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Thailand forum

How do I travel cheap over land?!

Posted by kirstwardo on 28/6/2008 at 10:38

I want to travel across S,E Asia, for about 2 months, but im on a really really really shoe string budget! Ive heard the cheapest way to travel across these countries is over land? How do i go about doing this? Is there a website with destinations and prices? Im just finding it hard to get my head around it!?!

Any other tips for backpacking cheap?

#1 kirstwardo has been a member since 28/6/2008. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 3

Posted by boxee on 29/6/2008 at 00:40

i went to thailand for the first time in may and found using the trains to be cheap,clean and safe
here is a link to the thai state railways web page
this will give you routes and prices
another web page i found that is full of infomation for travelling through s.e asia is although i do not know how upto date the infomation on this site is.

#2 boxee has been a member since 26/3/2008. Location: Singapore. Posts: 131
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Posted by SBE on 29/6/2008 at 06:59

Buses are cheap too but transport and visas are things that push up costs considerably when you're on a tight budget. Sitting on buses and trains for hours on end just so you can cover as much of Asia as you can maybe isn't the best plan. Remember that "sitting still" for a bit when you find somewhere you really like is often cheaper and and more enjoyable than pushing on to the next place on the list which might not be as nice. Do research beforehand but stay flexible. I've yet to go somewhere new that's been exactly how I imagined it would be!

Might be an idea if you tell us what your idea of a "really really shoe string budget" is, so people can tell you what is and is not possible. Also, are there any particular things you want to do or places you really want to see?

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Posted by kirstwardo on 29/6/2008 at 08:29

Well I think if I work for 2 months before going I can get approx 2000/3000 aus dollers. Ive got a rough idea of what I want to do in Thailand, but havnt really got a clue for Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos, any tips? I love a bit of adventure, shopping, scuba diving that kind of thing... Thanks

#4 kirstwardo has been a member since 28/6/2008. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 3

Posted by somtam2000 on 29/6/2008 at 08:48 admin

"Is there a website with destinations and prices?"

Well, there's Travelfish... take a look through the site you'll find lots of info. You may want to look at the suggested itinerary section for some tips to get started.

#5 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,933
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Posted by exacto on 29/6/2008 at 09:10

Really agree with SBE here that spending more time in a few places is much easier on the budget than moving from place to place. You'll spend much less money on transportation and get better deals on accommodation for extended stays. Plus, with travel, less can often be more, and you'll get to know those few places you visit to a depth well beyond the typical visitor.

Definitely do your research ahead of time to determine which places you'd like to visit and which activities are essential to your experience. There are heaps on great tips right on this website.

Most of the time the off-the-beaten-track locations are the cheaper places to visit. Can't say that I've ever found a budget SCUBA shop and not sure that I'd trust one if I did. Cheers.

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Posted by SBE on 29/6/2008 at 15:38

Yes scuba diving and shopping seem odd activities on the wish list of someone on a really tight budget!

Replace scuba diving with snorkeling (bring your own mask and snorkel). Leave the shopping till the end and do it if you have any money left.

Many of my "adventures" in SE Asia ....snorkelling in a tsunami, being on a train that derailed, sinking on a boat in the Mekong, finding a king cobra on the floor of my beach hut during the night, minibus races by crazy drivers on the wrong side of the road, very nearly getting knocked off the back of a bike during a mafia gun chase ...that kind of stuff ... happened without me planning for them or forking out any extra money. They make life interesting but also demonstrate the potential need for hospital treatment so maybe wise to budget for travel insurance as well. If you fall off a motorbike (a very common "adventure" in SE Asia) it's going to cost much more than you can afford getting treatment. Just a thought.

Sounds like you could cover your wish list just in Thailand and $2000 (approx 1000B/day) is doable there if you don't drink to much beer and don't feel the need to move on somewhere else every couple of days. But you can only stay 30 days without leaving the country if you don't have a tourist visa so you might as well at least see one other country while you're there too.

As others have suggested, I think your best bet right now would be to do some research yourself to at least find out something about the countries in the region. Reading all the info on travelfish as suggested is a very good way to start. Then you can ask more specific questions once you have an idea of where you'd like to go.

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Posted by Tilapia on 29/6/2008 at 21:23

Don't drink too much beer (as mentioned above). Often the price of a large beer in, for example, a bar or restaurant will be the same price as a budget room. If you drink beer, buy it from the small shops on the street, and I don't mean 7-11.

