In this article, you will learn the process of how to drive/ride your Malaysian registered car/motorcycle into Thailand via border crossing.
The process is also similar for other foreign vehicles crossing all of Thailand’s borders overland. Please note; If you want to drive/ride your Thailand-registered vehicle into Malaysia, expand the note below.
Required Documents For Thailand Border Crossing
You will need the following documents;
- TM2 Information of Conveyance form. – 2 copies | TM2 Form Download
- TM3 Passenger List form – 2 copies. (Only if you’re riding/driving with a passenger). | TM3 Form Download
- TM6 Card (Arrival/Departure white card – Available at the immigration counter).
- A valid passport. (Expiry of the passport validity, not more than 6 months)
- A driving license is recognized in Thailand. i.e. From ASEAN countries or International Driving Permit.
- If the vehicle is not registered under your name, you will need to get an authorised letter (Sample) from the vehicle owner & copy of the owner’s N.R.I.C./ Passport. Please note that Thai borders in Sungai Golok & Bukit Bunga require the authorized letter to be stamped by a Commissioner of Oath.
- If you’re using a Malaysian company-registered vehicle, you will need to provide Form 24 (SSM company registration details) & FORM 49. Sample
- Simplified customs temporary Import / Export form. (will be given by Thai customs). If this is your first time driving your vehicle in Thailand via the Sadao border, you can now pre-register your vehicle online. For more details, expand the instructions below:
- Vehicle registration card (Grant / VOC). (Photocopy is acceptable but you will need to get it stamped at a police station near the border to establish the authenticity of the document)
- Visa – (Not needed for countries that have been exempted).
Note: If you are NOT on a vehicle registered in Laos, Malaysia or Singapore, you now need prior approval to enter Thailand. In December 2016 Thailand introduced new rules which required a traveller with their own motor vehicles to obtain a permit and guide to enter the country in advance. The new rules allow vehicles under 3500kg to enter the country, with a permit and guide organised via a travel agency. However, they state – No vans, camper cars, buses, trucks, vehicles over 3500kg and/or that have over 9 seats. For more info / latest updates see Overlanding Asia FB Group.
All the (TM) Thai immigration forms and simplified customs import/export forms can be obtained at the Thailand border for free. To save up time, you can download the TM2 & TM3 forms from the links above and fill them up before you head up to the border.
Alternatively, you can also get those immigration forms (TM2, TM3, TM6) and insurance for your vehicle a few Kilometers before the border. (You can see a few signboards saying Thai Insurance etc, just drop by one of those shops to get your immigration forms (TM2, TM3, TM6) and vehicle insurance.
Car/Motorcycle Insurance In Thailand
You will need the following insurance for proper coverage whilst riding/driving in Thailand.
- The Compulsory Motor Insurance (CMI) – Compulsory
- The Voluntary Motor Insurance – Optional
- Endorsement 101 – Optional
- Personal Travel Insurance – Optional
Malaysia-Thailand Borders Opening & Closing Time
Arriving at the Malaysian border
On the Malaysian side, you can just drive through and you will only need to get your passport stamped. Most of the Malaysian borders have dedicated lanes for cars and motorcycles.
Arriving at Thailand Border
If you’re driving a car, park your vehicle just before the Thailand border as most Thailand border crossings do not have dedicated lanes for the drive-through. However, If you’re crossing via Bukit Kayu Hitam – Dannok (Sadao) border, you can just drive through and get your passport, TM6 (white card), TM2 and TM3 forms stamped. For a motorcycle, you’ll need to park your motorcycle first anywhere close to the Thai border area and get your documents stamped in the immigration complex.
Note: You will need to pay an overtime fee when you stamp your passport to enter Thailand during out-of-working hours. Read more at the link below:
Don’t forget to pass over the completed TM2 & TM3 forms to the immigration officer when they check on your passport.
You will need to have a copy of each for arrival and departure. The immigration officer will keep one copy for arrival and he/she will stamp the departure copy and give it back to you. You will then need to submit this stamped copy at the immigration counter when you exit the border on your way out of Thailand.
Often, the officer will not ask you about these forms but the laws are in place and there is a fine for not having the forms on your return. Occasionally, you get a bad official who likes to make trouble if you don’t have all the copies & / or completed correctly. If you lost them, be polite, smile always and you can often get out of fine. Remember, this is Thailand 🙂
Once you’ve stamped your passport, park your car or motorcycle after the drive-through passport control/immigration counter and go to the Customs Declaration Counter to get your simplified temporary import/export form.
You will now need to provide your passport and the vehicle registration card (Grant / VOC) to the customs officer at counter# 1 for verification.
Note: If you have pre-registered your vehicle online, provide the officer with the reference number.
If the vehicle is not registered in your name, you will need to provide an authorisation (permission) written letter and a copy of the owner’s passport / Identity card. See Sample.
