There are two Thai Consulates in the North of Malaysia where you can apply for a visa for Thailand: Penang and Kota Bharu. You can travel to both by train. Kota Bharu is near the East Coast of Malaysia, whilst Penang is on the West Coast, and is the closest option is you are travelling from Surat Thani province. The closest you can get to Kota Bharu on Thailand’s Railway Network is Sungai Kolok and from there its a 40 km journey by road to Kota Bharu.
Trains from Surat Thani to Sungai Kolok
There are two trains per day to Sungai Kolok departing from Surat Thani Railway Station.
- Departure 1
- Train Number: 171
- Departing Surat Thani: 01:14
- Arriving: 10:10
- Departure 2
- Train Number: 37
- Departing Surat Thani: 01:52
- Arriving: 10:35
Trains From Bangkok to Sungai Kolok
There are two trains per day to Sungai Kolok departing from Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal in Bangkok.
- Departure 1
- Train Number 171
- Departing Bangkok: 15:10
- Arriving: 10:10
- Departure 2:
- Train Number: 37
- Departing Bangkok: 16:10
- Arriving: 10:35
Buy Train Tickets to Sungai Kolok
Use the Search Box below to buy your train tickets to Sungai Kolok.
Sungai Kolok Railway Station
Sungai Kolok Railway Station is located near Sungai Kolok town 1.4 km from the border with Malaysia. To get to the border take a motorbike taxi or conventional taxi from in front of Sungai Kolok train station. You can then cross the border by walking on a motorbike taxi.
Map of Sungai Kolok Railway Station
Malaysian border to Kota Bharu
After crossing the border there is large road. Cross over the road and turn right. After the barriers you will see a bus stop and a group of taxis parked – this is Rantau Panjang bus station. Taxi or bus are your two options for getting to Kota Bharu. The taxi journey costs around 60 Malaysian Ringgit, although there is no fixed price and you need to negotiate before you set off, and takes around 40 to 50 minutes. The journey by bus costs 5.10 Malaysian Ringgit and takes around 80 minutes.
If you are heading to Kota Bharu to apply for a visa we advise that you take a taxi from the Malaysian side of the the border direct to the Thai consulate. The bus, whilst very cheap, takes at least 30 minutes to than a taxi to get to Kota Bharu, and they arrive at Kota Bharu’s city centre bus station, which is 1.5 km from the Thai Consulate. If you take a taxi then you can save time by going directly to the Thai consulate. If the train from Bangkok is delayed you may need to be quick in order get to the Thai Consulate to apply for a visa before it closes for the day and in most instances you will be late if you try to travel by bus from the border.
- Thailand Trains Tip: If you go to the main taxi office at Rantau Panjang bus station you will often find Malaysian people waiting there for other passengers with whom they can share the cost of the taxi fare.
Applying for a visa at the Thai Consulate
The address of the Royal Thai Consulate is 4426 Jalan Pengkalan Chepa, 15400 Kota Bharu, Kelantan, Malaysia. See the map below for directions.
- Opening Days: Sunday to Thursday (except Thai and Malaysian public holidays)
- Opening hours for visa applications: 09.00 to 12 and 14.00 to 15.30
- Thailand Trains Tip: Malaysian time is 1 hour ahead of Thai time. If you arrive at Sungai Kolok railway station at 11.00 it is 12.00 in Malaysia and you will need to move fast to reach the Consulate before it closes for the day at 15.30.
If you are successful in getting to the Consulate before the section accepting visa applications closes for the day (15.30 Sunday to Thursday) you can expect to get your passport back at around 09.30 the next day. If you miss the consulate then you need to wait until 09.00 the next day to hand in your visa application and then another day for the application to be processed and to get your passport back.
Visa Prices in Kota Bharu (2023)
It costs a bit more to buy visas for Thailand in Malaysia than it does in some other countries. The visa must be paid for in Malaysian Ringgit and there was a steep hike in the prices quoted in Malaysian Ringgit in 2015.
- Thailand Trains Tip: The correct exchange rate is currently not 10 THB for 1 MYR as you may be offered at the border. For the best exchange rate in Kota Bharu go the money changing office on the main street in Kota Bharu near the bus station. You are likely to receive 10% to 15% extra when you change Thai Baht into Malaysian Ringgit in Kota Bharu as compared to what you receive from a money changer as you cross the border. To make the most of your money we advise that you change only enough money for your taxi or bus fare at the border and the rest when you arrive in Kota Bharu.
2013 Visa Prices at the Thai consulate in Kota Bharu
- Tourist Visa (single entry): 150 MYR
- Non-Immigrant, Single Entry (3 months): 300 MYR
- Non-Immigrant, Multiple Entry (1 Year): 750 MYR
Location of the Thai Consulate in Kota Bharu
Accommodation in Kota Bharu
After you have handed in your passport and visa application at the Thai Consulate the next thing to do is to go to check into a hotel. Our hotel of choice in Kota Bharu is the Tune Hotel. This is the best modern hotel in Kota Bharu and it is conveniently located near a large shopping centre. The address of the Tune Hotel is KBCC Jalan Hamzah, Kota Bharu City Centre, Kota Bharu, Malaysia 15050. From the Thai Consulate you need to take a taxi as it is too far to walk.
Drinking Alcohol in Kota Bharu
The best place to go for a drink in Kota Bharu is the Golden City Restaurant on Jalan Padang Garong. It is a 20 minute walk from the Tune Hotel and easy to locate as it is at the Southern end of the same road as Kota Bharu bus station (about 100 metres down the road) and near Pizza Hut. They serve Guinness and other beers on tap here.
Alcohol is not available for purchase in shops in Kota Bharu city centre and the Golden City Restaurant is the only place in the city centre you are guaranteed to get alcohol. It is also a nice enough place with good service and following renovations a couple of years ago it looks quite smart.
Kota Bharu or Penang to get a Visa?
Penang is the more interesting place to visit for a visa run, and the city of George Town is more relaxed and cosmopolitan than Kota Bharu. For this reason lots more people go to Penang for a visa than go to Kota Bharu. Some frequent foreign visa applicants believe that because the visa office in Penang is a lot busier than the office in Kota Bharu that they are less likely to be issued the visa they want in Penang.
- Thailand Trains Tip: The best advice we can give you is that the rules are subject to change. If you want to stay in Thailand beyond 3 months in any 12 month period then it may be useful for you to take advice from a visa agency. A visa agency cannot get you a visa to which you are not entitled, but it can advise you on what types of visas you may be entitled to, where to apply for it and help you prepare the correct documentation and complete the forms.
For information about getting to Penang see: