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travelling from England to Thailand without airplanes

Travel Forums Europe travelling from England to Thailand without airplanes

1. Posted by Jerrycrow (Full Member 165 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

what route should be taken to travel from England to Thailand without the use airplanes? Buses and trains is what i am wanting to use, it is much better to explore all the european countries, much better than flying. any recommendations on which trains to take and travel?

2. Posted by cthong85 (Budding Member 36 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

hi there

explore this web site

if u can read mandarin, this web site is definitely inspire.

this is a website set up by a lady who travelled all the way from UK to Malaysia by using mainly trains.


3. Posted by G-trotter (Budding Member 50 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

ciao Gerry

This link from cthong is may be the best possible rec.

I'll start in a week flying down to Istanbul and dan go overland to India and maybe forder...

Just know that you have to cross central Asia in Russia or China there is no possible bordercrossing between India and Myanmar exept of flying ;o) Also from India to China sems to by difficult but its time of changings there now so look for latest news.

If I go forder east after India I think to go back to Pakistan and from there up to China to atack the reall east on that rout ;)

For questions about my route let me know in a few monts, just nitice that I'm on the way that time so a answer maybe take some time...


4. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

The traditional and easiest way of doing this (and i have done it, substituting Sweden in for England, though I am British) is to travel London - (Eurostar) - Bruxelles - Cologne - Berlin - Warsaw - (Side trip via the Baltics and St. Petersburg if desired, or direct through Minsk) - Moscow.

Then, on the Trans Mongolian route via Irkutsk and Ulan Bator to Beijing - (optional trip to Xi'an) - Shanghai - (Hong Kong which is a bit of a detour, and requires a double entry Chinese visa, but most people want to go via HK) - Kunming - then either through Vietnam to Ho Chi Minh City and then via Bus/boat through Cambodia or by bus via Boten into Lao and through Lao to Vientienne (or south Lao) and then Bangkok.

Ho Chi Minh is the farthest you can get to by train from London.


That path is fairly well worn and trouble free and easy enough even for a novice. On all of the above, there are more details on teh site and on my blog here, and I (and many others) can give you more help if needed. On my way back, about a year ago, and desperately running out of time, I travelled from near Bangkok to Southern Sweden in, i think, 26days (against a theoretical minimum of 20).

GregW, another regular on TP, has a blog detailing his Paris - Hong Kong trip done in 2 or 3 weeks, just because of some drunken discussion, and more or less for the heck of it, which he did a coupel of years ago.

There are obviously a huge multitude of options. You can do all sorts of European loops first. You can avoid Moscow entirely by travelling via Kiev and through the Ukraine and Samara to join the classic routeing. You can go via Turkey and Armenia to Sochi and through Russia that way. You can go via Vladivostock and Korea (or Japan, or both), and avoiding Mongolia. You can go South East from Moscow via Kazakhstan and then into China to Urumqi. You can go direct from Beijing to Hanoi.

And of course within each country (and especially China) there are huge numbers of detours/longer routes/options that you have.

A more adventurous route is through Turkey, then the rail/ferry across Lake Van and into Iran, through the Stans and to Urumqi, following the old Silk route.

It is also possible to travel via Iran, Pakistan, India and into Nepal and then Tibet and China before heading towards SEA, though that route has other difficulties, and is the "wrong" way around than advised for the Himalayas

Basically, it all depends on how adventurous you are, and how much time and money you have!

Hope that helps, and good luck!

5. Posted by Jerrycrow (Full Member 165 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

thanks, do you think 3000 pounds would be enough for a trip this size? i plan on touring europe first, maybe visit a couple of countries using the interail global pass and after touring europe for a month, i could just get myself to Moscow and hop on the Trans Siberian Train to Beijing and from there try to find my way to Thailand. would it cost more or less? i wont want to stay in nice hotels, hostels are the only option for me.

6. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

thanks, do you think 3000 pounds would be enough for a trip this size?

Depending on how much you want to see/how fast you want to do it (and how much of a spender you are), yes, easily. I spent roughly 7500gbp on my trip, but that was 16mths long and surface travel both to/from europe, as well as things like a whole 3months in Japan, and teh football world cup. 3000 should get you from the Uk to Thailand in 5-6months providing you are a bit careful and not a huge spender.

i could just get myself to Moscow and hop on the Trans Siberian Train to Beijing

Erm.... Well, kind of. The visa situation, plus the fact that tickets on the through trains are VERY hard to come by without using an agency makes it a bit harder.

But if you have your Russian/Mongolian/Chinese visa's set up beforehand, and are prepared to stop a couple of times in Russia, you can more or less turn up and buy a ticket for 2 or 3 days ahead - same day sometimes possible with a bit of luck - and just go. You need to have some flexibility about where you use as staging posts, depending on abailable tickets. Internal Russian tickets are much easier to get hold of, and there are vastly more possibilities in terms of trains, as well as the fact that you can travel in cheaper Platskartny class that way.

and from there try to find my way to Thailand.

Yup. Again, be aware that if you want to go as far as possible by train you go to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, for which you need a visa before arrival as well. The other option is via Lao which involves buses, but you can now get a Lao visa at the border.