The customs are organized & computerized and they will complete the form for you. Your data goes into the computer & the form is printed out for you which you need to bring it over from counter #1 to counter# 2. They’ll usually print out 2 forms, one of them (import) which they’ll keep and give you the export form which you will need to sign in two sections. See the image below.
The validity of the form is usually 30 days and you MUST return the export form to the Customs Counter when you exit Thailand. Failing to do so, there is a fine of 1,000 baht a day, with a maximum of 10,000 baht.
Note: You can enter and exit Thailand from any border provided you do it within 30 days, i.e. You enter Thailand via Bukit Kayu Hitam and exit using the Wang Kelian border.
That’s it! You can now drive/ride into Thailand straightaway and their official may stop you to check whether your passport has been stamped or not on your way in, just show it to them and they will let you pass.
The process is quite simple, to be honest, and you may want to skip border crossing during Malaysian public holidays as the waiting queue at the border can be long and you may just be stuck there for hours. Alternatively, go to other small borders such as Wang Kelian etc as they may not be busy as Bukit Kayu Hitam / Dan Nok border.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, and it is compulsory if you’re driving/riding in Thailand. Please note, that the CMI only covers bodily injury (Max 80,000 Thai Baht – varies based on the underwriter) and not for the repair works on the vehicle(s).
Yes, read my other post about this here – Vehicle Coverage in Thailand
Having travel insurance is really important and some even choose not to have one but honestly, accidents do happen and they also seem to happen when you least expect it & least need it. Medical bills can cost a fortune abroad and with good travel insurance, you can have peace of mind. so please, if you don’t do it for yourself, do it for your loved ones.
First of all, get yourself treated at the nearest Hospital. If you have travel insurance, call your underwriter to further assist you. You can also use CMI Insurance for bodily injury. The biggest problem you may encounter is communication as most Thai people don’t speak English. The good thing is, you can call Tourism Police who speaks English by dialling 1155 from your local Thai sim-card number and they’ll assist you.
The insurance company may ask you to go to the nearest police station and make a report of the accident. You will need to provide your passport, compulsory insurance cover note and a medical report from Hospital. Depending on your local insurance policy (if any), you can also get yourself covered for medical expenses outside Malaysia.
Should you require any other assistance whilst in Thailand, please click on the link below:
Thailand Tourist Assistance Center
Read my other post about this here – Vehicle Coverage in Thailand
In general, an IDP is not required if you are a tourist/visitor in Thailand as long your license is in English, has a photo and your country signed the Geneva 1949 Convention on Road Traffic, which most countries do including Malaysia. There is also an ASEAN agreement on the recognition of domestic driving licenses issued by ASEAN countries.
Note: Temporary/provisional/learner’s driving licences (L&P) is NOT recognised.
However, there is always contention about this but for me, the overriding decision to get International Driving Permit is for insurance purposes. Most travel insurance that I’ve checked mentioned that you must have an IDP in the event of a claim for damages and/or medical costs from an accident. The paperwork for the last few vehicles we hired in Thailand has also required an IDP for claiming insurance.
If you’re Malaysian, you can get IDP at JPJ’s office for RM 150. A sample of the IDP can be found in the image on the right below.
Note: If you’re not sure, please refer to your vehicle’s manual for the types of fuel you should use. The data below is merely shared for information.
There are several types of fuel compromising various grades. Most modern vehicles can run on Gasoline E95 (100% RON 95 – Yellow Handle) & Gasohol 95 E10 (RON 95+10% Ethanol – Orange handle)
I would recommend that you fill up at PTT Petrol Station as other stations may have 20% Ethanol for the orange handle pump which may cause confusion.
In 2016, Singapore travellers entering Thailand through land border checkpoints are eligible to do so without a visa only twice in a calendar year. However, the government has now revised its regulation and allowed Singaporean to enter Thailand for tourism purposes through land border checkpoints more than twice a calendar year without requesting a visa.
- You’re not allowed to bring in and use electronic cigarettes / Vape or any related substances or equipment. Imprisonment not exceeding 10 years and/or a fine of THB500,000.
- If you didn’t declare your vehicle via Thai customs, imprisonment not exceeding 10 years and/or fine 4 times the value of your vehicle value and confiscation of the vehicle.
- Using Walkie-Talkie (unregistered) | Imprisonment not exceeding 5 years and/or fine up to THB100,000.
- Smoking at Thai beaches. Imprisonment not exceeding 1 year and/or fine up to THB100,000.
- If you driving a commercial vehicle such as Van, you will need to hire a Thai tour guide, get a permit for your vehicle, have a tourist pass and ensure all of the passengers are for tourist purposes. These services can be obtained at the border area. Failing to do so, get ready to be slapped with a big fine and also a jail sentence. This rule does not apply to private MPV vehicles such as Alphard, Velfire, Starex etc.
- Always obey the traffic rules whilst you’re riding/driving and stay calm if you’ve been pulled over by the police. Smiling is the key to starting with good communication.