To get from Penang Sentral in Butterworth to Hat Yai in Southern Thailand you can choose to travel by train, bus or minivan.
Taking the train all the way to Hat Yai Junction Railway Station is our recommended way to travel, especially if you want to stay in Hat Yai (as the railway station is located right in the centre of the city).
It is also a really cheap way to travel.
The first part of the train journey is to take a KTM Komuter train from Butterworth to Padang Besar (the border railway station located just inside Malaysia and the last stop for all KTM trains).
Then you want to connect to one of the Shuttle train services from Padang Besar to Hat Yai.
As there are only a few Shuttle trains a day, you want to make sure you can get to the border in time to make the connection (plan to arrive at Padang Besar at least 30 minutes before the train to Hat Yai departs to buy your tickets then go through passport control).
The price of both train trips from Butterworth to Hat Yai adds up to a total of around 18 RM (much cheaper than taking a minivan).
This is a good route to take if you want to travel from Butterworth to Hat Yai Bus Terminal.
Another alternative way to get to Hat Yai from Butterworth is to take the KTM Komuter train to the border, then leave the train station (via the footbridge upstairs) and cross over the main road border crossing.
Once inside Thailand, you can then take a local bus or minivan to Hat Yai Bus Station.
There are no direct bus / coach services to Hat Yai (only minivans - see below).
If you do want to travel by bus, here is our suggested route:
You can take a minivan from Penang Sentral Bus Terminal to Hat Yai (via the Danok / Sadao border) but we would recommend that if you want to travel by minivan it is much better to take a minivan from KOMTAR in Georgetown, Penang.
This is where the minivans originate from and only those that are not full (or if you book your departure in advance from Butterworth) will stop at Penang Sentral to pick up passengers.
For more information about travel by minivan: