how to go from kota bharu to sungai kolok

Kota Bharu to Thailand – Rantau Panjang Sungai Kolok Border

Kota Bharu (or Kota Baru) is an easy place to stop en route from Malaysia to the Thai border on the east coast. Kota Bharu is the state capital of Kelantan and in Malay the name means New Castle/City.  It’s an easy place to make the land border crossing between Malaysia and Thailand.  Some folks will go from the next town on the way north to the Malaysian border town of Rantau Panjang to Sungai Kolok, so we’ll cover those details too.


Kota Bharu to Sungai Kolok Thailand Border Crossing Overview

The route from Kota Bharu to the Thailand border is easy.  First, go by bus from Kota Bharu to Rantau Panjang, then walk 100 meters to the border controls  There is around 1 kilometer of ‘no man’s land’ between the two countries, then the walk from the Sungai Kolok immigration to the town of Sungai Kolok.

The first stop on our trip north from Malaysia to Thailand is the Kota Bharu Central Bus Station.  It’s easy to find and there’s free wifi when you get there.  I’ve shown on the map where this is.

The bus that runs from Kota Bharu to Rantau Panjang is operated by Mutiara Rentas Desa (MRD) and the frequency is from 30 to 90 mins depending when you travel. The schedule is on the signboard at the KB Central Bus Station. The first bus is at 06:45 and the last bus is at 17:15.

MRD Timetable Kota Bharu to Rantau Panjang
Timetable Courtesy of MRD

Bus 29 goes from Kota Bharu to Rantau Panjang.  Rantau Panjang is the Kelantan Malaysian border town where you cross into Thailand.

MRD Route to Border
Route Map Courtesy of MRD

You cannot book the bus to the border. You need to go to the bus station to get your ticket..

Kota Bharu Bus Station

Kota Bharu to Rantau Panjang

The 29 bus goes from Kota Bharu to Rantau Panjang (the Malaysia border town where you walk across to Thailand) departing every 30 to 90 minutes (see timetable above). That’s what the timetable says.,,,our reality is a little different as the number 29 bus arrived at 07:40 and it left at 08:03.  The bus costs 5RM.   The journey to Rantau Panjang from Kota Bharu is 45 kilometers (28 miles).

If you are traveling from Sungai Kolok in Thailand to go to Kota Bharu, then once you have crossed the border, just wait for the 29 bus and wave for it to stop, it will take you from Rantau Panjang to Kota Bharu.

The Kota Bharu to Rantau Panjang journey time is just an hour.  It is an obvious stop at the border and your driver will tell you it’s the border too.

En route to the Border. Where the bus drops

Kota Bharu to Rantau Panjang Map

You can see the full map here

Map of Kota Bharu to Thailand - Rantau Panjang Sungai Kolok Border

Rantau Panjang to the Malaysia – Thailand Border

From the bus stop, the walk to Rantau Panjang immigration is just 100 meters (110 yards) and it’s easy to spot.

Rantau Panjang Border Crossing Malaysia to Thailand

The border crossing here is on the Malaysia side, the Rantau Panjang border crossing, and the Sungai Kolok border crossing on the Thailand side.  We arrived at the border at 09:08 and exiting Rantau Panjang Immigration took just a few minutes.

Walking to the Border Malaysia to Thailand

Malaysian Border to Thailand Border Distance

After you leave the Malaysian immigration, you will walk about a kilometer (a little over half a mile) in no man’s land, then across a bridge over the Golok River, which forms the boundary between Malaysia and Thailand on the East Coast of both countries.  You will now be at the Thailand Sungai Golok immigration post.

Kota Bharu Bus Station

Thailand Immigration at Sungai Kolok

The Thai border control seemed much more interested in my passport than anything else, wanting to know where we were going, why and for how long. We’ve been into Thailand several times in the last year and I wonder if there’s anything flagged on my passport. Nigel gets straight in.

This is the most used border crossing from Malaysian Kelantan to Thailand. And it is an easy crossing.

