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Thailand Tourist Visa Run – Koh Samui to Penang Malaysia

Thailand Tourist Visa Run - Koh Samui to Penang Malaysia

After finding useless information on a Tourist Visa runs from Koh Samui.  Many others, including myself have tested the below methods.

There are two methods listed below:
1- The Cheapest / Slowest Way
2- The More Expensive / Fast Way

Cheap (Bus) Method

1- Visit at least 3 different travel agencies on Koh Samui and ask what is the best price to Penang Malaysia.  I usually pay 1000 baht and this includes a minibus pick up at my hotel.  Depending on where your hotel / house is located, you will be picked up between 5 – 6am.

2- In about 13 hours you will arrive in Georgetown Penang.  Get dropped off at, “Banana New Guest House.”

3- Go to Banana New Guest House.  Drop off your Passport and 200 baht.  If you do not have passport photos, they will take them for you at a cost 100 baht.  They will take your passport, a signature, and ask you to be back after 4:00pm the next day.

(Note: The Tourist Visa fee is waved until March 31, 2011.  The standard price for a Tourist Visa is 1,900 baht)

4- You can rent a room at Banana New Guest House for around 500 baht.  Or right down the road you have “Old Penang” with a hostel type bed for 150 baht including breakfast. (The breakfast includes tea, white bread and jam.)

The bed you get is in a shared room with around 12 bunk beds.

5- The next day you pick up your passport at Banana New Guest House and book your return back to Koh Samui.  Book your travel AFTER you have your passport in hand to protect from any unforeseen issues.  You can book directly with Banana New Guest House.  Cost will be between 800 – 1,000 baht.

Sometimes you can even catch the late bus back to Samui the same day you get your passport.  This way you only stay one night in Malaysia and spend the next night on the bus.  A warning though, the late bus is a couple hours longer travel time then the early buses.

Travel Time: Around 27 hours
Cost: Under 3000 baht
Total Time: 3 days and 2 nights.

Fast / Expensive (Fly) Method

1- Book your flight ticket with Firefly (  They offer a direct flight from Koh Samui to Penang.  Cost with taxes will be about 2000 – 2500 baht

2- Arrive in Penang 2 hours later.  There is an “okay” four star hotel called Bayview Hotel which is centrally located.

The cost will be about 1700 baht per night.  You can book on or directly with Bayview Hotel via email.

3- Take a taxi or walk 5 minutes to Banana New Guest House.  Follow the steps outlined above.  (Bayview Hotel also has a service to do this, but you will pay more to have it done there.)

4- Book your return flight and head back to Koh Samui.

Travel Time: Around 4 hours
Cost: Under 10,000 baht
Total Time: 3 days and 2 nights.

Things to Note:
– The currency for Malaysia is the Ringgit.  Easy math is to divide the Thai baht by 10.  So 100 Thai baht will be 10 Ringgit.- Places to eat are Red Gardens for a fun area of different types of food.  I preferred Mr. Pots due to the cleanliness of the restaurant.  They both are right next to Bayview Hotel.- If you miss the American feel, there is a Hard Rock Hotel 40 minutes taxi ride from the Bayview Hotel area.- Food is cheap in Malaysia, you can find a solid meal for 40 baht just about anywhere.  (Although I have never been pleased with the taste of food in Malaysia)- For some reason, the best McDonalds I have ever tasted is in one of the shopping malls in Penang.  The beef seened to be higher quality.- Alcohol is far more expensive in Malaysia than in Thailand- If it is late in the evening and the banks are closed, Banana New Guest House will be able to exchange Thai Baht for Malaysian Ringgit.

Posted on Gods of Thailand February 15, 2011 in


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  • James says:

    Is this info still relevant? I’m in Samui now and need to make a run, but it looks like no comments since 2011.


  • Terry says:

    Great info on the visa runs from Koh Samui… my stays in Thailand thus far have been sort stays in Samui, but I’ll be sure to do a visa run in the future. Gotta love Thailand, and gotta love Samui !!

  • ChrisP says:

    I am in Thailand and need to do a visa run. Sorry, am I missing something? Why do you give the guesthouse your passport? I thought you get to Malaysia, stay one night and then just get a bus back to Thailand? Your help would be much appreciated. I was also thinking of heading back to Bangkok and just extending the visa for 500 Baht. It seems to be a much of a muchness?

    • You actually have two options for this:
      1- Wake up early, go to the Thai embassy yourself, wait in line, and fill out paperwork.


      2- You can have an agency do it for you. This is what we did at Banana Guesthouse. They take your passport, take your photo, and deal with all the details. Then the next day you get your passport with the Thai visa.

      The only reason you would chose the first option is if you enjoy waking up early and standing in line or if you are worried about another handling your passport. (Although I haven’t heard of any problems regarding this issue if you use a trusted agency)

      Hope this helps,

  • Themanhobrokrule#2 says:

    Next time you’re in Penang, be sure to check out the Blue Diamond Rock Cafe.

    I’m planning on heading back to Penang for my next visa run. However I would like to try a different country in the future. What would be the next least expensive country to visit? Perhaps you could blog about other countries to visit on a visa run.

    • Kings of Thailand says:

      Thanks for the tip of Blue Diamond Rock Cafe.

      As for another country for a visa run. Look at Laos. We will be blogging about one of our trips to Lao for a double entry tourist visa. It may not be the cheapest route from Koh Samui, but it will be one of the best experiences of your life.

      Stay tuned…

  • Og says:


    Thanks for the tips. I actually just got back from my visa run to Penang using your tips.

    Although, I have a few things to add which would have been good if I’ve known beforehand.

    1- Penang is not on the border of Thailand and Malaysia. I made the assumption that it was and did not get back on my minibus after leaving immigration. Fortunately the minibus found me down the road.

    2- I stayed at a hotel next to Bananas New Guest House and got my own room for 400 baht. Better than hostel type beds.

    3- Be careful on your way back to Samui by bus. At one stop we got herded like cattle to where we needed to wait for our next bus. I got separated from the group and a thai woman approached me telling me that my ticket was no good and tried to make me buy another.

    I eventually found my group and everything was fine with my original ticket. She was just another person trying to make some baht off of a tourist.

    Besides that, it was a long but very cheap tourist visa run. With a little shopping, didn’t cost me more than 3,200 baht.

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