From Thammalang pier, 10km south of Satun at the mouth of the river, boats leave when full on 45-minute trips (B150/person) to Kuala Perlis on the northwest tip of Malaysia, from where there are plentiful transport connections down the west coast; 9am is usually a good time to turn up at Thammalang for these boats, but they need a minimum of ten passengers (or B1500), which means that on some days they don’t run. Three ferry boats a day cross from Thammalang to the Malaysian island of Langkawi (1hr 15min; B300). The journey from Satun town to Thammalang is covered by orange songthaews (roughly every 30min; B40) from near the 7-Eleven supermarket on Thanon Sulakanukul, as well as chartered tuk-tuks (B150) and motorcycle taxis (B60–70).

It’s also possible to cross by road to Malaysia’s Kangar (which has bus connections to Penang and Kuala Lumpur) and Alor Setar through Thale Ban National Park, though a little tricky as the a/c minibuses (B300; about 2hr) depart from Ban Khuan, 20km or so up Highway 406 from Satun – contact local fixer On Kongnual, who owns the restaurant On’s: The Kitchen, near the Sinkiat Thani Hotel, to arrange this.

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