Category Archives: Travel

I am a passionate wanderer from Sarawak on the island of Borneo. This site is a footprint of my travel adventures in Southeast Asia.


Bukit Kayu Hitam Border Crossing: Document Checklist and Procedure for Malaysian Drivers

Bukit Kayu Hitam Border Crossing Document

Since relocating back to Malaysia over a year ago, driving back and forth between Penang and Chumphon, Thailand – where the fiancee’s home is located, has pretty much become a regular thing to do.

I used to take Train 46, until I decided one day that I could no longer put up with wasting so much time waiting and transferring to get from Point A to Point B, and that it was time to put my new car to good use.

Anyway, for those crossing the Bukit Kayu Hitam border (otherwise known as the Danok border from the Thai side) by car for the first time, it can be a little apprehensive especially when you’re doing it alone with no one else in the car to help look or ask around. But don’t worry, so long as the necessary documents are in place, the whole process should usually be hassle-free.

Driving into Thailand - Bukit Kayu Hitam Border Crossing: Document Checklist and Procedure

Having driven a number of times between Malaysia and Thailand via the Bukit Kayu Hitam border, each time I would learn and get more and more familiar with how things should be done. Therefore, I just thought to summarise in this entry, the list of documents a Malaysian driver would need to prepare and the procedure to go through in order to do the Bukit Kayu Hitam border crossing into Sadao, the district bordering Malaysia’s Perlis in the Songkhla Province.

Before crossing the Bukit Kayu Hitam border, first of all it’s crucial to know when the border gate is open or close.

Please note that at the Bukit Kayu Hitam/Danok border, the opening time is 6am (Malaysian time) or 5am (Thailand time), while closing time is 12am (Malaysian time) or 11pm (Thailand time).

In June 2017, it was reported that the Malaysian and Thai immigration authorities at Bukit Kayu Hitam would extend operational time from the existing 18 hours to 20 hours, then 24 hours in stages. Unfortunately to date, there hasn’t been any progress yet.

On the amount of Thai Baht one needs to have before travelling into Thailand, read “Confusion Explained: 10K Baht in Cash Needed for Malaysians to Enter Thailand“.

Document checklist for Malaysian drivers

For a Malaysian to drive or even ride into Thailand, below is the complete list of documents required at the Sadao Immigration Checkpoint (Thai side):

A. If vehicle is under your name:

  1. TM2 Information of Conveyance Form – 2 copies | Download
  2. TM3 Passenger List Form (only needed when there are passengers) – 2 copies | Download
  3. TM6 Arrival/Departure Card
  4. Passport – valid for at least 6 months
  5. Malaysian Driving License or International Driving License
  6. Grant/Vehicle Ownership Certificate (VOC) – or a certified true copy of either one
  7. Simplified Customs Declaration Form
  8. Copy of road tax – ensure it is not expired
  9. Compulsory Motor Insurance (CMI)

B. If vehicle is NOT under your name:

  1. TM2 Information of Conveyance Form – 2 copies | Download
  2. TM3 Passenger List Form (only needed when there are passengers) – 2 copies | Download
  3. TM6 Arrival/Departure Card
  4. Passport – valid for at least 6 months
  5. Malaysian Driving License or International Driving License
  6. Grant/Vehicle Ownership Certificate (VOC) – or a certified true copy of either one
  7. Authorisation letter from the vehicle’s owner and copy of the owner’s passport/identification card | Download sample letter
  8. Simplified Customs Declaration Form
  9. Copy of road tax – ensure it is not expired
  10. Compulsory Motor Insurance (CMI)

Where to get some of the above-listed documents?

For TM2 Information of Conveyance Form and TM3 Passenger List Form (only if there are passengers with you), you may download and print them out.  You need two copies each.

Below is how the TM2 form should be filed out, if you decide to do it yourself:

Driving into Thailand - Bukit Kayu Hitam Border Crossing: Document Checklist and Procedure
TM2 – Information of Conveyance Form

For TM6 Arrival/Departure Card, also popularly referred to as the “Thai immigration white card”, you can get an agent to fill it out for you inside Caltex at the Gurun R&R or at one of the restaurants cum rest areas beside the main road towards Bukit Hayu Hitam after Changlun.

They normally charge a small fee of RM2, or if you would like to get just the card and fill it out on your own, most agents would ask for RM1 when honestly, you can get it for free at the Sadao Immigration Checkpoint.

However, to avoid the hassle of having to get down from your vehicle just to ask for the TM6 card, I would advice you to get it beforehand. After all, the Sadao Immigration Checkpoint can get really busy and congested with vehicles especially during peak hours.

