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just a few queries!

Travel Forums Round the World Travel just a few queries!

1. Posted by kevo1 (Budding Member, 28 posts) 15 Sep '09 14:26

Hi all!

It's getting ever closer to my departure in March 2010. I'm starting to feel pannicky and that I haven't done enough research on my trip!

The first part of the trip is from beijing to Australia. Im cool from Beijing to Nepal but I was banking on winging it from there overland to Australia!? From the research that I have done,I gather that there is ample trains and busses that can take us from India through to Thailand. Its from then on that im stuck really. I would be extremely greatful if anyone can shed any light on the following questions

1: Am I right in assuming that the public transport between India and Thailand is not going to be a problem?

2: Is it going to be easy enough to island hop down through Malasia,Indonesia and Australasia? (doable)?

3: Can you enter Ausralia from sea with a british passport and a whv?

I have no time limit on my travells and will be working through alot of it. Thanks in advance for anyones input!

2. Posted by aharrold45 (Travel Guru, 1281 posts) 16 Sep '09 04:01

1: Am I right in assuming that the public transport between India and Thailand is not going to be a problem?
You might have problems as the only way to get from India to Thailand without flying is by passing through China or passing through Myanmar. Foreigners are not allowed to cross land borders in Myanmar without a permit which needs to be arrange with a Myanmar tourism agency in conjunction with a tour. If you did that it would be well worth staying some time in Myanmar and seeing what a beautiful country it is. Going through China would require a Chinese visa which isn't always easy to get without flights out of the country or a neighbouring area such as Hong Kong or Macau. That is probably the more realistic option of the two.

2: Is it going to be easy enough to island hop down through Malasia,Indonesia and Australasia? (doable)?
Realistically what you are talking about doing isn't doable. It is possible but highly inprobable. You will most likely need to get a fair few flights if you want to see different islands in those countries. Air Asia has some very cheap airfares within South East Asia (and some beyond there).

3: Can you enter Ausralia from sea with a british passport and a whv?
Getting to Australia by boat is not going to happen unless you can find some boat full of illegal immigrants who are going to get sent to Christmas Island when the authorities find them floating a few hundred kilometres off the coast of Broome. The only other option by sea is to get a cruise from an Asian port which has Australia as a stop (which would cost considerably more than any economy class flight and take heaps longer).

3. Posted by kevo1 (Budding Member, 28 posts) 16 Sep '09 11:00

Thanks for your response aharrold45,I didn't realise you couldn't go through Myanmar without a permit. In regards to my 2nd question,why do you think it would be so difficult to island hop south? Cheers

4. Posted by aharrold45 (Travel Guru, 1281 posts) 17 Sep '09 02:38

In certain areas in some of the countries you are talking about such as the Southern Andaman Coast in Thailand you could gets boats between islands, but getting between countries is not so likely unless you get flights or other forms of transport from the mainland.

Myanmar is getting better with regards to tourism, but they still do have some hurdles that have to be overcome before they will ever have a lot of tourists. It is well worth a tour if you go to that part of the world. I did a whirlwind tour of 7 days there and saw a huge amount and some of the sites such as the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon are up there with anything you will see anywhere in Asia. Seeing that after dark is just a photogarphers dream. I met one of the nicest people I have met anywhere whilst I was there (he was my tour guide in Yangon and arranged the tour throughout Myanmar. He was just awesome and did way more than I ever expected he would do. The only time as an everyday tourist you would need permits is to go overland between countries because it is pretty much forbidden to foreigners. Whilst in the country if you stay on the tourist trail all you need is the visa to enter the country (to get that you require proof of onward travel). It isn't a cheap country by south east asia standards but a nice one. You don't get hassled every step like in some Asian countries. They do have some rediculous things like the black market currency thing. The official rate for $1USD was 7 Kyats (this rate is so poor that it would cost almost $215USD for an orange juice)!!! No it wasn't a typo two hundred and fifteen dollars US for an Orange Juice using the official government set rate that you get at the airport and banks. On the black market when I was there in July this year the rate was 1030 Kyats for $1USD so that is like $1.50USD for an Orange juice. You just need to put your trust in people there in hidden areas ways that you would never normally do i.e. hand big quantities of cash to a stranger and hope that you get the money back the way they promise. You also need to make sure your USD are crisp with not a single slight break on it pen mark or anything. Even something as tiny as the two tiny holes left by a staple going through a note is enough to make the notes useless in Myanmar.

5. Posted by aharrold45 (Travel Guru, 1281 posts) 17 Sep '09 05:38

I just sent an email to the person who arranged all my trip in Myanmar and runs/owns the tour company in Yangon. He sent the following back regarding going overland from India through Myanmar to Thailand:

"Sometime, it was made by motor rally contest groups or bicycle contest groups with immigration special permits of India, Myanmar & Thailand. Then, Myanmar immigration will ask you what is your reason is for crossing through Myanmar from India and then to Thailand. For bicycle tour? or budget tour? which road are you going to use (for safety unit), how long are you going to stay in Myanmar etc etc."

UPDATE: I had him contact the immigration area to find out as it is not something that happens every day of the week and the Myanmar government changes its regulations like the weather. After doing that he got back and told me "now a day it is not necessary for permits from India & Thai government, but it is still necessary for permits from Myanmar immigration. They would take about two weeks to arrange and cost about $200USD (2 permits are required)." The permits would need to be booked in conjunction with a tour.

So it is possible but a bit of a pain unless you arrange a whole tour in Myanmar. Personally I think it would be worth it as Myanmar is a nice country even with the constant checking of documents. When getting the bus from Yangon to Bagan the bus stopped about 4 times to have various passport/documentation checks. That side of it is a bit annoying but the rewards from putting up with that crap are great. I would not attempt to do it without a tour with a station guide. Getting to the bus station is hard and most people don't speak english.

[ Edit: Edited on 17-Sep-2009, at 05:52 by aharrold45 ]