There are plenty of buses that run between Hatyai and Kuala Lumpur. Many of them leave in the morning from 9:30am onwards. Travel time from Hatyai to KL takes at least 9 hours or more depending on if the drivers stop at other towns to pick up more passengers. If you board the morning bus, you will arrive KL earliest at about 7pm. Another option is to take the evening bus that leaves Hatyai at 6pm and arrive KL at 4am in the morning. Persoanlly, I don't recomend it because 4am at the Puduraya bus terminal is not the safest place to be. Bus tickets costs 400Baht.
VIP (25 Seater) bus is the most common way to travel from Kuala Lumpur to Hatyai. Buses leave from Puduraya or just outside the bus terminal in K.L. Tickets can be bought at the ticket counters along 7-11 opposite Puduraya. Each ticket costs RM40. But expect to pay up to RM70 during high peak holiday season (i.e. Chinese New Year in February, etc). Morning buses that leave KL at around 9:30am arrive Hatyai at about 5pm Thai time (6pm Malaysian time). Night buses leave between 10 and 11pm arrive Hatyai at about 8am Thai time (9 am Malaysian time). There are more buses leaving at night than in the morning. All buses will collect all passengers' passports at the rest stop before the border to fill out Thai immigration forms for free of charge. Queue at the immigration is usually longer in the morning than it is in the afternoon.
Flying in from Kuala Lumpur to Alor Setar, we were taken (by a friend) to a Changlun travel agent where we book a taxi to Hatyai... At the same time, we also book our hotel accommodation in Hatyai... at the Lee Gardens Plaza Hotel...
We were then transfer to the Thai taxi stand at the Duty Free Complex... and off we go, passing the Sadao immigration check-point... It is about 60km to Hatyai on a good seal road and depending on traffic condition, the road journey will take about 45 to 60 mins...
The Sadao immigration (although it is at the border town of Danok) is opened from 6.00am to 12.00midnight... You will need to pay MYR1.00 or BHT10 as administration fee when you have your passport cleared at this check-point... Please give exact amount and no changes will be given if you are generous enough to give notes of bigger denomination...
The journey is un-eventful as we passed thru the countryside and occasional small towns on the way... There are also industrial estates and we were told that some of the investors are from Malaysia...
Hatyai Bus Terminal is located south of the city. Since Hatyai is the transportation hub for the south, you can get buses from Hatyai Bus Terminal to go to Bangkok (13 hours journey), Phuket (6-7 hours), Krabi (4 hours), Trang, Phattalung, Pattani, etc. However, at all the travel agencies in Hatyai town, you can get minivan to the same destinations and various cities in Malaysia.
The fastest way besides flying from KL is by an express bus. Buses leave from the Puduraya Bus Terminal and the best companies are Konsortium, Sri Maju and Eltabina. There are plenty of others but these are my favourites. The others are in no way inferior.
Bus fare is RM 35.00 but on weekends and public holidays, they can go up to RM 55.00 if you buy from the roadside counters opposite the terminal and along the 7-Eleven. Its best that you go directly to the respective company's counter inside the bus terminal to get the tickets at their regular fare.
The journey takes 9 hours but night buses usually make it in 8 hours. The buses make 2 pit stops for meals/drinks and toilet use.
When you reach Changlun (5 km from the border) in the morning, the bus stops in a restaurant and your passport is taken and the arrival card filled up. This is done free of charge. Since the Thai border opens only at 6 am, the buses usually hang around till 5.45 am before heading on.
Generally bus travel is very comfortable and safe. Most drivers are very friendly and courteous.
Travel agents in Penang, Butterworth and Alor Setar organise regular trips to Hat Yai as Hat Yai is a famous tourism spot for Malaysian from North Malaysia. Following the tour group is cheaper than self travelling but you have to follow their schedule.
Malaysian from Perak, Kedah and Penang normally drive their car until Changlun and park their vehicles overnight at the travel agent office at Changlun. There are many of them, they will wave their welcoming hands for business. The services they provide are car parking, hotel vouchers, and taxi service to Malaysia / Thailand border at Bukit Kayu Hitam. You can also park your vehicles at the open air but gated parking lot in the compound of Bukit Kayu Hitam Duty Free Shopping Complex and take the Thailand taxi for Hat Yai.
During this trip ( August 2012 ), I drive to Changlun. On way way facing north, I decided to have a quick rest at Gurun Rest and Recreation Area. For those who drive for long distance, it is always a good idea to rest for a while to refresh yourself. At Gurun R&R, there are food court, prayers hall, clean and well ventilated wash room and ample car park.