Driving into Thailand - Bukit Kayu Hitam Border Crossing: Document Checklist and Procedure
TM6 – Thailand Immigration Arrival/Departure Card

The Simplified Customs Declaration Form, also known as the temporary vehicle import and export form, will be generated and given to you at the Customs Declaration Counter, so you need not prepare this beforehand. I will explain more about this later.

As for the Compulsory Motor Insurance (CMI), you can purchase it from one of the agents in Changloon or at other areas of the Malaysian border for around RM20. This means that if you get into a road accident in Thailand, the CMI will cover a certain amount of medical compensation.

I once purchased the CMI in Danok after passing through the Sadao Immigration Checkpoint, but at a much more costly price of 350 Baht. Later, I learned that there is a way cheaper and better alternative. More information on this below.

Driving into Thailand - Bukit Kayu Hitam Border Crossing: Document Checklist and Procedure
Thai compulsory third-party motor insurance.

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Getting Braces in Thailand: My Unanticipated Orthodontic Journey (1)

Getting Braces in Thailand: My Unanticipated Orthodontic Journey (1)

This entry isn’t an advertorial. I’m writing this just to share with you my journey to getting braces in Thailand.

Growing up, I had always had crooked teeth. I also had a lot of cavities, and that explains the many fillings on my teeth.

The old black fillings which I got when I was younger were still visible on some of my teeth. But nowadays there are the tooth-coloured composite fillings, so I guess that should do dental aesthetics some justice.

Anyway, for over 30 years I had to put up with bad teeth, with no intention whatsoever to get them straightened, simply because it would cost a bomb in Malaysia. My sister got hers done for just RM1,000 or so at the government dental clinic, but that was only because she was under 17.

I attempted to get my teeth aligned by an unlicensed street dentist when I traveled to Hatyai some 7 years ago. But having no knowledge of orthodontic treatment back then, I naively thought that getting a freaking retainer would do the job!

So truth be told – I only wore it for a couple of nights before chucking it at a corner and leaving it to rot. HAHA!

So fast forward to my stint as a teacher in Thailand. My then girlfriend (now fiancée) has had her braces on for quite sometime. Initially I was hesitating whether or not to get braces in Thailand – at least at the same dental clinic as hers since she said her orthodontist was good and the price reasonable. However, I eventually decided not to do it as I wasn’t sure if I would stay in Thailand long enough to receive the long-term treatment.

Getting Braces in Thailand: My Unanticipated Orthodontic Journey (1)

Those two years in Thailand were when my oral health received the least of care as I indulged myself in all sorts of good food and snacks. So naturally tooth decays and cavities began to happen and I ended up having to visit the government dental clinic for a few times to address the problem.

One of the dentists who treated me expressed shock upon seeing the condition of my teeth. She asked if I had ever experienced a fall before, which affected the structure of my upper teeth because my upper teeth looked as if they were about to collapse! And yes, “collapse” was the word she used.

After being told of the serious condition of my teeth and also advised to get orthodontic treatment as soon as possible, I decided not to take risk with my teeth and proceeded to make an appointment with my other half’s orthodontist.

Getting Braces in Thailand: My Unanticipated Orthodontic Journey (1)

Speaking of dental braces in Thailand, they are EXTREMELY popular. Walking down any street in Thailand, you would easily bump into people – teenagers especially – with braces. Because of that, orthodontic services are competitive in Thailand and most orthodontists are also very skilled.

But of course, many of the braces people are wearing are also fake ones, and people wear them as a fashion accessory. It can be dangerous and deadly, but I’m not going to go into that.

My orthodontic treatment costs a very reasonable 35,000 Thai Baht (about RM4,300) for three years. In Malaysia it would cost around RM5,000-6,000. At the clinic I go, customers could either opt for the lump-sum payment or monthly installments at a reasonable cost of 1,000 Baht with each visit. I chose the latter, and didn’t need to pay any deposit, unlike at some dental clinics.

Like I’ve said earlier, my teeth were in a horrible condition, and that needed to be rectified before I could proceed with the orthodontic treatment. I spent quite a bit getting not one, not two, but about ten teeth (re-)filled and another extracted! But the total amount spent was still way cheaper than if I did in Malaysia.

My orthodontist had to make sure that all my teeth were in a good condition before she could put braces on them.

Below I will take you through the journey of my orthodontic treatment.

The following picture was taken in May 2016 in Bangkok, a few months before I got my braces:

Getting Braces in Thailand: My Unanticipated Orthodontic Journey (1)

From the front, the condition of my crooked teeth may not look too serious, until…

Continue reading Getting Braces in Thailand: My Unanticipated Orthodontic Journey (1)