely ever asked. For us (being from England) entering Thailand was a simple process. There was small form to fill in, forefingers once again scanned and we were officially in Thailand

Thailand smiles and friends selfie
The friendly driver and his wife who picked us up and drove us across the border

Our friendly truck driver had waited for us (what a legend) and away we went. Gazing longingly out the window, there was an instant change in scenery. Huge limestone cliffs, scattered with imposing giant trees and monkeys swinging between.

Thale Ban Forest Thailand
The vast Thale Ban Forest

Where to stay at the Wang Prachan border

Just 4km up the road from the border crossing is where our journey ended, as we were going to visit Thale Ban National Park. We booked to stay in the truly wonderful Baan Suan Tondin. A beautiful roadside guest house that has bungalows and camping. As we have been away for a long time and keeping costs low, we opted for camping. The tent was already set up undercover. It had a futon, bedding, towels, fans and even complimentary but spray. Nice touch! What’s more, we were camping by a small waterfall and surrounded by jungle. Awesome.

Breakfast was included and the couple that own the place have a menu of great meals to choose from. We’re both vegetarian and this was no problem.

Lake at Thale Ban National Park Thailand
Thale Ban National Park is worth visiting when you cross the border

Onward travel to Satun or Trang

You might be thinking all the above is great, but you want to travel onward to Satun or Trang. No problem. If you’ve hopped across the Wang Prachan border and aren’t hitchhiking, fear not. There should be minivans to take you. However, I must stress that we didn’t use a mini van, so it’s not possible to say what time they stop running nor the cost. The journey to Satun will take 45 minutes to one hour. With that in mind, anticipate the cost to be around 60 Baht ($2 USD). The border closes at 7:00pm, so be mindful about travel times and not getting stranded.

I’d love to know how you get on crossing the Wang Prachan border, so leave your comments below.

Thale Ban National Park Lake
Exploring the gorgeous Thale Ban National Park

Get the best value accommodation in Wang Prachan here:

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Crossing the Malaysia - Thailand Border at Wang Prachan

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