At Bukit Kayu you can pick up copies of the Thai immigration documents. For a modest fee, these can be filled out by petition writers if you feel you need this (I never have used this service). You can also pick up the Thai documents at the border itself as you approach Thai Immigration.
As you cross into Thailand you gain an hour. This is typically something you do in plane travel and not cars.. so remember to adjust your watch and if you are upto it the clock in your car.
This can also cause confusion when you try to remember the opening and closing times of the border crossing (and it didn’t help me that they changed them)..
Changes in Border crossing times:
The opening and closing times of the border crossing are changing – lately it seems the right way in that they are extending the times. During the recent Hari Raya holiday (Dec 2001), the border remained open until Midnight Malaysian time (11pm Thai). On a trip through in January this year (2002) I was able to establish that this was a permanent change.
Gates Open: 6am Malaysian
Close: 12 midnight Malaysian
In booths similar to the Singapore crossing you must present the same documentation: passport and arrival/departure card. Processing takes no more than a couple of minutes.
Drive slowly through – there is little interest. When you come back from Thailand however expect an inspection of the boot, some questioning and possibly the need to have your luggage x-rayed.
Police Checkpoint and time change
As you drive up the road into no mans land, you will come to a Malaysian police checkpoint. Here the police will inspect registration documents. Being a Singaporean registered car, we have been stopped every time. Make sure you have your log card and Passport ready. If you do not own the car have a letter (and copies) prepared authorising you to take the car into Thailand.
At this point adjust your clocks. Thailand is one hour behind Malaysia.
After the police checkpoint there is a duty free shopping area on the left. Rather underwhelming, it nevertheless sells all the usual duty free items and is a good place to stop and stretch the legs. After this at the top of the rise is the Thai immigration checkpoint.
For Thai immigration & customs you will need 4 documents:
- The car log card/ registration document
- The Thai arrival/departure card
- A completed manifest (only for when you have passengers).
These forms are available at a kiosk on the left immediately upon entering through the gate. The documents are in Thai & English and are straightforward. Fill them in now. At this point rejoin the queue and as the car passes by the immigration booth, have one of the occupants jump out and queue up. If you are on your own, you will need to pass through and pull the car over near by – do not however leave the area and make sure the car is within view of the Customs window.
At Immigration passports are stamped en-masse with tourist visas. It can be a little chaotic. Nearby will be the Customs window where the car documents, along with the passport of the owner or designated driver, need to be handed in.
The Thai Arrival/departure card.
Bilingual – these are the same as used on flights into Thailand.
You can pick these up at the border as you approach Thai Immigration at the kiosk at the left of the compound.
The Thai 3rd party Insurance disk
You will need to buy 3rd party insurance for Thailand.
Just outside the border shed is a small booth that sells insurance. The cost varies based on vehicle type, engine size and duration of cover (2543 is the Thai Chantarakati (lunar calendar) year for 1999
The Thais’ approach to Car tourism is a historical one based on import tariffs and protection – so this makes the documentation look a little odd.
For instance you will not be driving into Thailand for a holiday but rather “Temporarily Importing a Motor Vehicle for the purposes of Tourism”. These days the required permit is issued automatically at the border. One of the things you do at customs is guarantee that you will re-export the car – failure to do so will mean a fine equivalent to the amount stipulated on the declaration. I am told that if you bring a foreign registered car in by plane or ship you are required to post this bond based on custom’s valuation in advance. A land crossing is clearly easier.
At the Customs window, hand the documents in (your registration document and your passport) . Here the customs officer will produce for you a simplified customs declaration form. They may inspect your vehicle and will need to see it. You will then be asked to sign the bottom of this form to guarantee to export the vehicle out of Thailand.
You will end up with one form called the simplified customs declaration form it will be stamped by customs indicating that your vehicle has been inspected. You may need to show this again at the customs post at Sadao a couple of kilometres down the road. You must keep this form for the period you remain in Thailand as you will need to surrender this upon departure.
Important – if you do not intend to exit Thailand at the same border crossing you must advise Customs as you enter Thailandof the intended departure point – this will allow the authorities time to transfer the neccessary paper work to your intended exit border crossing. I did this when travelling onto Laos – allow them a few days to get this done.
Note – Insurance
The above Thai insurance is extremely basic and is meant only to keep you legal. It is recommended that you seek more comprehensive insurance when planning your trip as many Singaporean insurance policys do not cover Thailand. Unless stipulated, your comprehensive coverage typically ends in peninsular Malaysia with a 50 kilometre overlap into Thailand (which is designed to allay any doubts about you being near a border) – its not meant to cover you in Thailand.
None of the Thai insurers will provide comprehensive insurance for non Thai cars.Do you have questions? Visit our forum