cash required at the malaysia-thailand border crossing

since i wrote about the thailand-myanmar border crossing, i thought i should also write about the often used hence rarely talked about border crossing of malaysia-thailand

i’ve ever only been to malaysia by plane once, my first time to penang. all the rest i just crossed the border from singapore. doing so is a straight-forward experience. the authorities in malaysia don’t even ask for my sg employment pass. meanwhile the other times i crossed country borders, i was never asked to pay for anything

so i did not see the need to save up a few ringgit when i left penang to cross the border. i thought it was gonna be an easy experience. heck, what could go wrong?

thankfully, i was in a van full of kind people who covered costs twice

first cost was the printing of the immigration forms. why we need to pay for printing when i could have written it instead, i’ll never understand. but anyway, the driver of the van collected the passports, asked for MYR1, then gave us the immigration forms with printed details lifted from our passports. a lovely european lady offered to pay the ringgit, and didn’t want my sgd. then off we go to the border.

when we were getting out of the van to line up for the thai immigration, the driver asked me (in broken english) if i have a visa:

me: i don’t need a visa to thailand

driver: (scratches head)

me: philippine passport

driver: money?

me: money?

driver: (signals that i need to pay something)

me: i don’t have ringgit

driver: baht?

me: i have sing

driver: (scratches head, makes a face, pointed me to line up in frustration)

so i thought i don’t need to pay anymore

WRONG. everyone pays another MYR1 to the immigration. gaaaaah! no money changer in sight. once again, saved by a stranger. a malaysian gave me MYR1 and refused my sgd again.

once at the immigration, i didn’t expect to be battered with a lot of questions: where are you going? how long will you stay? when will you leave? where’s your return ticket? where will you stay?

luckily he still let me enter despite my obvious lies. he did ask me if it’s ok if he only gives me 15 days. not wanting to ask why he wasn’t giving me 30 since i already said i’ll only stay 10 days, i said ok. later on i found out that thailand only gives 15 days to all land entries. thank god. i thought i did something wrong.

from there, the bus driver continued to drive us somewhere to change vans to our different destinations. and my indochina adventure officially started


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