Getting to Hatyai via the ETS

By Elie - 5:25 AM

Days since my last post: 10

Another travel post? Yes, this is another travel post.

Hello, blog space! Just before the year ends, I'd like to tick one thing off my 2018 resolution and that is to have made a vlog of my travels. And so I present to you, my very first vlog made on a free Android app, complete with the app watermark...but at least I tried:

So how did I do? 

That's right, I got to take the train to Hatyai from KL and it was probably the best idea yet. You see, my father and his classmates go on an annual trip around the same time each year - with the last being in China. Having gone on such an adventurous trip last year, we decided to tone it down just a notch and booked out ETS tickets to Hatyai with pick ups from KL Sentral, Sungai Buloh, and Ipoh stations. 

And let's go!

Starting off from KL Sentral, the train takes between 5 to 7 hours to reach the Padang Besar KTM station, depending on where you get up the train from. A rule of thumb to remember when trying to figure out the position of your coach is that if you're heading north, the first coach would be coach F and the last being coach A. This is reversed when you head south, which is essentially the return trip. The coaches are rather roomy and comfortable, but I suggest to keep yourself wrapped up well because the air-conditioning can get really, really cold.

Even for this dude here

You'll also get a plug point for 3-pin chargers in between your seats, which means either one person could have their electronics charged at any one time. There's an on-board cafe for hot drinks at reasonable prices, and microwaved food if you get hungry. Toilets are of course available, and are actually pretty clean as a whole. It does get difficult to go along with your business with the train moving, so I highly suggest going only when the train stops at a station. They normally stall for a minute or two at each station, so you should have ample time for whatever you do in the toilet. 

Hello there!
Upon arrival to the Padang Besar KTM station, do keep in mind that you're actually still in Malaysia. As you could see in the video, you'll have to walk right out to the waiting area and if you've already booked out a driver to take you across the border then you could see them right there. If you haven't however, these drivers would actually just be hanging around the waiting area hoping to pick one or two travelers like yourself up. The walk to the Malaysian immigration should take about 5 minutes, though you will have to walk across a pedestrian bridge and get down a flight of stairs. 

Don't fret so much on where to go, because the drivers would know where to take you. Do expect however to pay a small fee for their services because they will then ferry you to the Thailand immigration that's about a 5 to 10 minute drive away, depending on traffic. It's not exactly walking distance, so don't skimp on that few Ringgits. Trade it off for convenience - after all, you are on a holiday.

Unfortunately, your journey with the Malaysian drivers ends at the Thai immigration and you will then have to seek out another driver (If you haven't already made plans) to take you right into the heart of Hatyai. This should cost you between a 100 to 150 baht per person, depending on your drop off point. It's a good place to start practicing your haggling skills, because you'll need it when shopping around Hatyai. But hey, that's essentially all you need to get to Hatyai via the ETS from KL Sentral!

Just do the same on return, but reverse your steps!

Train tickets will eventually set you back about RM 150 for a return trip, though they were at half price for my parents because of the senior citizen privilege they were offered. I highly recommend traveling on the train to Hatyai instead of the bus right now, given the comfort and convenience it brings. For one, the immigration counters are almost always empty because it does after all only service a handful of visitors who are from the train. You also get to stand up and walk around throughout your journey - a luxury you can never get from taking the bus.  

So good luck, and have fun exploring Hatyai via the ETS because I know I definitely did. 

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