There isn’t a direct flight connecting Hat Yai Thailand and Penang Malaysia. There is a train service that takes at least 8 hours.
The fastest and convenient way to travel between these two locations is by minivan. Mini vans leave Hat Yai for Penang and other states in Malaysia very regularly. There are plenty of mini vans from Hat Yai to other provinces in Thailand as well. So if you are travelling for example from the South e.g Singapore, Melaka, KL, Penang to Koh Samui, Trang or Bangkok, it will easily take you more than a total of 6 hours. Sitting on the mini van for that long non stop can be a “pain in the ass”, literally!
Thats why we suggest to stop half way, at Hat Yai where most of the mini vans swap vehicles. (If you have time)
Here is how to take a Mini Van from Penang to Hat Yai.
You can get mini van tickets from Prangin Mall (featured below) and any of the many travel shops @ Chulia Street, down town Penang.
Things the travel agent don’t tell you!
1) That if the pick up time you bought is 8am, it will pick you up at 8am, but don’t expect it to leave your current destination (Penang in this case) at 8am. They still need to go around and pick people up!
So you might be looking at leaving Penang maybe around 9-10am depending on how many people they are picking up.
This is important because we know a lot of people who intend to make a day trip to Hat Yai. Thinking if they leave at 8am and coming back at 4pm (Thai Time), they will have a lot of time to shop around. THEY ARE WRONG!
2) The entire trip takes about 4-5 hours (Penang to Hat Yai- and vice versa). Depending on how long the immigration procedures take. Expect longer queues during week ends and public holidays.
3) The mini van usually stops once- at the Malaysian Thai border. So make sure you have gone to the toilet first.
4) At the border, going to Thailand from Malaysia, the customs are not that strict. So you don’t have to worry about having your bags checked.
5) If you are smuggling something, beware!! They have scanners at the Malaysian side checking all your bags- when you are exiting Thailand and entering Malaysia.
6) The current ticket price for Hat Yai to Penang Malaysia is THB 30
From Penang to Hat Yai is RM 28.
Have a safe trip and just comment or feel free to ask us anything. From how to smuggle stuff to travel questions. visit www.backpackies.com for more information! Happy backpacking in Thailand or backpacking in Penang!