Also, as mentioned above, if you stay in one place for a while you can often negotiate a lower price for your room.

Avoid VIP buses.

Avoid air conditioned overnight sleeper cars on the trains.

Stay in dorm rooms in guest houses, or at least rooms without attached bathrooms.

Eat on the street or in markets as much as possible. Avoid restaurants and guest house menus.

Stay away from western food, especially popular coffee shops. Stick to the local stuff. It will always be far less expensive, and better.

That should be enough money to do all you want to do, providing that the price of your flight is not included in that amount.

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Posted by kirstwardo on 30/6/2008 at 17:40

Yep flight is included!

Thanks everyone!

#9 kirstwardo has been a member since 28/6/2008. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 3

Posted by Tilapia on 30/6/2008 at 21:09

Even if it is included in that amount, you should be fine. Last time I was there my partner and I spent less than $700 in three weeks, and that included everything (food, rooms, transport, motorbike rental, beer) for both of us except flights, souveneirs, and airport taxes.

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Posted by paulspad2002 on 10/7/2008 at 01:50

hey no a budget traveller living in bangkok..who says 1000b aday..omg what are u eating and drinking and where are u staying..thats a luxury travel are u amnerican...........i did 8 weeks lao vietnam cambodia thailand and india on 1000 euros.........thats all my accomodation travel visas partying , and i did a bit....and my shopping good at what i do and i had a fantastic time and nothing was really spared, i did hill tribe trekking, wen to the islands , full moon parties, did angkor wat, hanoi saigon sapa halong bay tours, partying in bangkok chaing mai, islands hanoi saigon, everywhere...its do able........drink water in 7/11=12baht 1.5 litres pad thai, rice n chicken , pork, from street carts banana pancakes, all for under 30 baht sometimes cheaper....each of course.....guesthouse pay no more than 300/350 cheaper in remote towns and villages.....ur highest cost in ur whole trip will be train travel take night trains save on acccomodation costs, dnt do vip local transports each time...while in bkk ride the local buses....ko san to mbk no 47 bus red one 7 baht each way from main rd round from ko san....drink in the cheapest bars,, 80b for heineken cheaper for singhat tiger and chang beer....visas depending on where ur frm will be 20usd to 35usd....all available at the about known border scams....poipet want 1000b to cambodia take usd and go tru immigration and pay 20usd plus a fee for processing 5usd still cheaper by maybe a few days food....hook up with other cheap travellers..learn the ropes ask them for all the blogs u can like lonely plant travel fish bla bla.....if u want some tips and ideas on a suggested me at going to lao also in august or maybe u need a cheap place to drink in bangkok i have the places....and the tips......have fun email if u wish stating travel fish as ur locater..cheers

#11 paulspad2002 has been a member since 8/7/2008. Posts: 21

Posted by smartso on 10/7/2008 at 04:22

Hi kirstwardo, that trip is totally doable on that amount of cash as I just did it for about that amount. I also did diving in Ko Tao but that extra $300 went onto my credit card so I don't count it.

Everyone here has already offered very good advice so saying it again seems quite silly but it really is traveling around and the visas that cost the most. It's a toss up though because traveling around is what you are there for. If you travel and can sleep on buses or trains take them at night and then that counts as your accommodation for the night. That helps a little. You also don't lose a day to travel time, but it can be hard to sleep on some of those buses.

If you are going to buy beer buy it at smaller stores rather than restaurants. You may not want to support the multinational take over of thailand but the cheapest beer I found was in 7-11s. 33 baht (approx $1 USD) for a large not so great one or $38 baht for a chang which is what I drank most days. Then I just walked into the bar carrying the beer. You can also buy the large bottles of whiskey from the store for very cheap and just cut your own drinks all night long.

In Laos and Cambodia depending on the season you can barter for your rooms. I didn't spend more than 30 000 kip (approx 120 baht) most nights for rooms and I could have gotten them a little cheaper if I went more traditional dorm style. Also, if you are traveling with a friend and can split the cost of a room that price can half.

The Islands in Thailand are way more expensive (for room, food, booze) than the north although you can find deals if you really look.

I also found Cambodia more expensive than I expected for food and activities but rooms were still between $3-6 USD a night (I bartered most of mine to $3). If you want to go into Cambodia I went in from South Laos (Don Det) and I only paid $20 USD for the visa plus a $2 corruption fee. I know some people that paid $35 at travel agents and even coming from Bangkok at Poipet.

#12 smartso has been a member since 11/4/2008. Posts: 13

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