Hello, after flying into Singapore, and taking the train up through Malaysia and into Thailand, I am trying to figure out the best route to go overland so that I can visit Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and China. My original plan was to head to Cambodia, then up Vietnam into China, but everyone is telling me not to miss Laos. I have plenty of time, but I would like to do the cheapest route. I want to go overland out of Thailand, but I've been hearing that I need an ongoing ticket out of Thailand. Any suggestions on what I should do about my ongoing ticket and the best route to take to see all of these countries. Also, after visiting these countries, I want to return to Bali, Indonesia. Which is the best city to get a flight back? I figured Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur. Thanks for any help.
I think if you get a visa for Thailand beforehand, you don't need proof of onward travel. If you're travelling by air and plan to get visa on arrival, they are more likely to ask you for proof of onward travel (the airline will/may before you board - I was asked) than if you are travelling overland. But, it's a risk. I don't know of anyone that has been asked for onward travel proof when arriving overland.
I'd suggest this...once you get to Thailand, head north, get a boat to Laos, go back to Thailand then do Cambodia, north through Vietnam then China. Most is ok to do overland, but I would recommend the Thailand-Cambodia route to be done by air (or Vietienne-Cambodia if poss). Overland route Thai-Camb is notoriously bad.
KL would be a better city to get back to Bali. Most of the cheap flights from BKK go via KL anyway.
I wouldn't miss Laos either - its beautiful. I would head up to northern Thailand and cross over the border to Laos at Chiang Khong, and take the slow boat down the river to Luang Prabang which takes 2 days and is great! you can arrange a package from either chaing mai or pai which includes transport to the border, boat ticket, lunch and overnight accommodation at the border. After exploring Laos you could then go from Southern Laos to Cambodia - it's a long journey by bus but it would save you going back to Thailand; you could also fly from Vientiane to Phnom Penh. From Cambodia you can then get a bus to Ho chi minh city which takes around 5 hours (from Phnom Penh). travel up through Vietnam and then enter china from northern Vietnam - I think this is quite a common entry point or you could fly into somewhere like Kumning. I haven't been to Bali but both Bangkok and KL are good hubs for onward travel - try airasia.com which would probably leave from KL and they do really cheap deals.
Don't worry about an onward ticket out of thailand - as far as i know they rarely check, and i haven't had one on numerous occasions when i have entered Thailand.
Thank you both for the suggestions.