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Friday, September 28, 2012

Border formalities for driving into South Thailand




[Article copyright Ewe Paik Leong]

A motoring holiday in South Thailand is a pleasurable experience. Picturesque fishing villages, lush national parks, ancient cities, palm-fringed beaches and nightlife -- in Hatyai, it's simply oh-la-la -- are some of the draws.

Driving into Thailand is through one of six access points across the border: Wang Kelian and Padang Besar in Perlis, Bukit Kayu Hitam in Kedah, Pengkalan Hulun in Perak and Sungei Golok and Pengkalan Kubor in Kelantan. Your choice of the most convenient access point will depend on the places you intend to visit.

Travel documents required are: (1) an international passport with at least six months validity, (2) car registration card, (3) a Malaysian or Singaporean driving licence, (4) Thai immigration arrival/departure cards, and (5) passenger entry/exit manifests for the car. Documents (4) and (5) are available at the checkpoint and are in Thai and English. If the car doesn’t belong to the driver, the rightful owner must issue a letter stating the driver is authorized to bring the car into Thailand.

Third party insurance is also required which may be purchased either in Malaysia or just after the checkpoint. Insurance cover is available for a period of 7, 14 or 30 days. For an average-sized car, insurance costs 270 Bahts. A receipt and a disc for the windscreen will be issued to the purchaser. Those intending to enter Thailand by one border point and exit by another must inform the Thai authorities of that intention. Permission to do so depends on how quickly the car’s particulars can be sent to the intended exit point. Customs poses little problem when entering Thailand but when exiting, be prepared for an inspection of the car boot and luggage.

Warning: When exiting Thailand, failure to bring the car out will result in a fine equivalent to its stipulated value in the declaration.

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