Living in Bangkok, Thailand, I travel to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia several times a year. Malaysia is south of Thailand, with a land border with Thailand, stretching for hundreds of miles and major roads from Thailand going straight through Malaysia and down to Singapore.
Kuala Lumpur, otherwise known as KL, is on the western side of Malaysia and, with a few different ways of getting there, some have more advantages than others. If you want to get from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, look at these different modes of transportation, and decide which one works best for you.
Flying Air Asia – There are many airlines that fly from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and it’s a fast way to get there. Air Asia, though, is the most popular airline to take for the Bangkok/Kuala Lumpur flight. Plus, with a flight being just over an hour and forty five minutes, you’ve hardly left Bangkok before you’re arriving in KL.
Air Asia is the most popular because of the incredibly cheap flights, number of flights per day and their frequent big sales on tickets. There are at least 10 flights a day on Air Asia from Bangkok to KL, and other flights to other Malaysian cities. I recently booked a round-trip flight on Air Asia from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur, while they were running a promotion. Round trip cost? $67. Unbelievable, eh?
Taking the Train From Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur – A fun, although slow way of getting from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur is the train. You can get a train at Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong train station and settle in for a two day trip. You take a train from Bangkok and get off at either Hat Yai, Thailand or Butterworth, Malaysia. With a layover of 8 hours, you’ve time to see Hat Yai or Butterworth, then back on an overnight train and down to Kuala Lumpur.
With two days of traveling time though, you really need to like trains. And, at $50 one-way, it’s often more expensive than flying. But, taking the train is a wonderful way of seeing both Thailand and Malaysia, as views from the train window are spectacular.
Taking a Bus From Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur – You can take a bus from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur, but will have to change in Hat Yai. A bus trip from Bangkok to Hat Yai is around 12 hours, with an extra 7 hours from Hat Yai to Kuala Lumpur.
If you also factor in the layover time at Hat Yai bus station, getting from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur by bus will take you around 22 hours – almost a day faster than by taking the train although, of course, nowhere near as comfortable.
Driving From Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur – Another great way to see both countries is to drive from Bangkok, through southern Thailand and into northern Malaysia and down to KL. Drive time is anything from 14 to 18 hours depending on road conditions, weather (torrential rain slows you down in the rainy season!) and traffic.
You will also notice a distinct difference in road surface the moment you cross into Malaysia. Malaysia has some of the best roads in the region. Thailand does not. So it’s a lot bumpier through the Thai portion of the journey.
These are the four main ways to get from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur with pros and cons to all of them. Just figure out which is more important – cost, time, the ability to see the country, or convenience – and make the choice that works for you.