The Sometimes Thorny, Sometimes Rosy Journey to Our International Marriage

The Sometimes Thorny, Sometimes Rosy Journey to Our International Marriage

She’s Thai, and I’m Malaysian. In less than two months’ time, it will be our 3rd anniversary of being together. Mostly importantly, we will be tying the knot.

Read: I Don’t Know What Future Holds for Us, but I Try to Live in the Moment, Every Moment

This is something I feel we’ve been prepping forever. From buying the ring to getting engaged, to selecting the wedding dates and to making our pre-wedding photoshoot happen, so much effort has gone into every little aspect and detail of our wedding leading up to its actual days. In fact, everything is happening so fast it feels so surreal.

She's Thai, I'm Malaysian: The Sometimes Thorny, Sometimes Rosy Journey to Our Wedding

The whole process involves a lot more steps and procedures given this is an international marriage. Not that we’re perfectionists in any way. We are not, and we know that unless you’re rich enough to make money work for you, there is no such thing as being perfect when it comes to a wedding that involves two cultures and nationalities.

This whole international relationship thing that often looks sweet on the surface and is constantly glamorised, is more than what it seems.

For me, the whole process hasn’t always been rosy and straightforward. There is so much that I’ve encountered and learned in the process, something which I believe will continue on even after our marriage.

Among the less pleasant encounters in my journey to getting married, for one, it is inevitable to have some conservative relatives or friends who would be shocked to find out that my fiancé and I are going to have our wedding ceremonies done on two separate dates, the first and the grandest of which is going to be done in Thailand against the norm of the patriarchal Malaysian Chinese society.

“But I thought being a Chinese and a guy, you should be doing it here [in Kuching] first,” one individual said to me, referring to my hometown in Sarawak.

Continue reading The Sometimes Thorny, Sometimes Rosy Journey to Our International Marriage


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.

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

I’m Ken, a passionate traveller from Sarawak on the exotic island of Borneo. Currently a teacher in a rural town in Southern Thailand, from time to time I share on this blog my experiences teaching the kids and living a laid-back lifestyle here. With its focus on all things Thailand, mrdefinite.net also features a handful of stories about my travel adventures in other Asian countries.