Where to Buy Bus Tickets in Puduraya, Kuala Lumpur to Hat Yai

by Yin on July 8, 2008

in Thailand,Travel- Malaysia

UPDATE:  Jan 2012: Please note that Puduraya is renovated and now have bus going north and to Hatyai.

Read my related article on Puduraya’s new makeover- the new place is impressive.

Puduraya is the bus station located near Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur. As you go into Puduraya and approached the bus ticket counters, you will see many people coming to you asking where you wanna go, etc. You can get to Puduraya via the Star LRT to Plaza Rakyat station. Alternatively, if you take the Putra LRT, you can stop at Pasar Seni or Masjek Jamek station and walk there.

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I went to Puduraya to purchase a pair of bus tickets to Hat Yai and I was approached by many ticket sellers. Initially I was confused as I am not familiar with buying tickets up to Hat Yai. After going around a few booths to ask with the Indonesian ladies telling me that the buses are super good, etc but could not answer some questions that I’ve had, I decided to stick to Konsortium.

In case you do not know, Konsortium Bas Express Semenanjung (M) SB consists of the signature red buses. No doubt, in Jan 08, Konsortium came under the headlines after one of its bus drivers had 13 outstanding summonses and caused 3 passengers to be killed. However, a check with a seasonal traveller friend of mine said that the buses are ok.
One thing when you buy bus tickets in Puduraya, look out for counters selling computerised and not manual tickets. Bus counters such as Transnational, Plusliner (Plusliner buses are known to be punctual) and Konsortium will issue computerised tickets with valid platform and they use their own buses. They are also not concerned if their tickets are sold out or not- they will stick to the journey using their own buses. Konsortium have their special 18 Snoozer seater (instead of the normal 21 Super VIP seater) which are very comfortable- ask for these buses if you are travelling overnight- it’s only slightly expensive (Super VIP= RM40, Snoozer= RM50).


If you buy manual issued tickets (ie the seller just wrote the tickets out of a coupon instead of giving you a computerised printout), you may encounter the following bad experience (that I’ve encountered before when I was a student):

  • the seat is double booked, ie 2 tickets were sold for one seat (that seldom happens now but stick to computerised system in order to be on the safe side).
  • the bus is not punctual and leaves late (sometimes few hours late) because the ticket sellers are still trying to get more customers to make the bus seats full
  • you buy ticket for a certain bus A but are asked to take bus B because bus A did not have full booking (so it was decided to merge 2 buses into one and you may end up taking a more uncomfortable bus).
  • all the buses need to make stops- but these buses may detour off the highway and go to some kinda dirty looking restaurants instead of stopping at the stops along the Plus highway.

Going to Puduraya reminds me of years back when I was still a student studying in Penang. To save time, my KL friends and I will normally take the midnight night bus from Penang back to KL, arriving at Puduraya at about 4 or 5am in the morning (the journey from Penang to Kuala Lumpur only takes about 4.5 hours via bus). I usually travel alone and during that time, my tummy is always unwell and almost each time, it ‘masuk angin‘ (‘wind’ gets in) causing very severe stomach spasms and pain by the time I reach KL in the wees hours of the morning. And I have to wait till 6am before I could walk out to Bangkok bank to take the first morning bus back home. For seasonal travellers, if you will need to look after your food intake if you constantly suffer from stomach ailments. Check out my article series on Stomach Cures.

Note: Previously, I’ve been to Hat Yai but this will be my first time going to Northern Thailand via the bus route. This means Kuala Lumpur -> Hat Yai -> Bangkok -> Lampang (on the way to Chiang Mai where my Thai friend stays). When I come back, I will be sharing more photos and tips for future use of budget travellers :)

How to know the current rates

This article is published when the rate was RM50. However, the rate may have increase since petrol price seemed to be always going up. If the tickets are sold out in the company that you want to buy from, and you are offered by another bus company, compare the rates with Transnational, Plusliner or Konsortium (of course, if you are buying a 24 seater, then you have to compare the rate of the same seater).  Especially Transnational who is generally not interested to rip people- you will know the going rate. The fare should not vary more than RM5 except if you are buying during major festival like Raya or Chinese New Year (then I wish you good luck because all bus & train tickets are generally sold out months before).

Update after the trip to Hat Yai (Oct 08):

First and foremost, if you are travelling from KL to Hat Yai, please change the Thai notes in Hat Yai. Don’t change in KL. The rates are definitely better at Hat Yai compared if you change it in KL. For instance, I changed in KL: RM1 = 10 baht. I changed in Hat Yai: RM1= 10.25 baht.

