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Driving into Thailand soon? Here are some things to take note to ensure a smooth, fuss-free entry into the land of smiles.
Situated on the upper, most-northern part of West Malaysia, the Malaysia-Thailand border is one of the busiest in South-East Asia.
In fact, it has become so busy that late last year, authorities from both sides have agreed to open the border for 24 hours a day, although the exact date has yet to be confirmed due to possible delays.
Currently, the borders were only open for around 16 to 18 hours a day. The popular Bukit Kayu Hitam crossing for example, is only opened from 6am to 12 midnight.
There is a total of eight land crossing points spread out among the four most-northern states in West Malaysia, Perak, Kelantan, Kedah and Perlis.
(Photo Credit: Rider Chris)
Among them, the most popular crossing point would be the border linking Bukit Kayu Hitam in Kedah and Dannok Sadao in Songkla, Thailand. The reason being that this crossing point is the fastest and most convenient should you want to go to Hat Yai, a popular town in Southern Thailand among tourists.
Checklist of Items
To put it simply, documents you will need to cross the border are as follows:
1) Two copies of the TM2 Information of Conveyance form
2) Two copies of the TM3 Passenger List form (only required if travelling with passengers)
3) TM6 Card (Arrival/Departure White Card)
4) Simplified customs temporary Import/Export form
5) Valid Driving Licence in Thailand (you will need either an ASEAN driving licence or an IDP)
6) Copy of Valid Road Tax and Insurance
7) Vehicle Registration Card
Before Entering Thailand
The top four documents on the checklist above can be obtained at the Thailand border without a fee. However, sometimes you will need to pay a few ringgits for the documents, for which you will not get an official receipt, if you know what we mean. To save time, you can download the TM2 and TM3 forms above and fill it up ahead of time.
Alternatively, you can also get those ‘TM’ immigration forms and third-party insurance for your vehicle at the town just before the border. There, you will be able to see a few signboards advertising, among other things, car insurance for driving in Thailand.
An alternative is, if you are travelling on the North-South highway, you can stop at the Caltex Petrol Station at the Gurun R&R stop, which is about 80km south from the Bukit Kayu Hitam border. There, you can get your immigration forms and third-party insurance for your vehicle.
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While there are some checkpoints on the Thai side that you need to exit your vehicle to get your passport stamped, the Bukit Kayu Hitam-Dannok Sadao crossing does have dedicated drive-through lanes for your convenience.
Please make sure to hand the completed TM2 and TM3 forms to the immigration officer when they stamp your passport. You will need to have two copies for your arrival and departure.
The immigration officer will keep one copy for your arrival and will stamp the departure copy before giving it back to you. This stamped copy will need to be submitted when you exit Thailand.
Thailand's Customs Declaration Counter
(Photo Credit: Mr Definite)
Following that, park your car after going through the immigration counter and go to the Customs Declaration Counter. There, you will be able to get your simplified temporary import/export form.
You will need to show your passport and vehicle registration card to the immigration officer at counter No.1 for verification. For repeat travellers, your particulars should still be in the system for easier verification.
The form is valid for 30 days, and you are required to return the export form to the Customs Counter when you are leaving Thailand. If you fail to do so, there will be a fine of 1,000 baht a day, up to a maximum of 10,000 baht if you depart or return it late.
Do note that you are allowed to stay in Thailand for a maximum of 30 days for leisure purposes. You are also allowed to enter and exit at different land crossings, so you are not required to leave via the same crossing you came in from.
With that, you are equipped with all you need to know about driving into Thailand! Please remember to drive safely and abide by all the rules in the land of smiles!