The first time I visited Ao Nang in 2015 it was my last stop in Thailand before heading south for Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. Let me say that the nineteen hour bus journey (we were picked up around 11am and arrived in Kuala Lumpur at 6am the following morning) is not for the faint-hearted, but is undoubtedly the most cost-effective for backpackers or budget travellers. You can also fly or take the overnight train to take you down to the Malaysian capital from Krabi.
We opted to end our Thai travels in Ao Nang as it was the southernmost location we wished to visit on the mainland. However, if you’re opting to fly, Phuket has the largest airport in the vicinity and I would recommend ending your travels there and taking a taxi from there to the airport which costs around £10/ 400 baht.
The bus from Ao Nang costs around 1000 baht (at the time this was £20, but now as a result of the exchange rate it’s more than £25). You can book tickets from a ton of store front travel stores all throughout Ao Nang. The ones along the beachfront are often a little pricier than those on the side streets or those attached to hotels so I absolutely recommend shopping around. A minivan will collect you at your hotel at a designated time and take you to a larger bus station where everybody is separated into different large coaches going to Northern Thailand and throughout Malaysia. Our bus drove all day to Hat Yai, had a two hour layover there and we boarded another to take us to Kuala Lumpur. There are a few taxis around the area where the coaches terminate and the time of day means public transport to KLCC isn’t running yet, so be prepared with some Malaysian cash or ask your taxi driver to stop at an ATM on the way to your hotel or hostel.
Although this option might appear the most cost effective, most hotels will require an extra night’s fee if arriving so early in the morning. When comparing the cost as well as the timing of both trips, I would not recommend taking this method of transport.
Unfortunately there isn’t a direct train from Krabi to Kuala Lumpur, but you can again take a bus to Hat Yai from anywhere in Krabi which will take between 4 and 6 hours and cost 260 baht (£6.50). From Hat Yai you can take an overnight train to KL Sentral which costs 360 baht (£9). Not only does this option drop you directly in the centre of Kuala Lumpur at an acceptable time in the morning, it is the most inexpensive option of all three. This would definitely be the route I recommend the most for those not looking to fly.
The flight from Phuket to Kuala Lumpur takes only an hour and a half and can cost as little as £35 one way. Kuala Lumpur International Airport is quite some distance from the city centre, but both the speed train and taxis to the city are reasonably priced. Flying is not only the quickest option, but is not too expensive in comparison with taking the overnight bus. If you’re not looking to stay on a night’s accommodation, flying would definitely be the way to go. Read my guide on how to use Skyscanner by clicking here to get the cheapest price on flights.
For recommendations on where to stay in Kuala Lumpur with great views of the city (see above photo) read my full review of the Face Suites here.
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