If you take Konsortium bus, you take the bus in front of a hotel (sorry, I can’t remember the name)- but the hotel is directly facing Puduraya. Still, please confirm with the ticketing staff after you buy the ticket.

The bus is really comfortable- the Snoozer seat had the proper leg supporter that you can raise up. You also get to listen to a large selection of music or watch movies (in different languagues)- each seat gets a headset that you can put on. Then the seat can go all the way backward. Geez, Konsortium should really be paying me for promoting them- but I write this from personal experience :)

Then the bus will drop you at a eating place near the border about 6am, I think. It’s only a short break- don’t take your sweet time and try to sit near the bus else it may just run off without you ;)

If your stomach is not killing you, perhaps you may want to wait another hour or two (the line up at the custom factored in) to eat at Hat Yai- the food is more tasty there.

 Then, a short distance later, it will arrive at the Customs. If you go during weekend/public holidays, the queues are normally long. You need to bring down your luggage from the bus for inspection. Then you will go to the Thai immigration.  And memorise the bus’s plate number and few faces of the people who travel with you on the same bus.

The bus will go to a parking place at the back, which you will probably see the seasoned passengers go to after getting their passport chopped. You will see a sea of buses and therefore you need to be able to look for the bus.

After clearance, the bus will travel for about 20 to 30 minutes and reached the Konsortium shop- then all passengers will get down there.

Back to changing notes- that Konsortium bus express has a money changer there also. You can go around to a few shops to compare rates. I changed at Konsortium, then I realised that the rates from another shop was cheaper.

Tip: If you are buying a return ticket or another ticket to Bangkok or somewhere, don’t buy from these shops because the price of the ticket is inflated (sometimes up to extra 300 baht). Buy from the bus station itself- it is much cheaper.  But again, my apologies- I don’t know where is the bus station because a friend gave us a lift there- I only know it is not within walking distance from the shop.

I took the bus below from Hat Yai to Bangkok- it was a 24 seater bus. The ticket cost 850 baht.  It’s expensive because it is 24 seater.

OK, the experience was not pleasant- because the place where you put your lower legs (calves) cannot come up-it’s permanently stuck there. So you can lower the seat all the way back, but you will be lying down with your calves bent (as in the body lying down but the calves bending) for 11 hours or 12 hours. Very uncomfortable- I find many of the Thailand wide seater buses are like that. After the experience, I would rather travel on a 30 something or a 48 seater overnight bus- the seats are smaller but at least, the seater comes up (ok, maybe some don’t). And the price is much much cheaper- probably about less than 500 baht. I wished I heed the advise of my Thai friend and had not insisted for the cut-throat-expensive pain-in-the-legs super VIP bus.

The bus leaves at 6 or 7pm from Hat Yai bus station (always check with the counter where to take the bus) and arrive Bangkok about 7am. The bus is a double decker- there is a stairs in the middle and the toilet is downstairs while you are seated upstairs. And yeah, I forget- avoid getting the seats at the middle for this bus because sometimes the ‘aroma’ from people who don’t know how to use the toilet can drive you nuts. Either get at the front or at the back (I sat on the second roll from the back and it was not bumpy). But this does not apply if you are travelling on a non double decker- for those cases, avoid getting the seat at the back. Sometimes the toilet actually works and the smell can also make you wanna faint.

And also, if you take overnight buses in Thailand, you normally get a souvenior (consisting of a bottle of mineral water, a piece of bread, a packet drink and a few cookies). AND, you also get a free meal coupon to eat at the places the bus stops. If you don’t redeem the coupon for a meal, you can redeem it for a packet of box drink. Even the inexpensive 48 seater overnight buses also provide these.

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{ 21 comments }

DARREN November 16, 2008 at 2:17 am

hi bro.. from KL…what time did u take the bus to hatyai..izzit only 1 timing ? thankx..

Yin Teing November 18, 2008 at 1:19 pm

Darren, if I remember correctly, the bus was about 10 or 11pm. I understand there are daytime bus too going to Hat Yai. You may contact Konsortium to confirm directly.

Bencha December 4, 2008 at 7:31 am

Thank you very much for your valuable information.
I’m planing to go back to Thailand on the 6th of December. My fligh has been cancelled due to the protest movement in Bangkok’s airports, so I have to reroute my flight to KL. Then I will take a coach to Hatyai. As my flight will be arriving at KLAI quit late at night (9.30), I don’t know whether or not the ticket has already been sold.