That’s it, it’s simple.  You are now in Thailand

Sungai Kolok Immigration to Sungai Kolok town

It is about 1 kilometer from the immigration post to the Sungai Kolok railway station and town.  A motorcycle taxi will cost around 20 THB.  Or it will take 15-20 minutes to walk.  It is not an unpleasant walk.

It’s a further 20-minute walk to the Sungai Kolok (sometimes Sungai Golok) railway station where we found it easy (we were traveling in the off-season) to buy our train tickets from Sungai Kolok to Hua Hin.

FAQs – Rantau Panjang to Sungai Kolok

Are there Trains from Kota Bharu to Thailand?

While there are trains that run to and from Kota Bharu (the Jungle train from Wakaf Baharu), there are no trains directly into Thailand.  You need to take a bus to the border and then take a train from Sungai Kolok to your onward destination in Thailand.

Can you take a taxi across the border from Malaysia to Thailand?

No.  There are no taxis or buses that cross the border here.  You will need to walk across no man’s land.  It’s about 1 kilometer.

Are Malaysia and Thailand in the same time zone?

No.  There’s a one-hour time difference.  Thailand is one hour BEHIND Malaysia.

How far is it from Immigration to the bus/train station in Sungai Kolok?

You need to walk (or grab a ride) from the Thai border to the town.  It’s about 1 kilometer to the train station.  A ride will cost around 20 THB.

How do you book trains/buses from Sungai Kolok to Hat Yai / Bangkok?

The most popular route from here is Sungai Kolok to Hat Yai.  You can book your trains in person at the train station when you arrive, depending on availability.    However, we recommend pre-booking to ensure you can move on from Sungai Kolok.  The best way to prebook your onward travel from Sungai Kolok is to use 12AsiaGo – check out options here.

What times are the trains from Sungai Kolok to Hay Yai / Bangkok?

There are two northbound departures from Sungai Kolok to Bangkok.  they leave Sungai Kolok at 11:30 and 14:20.  These trains both stop in Yala, Hat Yai, and Surat Thani before the final stop in Hua Lamphong, Bangkok.  The 11:30 train arrives in Bangkok at 08:45 the next day and the 14:20 arrives at 10:30 the next morning.  We recommend pre-booking your trains, you can do that here.

Can you take a bus from Sungai Kolok?

Yes.  Some buses and minivans leave the Thanon Wongwiwat bus terminal. Minivans go to Hat Yai (for Phuket, Krabi, Koh Samui, and also Bangkok transfers) every hour between 06:00 – 16:00.  Trips take 4 hours.  Book here.

Direct buses run from Sungai Kolok to Bangkok once a day although a better option may be to get to Hat Yai which is a larger transport hub with more options. In our opinion the train is the better option if you are going all the way to Bangkok.  Book here

Where is the Sungai Kolok Bus Terminal?

The Sungai Kolok Bus Terminal is about 3 km from the town center.    You can get directions to it here

Is there anywhere to wait for the trains/buses in Sungai Kolok?

Close to the train station is the Genting Hotel, where you can get wifi, food, and drinks. (Breakfast is 50 baht and good coffee is available)  If you’re looking to stay the night in Sungai Kolok, we recommend the Green View Boutique Hotel (check rates here).

Sungai Kolok – Where to Stay

If you do decide or need to stay in Sungai Kolok, then the best-rated hotel in Sungai Kolok is the Green View Boutique Hotel.  There’s free wifi, a garden, and a bar here, plus its close to the Sungai Kolok railway station for your onward travel – check out rates and book a room now

Popular Routes in Malaysia

Malaysia Travel Tips

Final Words on Going from Kota Bharu to Thailand

This is an easy journey to take, but make sure you’ve had a look at the things to do in Kota Bharu before you leave!. You’ll need the local bus from Kota Bharu. It runs frequently every day. And can be as often as every 30 minutes. It takes about 1 hour to go 45 kilometers from Kota Bharu to the border. Walk across the border and then you’re in the southern Thailand town of Sungai Kolok and you’ll just need to book a bus or train out. Good luck!

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