This border town is the merging point for Thais and Malaysians. Many Malaysians travel up to Thailand through this point and likewise for their Thai counterparts, on shopping, business or recreational trips.
The railway station has a long platform, manned by Malaysians on one side and the Thais on the other. Besides the Immigration checkpoints and some signs, it is hard to distinguish where the border actually lies because culturally, both sides are so enmeshed.
Beyond the rail tracks is Pekan Siam, bargain-hunters’ paradise. The town is filled with textiles, clothing, handicraft, foodstuff, fruits and souvenirs.
Don’t get confused when locals refer to Padang Besar as Padang Besaq, as this is the local dialect.
How to get there
The easiest way to get to Padang Besar is to take KTM’s overnight Express Langkawi coach from Kuala Lumpur’s Sentral Station. This coach departs daily at about 8pm heading towards Padang Besar, a journey that takes about 10 hours.
From the North-South (PLUS) Highway, take the exit via Changlun and take the Changlun-Kuala Perlis highway to Kangar. From Kangar, continue on route heading towards Padang Besar.
The state capital of Kangar, offer 2 and 3-star accommodation.