8:40 31/8/2012 The moment Senandung Langkawi (our train) halted on the long platform of Padang Besar Railway Station when we sneaked from the train window. We couldn’t stop pondering what would happen in the next few minutes or hours during the Malaysia-Thailand land border crossing. Our thought were over shadowed with travel mishaps and those shitty story of profiling due to increasing numbers of drug couriers in Thailand-Malaysia border. But this would not deterred us from entering Sawadee land. We know we ain’t doing nothing wrong and would never do or try any stupidest thing in this trip.
When we’re told to leave our baggage in the train coach, without hesitation we complied. But noticed some of the passengers brought their own belongings going outside from the coach, so we decided to do the same. Carrying our backpacks and braving ourselves as we stepped on the stairs going to the Immigration.
Our hearts pounded so fast like never before upon entering Padang Besar Malaysia – Thailand Immigration Building. We took 5 minutes of walking from the Train going to the Malaysian Immigration Counter for the exit . We usually take the lead and head to the counter as fast as we can to avoid the queue. It was a breeze and got our exit chopped in less than 10 minutes.
Then we asked the MY immigration staff where to go for Thailand Immigration. Pointing to a counter which is few paces away from Malaysian counterpart. We thought of literally crossing the land or walking to the Thai Immigration but this wasn’t the case. The two immigration counters we’re just 20 paces or less. How convenient is that? Since no one got a problem exiting Malaysia so all the crowd were now in Thai counter. The usual routine of filling the Embarkation card makes the whole process draggy and time consuming especially for those who didn’t bring their pens. But got no choice and had spent 30 minutes on the queue. The more we got closer to the counter the more we felt those butterflies in our stomach. Sheez, the nervousness of being first time in Land border crossing tormented us. We kept our composure and think this ordeal is nothing compared to a delayed flight.
We just noticed we’re the only maroon passport holders entering Thailand through Padang Besar during that time. Are we intimidated? not in our vocabulary. We’re even elated and feel proud being a Filipino. When our turn comes for the image capture we can’t help but showed our best Pinoy smile to the Thai immigration officer. Then he chopped our passport with 14 Days stamp. We thought that helps speeding up the process. We felt ecstatic and all those anxieties were now completely gone.
Since other passengers we’re still lining up for Thai stamp entry we take advantage of the time and head to the Immigration Cafeteria. We buy some refreshment and light snacks to combat our morning hunger pang. We decided to carry what we bought and took it at the long bench near our train coach.
Walking from the overpass, we clearly saw from the above how close was Malaysia-Thailand counter. We could now really tell why people lean on the sleeper train over the bus for border crossing. The Padang Besar Immigration checkpoint of Malaysian-Thailand border is by far the hassle free land border crossing we had experienced.
We did also take time inspecting the Padang Besar Railway station and observed the multiple tracks laid on this border. Judging from what we had saw, this border station can accommodate larger traffic in the future. Aside from Immigration checkpoint, it also serves as inland dryport of Malaysia and Thailand which houses hundreds of container vans adjacent to the station. Cool it is!
When we reach the platform near our coach, the train had just left without a warning. We’re kinda puzzled and asked “What the heck was happening” . No one had explained and we’re completely clueless.
It’s 9:30 AM Malaysia time and the train left us and thought we’re the only passenger’s behind. It turns out that all of us we’re waiting in vain and there were no signs of an incoming train or what so ever.
There are so many things came up to our mind and we’re on the boundary of exhaustion and hysteria. Summer got already tired of waiting and make her self busy looking that can make her eye have interest. Nothing else we can do but to wait for our train. After 2 hours, the wait was over and it went back with some cargoes attached to it. That’s explain why it took so long.
Though we reached Hatyai lag for two hours but it didn’t steal the spotlight of our epic first land border crossing. The whole experience of Land Border crossing in Padang Besar were truly remarkable and good way to start for more in the future.
Sky and Summer