DANOK, Thailand- It takes great will to enforce border checks at the Danok-Bukit Kayu Hitam crossing. Signs that checks are not as stringent as they should be are abundant. During our recent three-day stay in Danok, Thailand, we discovered that getting in and out of the country was a breeze. If you drive through the Immigration checkpoint, you don't need to produce your passport. Just tell the officer that you're going to the duty-free zone and you'll be waved through.
From there, as we found out during our visit, walking into Thailand didn't prove to be difficult at all. We parked our car at the duty-free complex and carried our luggage through the gate manned by army and police personnel.
One wave of the hand with a wide smile and we were on the way to the Thai checkpoint.
Once there, it is a practice to pay RM2 (S$0.80) to the men sitting at a row of tables before the Immigration checkpoint to fill up your entry forms.
Then, you need to queue up only at the Thai Immigration counter and produce your passport for stamping. Even if you skip the process, it will go unnoticed.
Getting out was also relatively easy. Two of us took a motorcycle ride each from Danok to the duty-free complex to withdraw money on our second day there.
Again, with a wave of the hand and a smile, you will be at the complex before you know it. The only difficulty experienced was having to put on the helmet once you enter the Malaysian side of the border. Money withdrawn, we jumped on the motorcycles again and re-entered Thailand without a fuss.
A Malaysian who works in Danok as a musician told us that he had a two-week border pass. The Sungai Petani-born man said he was supposed to get the pass stamped each time he entered or left Danok, but he did it only every two weeks.