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Padang Besar Fast Facts
- State: Perlis
- Famous for/as: Market
- Language: Hokkien, Mandarin Chinese, Thai, Hakka and Tamil
- Best Season:
- Weather: 26°C, Wind S at 3 km/h, 94% Humidity
- Local Transport:
Padang Besar, Malaysia Overview
Padang Besar is a border town and merging point of Thai and Malaysian culture. The railway station is manned by Thai immigration officials on the Thai side and their Malaysian counterparts on the other side. Across the railway station is Pekan Siam, a popular shopping centre where various items of clothing, leather goods, food items and other souvenirs can be obtained at bargain prices.
Padang Besar (locals often call it "Padang" and it is often abbreviated as P.B. It can be translated as "big field" in Bahasa) is a border town located in the northern part of Perlis state in Malaysia. It is situated on the border with Songkhla province, Thailand, 35 kilometers northeast of Kangar and about 57 km southwest of Hat Yai. The town opposite Padang Besar in Thailand is also known as Padang Besar, although locals here usually refer to the town as "Pekan Siam" or Siamese town.
The town is a "shopping heaven" and popular destination for Malaysians because of the duty-free shopping complex in between the border checkpoints of the two countries. The town attracts several thousand visitors from Peninsular Malaysia and southern Thailand every weekend and public holiday.
Padang Besar is connected to Malaysia Federal Route 7 and railway which lead to the border crossing into Thailand. The road and railway respectively connect directly to Padang Besar – Sadao Highway (Thailand Route 4054) and State Railway of Thailand to form part of the Trans-Asian Railway.
The Malaysian checkpoint is located to the north east of town, about 300m from the actual border where the Thai checkpoint is located. Both the Malaysian and Thai checkpoints have drive-through lanes
The Padang Besar railway station has Malaysia's only integrated customs, immigration and quarantine facility for Malaysia and Thailand and rail passengers are processed for exiting Malaysia and entering Thailand (or vice-versa if traveling the other direction) in the station. The Padang Besar station in Thailand only serves as a domestic station.
In the 1970s, both Malaysia and Thailand constructed walls along their common border, mostly in Perlis/Satun and Perlis/Songkhla as well as Kedah/Songkhla portions of the border to curb smuggling. The walls were of concrete and steel and were topped with barbed wire as well as iron fencing at other stretches. As both countries constructed their own walls a little into their own territory, a strip of "no-man's-land" about 10m wide was created and this strip of land became a convenient refuge for smugglers (not all smuggling was deterred by the wall) and drug runners.
In 2001, the two countries agreed to construct just one wall along the border which would be located just inside Thai territory. The new border wall is 2.5m high and made up of a concrete lower half and steel fencing on the upper half. At the base, barbed wire runs along the length of the wall.
While the stated reason for the construction of the wall has been to curb smuggling and encroachment, security reasons - earlier in the 1970s and 1980s resulting from Malaysian communist groups and groups involved in the South Thailand insurgency in the late 1990s and early 2000s - have also been a major push for the barrier to be constructed.
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Must See Places in Padang Besar, Malaysia
Padang Besar, Malaysia History
According to various resources from internet, the question regarding whether Padang Besar was established before or after the Malaya-Singapore railway was connected remains unknown. The history of Padang Besar is shown below:
In 1913, rail connection linking Padang Besar in Perlis to Singapore was built.
In 1918, rail connection linking Padang Besar in Thailand to Hatyai in Songkla was built, therefore, Malaysia 3rd custom and immigration branch office was established in railway station to serve the train direct crossing into Thailand.
In 1928, first Chinese primary school was built under the huge desire from local Chinese citizen.
In December 1941, Padang Besar was a one of the British Malaya temporary army base for support war against Japanese army in Khlong Ngea Songkla Thailand to delay Japanese invasion from reach Malaya during World War II. (See Operation Krohcol)
In 60s, Golden Triangle Commercial Area was built just beside the current new Padang Besar Railways Station which just 1m away from the border line in between Malaysia and Thailand. It became a famous shopping heaven in Malaysia and Southern Thailand. Besides, smuggling of this area is serious and finally caught the attention from both Malaysia and Thailand governments.
In 90s, new Padang Besar Immigration and Custom Complex were constructed to replace the Sadao Rd custom check point. Meanwhile, the old railway station renovated and upgraded to inland dryport. Both checkpoints were link together by pedestrian bridge to form Malaysia first ICQ complex.
In 1994, Golden Triangle Commercial Area was demolished by Perlis state government due to the smuggling activity of this area is serious, affected Thailand border economic and relationship between both countries. Meanwhile, new commercial area (Aked Niaga Padang Besar) was built to replace the demolished commercial area.