Road Trip: How to Cross the Malaysian-Thai South Border

This is a story about our Road Trip to the South of Thailand: The Lenggong – Pengkalan Hulu – Betong Connection! Also covered are our tips on crossing the Malaysian-Thai South Border and clearing customs quickly.

Instead of spending a horrendous amount of money, as a result of last minute year-end holiday planning, we decided on a road trip to South Thailand to satisfy our nosy snouts, our food cravings, our need for culture-exchange and play time! The plan had been to roll on the north south expressway in the wee hours, exiting (no.143) at Kuala Kangsar for highway route 76 passing by Gerik/Grik to Pengkalan Hulu then switching to route 77 which leads us to the border. We ended up starting late morning.

We were hoping to catch a glimpse of wild elephants along the Grik highway but none came in view that day.

We stopped by Lenggong town for a quick break but didn’t have time to visit the Archaeological Museum. Here’s the blue metal tank junk just outside Lenggong town.

Lenggong Town
It seems that Lenggong is a popular Archaeological destination in Peninsular Malaysia with many caves of importance(read more here). What a waste.. No time to explore!

Given more time we would have loved to hike up Bukit Kepala Gajah (Elephant’s Head Hill) for Gua Gunung Runtuh (Fallen Mountain Cave) where the archaeologists found the Perak Man – Malaysia’s oldest complete human skeleton found in 1991. The remains of this late 50s man, was dated to have lived over 11,000 years ago. There had been many more artifacts and animal bones found next to him. In 2004, they excavated another complete skeleton from cave nearby called Gua Teluk Kelawar (Bat Cove Cave). A female skeleton known as the Perak Woman apparently died in her 40s and lived over 8000 years ago.

There are many roads, caves and trails spread out in this hilly area. It’s very confusing so if you are visiting, it might be a good idea to find a guide. Pressed for time, we decided to stop at this one cave because you could drive your car right up to the entrance.

The Cave-1

Villagers took the time to build the bamboo structure & platform but never reinforced it as time passed. Kind of reminds you of everything else in Malaysia! I think this is the Asa Cave. It leads us to an open trail at the back.

After quick walkabout in a littered chamber, we had to leave. After another 30 minute drive, we reached Pengkalan Hulu, the town where you can buy your Thai car insurance, exchange your Ringgito to Thai Bahto. We continued on route 77 until the Malaysian immigration & JPJ (Road transport department).. All nicely built and pretty much a quiet riot really.

The immigration officers just waved us as we flashed them our vacation smiles. We’re just a lovely couple heading into Thailand for fun and frolic..! NOT sex, drugs & Thai rock n roll!

Ahh.. the Thai Immigration… it was early evening and thank God Thailand rolls back 1 hour so the immigration office was still open. Our earlier online check stated the office closes at 6pm but sometimes it remains open till later during the holidays. The place seemed to be winding down as we arrived.

You can review the application process at these booths.

You have to get your immigration cards at an information booth at the start of the building. If you can’t read Thai like us and hate filling up cards, you can pay the eager Thai clerk to complete it for you at RM2 per person. Probably in collusion with the immigration officers. Small fee or not, you decide.

Then you wait your turn on the queue to get your passport stamped and your pretty face registered in their system with the webcam (birdflu/H1N1 screener?).

Next, we head to the car registration section, show your car registration paper and the officer will complete the data entry and churn out a Thai declaration form – to declare that you are the rightful owner and not smuggling that particular car in. Costs about RM16. The document is very importanté! You will need to return it when you ‘check-out’ of Thailand at the customs.. otherwise, wave bye-bye to your car!

The whole process took about 45mins with some assistance from a few regular border crossers. The Thai’s and the immigration officers weren’t very helpful, preferring to stare, smile and stare. Maybe the language barrier?

Having settled all the paperwork… We are now officially in Thailand!!

Now we have to race against waning daylight to find a place to stay.

What you need to have to drive across the border to Thailand

  • Original copy of Car registration – Apparently certified original copies from our local police station might be approved as well. We brought the originals. You will provide this to the car registration/declaration office at the Thai immigration. This form you must keep close to you as you will need to return it to them when you return back to Malaysia.
  • Thai 3rd party insurance – purchased from Pengkalan Hulu or Betong. You won’t need it to cross immigration but you will need it if you go further than Betong. Price and policy terms varies a little between different Thai insurance brands, car and duration of coverage. Best to get it to prevent the hassle of dealing with the Thai authorities, in the unfortunate event of an accident occurring.
  • Valid Passport
  • RM2/20Baht for the someone at immigration office to fill up the Thai immigration cards – you could do it yourself if you can find the immigration card(!)
KL to Betong is approximately 6hours casual drive exclude immigration delays.
(Thai South Border Checkpoints Contact)
  • Is Traveling to South Thailand Safe?
  • Can i smuggle rice back?
  • Can i smuggle people back?
  • Are there still cowboy/girl towns here?
  • Do you get to fire magnums, ak-47s, bazookas and lob grenades here for fun?
  • Is black magic still prevalent here? Where can i obtain it/them/that?
  • If you play around with a Thai girl’s heart, will they put a curse on you? Will i carry the curse back to Malaysia?
  • Are ghost and ghoulies a big part of the Thai society? Why are there so many movies about them?
  • Are car parts cheaper in Thailand?
  • Are Thai’s really just about Tom Yam?
  • Is it still cheap to shop here?
  • Are Thai’s prettier, handsomer, macho’er, sexier than Malaysians? (Including the transsexuals)
  • … and the list goes on…

To have some of the silly questions answered, read more…. (oh, yes, this post will definitely span many, many installments.. stay tuned!)



