Driving overland from Malaysia to Thailand

Driving overland from Malaysia to Thailand was fun! It was a spontaneous plan by my husband out of frustration that my son could not join an event in Kuala Terengganu because of age and safety factor. I do not blame the organiser but myself for letting my son put high hope to join the event.

So we drove from Pantai Penarik, Kuala Terengganu to Rantau Panjang, Kelantan.

We had problems in the beginning but we settled it within few hours. You see, to enter the border by car, a Malaysian needs to have:

1. 2 sets of car registration copy,
2. Car Insurance,
3. 2 sets of IC and driving licence copy,
4. Passport.

We didn’t have the first two. I covered the latter two because I always bring my family’s passport whenever we travel around Malaysia. And of course, I carry my driving licence in my purse. And visa is not needed as Malaysians have been exempted from it with a period of stay not exceeding 30 days each time.

So, how did I get a copy of my car registration? I called my niece, Wanda, in KL and ask her to send me a photo of my car registration. She e-mailed me a copy and then we went to find a printing shop. We got it printed and later went to get car insurance. We found an agent not far from the the border and bought one for RM45. It is valid for 3 months.

And then we drove into the Rantau Panjang Immigration Complext at the border. We handed our passports and got them stamped. And further up, we have to park our car and get to JPJ counter to have the photocopies of car registration verified and stamped by the officer. I also need to show my original Identity Card. The verified photocopy is valid for one month.

Later on, we passed by Thai police posted not far from JPJ counter and drove to Sungai Golok Boundary Post (Sungai Golok CIQ Complex) and parked our car. Here we need to get a carnet for our car, get the arrival and departure card and get our passport stamped. We learned from the custom officer that car insurance can also be obtained from the counter.Then we were directed to custom officer at the boundary post to have our passport stamped and pass the arrival card.

Carnet documents.

 After that we get to our car and just drove pass by the post. And….we’re in Sungai Golok, Thailand!!

Among first few things I noticed about Thailand are motorcyle with carriage and cable system. Berserabut kabel!

I will post about our trip around some parts of Thailand in another post, ok. At the mean time, I want to highlight the process of  driving overland from Malaysia to Thailand via Sungai Golok (the process is the same from any entry point).

It’s easy really if you have all the document ready, unlike us. So I am going to summarise the steps to make it easier for you (Malaysian only, I do not know how for other nationalities) to understand how to enter Thailand:

The steps to enter Sungai Golok, Thailand from Rantau Panjang, Malaysia

1. Photocopy of car registration. Make 2 photocopies ready in hand but to be on the safe side, just bring the original in case they need it if the photocopy is not that clear.

2. Car insurance – you can get one from a shop few meters before the Rantau Panjang Immigration Complex. Alternatively, you can get the insurance at Thailand’s CIQ Complex, Sungai Golok. Why we need one? Because our local insurance only covered Malaysia, Republic of Singapore and Negara Brunei Darussalam.

3. Enter the Rantau Panjang Immigration complex. Hand over your passport to be stamped.

4. Verification from JPJ – Park your car after you drive through the immigration complex. You need to go to JPJ counter and get both sets of your documents (car registration, IC and Driving Licence copy) to be verified by the JPJ officer. Owner of the car has to be present. If the owner is not present, you must produce 2 sets of a letter from the owner with a stamp by Commissioner of Oath, beforehand. The officer will give you back both verified copies; one for you to keep and one for Thailand’s custom.

5. Drive through the gate where polices are posted. They will do random check and let you through.

6. Passport and arrival/departure card – Park your car at Thailand’s CIQ Complex. Go to the immigration counter and ask for arrival & departure card (the form is in a piece of perforated card to separate the arrival and departure section) from the counter. Fill it in and present together with your passport to the immigration officer. The officer will stamp your passport and take the arrival card, leaving you with the departure card for exit purpose. Please keep the departure card safe because you cannot exit Thailand without it. In case you lost it, just get one off the counter before you approach departure control, fill it in and present with your passport.

7. Carnet form – Just beside the immigration counter, there’s a custom counter. Hand over a set of verified copy of car insurance, photocopy of IC, driving license (and verified letter from owner; if applicable) together with your passport to the officer. The carnet process will take only about 10 minutes. The carnet is actually a Simplified Customs Declaration Form (for motorcar and motorcycle temporarily imported or exported). Please check all the details before leaving the counter. I didn’t check mine but later found out that the color of my car was written ‘gold’ in the form. My car is purple. But lucky, there was no problem. The carnet is valid for one month. Please do not forget to return the carnet form when you exit because it is important that they have a record that your car have exited together with you. If you did not return the carnet form, they will assume your car will still be in Thailand and you will be fine 1000 Baht daily for failure to return it.

8. Exiting Thailand – In my case, I went across Thailand to get to Dannok Post on the Bukit Kayu Hitam side. This side of the boundary post is a bit chaos (but maybe that was just because of the Songkran Festival when I visited). The traffic was horrendous and you have to go find a parking space to park your car. Then you (and all passengers) have to walk to the Immigration/Departure Post (there are many posts, just choose one) and queue to have yourself cleared and passport stamped. You need to pay 20 Baht for each person. Then you need to get to the counter just behind the post to return the carnet form. You need to sign on the carnet form and on a log book. And that is all the process for Thailand’s side.

9. Entering Malaysia – drive your car pass the immigration, have your passport stamped and later drive further up for police and custom check. You need to open your car boot for checking. If you didn’t buy anything, they will clear you to enter Malaysia via the green lane. I am not sure what is the case if you buy things from Thailand. I guess you will need to pay for tax.

And that’s it. Finito. Hope you find this information useful if you want to drive overland from Malaysia to Thailand.

Oh, a tip for you before you enter Thailand; fill in your fuel tank to the max because Thai Government does not subsidise fuel like Malaysian Government.

Stay tuned for my Thailand’s blog posts.

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