Category Archives: Myanmar

I was immediately approached by a swarm of operators offering to take me to my guesthouse in Bagan, Burma on a horse cart.


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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Setting Foot in Burma: Entering Ancient Bagan on Hourse Cart

Like a King. Well, almost.

Upon arriving at the Bagan (also Pagan) bus station, I was immediately approached by a swarm of horse cart operators offering to take me to my guesthouse. Trying out new things is my nature. Since I had never before ridden on a horse cart, I was thrilled at the idea.

Of course, I had said yes.

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The ride cost me quite a bomb (I think it was about RM50). But considering the long distance between the bus station and my guesthouse – they were about 45 minutes apart by horse cart, I was nevertheless still pretty much satisfied with my choice.

The bus station was situated in Nyaung-U (a neighbouring district under the Mandalay region), whereas my guesthouse was in the new town of the Bagan city. In my vague memory, we rode past the famous ancient Bagan, where some 2000 famous pagodas and stupas can be found, to get to my guesthouse in the new town.

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Hardly did I get a quality sleep that night despite staying in a super cosy guesthouse. When I arrived there, it was already close to midnight, and my schedule would start at 7.30am the next morning.

Early next morning I had breakfast with my tour guide Tal and driver Wai Phyo before going for sight-seeing. I kept telling my guide, “Please bring me to eat street food only, I don’t mind squatting by the roadside to eat!”

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Well, roadside food never happened in Bagan after all, but I was content enough to have our meals at where the locals would frequent.

From across where we we having our breakfast, I noticed this scene:

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It reminded me a lot of what our society is lacking today – giving. Often we like to take but are not willing to give. And that is turning a lot of us into selfish and intolerant creatures.

After breakfast I was brought to roam around a local morning market, where I got to buy a few shirts and a paso (sarong for man). To my left in the picture below was the “mama” I bought my paso from:

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She was so talkative and cute that I had to take a picture with her and her daughter, who was helping her out. After a picture, this apparently unsatisfied mama demanded for a second take, saying, “One more time, One more time… your hand, here (pointing to her shoulder) – on mama and mama daughta.”

She wanted me to put my arms around her and her daughter’s shoulders. Trying to hook me up with her daughter? Haha! Her words and gestures were so exaggerated and hilarious that she cracked everyone up.

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