A quick visit to Tak Bai in Thailand via Pengkalan Kubor
When we were asked by Tourism Malaysia to pick a destination that we want to explore, I chose Kelantan since its one of the farthest, and the state is also interesting being a melting pot of two different Asian cultures.
Due to its proximity to the Buddhist Temples in Tumpat, we decided to cross the Malaysia and Thailand Border to experience the thrill and adventure of crossing another equally interesting Asian country.
At Pengkalan Kubur, there’s an available Malaysian immigration office to validate and stamp your passport before they allow you to cross the river going to Thailand. Aside from the 1RM boat fare, you will not spend anything in order for you to visit Thailand.
Malaysia and Thailand Boarder in Pengkalan Kubur
Upon arrival in the river banks of Tak Bai, we immediately searched for the Thailand immigration office to have our passport validated and stamped. Due to the language barrier, it took us more than 10 minutes to locate the Thailand Immigration and another 10 minutes to have our passport checked.
10 Peso and Thai Baht coins
We decided not to leave the town since we still have so many things to visit in Kota Bahru. We explored the market and was able to shop for Thailand’s famous sweet tamarind candies:) Before heading back to the Immigration office, we had a tea break in only one WIFI enabled shop in the area.
Malaysian Snacks for sale
The only hassle is the long walk towards the Thailand Immigration which is currently operating in an improvised container van inside a compound. After almost 20 minutes of waiting, we were finally cleared and ready to leave Thailand.
Public Transport in Thailand
Tourists who decided to visit Kelantan in Malaysia are not leaving without Tak Bai Town in Thailand by crossing the Golok River. Although visitors may think that the trip from Malaysia to Thailand for just one place would be time-consuming and expensive in reality, Tak Bai is located to the north of the Malaysian border in Thailand and is not very far from Kelantan. Some tourists like to see all parts of a country before moving on to the next. Occasionally travelers stay in a Kuala Lumpur hotel making their way up to Kelantan and ultimately leaving Malaysia to enter Thailand. This is a great way for people to see different cities and cultures from one place to the next.
Tak Bai Wet Market
Due to its easy access, Tak Bai town became an essential shopping and entertainment delight point for the Malaysians. It used to remain filled with tourists till 2005 but it is said that due to several bomb blasts and chaos in the town, tourists do not find the place safe anymore. The blame of this chaos was given to the southern Thai Muslims who were separated.
Tea Break at Sayang Coffee in Tak Bai
Although the disputes are now solved, tourists still avoid visiting this place and according to a survey, the tourists are decreasing day by day. In order to attract tourists and travelers from Malaysia, the security, soldiers, and police of Thailand assured them that they will be safe in Sungai Golok. They even said to provide them with some policemen so that they can enjoy a safe tour.
It is now said that policemen and security is available throughout the city whole day long so the tourists and travelers should not have any fear of visiting Sungai Golok.
Thai Immigration Form
The rate of Malaysians visiting the Tak Bai was so much till 2005 that after all these chaos and disputes, many businesses failed and some entrepreneurs decided to do something else. This is because it was an essential shopping point for Malaysians who usually rushed the place on the weekends. Obviously, when Malaysians crossed the border, they would not return empty-handed. According to one entrepreneur, the local residents would not spend too much like the Malaysians.
There are several ways for tourists and Malaysian residents to travel from Kelantan to the Thailand Border. Firstly, there are rapid and express trains to carry passengers to Sungai and Kelantan. More than trains, buses, and cars are more common due to convenience. The Rantau Panjang – Sungai Golok Bridge makes the journey very brief and convenient.
In the morning, shopping is much more common and people like to visit restaurants, karaoke and long walks at night. The Thai food and drink of Tak Bai and Sungai Golok is the major reason why Malaysians are pulled towards the town.
Besides all these entertainment and facilities, the foreign population at Tak Bai and Sungai Golok has reduced very much due to the incident of 2005 after which the place is considered unsafe. The management and government along with the police are trying their best to convince the tourists that the place is now safe and that they can visit and enjoy Sungai Golok’s services without any fear.
*This trip was sponsored by ZestAir and Tourism Malaysia!