This is the England to Australia leg of my RTW and I would love your opinions, advice or just little pointers if you have them!
London - Saint Petersburg - Overland to Moscow - Overland to Ulan Bator - Overland to Beijing - Overland to Shanghai - Overland to Hong Kong - Hanoi - Overland to Luang Phrabang - Bangkok - Phnom Penh - Manila - Jakarta - Brisbane
I'll spending about 2 weeks in Russia (travel time to Mongolia including) maybe less. I will spend two weeks in Mongolia.
China 1 Month
Thailand 6 weeks
Cambodia one month
Laos one month
Vietnam one month
Philippines one month
Jakarta 2-3 weeks depending
Then flying to Oz where i will spend a year doing my thang!
Then Go to South America and africa for the next year, (at least thats the plan!)
One of my main concerns is the weather and the direction I'm traveling in. Will be bad at these times? Also, am I doing too much train traveling?
I figure trains are the best way to truly travel and take in a country, or am I being naive? Is it going to kill me??
Plus, I would like to reduce my carbon footprint on this journey, altho I do fly in SE Asia. I added this provision just in case I was soo tired of trains. But, I am happy to take it out if it will be ok and stick to my trains, or boat!
I look forward to hearing from you all!
First of all, you ask if it's a good time go, but you didn't mention when you are going. So can't answer that.
Next, I think you've given a good amount of time in each country, with a couple of small changes. One month in China, if you are going form Beijing to Vietnam might not be enough. I would take two weeks off Thailand and add them to china. It'll take you a month just to enjoy the highlights of the Southwest, let alone anything on the coast and North. If you are going to cambodia and Laos, I would say one month in Thailand is plenty. Also, by Jakarta to you mean other parts of Indonesia. I would say 2-3 weeks isn't enough if you plan to see most of the highlights between Sumatra and Bali. Maybe if you are planning on just sticking to Java it will be enough. If you need a bit more time, I would say you could safely take a week off both Laos and cambodia.
As for trains, I would say you are taking things slow enough that you won't get sick of them. They are quite enjoyable in china, and in places like Laos and Cambodia, you won't even be taking trains, but buses instead. Even in Thailand, buses are usually a cheaper option.
Thanks for getting back to me!
Doh! I cant believe I left the time of year out! I'm leaving in October 2007!
Do you have any thoughts on that.
p.s. thanks for the pointers!
Hi. Just wanted to tell you that if you need any advice about
Russia and especially Saint Petesburg you're welcome to contact me and
I'd be glad to answerall your questions. We LOVED Saint Petersburg,
Russia and would certainly come back again if we had a chance. My
husband and I prefer flexibility when traveling and like being on our
own and exploring cities in and out so we decided to arrange for
private guide services to feel secure in such a foreign country. I was
really uncertain about arranging guide services not through my travel
agent but my fears were gone by the time we met with Svetlana. We
found her on www.saintpetersburgtour.com. She was absolutely adorable
and friendly, very knowledgeable so that by the end of the day our
heads were so full of exciting stories and useful information that one
would need one more full day to sort everything out! Anyways, we
absolutely did not regret that we hired her and would certainly
recommend her to anyone who's interested and is planning a trip to
such a beautiful city like Saint Petersburg. By the way, the trip
turned out to be several times cheaper than some packages we were
offered by our travel agent so that we just got plane tickets and had
our visas with his help. Everything else we did on-line on our own.
Hi. If you're travelling through Russia to Mongolia, I'd highly recommend stopping at Irkutsk and making a small side trip to Olkhon Island, on Lake Baikal (one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world). Contact Jack Sheremetoff: he has a small hostel in Irkutsk and arranges trips to Olkhon Island.
I think 2 weeks is not very long for Russia, and 1 month in China is also a bit short- you might want to spend a bit less time in Laos and Cambodia, and more time in Russia and China (which are both huge countries, with lots to see).
A possible alternative, more exciting route to the classic Transsib Moscow-Beijing: