Padang Besar

Padang Besar which means "big field" in Malay is a shopping heaven and popular destination for Malaysians because of the duty-free shopping complex in between the border checkpoints of Thailand and Malaysia. The town attracts several thousand visitors every weekend and on public holidays.

It is a great place for shoppers wanting to sample the best of both countries. Items at bargain prices are aplenty here and include leather goods, household items and clothing.

The railway station is manned by Malaysians on one side and the Thais on the other. Apart from the immigration checkpoints, it is hard to distinguish where the border actually lies because culturally, both sides are so enmeshed.

Beyond the rail tracks is Pekan Siam, another bargain-hunters' paradise. The town is filled with textiles, clothing, handicraft, foodstuff, fruits and souvenirs.