Hi, we are planning to travel by train from Malaysia into Thailand around mid January. The British government have a travel warning out for the southern provinces, saying that one shouldn't travel through them, even by train as there have been numerous attempts to sabotage the lines and more and more frequent terrorist attacks. Is it really like this or should this be taken with a pinch of salt? We were considering the Jungle line up the east of Malaysia?
#1 marbob has been a member since 6/11/2007. Posts: 2
OK firstly, any travel warning by your embassy is worth noting and adhering to. They are the experts and have all kinds of risk assessment matrices to asses the danger.
You will get personal stories on here of how it was no problem, how this and that happened.
I have traveled the same route by bicycle and train and have had no problems, however that is anecdotal evidence. There is a danger which is real. You won't be the target (at least not yet) as a tourist, but you may be caught in the cross fire.
If you do decide to go overland (plane would be better) then take the necessary cautions and tell people where you are going.
I've travelled extensively in the far south subsequent to the violence flaring and would say that if you are comfortable travelling in an area experiencing a substantial state of civil strife and are planning on travelling through the far south relatively quickly, then it is worth considering.
We do have a feature on travelling in Thailand's far south. It's a little dated now, but I'd say the advice remains valid.
If you're planning on coming up through the Kota Bharu to the crossing at Sungai Kolok, the train station on the Thai side is walking distance from the border and there are also minibuses (also within walking distance of the border) to Hat Yai (the southern transport hub) leaving regularly throughout the day.
Either of these will get you out of the area fairly rapidly. The bulk of the problems have been in Narathiwat province, but they've also been predominantly in rural areas. I'm not trying to understate the risk as there certainly is an element of risk, especially in Narathiwat province, but it's worth bearing in mind that foreign tourists are not being specifically targetted, and while the media (and the embassies) likes to paint this as terrorists at work -- it's a good dead more complicated and a lot has nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.
Anyways, I'm slipping off topic here!
What's your alternative plan?
#3 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,789
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Hi + thanks 4 replies:
Alternative plan is airtravel, but this is the difficult part - my other half has an extremely serious phobia of flying. We're having to drug her up in a big way to get her to Singapore, and we don't want to have to go through that more than once!!
Our plan is as follows:
We fly into Singapore 30/12 and will stay there just a few days. Then we have no concrete plans at all, although we have many ideas, but will be making our way through Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia(possibly Laos), Vietnam and then through China and taking the Trans-mongolian express from Beijing to Moscow hopefully on the 27/02.
We understand that this is quite ambitious, and will have to do some long legs and miss out some parts, but it's probably the only chance we'll ever get to do something like this, so want to see a bit of everything.....
#4 marbob has been a member since 6/11/2007. Posts: 2