If you want to find the best way to travel from Hat Yai to Penang, below you will find all the options currently available to you for travel overland and by air.
What is the distance from Hat Yai to Penang (Georgetown)?
By road / overland it is around 220 km from Hat Yai to Georgetown.
Travelling by train is easily the best way to travel to Penang from Hat Yai.
It is comfortable.
Reasonably quick at around four hours (if you make the right connections).
It is also the cheapest way to travel from Hat Yai to Penang.
The first step of the journey is to take one of the "Special Trains" (Shuttle Trains) from Hat Yai to Padang Besar, located at the border, just inside Malaysia.
There are just two trains a day on this route:
One in the early morning.
One in the afternoon.
Tickets for these services cost just 50 Thai Baht.
Once you arrive at the border station of Padang Besar you will have to go through the immigration process and get stamped out of Thailand and stamped in to Malaysia.
Immigration is located at the station, on the same platform the train comes in on.
When the train is very busy (at the end of the weekend / holidays), this can take quite some time, so to make sure you do not miss the connecting train to Butterworth (Penang), we recommend you try to be one of the first passengers off the train!
Once your passport is all done, take the stairs up to the next floor where you will find the KTM ticket office.
The next part of the trip is to take a KTM Komuter train from Padang Besar to Butterworth.
Tickets cost just 11.40 RM (bring some Malaysian currency with you as there is no longer a money changer at the station) and trains depart every one to two hours throughout the day and evening.
Once you arrive at Butterworth Railway Station (Penang Sentral), you then have a few minutes walk to get to the ferry terminal where you can take the short boat ride over to Georgetown on Penang Island.
Another option is to take a minivan / minibus from Hat Yai to Penang.
There are no regular buses / coaches that operate on this route, so the minivan is your only option if you want to travel by road and don't have your own car.
The duration of the journey by minivan is usually around four to five hours (depending on traffic and congestion at the border / immigration at Sadao / Danok.
A good thing about the minivan is that you can often arrange for different pickup points around the city ie your hotel.
A bad thing is they are a little cramped and often drive too fast.
Tickets should cost about 400 Baht, but many places will ask for a lot more, so shop around.
You can buy minivan tickets from many places in Hat Yai (hotels, travel agents).
There is now a direct flight between Hat Yai and Penang operated by Malindo Air.
The flight duration is around 45 minutes.