The Sungai Kolok Border Crossing from Thailand to Malaysia

Crossing the Sungai Kolok border into Malaysia was rather uneventful, but for a place that has had a history of violence between the Muslim minority and the ruling Buddhist majority, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. While I was hesitant at first, especially after seeing all the machine-gun wielding guards pacing back and forth through the train, things turned out to be just fine. Being my first experience in a predominantly Muslim area of any country, I was intrigued by the hijaab wearing females and the Taqiyah wearing men, but as with the rest of Thailand, they were all friendly smiles. I was, however, the only tourist to get off the train that day, so to say this a remote corner of the country is no exaggeration.

Welcome to Malaysia

The actual logistics of crossing the Sungai Kolok border were rather simple, but here is the simple rundown:

  • I changed my money at a small shop just to the left as you leave the train station. The rate turned out to be better than in the next Malaysian city I visited.
  • 30 Baht gets you a ride from the train station to the border located just 1 km away
  • After you get your exit stamp from Thailand, a few hundred meters ahead you’ll cross a bridge and get your 90-day Visa into Malaysia
  • In Malaysia, you can either grab a cab (8RM) or wait for Bus 29 (5RM), which takes you to the nearest town of Kota Bharu. Cab’s and buses can take you all the way to the boat pier if you’d like to get to the Perhentian Islands the same day, totally doable.

Personally, I’m stopping in Kota Bharu for a few days to get a feel for some real traditional Malay culture.

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15 thoughts on “The Sungai Kolok Border Crossing from Thailand to Malaysia

  1. “Those with Isreali stamps are not allowed into Malaysia”

    Are you certain? I have an Israeli visa stamp on my passport and am definitely planning on traveling through Malaysia en route to Australia. If you don’t mind me asking how you learned of this information? I appreciate your time, thanks.

    • I may have been misinformed about the stamps and that idea was reinforced at the border when the women looked through every stamp in my passport. Thanks for the heads up. I’ll edit the post

    • I have several stamps from Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv in my passport, and also several stamps from Kuala Lumpur, Tanjang Pagar and Penang…so evidently it is not a problem.

  2. I am planning on doing this crossing next week. Any suggestions of places to stay in Kota Bharu and do you have any idea of the current security status. Cheers.

    • Haven’t heard anything negative about the crossing recently so I’m assuming its still fine. As far as a place to stay in Kota Bharu, I stayed at the KB Backpacker’s Inn. Great location and awesome staff but definitely a backpacker spot. Not fancy by any means and not the most cleanly place either, but it worked perfectly for me.

  3. dear one,

    I have a little confused question that is I am , Myanmar, holding a temporary passport in thailand
    can I apply a visa to visit to Malaysia for a day or one week.

  4. Hi Phil,
    I’m Hanim from Malaysia. Kota Bharu is one of districts in Kelantan, considered urban compared to other districts. If you come to Kelantan again, do visit Pasir Mas (my hometown) or other districts then you can enjoy our real traditional foods. I enjoy reading your travelog, have fun! Keep updating your blog!

  5. Hey guys,

    If you depart from Bangkok to Sungai Kolok directly? how to get to border? or you must go to Harjaai by train,Bus?? than travel to Patani and then Sungai Kolok?? what is the cheap and best route from Bangkok to Sungai KOLOK???

    And do they take Finger Impressions while crossing border at the time of imposing stamp on passport???

    Kindly reply ASAP??

    • I took the train all the way from Bangkok. A long and sweaty ride, but I enjoyed it. They did not take my finger impressions at the crossing. Just the stamp.

      • Was it possible to take the air conditioned sleeper train car that goes to Sungai Kolok? Or none were available? Taking the fan sleeper car from Bangkok must have been hot during the day.

        Is there a Thai consulate in or near Kota Bharu? Do you know where it is appx?

        Also, what if you wanted to go to Penang or KL from the Sungai Kolok/ Kota Bharu border?

  6. I can confirm that the information given is still valid as I crossed this morning into Malaysia. The exchange shop is still there, the simplicity of getting stamped on both sides and the bus 29 fair is still 5RM. I walked to the crossing so can’t vouch for the motorbike fair.
    Just a point about the 29bus, in order to catch it you have to wait at the corner of the really long bus shelter on the left as you head out of the boarder. It wasn’t obvious to me that it was a bus stop, I thought it was a walkway with a shelter – you do not need to cross any roads…spent a good twenty minutes figuring it out looking lost and confused 🙂

    Thank you for the info Phil…it did help.

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