Monday, July 15, 2013

Hatyai 2013 (Part 1) - Getting There

13 July 2013 (Saturday)

I was supposed to have my wisdom tooth extracted yesterday in Aimst dental hospital, but as luck would have it, they forgotten to schedule it. So my appointment was pushed back to the following Friday. I was pretty bummed about it cause Mong came up all the way from KL just to accompany me through the painful weekend post extraction. Such a waste. haih. 

Didn't want to let his trip up be of waste so we made a spontaneous trip to Hatyai again! Plus! I have been craving for authentic Thai food for the longest time! Talk about killing 2 birds with 1 stone! =D

 Had some assignments and work done in Old Town first before zooming off to Thailand!


For the juniors who will be joining us soon in Alor Setar, please visit Hatyai at least once during your 1 year stay here! Its such a waste to not explore Thailand when you are sooooo near to it! It might sound scary to some, but trust me, its pretty safe and simple to cross the border into Danok, and then travel to Hatyai.


ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE FORM (blue in color)

You will need this form to enter into Thailand. You can buy it from either the random shops along Changloon or you can buy it at the Sadao Immigration Complex. To my knowledge, the form is supposed to be free (isn't it in most country?). To confirm, I asked the Immigration Officer at Sadao where can I get the form for free. He just casually directed us to this makeshift stall at the side (next to the public restrooms) and asked us to buy it from there. Its RM2 for 1 form and they will help you fill in your particulars.


*The arrival/departure card is free. There's a box before Thai Immigration counter where you can get the cards for free and there will be an officer who might be there to make sure you only take each per person.


TIME

Thai time is 1 hour earlier than us. Meaning, if Malaysia time is 3pm, Thai time is 2pm. So make sure you set your watches!


MONEY

If you are planning to just wander around Danok, converting your Ringgits into Bahts is not necessary. Hatyai however, only accept Baht, so if you are planning to venture further, do take note. 

Danok is the border city of Southern Thailand and thus deal with Malaysian customers and tourists on a regular basis. All 7 Eleven (there are 4 in total!), KFC and McD in Danok accept Ringgit. The conversion rate was 972 when I was here last weekend (meaning RM100 = THB972). This rate is not fixed of course. When i was here earlier this year, it was 990.  

There are many Currency Exchangers all over Danok and Hatyai. Alternatively, you can change your money in Changloon (a town before Bukit Kayu Hitam). Based on my experience, there aren't much discrepancies between the rates in Changloon and Danok/ Hatyai. So just pick whichever is convenient for you.



GETTING THERE

There are a few ways to travel to Hatyai:
1) Driving own car
You will need your car registration for this and will need to purchase insurance. Plus, you will have to fork out an additional $$$ to cross the border. My info on this is limited cause I have never driven into Thailand before. But if you want my opinion, Don't drive! (unless you are going with a group of people). Petrol in Thailand is super expensive compared to ours, and the traffic there is scary! Plus parking is a bitch. I saw an open air parking lot in Hatyai charging RM20/ hour. Crazy!

*To bring car into Thailand, bring your original car registration, and buy Thai insurance at the border (RM16 for 9 days). After immigration clearance, move on to the custom booth, hand them your passport together with your car registration and the insurance that you bought just now. They will print an import/export form and bring them over to another counter where a custom officer will ask you to sign on the form before stamping on it. After that, you car is legal and free to enter Thailand. Make sure to keep the form and return it on the way out. Pretty same procedure. Just don't lose that form or not return it back to Thai custom because your car might have problems entering Thailand in the future.

2) Train
Just buy a ticket from the Alor Setar KTM station for RM16 one way. It is a second class seat with air-cond. Tickets can only be bought on the day of travel itself. Seats are usually never full (except during peak seasons like Raya) so don't worry about not getting a seat. The train leaves for Hatyai at 8am and the KTM ticketing counter opens at 7.45am (yes, you will have only 15 minutes to get your ticket and get into the train). The train will stop at Padang Besar, where you will have to get down from the train and get your passport stamped at the Immigration department before continuing the journey to Hatyai. The journey takes roughly 3 hours.

3) Walk + Van
This is one of the most cost efficient way to travel to Hatyai! Of course I don't literally mean walk all the way to Hatyai. You can cross the border into Danok by foot, and then get an air-conditioned shuttle van from Danok to Hatyai for only RM6 (THB57) one way. Tickets can be bought at a make-shift stall in front of 7 Eleven. Its a 1 hour journey from Danok to Hatyai by van. The van will stop at several points in HatyaiLee Gardens Plaza is one of them. Best to disembark here! 

4) Bus
Its cheap, but its hot and stuffy. No thanks!

5) Taxi
Relatively more expensive compared to van. Around RM60 one way (if im not mistaken).

Immigration Complex Bukit Kayu Hitam. Passport will be checked so get it ready.


Once you've crossed the Bukit Kayu Hitam Immigration Complex, you have to walk about 1km to the Sadao Immigration Complex at the other end.







This way to Thailand!

We were supposed to be walking on the other side but there was no walkway there, so we walked against the traffic for the first half before crossing over to the other side.


Sadao Immigration Complex. Passport will be checked again here.


At the edge of Malaysia!


After crossing the Immigration complex, this is what you will see first!

I'll end Part 1 of Hatyai here. Will write about the remaining of the trip in the next few posts :)

I hope this post will be of help to whoever who plans on visiting Danok/Hatyai in the future. Feel free to ask me any questions if your are doubtful about something and I will try my best to answer them!
Good luck and have fun! =D

8 comments:

Paul said...

beautiful picture, its greate!

Anonymous said...

Yes, the arrival/departure card is free... there's a box before thai immigration counter where you can get the cards for free and there will be an officer who might be there to make sure you only take each per person... i never pay for it before because the 2myr is actually for their service who helped you to fill in the card...

To bring car into Thailand, bring your original registration, buy Thai insurance at the border (16myr for 9 days)... after immigration clearence, move on to the custom booth, hand them your passport together with your car registration and the insurance that you bought just now... they will print a import/export form and bring them over to another counter where a custom officer will ask you to sign on the form before stamping on it... after that, you car is legal and free to enter Thailand... make sure to keep the form and return it on the way out... pretty same procedure... just dont lose that form or not return it back to Thai custom because your car might have problem upon entering Thailand in the future...


EereNoon

Christine said...

Thanks for the info EereNoon! Really useful stuff! :)

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Anonymous said...

Is it safe to travel to Dannok and Hatyai now?

Christine said...

Due to recent bombing attacks and protests, i'd say its best to stay clear of Thailand for now until the Thai general elections are over.

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Crystal Tan said...

Hi Christine, thanks for the info, may I know how did you travel from Lee Garden back to Danok border?