I've heard mention of night buses, where you can sleep your way to your next destination, and cheaply too!
I'm going to be travelling Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, maybe even Indonesia... Anyone know if the night buses are prevalent among all of these destinations? And are they similar to the knight bus on Harry Potter? (hahah joking)
I know there are night busses in Thailand and Vietnam. For Laos and Cambodia night busses may not be required. Depends upon your itinerary. Suggest you google 'night bus' from one place to the next depending on where you want to go. Plenty of good info on night busses on the internet.
Night buses are used a lot by travellers in Thailand, from Bangkok up to Chiang Mai in the North and down towards the islands in the South. The quality of the buses is ok. As Stoneman says, there probably isn't any need to use a night bus in Cambodia or Laos because the distances are shorter. In Vietnam you can get a sleeper train from Hanoi to Hue which most people do rather than getting the bus on this stretch. I travelled Malaysia for a month and didn't have the need to use a night bus, but I did get an overnight train once; I think that was from Jerantut up to Kota Bahru.
I used a night bus from Krabi to Bangkok in Thailand, cost me 15 dollars (Australian) i really recommend them just make sure you have all your valueables on you, its common people steal stuff on these bus trips
I have used many night buses. In VN, the HCMC to Nha Trang (NT) run has a night bus option. Many choose the night bus for the NT to Hoi An run. Saves 1 night's accomm and you get a full day in NT. Better use of your time IMO. Same with the Hue to HaNoi section. Overnight bus or sleeper train. Train is safer and a real bed, bus is cheaper.
In Thailand, BKK to Chiang Mai you have the overnight bus or train option. BKK south to Surat Thani, overnight bus or train. BKK to Krabi or Phuket does not have the train option, bus only. I suggest you make the effort to use the gov't bus system. Get yourself to the bus station and ride with the Thai people. Much less theft on these buses than the 'tourist bus' the travel shops book. Good luck.
[ Edit: Edited on 12-May-2012, at 16:36 by vegasmike6 ]
Most travelers in Vietnam prefer the train to the bus because of safety - many bus drivers fall asleep at the wheel due to long hours or alcohol!
All very helpful information, cheers guys.