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Padang Besar to Pak Bara (via Wang Kelian border crossing)

  • globoglobo

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd November, 2013
    Posts: 8

    Hello everyone!
    Has anyone done the said itinerary, and crossed from Malaysia into Thailand via the Wang Kelian border crossing?
    We would be arriving in Padang Besar by train: are there buses to the border? Are there buses when in Thailand that take you to Pak Bara?
    How much does it cost aproximately?
    If anyone has info about this, please let us know.
    Thanks!!
    Andrea

    #1 Posted: 23/11/2013 - 07:48

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  • tezza

    Joined Travelfish
    13th April, 2006
    Posts: 1291
    Total reviews: 61

    I hate unanswered questions so even though I have not gone to Pak Bara via Wang Kelian or Padang Besar, I have travelled thru the later and have some idea of the local transport.

    For a start, if I was on a train from Malaysia I would stay on at the border and go the short distance further to Hat Yai . There are frequent minibuses leaving Hat Yai for the Pak Bara pier and any travel agent around the station area could line this up and have a minibus call around for you. There are less expensive service buses but they will run to La Ngu from where you will need a motorcycle taxi or songtheaw the 12km or so across to Pak Bara. I don't know if these service buses run via the station area.

    I doubt there will be buses for Pak Bara from Padang Besar - all Thai roads head in the direction of Hat Yai because the country to the west is extremely rugged. If you are keen on buses: for sure there will be buses to Hat Yai but why complicate things getting off the train?

    You will be able to get across to Wang Kelian by taxi from Padang Besar. I understand there are songhaews from the Thai side of the border to Satun which is about 60km south of Pak Bara - the road meets up with route 406 from Hat Yai after about 15km and if you stay on for another 5km or so you will come to the junction of 416 which runs up to La Ngu. You could get off at the 406/416 junction and wait for a Satun-La Ngu bus or songthaew, or you may even get lucky and be picked up by one of the minibuses from Hat Yai - as far as I know they travel 406/416. By the way, Thai transport people are very good - if you tell the songthaew driver in Wang Kelian that you want to go to La Ngu or Pak Bara he/she will put you off at the 406/416 junction. But why go to all this trouble? - I'm sure it will take longer and be more expensive than going directly by train to Hat Yai etc.

    One final point - if you do choose to more complicated route via Wang Kelian, I would not do it too late in the day. One trip I found not much public transport travelling north from Satun along 406 after about 1700.

    #2 Posted: 24/11/2013 - 21:37

  • amnicoll

    Joined Travelfish
    10th January, 2005
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 225
    Total reviews: 6

    On the Thai side of the border there is an infrequent songthaew from the border to Satun otherwise you may need to hitch or beg a lift at least as far as the main road but I did not cross to the Malay side but would assume there is local transport but can not confirm - unlikely to be frequent and may require a change

    #3 Posted: 25/11/2013 - 05:33

  • globoglobo

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd November, 2013
    Posts: 8

    thanks to you both for the very useful info!
    it's weird, because a dude that seems pretty well informed too on the trip advisor forum just told me the exact opposite! :-)
    like: do it, it's worth it, it's faster and cheaper, taxi from PB to the border and then another taxi to pak bara.
    mmmhhh... but hat yai seems more convincing I'd say...

    #4 Posted: 25/11/2013 - 16:34

  • captainbkk

    Joined Travelfish
    16th February, 2012
    Posts: 405

    1.Pdg Bsr IS right smack on the border- I do not quite understand your point in this. As above: the 2 trains using this station/border continue to either BKK via or end in HYai.
    2. TA (as I have to read several of those travellerfora to follow news) is NOT at all well informed re transport matters-only re if 4 or 5* HTLs in PHuket would be better. The ajarn or so who seems so well-informed gets his info from a site he does not mention, but that site is based on 10 yrs old info and not updated. I myself get sick of correcting all false info-so I limit to just 1 or 2. TA is for package tourists or complete ignorant newbees without any common sense. Though this site mostly seems used by complete fresh bepekking newbees who trust the www far too much.

    #5 Posted: 25/11/2013 - 23:34

  • tezza

    Joined Travelfish
    13th April, 2006
    Posts: 1291
    Total reviews: 61

    "taxi from PB to the border and then another taxi to pak bara."


    Um, well the TAXI thing throws a new light on the problem. All us old time travellers use taxis as infrequently as possible on account we are cheapskates. But the TA person may well be right for people who can afford to take taxis the full distance - I reckon Padang Besar by Wang Kelian would be the SHORTEST route from the train to Pak Bara. And probably the QUICKEST not only because of kms saved but because you don't have to wait around for connections.


    Anyhow this has turned out an interesting thread. Please reply after your trip and tell us which route you took and how it worked out. Too few people give feedback.

