Out of all the travel options and how to get from Alor Setar to Hat Yai in Thailand, we strongly recommend you to take the train.
The journey by rail is a relatively straight forward trip compared to taking a combination of buses and minivans and if you plan it right, it will be the fastest and cheapest way to get to Hatyai from Alor Setar.
For a relatively hassle-free journey from Alor Setar to Hat Yai city centre, taking the train should be your number one choice.
It is also a really cheap way to travel and if you do the journey all the way by train, it will only cost you around RM 11 - 12.
As there are currently only a few shuttle trains a day to Hat Yai from the border, before you decide which train to take from Alor Setar to Padang Besar:
Then click on the timetable below to see the latest KTM Komuter train timetable from Alor Setar to Padang Besar:
Another alternative is to take an ETS train from Alor Setar to Padang Besar to connect to the Shuttle train to Hatyai.
The only advantage of taking an ETS train is that you are guaranteed a seat (unlike the commuter trains). However, it will cost you 3 to 4 times as much!
If you don't want to wait around for the next Shuttle train, you could leave the station (using the footbridge over the tracks next to the cafe upstairs) and cross over to Thailand using the main road border crossing.
However, taking this route involves a fair bit of walking (unless you hire a motorbike taxi).
It takes around 10 minutes to walk across the border, then another 15 minutes to walk into town if you want to take a minibus.
Once you have crossed into Thailand, you can take a local bus or minivan to Hat Yai Bus Terminal.
There are no direct bus or minivan services from Alor Setar to Hat Yai.
It is possible to travel by bus from Alor Setar to Bukit Kayu Hitam (on the Malaysia side of the Dannok / Sadao border).
Walk across the border (about 15 minutes), then take a minivan from Dannok to Hatyai.
Another alternative is to take a bus from Alor Setar to Kangar, then take a MyBas bus from Kangar to the border at Padang Besar, then take a train, local bus or minivan to Hat Yai (see the following link for how to get from Padang Besar to Hatyai).
The quickest and most direct route to drive to Hatyai from Alor Setar is to take the North-South Expressway (E1) to the town of Bukit Kayu Hitam on the Malaysian side of the Dannok / Sadao border crossing.
This is the busiest border crossing for cars, coaches and trucks into Thailand from Malaysia so expect a few delays at the border.
Once you pass through all the immigration procedures and have crossed into Thailand the road changes name to the National Highway 4 and leads you directly to Hatyai.
The distance by road using this route is a around 110 km.
An alternative, more scenic, but longer route by car would be to drive to the Padang Besar border crossing.
The border crossing here is less congested than at Dannok and you can choose to drive onto Hat Yai using the scenic country roads or drive to Sadao and join National Highway 4.
There are no direct flights from Alor Setar Airport (AOR) to Hat Yai Airport (HDY).