Cheer up

Bencha

First Time Traveller December 9, 2008 at 11:51 am

Thank you for sharing your experience from KL to Hatyai and then to Bangkok. I am getting a lift from KL to Hatyai but due to time factor, I have to travel back from Hatyai to Kuala Lumpur BY BUS. Would appreciate very much if you or others could tell me
1. Where to buy tickets at Hatyai?
2. Where is the terminus in KL, Puduraya?

Yin Teing January 5, 2009 at 3:08 pm

Benca & First Time Traveller,
My apologies- I was away with no internet access and was not able to retrieve your comments.

Alan Walters March 10, 2009 at 8:06 pm

Thank you for you good information. I am travelling to Hat yai in May and will now know what to look out for.
Have travelled on Many buses in Thailand and by rail. Have never had a bad experience. Have had a lot of fun and I am 67 years younThanks again
Alan W

waiteng June 20, 2009 at 10:50 am

may i know got 4-5am bas to ipoh?
then how mich

Yin Teing June 20, 2009 at 6:54 pm

Wai Teng, Is it from KL to Ipoh? I used to come back to Puduraya around 4 or 5am from Penang when I was a student. From what I see, there is no bus departing that time- only got bus arriving.
Alan, thanks and glad the info here helps.

Peggy July 14, 2009 at 12:26 am

May i know how much ( KL to Penang ) ? thanks

Yin Teing July 15, 2009 at 11:07 pm

Hi Peggy, if I am not mistaken, the very comfortable bus by Konsortium is about RM36. It is the 2 + 1 seater. Else, the 2+2 by transnational and plusliner are more cheaper.

mylo August 26, 2009 at 10:17 am

Excellent blog post. I’ll be traveling to Hat Yai with Konsortium bus and all the way to Bangkok.

Cecilia September 18, 2009 at 4:16 pm

Yin Teing,would like how much the bus ticket from KL to hatyai?

Yin Teing September 19, 2009 at 2:11 pm

Cecelia,
Last year I bought the tickets for about RM50. But I am sure the price would have gone up this year.

Ellen November 23, 2009 at 9:45 pm

Yin Teing, Hi! I’ll be visiting Hatyai during Christmas’ eve. Please can I buy a return ticket to KL from the Konsortium Bus Express shop shown above in the blog? Is the price the same as the bus station? If it is more expensive, then I’ll get from the bus station. Thank you.

Bluelagoon August 12, 2011 at 11:43 am

Hi,

Am thinking of going to Trang.. have you been there?

Would you know where can I get transport from Hatyai to Trang? Any info on the net where i can purchase the tickets and see the schedule?

thankssssssss

fitri December 17, 2011 at 5:02 pm

yin teing, hi ! i’ll be hatyai on 5 march from kuala lumpur.can you help me what name of terminal bus in hatyai?

Yin December 25, 2011 at 4:22 pm

Hi Fitri, actually it depends on what bus you are using. If you travel with Konsortium, for instance, it does not stop at the Hatyai bus terminal. It stop outside its shop. More useful information can be obtained here: http://wikitravel.org/en/Hat_Yai

Ben January 21, 2012 at 6:11 am

The buses departed from KL typically stop in front of their offices in Hatyai. There are many ways to get from Hatyai to Trang. A number of buses and vans run this route daily from Hatyai bus terminal to Trang or to Phuket.

The best way to get to the bus terminal for a first-time visitor is to take a tuk-tuk by telling a driver to go to ‘Bor Kor Sor’, which means ‘bus terminal’ in Thai language.Once you get there, you should only buy a ticket from a ticket counter with a sign showing Trang or Phuket. Every bus goes to Phuket from Hatyai has its route via Trang, which is the only refreshment point. It normally takes about 3 h from Hatyai to Trang by bus. Personally, I recommend you take Hatyai-Phuket buses because they are more available.

Welcome to Thailand

Teena March 8, 2013 at 10:51 am

Hi
Million tks for useful info. Very informative

Aiho March 29, 2013 at 11:53 pm

Hi, could u help me, we need to go to Bangkok from kl by bus. where can we get tickets and how much? and how long? and then where in bangkok can we get tickets to kl?

Yin March 30, 2013 at 9:31 am

Hi Aiho,
There is no direct bus from KL to Bangkok. But you can buy tickets from Kl to Hatyai. From Hatyai then you purchase tickets to Bangkok. When you come back you follow the same reversed route. I am not sure of the price now…you can call Konsortium to check on the price.
Alternatively you can check out air asia website which may have offer for flights to Bangkok.

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