Sometimes, the worst part about traveling is the actual traveling part. Sometimes it can be great, but most of the time it sucks. Our trip from Penang to Hua Hin was one of those trips. It was an adventure that was just laughably horrid.
Don’t make the same mistake we did. Instead, check out this ultimate guide with everything you need to know about backpacking in Thailand. For what NOT to do, keep reading…
Failed Plan A: Penang to Hua Hin by Train
After our mixed experiences in Penang, I was determined to make this travel day an enjoyable one. I booked train tickets from Penang to the Malaysian border, a quick two-hour jaunt, for 26 MYR ($6 USD) each. From there, we would walk across the border and hop on an overnight train to Hua Hin. Both trains looked very comfortable, our seats would have provided us with a lovely view of Southern Thailand, and sleeping on the train would have saved us money on accommodations for a night.
Unfortunately, everything I read online about traveling from Penang to Hua Hin said that I would only be able to book the Thai train tickets in person. Then, once I checked the availability of said tickets the day before, they were all sold out. This left us with the option of either heading to the border anyway and just hoping that we could find a seat within the next two days or eating the cost of the tickets and making new plans. We decided to just let the 150RM go and start Plan B.
Plan B: Penang to Hua Hin
Aside from the train in Plan A, there was no other “easy” way to get to Hua Hin. Plan B involved a lot of moving parts and a lot of different types of transport. We took trains, planes, automobiles, and everything in between.
Penang to Kuala Lumpur
From our hotel in Penang, we took an Uber to the jetty. At the jetty, we left Penang by way of a free ferry to Butterworth.
From the Butterworth jetty, we took a shuttle to the bus station… where we watched the bus we had booked to take us to the KL airport leave without us. Fortunately, there was a very friendly attendant inside of the office to help us book a new bus. Unfortunately, the bus would only take us to the main bus station in KL and not the airport.
So, we hopped on the bus and hoped it would get us to the station on time for us to find a way to the airport. The five hour bus ride took us through some of the jungles of Malaysia, and we even picked up a hitch-hiker…
Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok
Upon arrival at the KL bus station, we had about three hours until our flight, and a couple of options for getting to the airport. The cheapest option was the shuttle bus, but it would take two hours to cross the city. The next cheapest option was the train, which would take 1.5 hours. So, we took an Uber to the airport, which was the most expensive option and took almost as long.
Thankfully, everything went pretty smoothly at the airport and we were able to make it to our gate with just enough time for a snack and bathroom break. Next up, a three hour flight to Bangkok.
One Night in Bangkok
Our flight landed in Bangkok just a little after dark. We booked a hostel only a block away from the Don Mueang Airport and walked there. It was a questionable walk in the dark, past homes made of scrap wood and sheet metal, but we made it safely.
Thankfully, the hostel was adorable!! It was brand new, well-designed, and super clean. The host offered us tons of free food and helped us put together our plan for the next day. After so much travel, we really needed the rest… and were happy we got it before the adventure continued the following day.
Bangkok to Hua Hin
Hua Hin is a popular tourist destination for both Thais and foreigners, so the trip isn’t usually very difficult from Bangkok. Suvarnabhumi is the main airport for the city, and there are convenient buses that leave from there to connect the two cities. Unfortunately, we didn’t fly in to the main airport. We flew in to the old airport at the North end of town, as far away from the convenience of Hua Hin transportation as possible.
We walked back to the airport and caught a city bus that drove an hour to the nearest metro stop. Then, we caught the purple line metro. After half an hour, we were dropped off at the train station, where we took the one hour long express train to the main airport.
Once at the airport, we were able to book a bus to Hua Hin. The first two buses were sold out, so we had to wait a couple of hours, but that gave us an opportunity to finally try some of the local Thai food… which was amazing.
We were given stickers for the Hua Hin Express Bus. The bus was large, air conditioned, and very comfortable. The scenery was nice and we were able to finally make it to Hua Hin after only three more hours.
Arrival in Hua Hin
Our trip from Penang to Hua Hin seemed like it would never end, but we finally made it to our house sit. Our host picked us up at the bus station, gave us a tour of her lovely home, and then took us out for a much-needed meal. The difficulty of the last couple of days was almost immediately washed away after our first bite of the authentic Pad Thai and Coconut Curry. Our new bed is comfortable, our new pets are super sweet, and we are ready to explore our new home.
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