It has been something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time and this long holiday weekend provided the opportunity for me to put the plans into action. Driving from Penang to Krabi/Ao Nang takes about 8 hours. We took 11.5 hours due to rain and heavy border traffic. That also we started from Penang at about 5am and arrived at the border at about 7am. We first have to go get the Car Insurance, and for that, we queue almost 45minutes, then when we arrived at the Malaysian Immigration, there was already a long queue. Clearing the Malaysian Immigration was easy, we just have to drive through, draw down the windows, give the passport to the immigration officer and he starts to process our documents. After almost an hour of queuing, our documents were processed within minutes. Next is Thailand Immigration. We first park at a large carpark next to Thailand Immigration. All of us got down to process our passports. Once done, I have to get import documents for the car done with the Thai Customs. The customs are located on the right with drive through booths. No money is needed, just need to hand over the copy of the car registration card and officer starts to process the import. The office refuse to process the import without first seeing our passport being processed. So, for anyone else who wants to drive into Thailand, remember to first queue to get your passport chop and then only proceed to queue for the custom import documents. Again, after almost an hour of queuing, the documents were processed within minutes. I went back to collect the car and family and drove through the customs where they gave me the import document. This document needs to be presented back to the customs upon exit, else, you will have trouble bringing in the car in the next visit. By the time we clear the border, it was already 10.30am.
The weather was good till after Phattalung where it started to rain. The Phattalung to Trang stretch is also the hilly and single lane stretch. From the border to Phattalung, the entire road way was double lane and was very pleasant to drive. Also, there was not that many cars. It was Sunday and it was not busy. There were a few Malaysian cars that zip through us, treating the road like the Malaysian Highway. Though the Thai road with double lane feels like a highway, it does not have the safety features of one and going in a high speed is risking it. We had some problems with our Garmin in Trang. I miss a turn and the map was not complete as there were roads that the GPS did not display. Trang to Ao Nang road is more Kampung with single lane going through rubber estate on the left and right. We arrive at Ao Nang at 4.30pm.
The drive back was faster as there were no rain, but we spent some time in Hatyai having lunch and the border held us up for another 2-3hrs, we took a good 12hrs on the road before arriving home. Driving to Thailand just need to remember to bring a few things. 1-Car Registration Card (Photocopy is sufficient), 2-Insurance (Purchase at the border), 3-GPS (Garmin MFM maps are quite complete, except for Trang)