hello dear travelguide...
i'm travelling to Singapore-Malaysia-Thailand (we're still thinking of going to Phenom Penh, since it looks near on the map) 3rd week of April, i'll be with two other friends.
we'll be coming from Clark (Manila) and start in Singapore. It'll just be a 10-12 day trip
the IT is not yet sure, but it'll look this way:
Singapore-KL (TRAIN): April 23-25
KL-Surat Thani (TRAIN)
Surat Thani - Phuket (BUS) April 26-28
Phuket-Bangkok (Train) - April 28-30
Bangkok-Singapore (plane) -April 30-May 2
Bangkok-Phenom Pehn (TRAIN & BUS) April 30
Phenom Penh to Singapore- May 2
My specific queries:
1. Can you suggest very cheap lodging houses in said places? we're working on a low budget that we want to maximize.
2. Any improvement in the itinerary? Like what good places we shouldn't miss?
3. Are there taxes (coming in and departure) in the said cities if we travel by air or by train? can you give me some figures please.
thank you so much.
We just came from Vietnam-Cambodia-Thailand-Malaysia so here are a few insights:
Taking a bus from Bangkok to Phnom Pehn is rough. Cambodia roads are horrible and it will take forever on a bus I think. We took a bus from PP to Siem Reap (not too bad) and a taxi from SR to the Thai border (really horrible). Look for a cheap flight.
I've heard that if you are booking a train from Sing to KL, that it's best to book it in Malaysia as it will be cheaper. You can easily get to the Malaysia border from Sing via bus, then cross over to Johor Bahru and get your train tickets there.
We had trouble getting trains in Thailand as they were all booked up, so take care of that as soon as you hit the city you'll be departing from.
Cheapest digs in Bangkok as far as we could tell are still in the Khao San area.
Cambodia is rather expensive for some reason - PP has a backpacker area that has cheap rooms, but they are really really basic (crummy) - they are all by the lake in the Boeng Kak area.
Haven't gotten to Sing yet so don't know where the cheapies are there.
PP - visit the Killing Fields even if you think it's too gruesome, along with the Tuol Sleng museum; the palace is nice as are the various wats around the city.
Bangkok - so many things to see, just go with what's in the guide books and you'll get to see the wats and palace, be sure to use the river ferries, go for a ride in one of the long boats thru the canals on the other side of the river.
That's about it off the top of my head.
those are such important insights.
we might just cancel cambodia then.
one more thing,
when you got from one country to the other [PP, Bankok, KL],
were you asked by immigration to pay travel tax or something?
if yes, how much did it cost.
Check out http://airasia.com for some ridiculously cheap flights. They are always having great sales. I managed to pick up a whole heap of free flights (only had to pay the tax) at the start of the year. I only suggest checking them out because they service most of the places you are passing through. You may end up paying a little more but as you are short on time to start with, spending a little bit extra to avoid those long distance buses might be a worthwhile investment.
Good luck with it whatever you end up doing...
I don't see the reason for taking the train to Surrat Thani unless you are going to Koh Samui and you are not allowing enough time to do that. Fly from Sing to Phuket, Jet Star Asia. Then overnight bus to BKK. Then BKK to PP, Air Asia. Cheap as the bus. You do pay 500bt departure tax, but still worth doing. Fly PP back to Sing, Jet Star Asia, departure tax is $20 to leave Cam. You can do this trip as cheap as the bus/train using the discount Asian airlines. Good Luck.
I don't recall being asked for travel tax, but then we went overland. There may be airport taxes. If someone at immigration asks you for more money & it's not for a visa, be suspicious and find out exactly what it's for.
thanks martha, alexT and vegasmike.
we've finalized our sched and we opted to fly singapore to phuket and then take either the bus or the train going to bangkok and fly to KL afterwards. we decided to drop cambodia and save it for another trip.
april 26 - Singapore
april 28 - Phuket
april 30 - travel to bangkok
may 2 - KL
may 5 - Clark [manila]
got loads of questions again, hope you won't get tired responding.
did we hit in any special holiday or something during said dates, or events we shouldn't miss?
any tips on backpackers lodges in said places?
we don't have any problem in KL because i've got friends there,
but i don't have any contacts in singapore and thailand,
i've heard its pretty expensive in singapore.
by the way, does anybody of you know how much it costs to travel by bus from Phuket to Bangkok, the bus schedule and the number of hours we should allot for travel?
We plan to leave Phuket at nighttime so so we can save accomodation for the night and just spend it in the bus going to Bangkok.
thank you for the tips,
i would love to hear some more of the places you visited.
I would google; hostel+singapore. I have a friend there so don't have to fight the accommodation problem. I have stayed years ago at the YMCA on Orchard Rd. They have a website, not cheap but OK.
I have taken the Phuket-BKK bus but was years ago. It takes 12-14 hours, so leave 4-6pm, arrive BKK 6:00am. Was 450bt, not a bad trip. Have a coverup as it can be cold late at night. Have a great time.