Travel from Penang to Thailand can be done fairly easily with the following options.
There are numerous daily KTM Komuter trains that leaves from Butterworth train station on the mainland just 5 minutes walk from the ferry terminal.
These commuter services take you to the border station of Padang Besar.
From here you can take one of two Shuttle trains a day that leave for Hat Yai.
This train then travels up the east coast of Thailand, so if you are going to places like Koh Samui, Koh Tao, Hua Hin or this is a good option for travel.
It is an all second class train with sleeper beds, so a great way to travel to Thailand overnight.
If you take the option of going to Hat Yai, there are a number of sleeper trains heading north (most are cheaper than the International Express) to choose from.
There are many minibuses that operate between Penang and Thailand with the main destination being Hat Yai, which is about 30 minutes drive from the border crossing and 4 hours away from Penang.
All these minibuses cross the border at Sadao / Danok.
Get dropped off at Hat Yai bus station where you can get a bus to most destinations in Southern Thailand, or at the train station where there are many trains heading north in the afternoon and evening.
You can also buy minibus / bus and boat tickets to most of the popular destinations in Thailand, including Phuket, Koh Samui, Krabi and Bangkok.
These tickets will take you by minibus to Hat Yai, then transfer you to another minibus to your final destination.
If you do plan to travel by minibus to the following places in Thailand, you are probably better off buying your tickets for the whole journey in Penang.
The reason I say this is, that at Hat Yai bus station, the agents selling onward minibus / private bus tickets around the bus station will overcharge you - I can guarantee that!
If you stay inside the bus station and use the government buses you will pay the correct amount but will limit your choice of buses.
Here is a price list of minibuses to Thailand (use as a guide only as prices may change).
Penang to Hat Yai - 40 RM
Penang to Krabi - 70 RM
Penang to Trang - 60 RM
Penang to Surat Thani - 70 RM
Penang to Pak Bara Pier - 60 RM
Penang to Phuket - 80 RM
Penang to Koh Lanta - 95 RM
Penang to Koh Samui - 90 RM
Penang to Koh Tarutao - 100 RM
Penang to Koh Phi Phi - 110 RM
Penang to Koh Phangan - 110 RM
Penang to Koh Lipe - 130 RM
Penang to Bangkok - 125 RM
Penang to Koh Tao - 160 RM
There are various departures throughout the day starting at 05:00, which, if you are going on one of the journeys that include a boat trip, this will be the one you will have to catch.
Other departures are at 08:30, 12:00 and 15:30.
You can buy tickets online, or at most guesthouses and budget hotels, many places along Chulia Street and at the agents near the KOMTAR bus station.
This is a much more interesting way to get to Thailand.
You can do it in a day or take a few days and stop off along the way at places like Alor Setar and Kangar before crossing the border at Pedang Besar into Thailand.
Penang Airport located about 30 minutes drive by taxi or about an hour by bus, offers a few budget carriers such as Air Asia and Firefly who both operate flights to Thailand.
Air Asia operate regular flights from Penang to Bangkok.
Firefly also fly to Koh Samui, Krabi and Phuket.
For a bit more money Thai airways fly Penang to Bangkok.
As with all budget airlines it is better to book early to get the really good prices.
If you have plenty of time and don't mind spending a bit more, travelling by boat via Langkawi is a nice way to get from Penang to Thailand, plus you get to visit the lovely island of Langkawi!
Firstly you have to catch the Penang Langkawi Ferry.
From Langkawi you can then catch a boat to Koh Lipe or Satun in Thailand.
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