    #6 Posted: 26/11/2013 - 00:21

  • globoglobo

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd November, 2013
    Posts: 8

    captainbkk -
    first of all, excuse me but I think you're being a little too rude here.
    thisisa forum, a place where people that don't know about something ask foradvice to people that know that particular something. that's whatforums are for. and that's "trusting the www", too. or isn'ttravelfish "the www" too?
    everyone has been a newbee at some point in life, you too. and being a newbee on a forum doesn't necessarily mean being a newbee in real life. Again: if I don't know about something, I ask. I have no fear of being considered a newbee or whatever, who cares. I need the info, I ask. If someone is kind enough to answer: great. Pointing out my supposed mistakes or etiquette wrongdoings: pointless.


    then:


    PdgBsr IS right smack on the border- I do not quite understand your point in this. As above: the 2 trains using this station/border continue to either BKK via or end in HYai.


    I know PB is on the border. I know the trains go to HY or all the way to BKK. actually, that's the very same train I would be on if I decide to stop at PB as I told. funny coincidence, eh?
    "mypoint" is that I looked at the map, I saw hat yai is way out east, I remembered it's not that short a trip from hat yai to pak bara since the last time I was there (yes, I've been there already, surprised?), I will be coming from malaysia this time, I saw there's a route that looks shorter and more interesting, I saw on the timetables that I would be in PB an hour earlier than HY, I saw there's a national park both on the malay side and on the thai side of the border in wang kelian. enough for me to think: why not try that route instead? sounds interesting.
    so I went on a couple of forums and asked, as above. travelfish, tezza's blog and yes, TA.


    2.TA (as I have to read several of those travellerfora to follow news) isNOT at all well informed re transport matters-only re if 4 or 5*HTLsin PHuket would be better. The ajarn or so who seems so well-informedgets his info from a site he does not mention, but that site is basedon 10 yrs old info and not updated. I myself get sick of correctingall false info-so I limit to just 1 or 2. TA is for package touristsor complete ignorant newbees without any common sense. Though thissite mostly seems used by complete fresh bepekkingnewbees who trustthe www far too much.

    As I said, I also posted on the TA forum, please forgive me about that if you can. I thought the more information from different sources, the better. and I think I can sort out the info I get with some common sense, yes.
    if you have infos you think I can use in my research, you are more than welcome. if you think that source on the TA forum is not credible, please tell me how and why. possibily without insulting him or, at least, me.
    also, if I was the TA type you think I am, I guess I wouldn't have asked so many questions and head straight to HY by plane. or go to phuket. or stick to my LP.
    and if I was the "complete fresh bepekking newbee who trust the www far too much" you think I am in the next sentence, is it that weird that I go on a particularly reliable forum like travelfish and ask for advice? please forgive me for this, too. I'll be a perfect backpacker from day one in my next life. and I won't need to ask for advice on forums and bother you.
    getting angry and sick is a way of dealing with it, of course. getting helpful like people on forums is supposed to be is another.


    so,onto more useful and interesting stuff, and more helpful people.


    tezza-
    your point actually makes perfect sense. now that I think of it, of course you can go anywhere, by taxi. ;)
    theguy said it would cost 50 MYR from PB to the border and 1500 BHT from there to pak bara. not really cheap.
    but as I said, your info seemed much more accurate and thorough, even if you have not done it before like you said. I am more into doing the common HY way after reading your post, but I guess I will ask people there, too.
    if I am doing the wang kelian route, of course I will report on it!
    thanks again!


    andrea

    #7 Posted: 26/11/2013 - 04:35

  • Ellyfish

    Joined Travelfish
    2nd March, 2014
    Posts: 1

    Hi globoglobo, hi everyone!

    I will be crossing the border from Malaysia to Thailand, also from KL to Padang Besar - or Hat Yai.
    Can you let me know which route you took in the end? How much did it cost you? What were the schedules (bus & boats)? Did you have to stay one night in Hat Yai? Or in Pak Bara?
    I actually need to go to Thailand in order to renew my tourist visa in Malaysia, and I haven't decided if I should go by bus (day time 6hrs from KL to PB) or with the night train that arrives at 9:00am in PB. If you guys have any advice about it you are more than welcome.
    Another question is : Suppose I stop at PB (which was actually my initial plan before I read this post :), is there anything similar to a beach or a nice place to relax further to the North of PB? (I mean without necessarily going to Pak Bara...)

    Thanks very much for sharing your experience,

    Elly

    #8 Posted: 2/3/2014 - 11:47

  • amnicoll

    Joined Travelfish
    10th January, 2005
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 225
    Total reviews: 6

    I would do thenight train myself but I prefer trains to buses. There would be no need to stay in Hat yai as you could catch the train back the same afternoon

    In pedang besa (PB?) you are some distance from the coast but Pak Bara if there are beaches both to the north and south but you will need to make a decision before you leave Satun as there are rivers/inlets to the north of PB

    #9 Posted: 3/3/2014 - 04:53

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