Soon, I continue to drive for Changlun. I parked my car at Changlun travel agent office. I paid RM15 for 3D2N parking, 2 ways taxi service Changlun - BKH : RM25 x 2 and return Thailand taxi Bukit Kayu Hitam - Hat Yai : RM70 and 700 Baht. As I have pre=booked the hotel, I only use the service to exchange Thai Baht. All the services were done easily.
During this trip to Hat Yai ( August 2012 ), I chose to take a Thailand Taxi at Bukit Kayu Hitam border. I paid RM70 for a taxi without a taxi sign and this is already a common practice and the service is arrange by the travel agent. If you have free time, you may wait and have some bargain as some Thai passenger car would take tourist to earn income. Other cheaper taxi is motorcycle taxi.
Don't worry - there isn't one ... yet.
Do you remember watching one of those futuristic films from the 1930's showing how life will be in 1985? Personal planes fly through the skyscrapers and monorail systems ferry people around the metropolis. Well, it seems that certain people still have this notion that monorail systems are key to futuristic cities and that every city worth its salt should have one. There is a great Simpsons episode where some slick snake-oil salesman tries to sell the poor citizens of Springfield such a system only to be saved my Marge's common sense. Kuala Lumpur fell for this scam and now some idiot is touting for Hat Yai to have one. Has the world gone mad?
I found out there were a few ways of going out of Hat Yai to other cities like Songkhla. You can take the taxi, minivans, even tut-tut for a day trip, and the cheap green bus. I asked for the price of taxi to Songkhla, and it cost 200 Baht for one way. Then i took the local green bus no. 1871 at the bus stand on Phetkasem Road in front of the Hat Yai Plaza Theatre (clock tower). And it cost me only 17 Baht per person!
This 1871 green bus i took was really great i can tell you. The rear seat is very special. They have big bass speakers on the bus ceiling, turning on to the max volume! You will feel that you are not on a bus, but inside a disco. Somemore it was nicely decorated and clean. The bus i took on the way back will be a bit lousy and old... different from the first one.
The bus from the Clock Tower leave every 30 minutes from 6.00 am until 7.30 pm. So plan your journey carefully!
In the airport is a taxi coupon counter, 300 or more Baht.
There is also a counter selling integrated tickets to Ko Lipe and other places, probably quite a bit more expensive the doing it in stages.
The cheapest way from the airport is by Songthaw (roofed pickup), 40 Baht. When you leave the airport cross the parkinglot to the mainroad, there is a roofed waitingarea there (the Songthaw might be allready waiting on the other side of the street the driver in the waitingarea in the shade). You should know allready where you want to go, it did drive to a minibus station, the bus terminal, close of the train station (and there if you want to go there) and the university campus. It might drive you also to your hotel if is on the way.
Sritrang Tours, has one 24 seater bus at 19.30 (you will arrive at a stupid time in Phuket) and eight 41 seater buses at 08:00, 08:30, 09.30, 10.30, 11.45, 13.00, 18.00 and 21.30, takes 7.30 hours, 344 (535) Baht.
If you are driving to Hat Yai from Malaysia, you need to have your car registration documents. If you are not the car owner, you need to have a letter of authorization for you to drive the car.
You have to go to the last booth at the Thai Immigration to have your documentations done. You also need to purchase car insurance for your car to be in Thailand.
Important point to note is that when you go back, you have to report to the customs too, so that they update their system. If not, they next time you drive, you will have to pay a fine of 2,000 Baht as your car is considered as over stay.
Bus fare in Bangkok proliferated in a few years time. I took 5:30pm bus from Hatyai to Bangkok. There are buses to Bangkok every hour but the fare before 5:30 and after 5:30pm are different. After 5:30pm bus will be in VIP type and more expensive.
The type I took has toilet on the bus and cost 624B. The good thing for thailand bus is the ticket include a meal on the way. Given the receipt, you are entitled for a dinner or 2 bottles of water at the stop-over.
I took the dinner with a group of Thai, normal dinner, rice with a few dish and tea. Nothing special but local experience.
The bus will stop at both southern terminal and Morchit(Nothern terminal). The lady on the bus who serves will ask you beforehand which stop you would like to stop.
Another method, where you can easily book coach ticket online for bus travelling from KL to Hatyai. Recently Alisan Golden Coach has launched their online booking. You can book their ticket online from www.busonlineticket.com. The departure point is at Pasar Raya KL, you can call their counter for booking also. +603 2032 2273