The city of Hat Yai is a short distance ride to or from the border crossing between Thailand and Malaysia. The city on the Thailand side of the border crossing is Sadao, while the city on the Malaysian side is Bukit Kayu Hitam.
Regardless of whether you’re cycling plans have you entering or exiting Thailand, the city of Hat Yai, with its train station and good selection of nearby bike shops and hotels, is certainly worth keeping in mind if you’re traveling by bike.
Find all of the Bicycle Shops in Hat Yai city and Songkhla province. The 4 bicycle shops listed below are particularly close to the Hat Yai train station and are a good option for any last minute repairs before crossing into Malaysia or continuing northward through Thailand:
- All Wheels Ride (AWR)
- Hat Yai Mountain Bike
- Hat Yai-Speedplay
- Tennis & Bike Sports
The Aloha Hotel is very close to the train station and allowed me to store my bicycle inside my room. They also offered late checkout time of 4pm (my train departure time was 6:45pm) for an additional fee of 400 THB.
In order to remove some of the guesswork for touring cyclists planning a Thailand/Malaysia border crossing at Sadao/Bukit Kayu Hitam I have compiled the following information –
Crossing from Thailand to Malaysia on a bicycle
The city of Alor Setar is a good destination for those touring cyclists leaving Thailand and entering Malaysia. It is best to schedule your crossing into Malaysia earlier in the day so you can complete the distance to Alor Setar rather than crossing the border late and planning to find accommodation in Bukit Kayu Hatim.
GPS link for Hat Yai to Alor Setar (110km) – Border crossing is approximately 58km from Hat Yai
Download – Hat Yai to Alor Setar file in .gpx format
Download – Hat Yai to Alor Setar file in .gdb format
Just before you reach the border crossing you will notice that motor vehicle traffic is being diverted through the Thai Customs House parking lot. You can simply ride your bicycle straight through without needing to stop at the customs house.
The first checkpoint of the border crossing will be at the Thai Immigration building. Follow the signs for motorcycle traffic as this will help you avoid ending up in the long queue of tractor trailer trucks. Enter the Thai Immigration building and get stamped out of Thailand. At the time of my crossing (August 2016) there were no hassles and no hidden fees when getting stamped out of Thailand. Once you have been stamped out of Thailand you will exit the building and again pedal your bicycle along the winding road, following signs for motorcycle traffic until you reach the second checkpoint of the border crossing, the Malaysian Immigration building. Getting stamped into Malaysia was also simple and quick without any complications. Get stamped into Malaysia inside the Malaysian Immigration building and then get back on your bicycle and pedal into Malaysia on the main highway, Asian Highway 2 (AH2). Side note – I noticed that motorcyclists were not carrying any of their luggage inside the immigration buildings with them so I followed their example and left my bags on my bicycle. Neither Thailand nor Malaysian immigration personnel asked to see or inspect any of my bags.
Malaysian road signs are easy to read and understand as they are written in English. Exits are clearly marked and numbered sequentially. While AH2 will get you all of the way from the border crossing to Alor Setar it is not recommended that you plan any other part of your cycling trip along this main highway since it becomes much bigger (and busier) as it connects all of the large cities along Malaysia’s west coast.
Don’t forget – Malaysia is 1 hour ahead of Thailand – Reset your watch/phone
Crossing from Malaysia to Thailand on a bicycle
The city of Hat Yai is a good destination for those touring cyclists leaving Malaysia and entering Thailand. If you enter Thailand in the evening and are not able to make the entire distance to Hat Yai before dark the city of Sadao offers a few basic accommodation and food options along the main road (Hwy 4).
GPS link for Alor Setar to Hat Yai (110km) – Border crossing is approximately 52km from Alor Setar.
Download – Alor Setar to Hat Yai file in .gpx format
Download – Alor Setar to Hat Yai file in .gdb format
Crossing from Malaysia into Thailand seems to go much quicker and the traffic pattern is much more direct. The first checkpoint of the border crossing is at the Malaysian Immigration building. Follow the signs for motorcycle traffic where displayed. Once you have been stamped out of Malaysia inside the Malaysian Immigration building you will again pedal your bicycle along the motorcycle/traffic lane until you reach the second checkpoint of the border crossing, the Thai Immigration kiosks.
For some reason you have to pay 2 Malaysian Ringgit to have an official fill out your entry/departure card at a little table just to the left of the kiosks. Usually these cards are free and you can fill them out yourself but evidently someone has decided to turn this process into a nice little side business so make sure you have a few Malaysian Ringgit still in your pocket when leaving Malaysia. Once you have your ‘officially’ completed entry/departure card you can proceed to any of the Thai Immigration kiosks and get stamped into Thailand. Once you have been stamped into Thailand you can pedal your bicycle into Thailand through any of the vehicle lanes between the kiosks. Of course I was stopped by the Thai Immigration police officer who inspects vehicles entering Thailand, but the stop was just to delight his curiosity about how far I had ridden so far and where I was going today. He gave me a big thumbs up and สุดยอด Sut Yot (Thai way of saying something is Top-Notch) before directing me out onto the main road, Highway 4 (also called Phetkasem Road).
Thailand road signs can be a bit difficult to understand as not all of them are written in English. Also, many roads have more than one name and when they do write them in English the spelling can differ from sign to sign. Read this article about Thailand kilometer markers to get a better idea of what to expect. Being able to recognize Thai hotel signs and ordering common Thai foods while cycling in Thailand may also make your journey that much more enjoyable.
Don’t forget – Thailand is 1 hour behind Malaysia – Reset your watch/phone
Other Thailand/Malaysia border crossings in the Hat Yai area that can be used by touring cyclists:
Padang Besar (Malaysia)
Planning a cycling trip in Thailand? Want to remove some of the guesswork when it comes to routes and information? BicycleThailand.com offers GPS route data for touring cyclists that can be used on a GPS device, smartphone, or tablet. These routes can be viewed on your device regardless of internet access during your Thailand cycling adventure. Learn more about our Thailand GPS cycle touring routes.