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Old Jul 23, 12, 10:51 am   #1
 
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getting around south asia...

I am looking to do a budget trip to south asia between late Nov to earlier Dec (2 weeks). I will be flying out from hk, and would like to visit Singapore and Thailand at the minimum. I am looking for some ideas on the most budget friendly way to travel to these countries. Should I fly from HK to Thailand, then take some sort of bus from Thailand to Singapore, then fly back from Singapore to HK? Or Should I make a loop back to Thailand and fly back to HK? From the map there is quite a distance between Thailand to Singapore, so I m not sure if bus will be a viable option. Should I try to fly to Thailand with a stop at Singapore? Any suggestions?
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Old Jul 23, 12, 6:48 pm   #2
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Being a Canadian (your profile says home airport is YYZ) you should appreciate large distances.

Asia is also quite large, and with 2 weeks you should fly. Plenty of LCCs with good prices.

You could also do some overnight trains with sleeping compartments. Not too expensive and save on hotel, but they are not exactly fast. Buses are OK, but again not that fast, even express.

IIRC there are LCCs flying from HKG, but you will get more choice if you take a ride to Macau and fly from there. Still kicking myself for visiting HK but taking the time for Macao.

This should get you started. I'm sure others will chime in.

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Old Jul 23, 12, 9:00 pm   #3
 
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AirAsia is the big budget carrier for getting around. If you book tickets in advance, they are often the same price as taking a (often terrible) bus. The Phuket-Chaing Mai flight in Thailand comes to mind - it's a 16-20 hour bus ride that might cost $30, or a flight anywhere from $40-$70.

Here's a list of the budget airlines:

http://wikitravel.org/en/Discount_airlines_in_Asia

The only problem with this approach is you have to book everything in advance, and if you miss a flight along the way, there can be some pain as u have to still get there to catch a flight out.

Check out my website for some cautions on taking "scam" buses from Bangkok to the south islands and Cambodia.

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Old Jul 23, 12, 10:00 pm   #4
 
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Originally Posted by ryandelmundo View Post
-- SNIP --
The only problem with this approach is you have to book everything in advance, and if you miss a flight along the way, there can be some pain as u have to still get there to catch a flight out.

-- SNIP --
I agree with most of what has been said about taking the LCCs in asia to get around. What I don't agree with is that you have to book everything in advance. You probably should book your country entry/exit flights in advance because the airlines/immigration MIGHT [not will, but might] ask to see your return or onward ticket. For flights within a single country you can book as you go. It might be a bit more expensive but it does give you flexibility. And with the number of LCCs, depending exactly on your destination, it is usually not a problem to get a reasonable flight.

I don't have a blog but you can PM me if you have additional questions about Thailand or Singapore. Sorry, I have not been to Hong Kong except for the airport.
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Old Jul 23, 12, 10:16 pm   #5
 
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Originally Posted by kenwood View Post
I will be flying out from hk, and would like to visit Singapore and Thailand at the minimum.
Depending on how fast you want to travel and how much you want to see, you might consider flying from Thailand to Malaysia (Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur). Kuala Lumpur has some really interesting sights and after that you could continue by bus to Singapore.

Also consider staying a day in Melaka, which is right on the way from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore.

I would not recommend to go by bus/train from Thailand to Singapore, itīs a long way.
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Old Jul 24, 12, 11:19 am   #6
 
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Thank you all for your suggestions. I still have some UA miles that I can use and have found the following flight path for 25k miles + $60 fee, that to me is not bad at all.

HKG->BKK->SIN->HKG or HKG->SIN->BKK->HKG

All direct flights.

I will likely take an overnight train from SIN to Kuala Lumpur and back.
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Old Jul 25, 12, 8:15 am   #7
 
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You might be able to do an open-jaw or roundtrip with a stopover such as : HKG-BKK (TG), BKK-KUL (TG), then SIN-HKG (SQ). Or you can even do a KUL-SIN (SQ).
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Old Jul 25, 12, 8:23 am   #8
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You might also try going in business class. I know for Asian flights I checked, it was only 10k more. Lounge access, massages and such were more than worth it.

Recently many SQ flights have not been turning up on the UA search. You may have to call in for them, if you want a SQ leg.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kenwood View Post
Thank you all for your suggestions. I still have some UA miles that I can use and have found the following flight path for 25k miles + $60 fee, that to me is not bad at all.

HKG->BKK->SIN->HKG or HKG->SIN->BKK->HKG

All direct flights.

I will likely take an overnight train from SIN to Kuala Lumpur and back.
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Old Jul 25, 12, 2:52 pm   #9
 
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I came back from SEA yesterday, and I strongly recommend the train service in Thailand/Malaysia. Excellent quality even on 2nd class, and if you want to splurge you can go for 1st class (will cost you no more than Ģ35/€50).

All the information you require is available on www.seat61.com .

Have fun and avoid the tuk tuks
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Old Aug 7, 12, 12:03 am   #10
 
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You can take the train in Singapore and travel all the way to Vietnam. It's not very expensive and can be more flexible than the LCCs.
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Old Aug 12, 12, 1:44 am   #11
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Originally Posted by MVF Trekker View Post
You can take the train in Singapore and travel all the way to Vietnam. It's not very expensive and can be more flexible than the LCCs.
One train goes from SIN to Vietnam? Wasn't aware of that. I knew it went to KUL, but hadn't heard of it going into Thailand and beyond.
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Old Aug 12, 12, 4:27 am   #12
 
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Originally Posted by Jaimito Cartero View Post
One train goes from SIN to Vietnam? Wasn't aware of that. I knew it went to KUL, but hadn't heard of it going into Thailand and beyond.
There is a train that travels between Singapore and Bangkok [Hua Lamphong station]. I am not aware of any trains that travel from Bangkok all the way to Vietnam but there is a train that travels from Bangkok to the Thai-Cambodian border town of Aranyaprathet. But just because I am not aware of such a train traveling to Vietnam doesn't mean there isn't one.
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Old Aug 15, 12, 4:59 am   #13
 
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There is no train across Cambodia or Laos, so not really an option. Buses work fine there however. Don't forget to get your Vietnam visa in Bangkok or something b4 you get to 'Nam
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Old Aug 19, 12, 2:55 pm   #14
 
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You only have 2 weeks--do the UA flights! You will be covering a lot of ground and trains & buses take a lot of time. Or do Air Asia if that works out cheap enough--you can book online. I've taken trains in Asia and while they are cheap and fairly comfortable, they are not all that fast. And please do NOT do overnight buses! Oh my God, I took an overnight bus in Vietnam and it was the worst travel experience ever--like riding in the back of a cement mixer for 8 hours! I'm a budget traveler but sometimes it's not worth saving $20 if it takes twice the time.
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Old Aug 23, 12, 1:41 am   #15
 
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Originally Posted by Jaimito Cartero View Post
One train goes from SIN to Vietnam? Wasn't aware of that. I knew it went to KUL, but hadn't heard of it going into Thailand and beyond.
You can travel by train from Singapore to Thailand. It's not the same rail company throughout the trip though. Malaysian Railways provides the service from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok. State Railways of Thailand can take you from Bangkok to near the border with Laos and Cambodia. From there, you need to take a bus service across Laos or Cambodia into Vietnam. Once in Vietnam, you can take a train all the way to China, Mongolia and Russia. This is if you're the adventurous type and have the patience and time for this type of travel.

Check out this site for more info: http://www.seat61.com/
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