A friend and I have recently booked round the world tickets and as part of it, we have 2 weeks to travel overland from Bangkok to Singapore before heading out to Oz.
We've been looking a doing it by train and stopping off on the way (Koh Samui, Phuket, Kuala Lumpur mainly), and wondered if anyone has done something similar and could give us a few tips? I've seen a flight from Koh Samui to Phuket, is this a better way to do that part of the route? What are the trains like? We are quite happy to slum it while in South East Asia, not too bothered about where we get our heads down!
Any info on any of the islands/best places to visit would be greatly appreciated!
Seat 61 has info on trains. See the stops the train makes and times involved. Yes, the train will go through Penang (Butterworth) to KL. (And on to Singapore.)
Using the SEARCH choice you can locate other posts asking similar questions.
The train will leave Bangkok heading south to Hat Yai, etc. For Phuket you will have to connect with a bus. A Google search will explain how to do this.
Flying is a couple hours to Phuket. A bus from Bangkok to Phuket will take around 12 hours. A train does give you more room to walk a bit and a bigger toilet but at times it is boring.
Don't skip a visit to Bangkok. Bangkok is even cheaper than some beach locations like Phuket.
If you're travelling overland you can go from Thailand to Malaysia overland. I loved Penang in Malaysia when I visited. The food is fantastic and the town is a neat mix of cultures that manage to co-exist. It should also be on the way just past the Thai/Malaysia border. There's an island or two on the Malaysian side too that I've heard are worth the visit.
I've visited Phuket and found it to be quite expensive and quite honestly not as impressive as other beaches around Thailand. Krabi/Ao Nang is close by, far more affordable and there's enough to do there too. There's also an airport there.
If you wanted to stop by other islands near Koh Samui like Koh Tao (one of the cheapest place to get dive certified around the world) you can go from Bangkok to Chumphon which is the pier town or if you just want to go to Koh Samui, you're best off taking the ferry from Surat Tanni.
I hope you enjoy your trip
If your budget is tight Singapore is now the most expensive city in the world.
(According to recent news releases.)
K.L. will be cheaper than Singapore and Penang will be cheaper than K.L. for hotels, etc.
The cost of accommodations will be higher, but that's no reason to bypass Singapore for its culinary and other delights. Plus, you've already planned your itinerary to go overland from BKK to SIN, where you probably will catch your onward flight, perhaps to Bali before going to Brisbane. Singapore is a major international gateway, just like BKK; and there are more flight options to Oz from SIN than KUL. Besides, the money you've saved on accommodations in Thailand and Malaysia will help to offset the higher cost of Singapore. If budget is truly of concern, you can stay in Johor Bahru, just across the causeway linking Malaysia to Singapore. Also, the surprise move in late January by Singapore's central bank to lower interest rates helped to send the Singapore dollar to its lowest level against the U.S. dollar since 2010. The pound also benefited. So that will help in a small way. If you're taking the train from Thailand to Malaysia to Singapore, please note that it arrives at the Woodlands Train Station, where you can take public transportation to central Singapore. I did this most recently in June 2013, traveling from Kuala Lumpur. I've also taken the train all the way from Bangkok. It's a comfortable journey.
If you like to visit Bangladesh than i can help you . I hope you will be like our St. martin Island and otter fishing .
Everyone's giving you awesome advice, so I'm not going to beat a dead horse here. I just want to say when you get to Malaysia, try to squeeze in a visit to the cameron highlands and Teman negara. I loved slumming it near the jungles.
Have a great trip!