Quick Facts & Stats For The Road Trip To Bangkok
Here are some quick facts and statistics you should know if planning this trip. It might be a good idea to print this page and keep it with your road maps!
The Distance: KL To Bangkok
Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok, straight line distance
731.8 Miles / 1177.7 KM
Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok, actual distance on the roads
930 Miles to 1000 Miles (approx)
Geographic Coordinates For The Trip
Latitude = 3° 10' 0"
Longitude = 101° 42' 0"
Latitude = 13° 45' 0"
Longitude = 100° 31' 0"
Kuala Lumpur To Bangkok - The Trip Route
Places you will drive through / by in order from start to finish...
- Kuala Lumpur
- Bukit Kayu Hitam
- Thai Border
- Hat Yai
- Surat Thani
- Hua Hin
Looking For A Road Trip To Remember?
A drive from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Bangkok, Thailand should satisfy your thirst. You can experience breathtaking scenery along the way, pass by many different races and cultures, drive on many different and sometimes challenging roads and eat lots of different sometimes discusting food!
Driving In Malaysia
Malaysia's roads are better made and maintained than in Thailand, but despite the North South Expressways size and mostly straight lines, it is a very slow road to drive on. Malaysia enforces alot of speed restrictions that are out of proportion to the quality of the roads. Speed traps and cameras also exist. Speed limit is 110 km/h on the highway, but beware it suddenly drops to 90 km/h on some stretches to try and force you over the limit. Reduce speed at all fly-overs and bridges, because there are more likely to be patrol cars there.
Pay Toll Lah!
Malaysia's highways are very expensive compared to neighboring countries, where most roads are free to use. Thailand only has tolls in central Bangkok which normally cost THB 40 a time, whereas tolls in Malaysia can easily cost over RM25 just on one leg of the journey alone. As soon as you cross the border back to Malaysia - you get your travel documents processed, then at the very next booth a few meters away you will hear "Pay toll now please!" shouted out of a window. This is Malaysian for "Welcome back to Malaysia, nice to see you again!". No, actually its very rude and its overpriced and it's location is such that its a stealth tax on every car crossing the border.
Road Safety In Malaysia
The roads in Malaysia are quite safe. The only time to take extra caution is when entering and exiting the toll booths. Most accidents seem to happen here, when drivers don't notice the tolls and smash into them and other cars in the ques. Also watch your mirrors like a hawk when you exit the toll plazas because there is sometimes alot of lane changing and jostling to get back on the highways.
Drivers in Malaysia are generally OK, just watch out for the usual dangers like people changing lanes without indicating first. Motorbikes are a nuisance but not on highways. Malaysian drivers find it challenging to indicate and often don't understand the correct usage of indicators - they indicate after they turn! And they often keep their indicator switched on for a few minutes to confuse cars behind.
On some roads you have to watch out for wildlife. It's not worth crashing to avoid something unless it is a cow or elephant! Try and spare snakes, tortoises and whatever else may be in your path, but never panic and get yourself killed. If it is safe to do so you can stop at the side of the road and rescue anything that is not dangerous. Be a good samaritan and move it off the road.
Motor bikes or "Motos" are a menace. They do not play by any of the rules and they are the most dangerous things on the road - period. Luckily you will not find many on the highways so they are not much of an issue for the drive up to Thai Border.
Pit Stops In Malaysia
Look for signs for "Kawasan Rehat" these are places you can stop and "Makan Minum" eat and drink, use the bathroom and fill up your petrol. The Kawasan Rehat's are usually quite advanced and have a variety of local food on offer. Your best choice will be to drink plenty of "Teh Tarik" tea to keep you alert on your trip. There are no Motels in Malaysia, you will have to exit the highway and find a hotel if you really need one. One of the best Kawasan Rehat stops is at Tapah, the part of the highway near Cameron Highlands. The atmosphere is very much like being in the Jungle - misty and all. The food, especially fruits here are very fresh and very good.
Driving In Thailand
Thailand's roads are not as advanced as Malaysias. Thailands quality roads are only in and around the Bangkok area, for the most part, the rest are like badly maintained race tracks. For a road trip, this is good fun and exciting because the speed limits (if any) are very rarely enforced.