  • PureGlutton says:

    OMG – you are such a riot! Thank u so much for all those VERY useful tips – they will definitely come in very handy for anyone driving into Thailand. Can’t wait to read the rest of your adventures – hurry up and post lah!

  • backStreetGluttons says:

    You are so fast and clever. Next time we will invite you to come along surely we will save lots of time and money also. Then have plenty of natural fun !
    TQ TQ

  • thule a.k.a leo says:

    I know the answers to those questions… lol!!! All I can say is that they are subjective, and most of them fall in a grey area…

  • "Joe" who is constantly craving says:

    introduction only ????

    aiyoohhh bring on the tom yum baby..

  • UnkaLeong says:

    Can’t “smuggle” rice. Illegal in Malaysia 😉

  • foodbin says:

    Why didn’t you try the Lenggong Fish balls?

  • Selba says:

    Yay! About Thailand! What a nice post!

    I really think that Thai people are so good looking, just look at their current prime minister, he is SO handsome! 😉 Then look even the transsexuals… oh my, can’t believe them, how gorgeous they are, hehehe..

  • Bangsar-bAbE says:

    So travel savvy! =D Can’t wait to read about your Thai adventure…and good eats of course!!

  • jason says:

    Hope you did stop and eat in Lenggong on the way back!

  • Lianne says:

    you smuggling someone in? Nooooooooooooooooooo lol

  • ling239 says:

    wow… happy holidays ~ ^_^
    or u already back ? o.O

  • J2Kfm says:

    hey finally someone else been there … hehe!

    actually planning for a revisit last month. but given the massacre-inducing swine flu, we dared not. kudos to you guys.

    but RM16? got so mahal meh? i rmbr driving car cost about RM2-3 only. but we brought the car grant along, chopped and certified by Pengkalan Hulu police, as the car was my fren’s dad’s.

  • fatboybakes says:

    wow, how interesting!!! so adventure!

  • 550ml jar of faith says:

    HAHA! Betong makes it on C&C, they must be so proud!

    "Is black magic still prevalent here? Where can i obtain it/them/that?" You'd better make sure your next post answer this question!!

  • Tummythoz says:

    U posting live from there???

  • qwazymonkey says:

    Eh pwetty lady, where’s the food lah. Bring it on and I’ll love you long time.

  • thenomadGourmand says:

    ohh..this is part I..ok ok..*shall wait patiently..*
    bring on the sleeze babbehh..!

  • CUMI & CIKI says:

    sabar.. sabar.. 😛

    saving money is good.. more money for traveling, partying, booze and food:P

    LOL.. 😛

  • CUMI & CIKI says:

    sabar.. 😛

    correct la.. but can u smuggle hot chicks ar?

  • CUMI & CIKI says:

    no time no time! we were really pressed for time i tell ya..would hv loved to.. lol

    I didn’t know u a fan on the thai PM! ROFL .. so cute!

    yea objective to eat till drop!

    no, we came back via difft route. stay tuned;D

    oh this a backdated post!

    yea, we saw all the neat places you blogged about la.. and yes! prices are up man.. killer:P

  • CUMI & CIKI says:

    huh? we don’t understand ur comment:P

  • CUMI & CIKI says:

    aiiyoh.. ask cumi la.. he posted those questions so he better answer em … ROFL

    no ler.. we home oredi. back dated post

    lol .. sabar monyet! this will be chopped up over a few months .. of course we ate delicious thai food.. off the beaten track!

  • CUMI & CIKI says:

    lol.. not that bad la:P

  • CUMI & CIKI says:

    lol.. stay tuned to find out!

  • fatboybakes says:

    duhh, so adventurous la, you both. have you ever been into thailand via the wang kelian exit? you never imagine there’s a border outpost there, in the middle of nowhere.

  • Lyrical Lemongrass says:

    Dunno why, but I read this back to front, i.e., Questions first, then the rest of the narrative. I think I must have been attracted to the bazookas and ghoulies. (Now u know why I frens with you)

  • CUMI & CIKI says:

    no .. but now WHO is adventurous ar? need you to show directions to wang kelian next time!

    yup yup.. wish there were more scary movies around though! Last night we watched the Midnight MEAT TRAIN! (the clive barker one) directed by Ryûhei Kitamura. Damn gory damn shiok!)

  • Dai Lan says:

    I have a question… Can i drive to border only and seek for transport to Betong if i did not want to drive in to Betong? Can u let me know where to park my car at the border and what type of transport available from border to Betong (with price)

  • evon says:

    I have same question as Dai Lan. Can I drive to border only and seek for transport to Betong.
    Where to park at border and how much they charge per day. What type of transport is
    available for 10 of us from border to Betong and including tour of betong too. How much they charge.

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