Taking the Hat Yai to Padang Besar Train is by far the easiest way to travel from Hat Yai to the Thailand / Malaysia border.
These trains can then connect you to the Malaysian Railways (KTM) services to places like Butterworth, Penang and Kuala Lumpur (KL).
The only problem is there are only a couple of departures a day, one in the early morning, one in the afternoon.
The trip to the Malaysian border from Hat Yai by train takes just 55 minutes.
Trains leave at:
Train number 947 departs Hat Yai Junction Station at 07:30 arriving at Padang Besar Station in Malaysia at 08:25 (09:25 Malaysian time).
Train number 949 departs Hat Yai Junction Station at 14:00 arriving at Padang Besar Station in Malaysia at 14:55 (15:55 Malaysian time).
We try to keep our timetables up to date, but SRT do occasionally change schedules, so if you want to check their official website please visit:
There is another train from Hat Yai to Padang Besar that leaves in the early morning, but this is the International Special Express service from Bangkok to Padang Besar.
You should not take this train as the price you will pay will be many times more than the Shuttle.
Due to the way train fares are calculated in Thailand, Special Express services are very expensive for short trips because to all the supplements you have to pay on top of the "distance" price.
These Shuttle trains now consist of third class, fan cooled coaches (previously there were just two 2nd class air-conditioned coaches).
The one-way fare for these trains is now 50 Thai Baht since the introduction of the 3rd class carriages (previously 70 Thai Baht).
Tickets are only sold from the station ticket counter - no online booking for these trains is available.
Once you arrive at the final station inside Malaysia, you will have to go through passport control.
First you have to get stamped out of Thailand, then in to Malaysia.
You will also usually have your bags checked by the Malaysian Immigration Officers.
Once your passport is stamped, if you want to continue your journey by train, go upstairs to the KTM ticket counter.
There is also a canteen here if you want to get a bite to eat or drink.
For trains to Arau (for Langkawi Island), Alor Setar, Sungai Petani, Butterworth, Penang take a cheap KTM Komuter service.
For longer distance trains to places like Ipoh or Kuala Lumpur KL Sentral, you will need to take one of the new, fast ETS Electric Train Services.
Other travel options from Padang Besar station are:
From the main street through Padang Besar, Malaysia (take the bridge over the tracks) you can catch a bus to the town of Kangar.
From Kangar you can then connect to another bus to Kuala Perlis where boats leave for Langkawi.
Or you can catch buses to most other destinations in Penninsular Malaysia.
You can also take a taxi either from the front of the station, or better, cross the tracks into town and there is taxi stand just up from the roundabout where they have a full price list to all destinations posted.