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Thailand Charging Upwards Of RM1,000 To Cross Border By Car

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Thailand Charging Upwards Of RM1,000 To Cross Border By Car

In pre-pandemic times, cross-border travel into Thailand was available to, and enjoyed by all those legally abiding. However, it’s now become quite pricey to visit our northern neighbours.

Since the Malaysian border officially opened back up at the start of April 2022, all the focus has seemed only to surround our southern border with Singapore despite our land border with Thailand also being quite active prior to March 2020.

Thailand On Map

RM1000 to drive into Thailand?

Though you might have required a nominal fee for immigration services, the current situation is reported to leave Malaysian travellers out of pocket to the tune of RM1,000 at least, according to the New Straits Times.

Thailand, a country that relies heavily on international tourism, is apparently putting quite a tight squeeze on those seeking to enter the country via their southern land border with Malaysia by imposing stringent requirements and an exorbitant entry fee.

Expectedly, this has cooled enthusiasm among local tourists given the significant financial hurdle and unclear, almost arbitrary stipulations to satisfy. It is reported that the Bukit Kayu Hitam border remains mostly quiet despite the border being reopened for 2 weeks, starkly contrasting the hustle and bustle it routinely experienced before, especially during school holidays and peak travel season.

Singapore-Malaysia Causeway

Travel between Malaysia - Thailand

The Malaysian Immigration Department stated that, as of April 4th, only 6,980 travellers were recorded entering the Bukit Kayu Hitam border checkpoint as compared to 160,818 people at the Bangunan Sultan Iskandar checkpoint in Johor Bahru.

A local tourism player told the NST that he and three friends had to spend a collective RM5,000 to book a hotel in Hatyai, a popular tourist town that sits about 60km from the border.

To make matters worse, they apparently also had to purchase insurance coverage worth US$20,000 (RM84,536) for a 7-day stay along with a premium of RM500 per person. That’s so outrageously expensive that it’s almost comical. You’d literally have to be a little nuts to spend that much to enter Thailand.

Bukit Kayu Hitam - Sadao Border Checkpoint

Covid-19 Testing Thailand

He also added that each person was saddled with an RTK swab test upon arrival at the hotel, which costs RM350 per person. Mind you, this isn’t the more comprehensive accurate RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription– Polymerase Chain Reaction) test administered by a trained medical professional, which can cost over RM150 in Malaysia. Again, this seems ridiculously expensive.

A cross-border insurance services operator based in Changlun, Kedah confirmed that there was little interest in tourism by Malaysians following the border reopening.

Thai Airways - Stock Image

"As for now, most of the travellers using the land border checkpoint at Bukit Kayu Hitam are not driving their own vehicle. I think the number of travellers to Thailand will pick up once the Thai authorities ease the requirement imposed on inbound travellers," she said.

The Thai government’s policies are actively discouraging Malaysians from taking their own vehicle and crossing the land border to the point that it is almost exploitative.

As far as we know, this does not seem to apply to other land border entries into Thailand nor does it even apply to tourists from Malaysia who are flying directly to their destination, though the 5-day sandbox staying period still applies to destinations such as Phuket (after which travellers will be allowed to travel domestically).

Jim Kem

Jim Kem

Content Producer

There's just something about cars. It's a conveyance, it's a liability, it's a tool; but it can also be a source of joy, pride, inspiration and passion. It's much like clothes versus fashion. And like the latter, the pursuit of perfection never ends.

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