Most tourists(if there’s any) buy a combo bus ticket from a travel agency to save time and hassle to get to Penang, as this involves lots of changing buses and crossing the border, and time is always against your way. There used be a bus going straight to Penang with a waiting time at the border for you to clear all the exit/entry formalities. But the bomb explosion puts this business on a temporary halt.
I just want to try what this would be like if I move on the cheap local buses all the way to Penang, and see if I can make to Penang before the night falls.
This all starts with taking a blue Song-Taew to the Trang’s bus terminal(4km away). Signal to the driver on any spot on Rama 6 road. 12 Baht to the termianl and takes 20 mins.
From Trang’s bus terminal, only mini bus makes a two hour journey to HatYai city, Southern Thaniland(100 Baht).
Don’t go all the way to the minibus terminal in HatYai. Tell the driver to drop you off at this clock tower(9 out of 10 the bus driver would not understand what you are saying). Use this one “How-Na-Li-Gaa” is the place name for Thai. Try to put the accent on ‘Gaa’. This is where all the Song-Taew start and finish and there also are buses heading to “Padang Besar” which is Thai-Malaysian border town.
Local Muslim girls taking pause for me.
Never trust any motor bike taxi drivers saying that “No bus here, you have to go to the terminal, use my taxi” A bus like this will turn up. For me, about in an hour.
An old school Mercedes bus comes with full of natural ventilation. I make this bus all to myself. To the border(Padang Besar) costs 44 Bahts and takes about 1 and half hours to cover the distance of 60 Kms.
The Thai immigration office is not at the bus’s last stop, so make sure you get off at here. Just look for the left-hand side of the windows. If you miss this, don’t panic the bus will turn around and come back out to this way.
Looks like a long queue, but it processes really quick and efficient.
After getting Thai departure stamp, now to the Malaysian passport control building is about 800 meters away on a tar-seal road. Walk, sing, and don’t swear. Carrying two backpacks makes this walk really sweaty.
Now you get the Malaysian entry stamp, walk further 100 meters to the right, cross the overpass to the “Padang Besar” train station where lots of electric trains head for Butterworth (Don’t look for Penang) .Ticket costs 11.40 Ringgit for 2 hours trip to Butterworth.
Welcome to Butterworth. You are almost there.
Walk for 600 meters to the ferry pier in Butterworth. Cross the overpass. Day’s getting darker.
Yep a huge ferry carries cars, motor bikes and people. Rides will take about 30 mins and costs only 1.20 Ringgits. Traveling reverse this ferry from Penang to Butterworth is free.
Oh, Penang island is there and it’s now completely dark. I turn on Google map.
Last leg…From the Penang pier, to Chulia street, a km away. I choose to walk.
I get to the hostel at 9 PM. I made it. Don’t try to do this sort of trip unless you are really adventurous.
Penang’s hostel scene is strong and you won’t be disappointed for any hostel. All atmospheric set on the colonial building and the price really competitive. For 20 to 25 Ringgits any dorm bed will be yours.
I like this called ‘Casablanca’ on Love Lane. Squeaky clean, marvelous breakfast and really friendly only for 20 Ringgits(NZ$7)
Once Love Lane’s iconic backpacker’s choice was “Red Inn” still popular.
Someone has come this far on this Honda Africa Twin.
It has been a hard day. Need a good sleep. See you.