Road signs are more useful in Thailand because they explain the severity of corners very well so you can guess your speed before going into them. Road signs for place names - towns, cities etc are very poor though and often only written in Thai at the crucial junctions. The other problem with road signs in thailand is they often state for example "Surat Thani" instead of "Surat Thani City" or "Surat Thani Province" which can be confusing because most of the provinces and cities share the same name, especially in the South.
The best thing about Thai roads is the fact that the fast sections curves and bends are built on a slanting angle like a race track! It means you can maintain a high speed on corners without losing your hold on the road and drifting off your lines. Much of the time you can forget you are on roads at all and practice your racing lines.
The most annoying downside to Thailands road is the sudden abrupt interruption of the roads with traffic lights. One minute you are cruising at 150 km/h then you turn a blind corner and are greeted with a jam of stationary cars waiting at a traffic light! Your brakes must be in very good order and you must be super alert because this will happen more than 100 times on the trip to Bangkok. If you think you can't stop in time then use the emergency lane as your stopping space and then pull up at the waiting line at the lights. You cut the que this way and you come out of it alive, so don't be shy.
Road Safety In Thailand
Thailand is an insane place to drive. Once you cross the border for the fist time, drive very slowly and get familiar with the style. Cars will join your lane from the opposite side of the road into your fast lane, right in front of you at a very slow speed. Never move! Don't panik! They will drift off to the slow lane eventually, so keep in your lane or risk confusing them. Always flash your lights and sound your horn when other cars and trucks jump in your lane to make sure they know you are there or they may not move over.
Lorries and trucks are a serious hazard. For your safety, every time you approach a lorry or truck in the slow lane and intend to pass, slow down by at least 20 km/h and flash your lights a few times or beep the horn in daytime. Check for a second or two to make sure the lorry knows you are there. Most often they will indicate left which means they are staying left for you to pass. If you dont get any response then slow down further and pass more carefully. These guys do jump out without checking for any cars behind and you will experience several emergency stops (screeching up and kissing the back of a huge lorry is not recommended!)
Dogs. Damn Dogs! They are everywhere. You will see some killed and probably kill some yourself. They are all over the roads. Never move because of a dog. It's just a dog - no one should die or get injured trying to dodge a dog. If you have never seen a dog explode before, you will probably see it in Thailand.
If you are taking it easy and driving slowly then you better watch out and always keep left. Don't go in the fast lane unless the slow lane is blocked or falling apart. Slow drivers get alot of anger from Thai drivers and can expect to be beeped at, flashed at, stared at and worse - forced of the road! You will see many signs saying "KEEP LEFT" so you better listen, don't say I didn't warn you!
Pit Stops In Thailand
Thai roads don't have exit lanes and such which lead to pit stops. Normally you will just see some huts or buildings at the side of the road that serve food and drinks. If you are passing by a town you should take the "Frontage Road" otherwise you will bypass petrol stations and any restaurants. There are many food and fruit stalls right on the main roads in Thailand. If you want to stop at one then slow down and indicate well in advance to prevent accidents. Of course, never reverse on the highway to get a banana from a fruit stall you missed 100 metres back! Leave that behavior to the Thai drivers!
Fuel, refuel and extra refuel! If you don't want to get stuck you have to keep your tank above 50% full at all times. Never pass by a petrol station thinking "never mind there will be another up the road". This is almost never the case! Petrol in Thailand is not so easy to get. If you have a small car, take extra care - stop at every second or third petrol station to be sure.
Thai food is over-rated, especially when driving through the country. The food you find at just about every roadside restaurant will be the same old slop. If you are not used to cold food that was cooked up to two days ago and has been well visited by flies then I suggest you buy a few ingredients at 7-Eleven and make yourself a snack. Compared to Malaysia, Thailands food is very disappointing. You can't order food and see it is made on the spot fresh, and you will be the luckiest person alive if you find anywhere that sells tea. Tea is something of an enigma to the Thai people.