If you are approaching from the Eastern side of Malaysia, then you will pass through the rather depressing border town of Sungai Kolok. Remember that the clocks change - so you gain an hour coming into Thailand
It is a fair walk from the border post to the train station (about 2kms) but you can negotiate the journey by motorcycle taxi or rickshaw. The train would be the best bet to get to Hai Yat - but they are somewhat infrequent.
You may well be met by minibuses offering transport to Hai Yat - but be warned they are trying to round up trade, and may well not depart for some time to come.
It is better to try a few agencies in town and try to get a minibus that is leaving sooner rather than later - and don't pay up until it is actually about to leave.
Its so convenient to travel to Hat Yai by minivan. Just call and book early for a seat in a van, the minivan can carry about 12 persons. You can also asked them to book hotel room too.
I asked the agent to pick my family and I in Sungai Petani, Kedah, since it will be along the way to Hat Yai. The minivan arrived in Sungai Petani, earlier than appointment time at 9am. Parked the car at the North/South Highway Tol booth at Taman Sejati, and off we go to Hat Yai...
There are two persons in the van, a young lady and a guy from US, and 6 family members of mine. Its wonderful and pleasant journey to Hat Yai.
At Changlun, the minivan will stop for half an hour, the driver will asked for the passport to write the entry card to Thailand. Take this time to change Malaysia Ringgit to Thai Baht, have a pee and again continue the journey to Hat Yai.
Once reached Hat Yai, the minivan will stop at another travel agent office, I have to collect the hotel reservation and the next day going home coupons. hmm... so easy..
Call Penang/Butterworth Travel agent
PTS Travel & Tours Sdn Bhd
6669, Jalan Bagan Ajam, 13000 Butterworth, Penang, Malaysia
Tel : 604-3327502/ 604-3232111
Fax : 604-3238181
Penang Travel Agent
Newsia Express Service Centre
82-01-36, Ground Floor Komtar,
Off Jalan Ria, 10000 Penang
Tel : 604-2615558 / 604-2615598 / 604-2642003 / 604-2616520
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Hat Yai Travel Agent (For Bus ticket, Van Ticket, Van for rent)
171 Thammanoonvithi Road,
Hatyai, Songkla, 90110
Tel : 074-261-434
Fax : 074-261-435
H/P : 084-199-2123
It's much cheaper travelling to Hat Yai instead of chartered a taxi cost about RM70 to 90. Here, after getting the passport stamped, just walk, keep on the left side of the street. You will find 7-Eleven store, infront of the store you will find a lady mending the counter, its RM6.50 person for 1hour trip to Hat Yai. You can stop everywhere in Hat Yai city, and the last stop will be at Talaksot (the market).
I took a pickup truck in Songkhla to a sleeping buddha, which was out of the Songkhla city center. An information center receptionist advised me to take the pickup truck as the normal tuk-tuk won't fetch me out of city. So i think this apply to Hat Yai too...
I also noticed that there were no (or very few) tuk-tuk once you got out of any city center. The locals will normally take these pickup trucks to get out of city, not by tuk-tuk. It cost me about 25 Baht from the Songkhla city to the sleeping buddha (approx 10KM) for 2 person. But you need to pack with other people as the driver keep taking more and more passengers. They operate like a minibus, except it was a modified pick-up truck.
If you really wanted to take this pickup truck, make sure you know where they are going since their signboard is in Thai. Remember you ask the people around and the driver himself before boarding the pickup truck, or else you will end up in nowhere...
Since we do not know where we should buy our next ticket back to Bukit Kayu Hitam, so we took the van till the last stop near the Market. The van pick up place is near to Vitchusin Plaza (the tuk-tuk driver will know the place) so get the ticket for 57baht /person.
From Penang island, you can get a minivan to Hat Yai. The minivan ticket can be purchased in most of the guesthouses or travel agency in the town.
The price for the minivan is RM20 if you gather at their shop and RM23 if they pick you up from your hotel/ guesthouse.
The departure time is 8am, but by the time they finished fetch all the passanger and prepared to leave Penang island, it shall be around 8:30 to 8:45am.
The journey from Penang island to Hat Yai takes around 4.5 hours. In between the journey, the van will stop at ChangLun, a town in north Malaysia for filling in entrance form and toilet break, you can exchange your money here. The rate is quite reasonable, usually is better than the exchange rate in Penang island.
In between, the van driver will ask for RM2 for filling in the entrance form. If you are together in the van, I think the only thing is obey, cause I am afraid if I opposed the van will leave without me.. haha.. but if you are travelling using public transport, there is no charge to cross the border.
malaysian u also can used minivan at zon bebas cukai bukit kayu hitam or danok,,,,if u want goind back to danok / border from hatyai,,,,the minivan station laocated at Montri rd market near the clock tower,,,,
Busstation is about 2-3 km east from the trainstation, off Siphunawat Rd., you can buy the ticket in the bus station or in the bus, they are very seldom completely full. Mini buses have offices opposite the trainstation (from where they leave), propably 20-30% more expensive as by bus, but bring you to the town center.
This is not a Getting Around or a Getting To, but a Getting Away From tip.
At various points around Hat Yai are minivans to other towns and cities. These are cheap but you need to know where to find the right ones to get where you want to go to. The ones to Trang leave from the Suphasarnrangsan Road, quite near to the Singapore Hotel.
The fare is 78 Baht. Journey time is around 2 hours with minivans leaving every 30 minutes or so. The last one leaves at around 6pm.
If you are travelling from Malaysia pass Sadao border, take a short walk to Danok (only about 5 metres walk) and look for 7-11 convenient shop. Right in front of 7-11, there is a small table set up. Walk to the person at the table and say you want to get to Haytai. For only 50 BHT, they will take you to your hotel in Haytai. They will take you in their air-conditioned mini-van. Taking a taxi will cost you about 400 BHT. This is the cheapest method i know to travel from Danok to Haytai.
If you plan to get yourself out of Hatyai either to Hatyai or some other locations, take the local bus. Its really convenient and also cheap. Flag down a tuk tuk and ask him to take you the bus station near the market. The building is white in color and divided into 2. One side is mini vans and another is coach bus. Basically the main bus terminal to get you out of Hatyai to the destination of your choice.
The prices have changed some what.
In Feb 2012 the mini vans from George Town, Penang to Hat Yai are 30 to 35 Malaysian Ringgits.
The cheapest being from near the bus station in George Town, the more expensive Chulia Street.
But still a great way to make the journey.
There are small jeepneys to take you around Hat Yai. From the terminal, you share the jeepney with other passengers at no fixed price. The more the passengers, the lesser you pay. But if you take the jeepney all to yourself, you pay the whole cost of the transportation. Ordinarily, locals pay 8 to 15 baht for the trip from the Terminal to the City proper.
The hotel front desk can help you to arrange package tour in Hat Yai or to nearby place s like Songkla, Trang.