Photo: Fisherman returning to Ko Tarutao.

Trip reports forum

Overland from Beijing to Kuala Lumpur

Posted by marianaspagnuolo on 3/1/2010 at 17:31

Hi everyone!

I am planning a trip from Beijing to Kuala Lumpur overland (train, bus and boat) for about 50 days starting on january 14. Its the first time to do a trip like that and first time in those countries, so I am feeling a bit anxious about the trip and itinerary. If anyone could give me a hand with the planning and how long spend in each place, I would be very happy.

There goes the itinerary:

CHINA - 15 days (14~29/JAN)
Beijing, Shanghai, Zhangjiajie, Guilin, Nanning

VIETNAM - 10 days (30/Jan ~ 10/Fev)
Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Ninh Binh, Hue, Hoi An, Saigon, Chau Doc

CAMBODIA - 5 days (11/Fev ~ 14/Fev)
Phnom Penh, Siem Reap

THAILAND / LAOS 18 days (16/Fev ~ 04/ Mar)
Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Luang Prabang, Bangkok, Ko Prabang, Surat Thani

MALASIA
1 or 2 days to get to Kuala Lumpur by train from Surat Thani

My doubts...

1. Is 50 days ok for all those

#1 marianaspagnuolo has been a member since 3/1/2010. Posts: 3

Posted by marianaspagnuolo on 3/1/2010 at 17:38

continuing...

1. Is 50 days ok for all those places or its gonna end up too rush and frustrating?

2. What is a good spot to take a boat tour on Mekong river on the way? Thinking about the boat crossing the border from Vietnam to Cambodia or the boat from Chiang May (Thai) to Laos. Anyone has done one of these before?

3. Anything else I should add to the itinerary, like some can't miss place?

Thank, any info will be appreciated,

Mariana

#2 marianaspagnuolo has been a member since 3/1/2010. Posts: 3


Posted by somtam2000 on 4/1/2010 at 10:37 admin

Hi Mariana,
VIETNAM - 10 days (30/Jan ~ 10/Fev)
Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Ninh Binh , Hue , Hoi An, Saigon, Chau Doc

That is going to be a real squeeze. If you can't give Vn more time, then I'd suggest dropping Ninh Binh and perhaps Hue (depending on how long you are spending at Ha Long Bay).

For The Thai/Lao leg, I assume you're flying in and out of Luang Prabang? If not, you're going to run out of time.

Think the boat from Chau Doc to Phnom Penh fits the bill for the "Mekong experience"

Hope that helps

#3 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,706
 Send somtam2000 a private message   Where has somtam2000 been?   Website   Twitter   Facebook    Flickr    Google+   Instagram   Pinterest 

Posted by MADMAC on 5/1/2010 at 17:24

That seems to me a bit like planning to travel overland from Washington DC to Rio. You can do it, but it's a long way. I hope you like sitting in a bus, train or boat for a long time - because this trip means sitting in those contraptions for long periods of time over and over and over again.

#4 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
 Send MADMAC a private message 

Posted by Lother on 6/1/2010 at 00:59

Sounds like the makings of a great trip to me! I'm planning something similar from Beijing, though just to PP or Bangkok, not Kuala Lumpur.

Anyway, for myself, I would either go through Vietnam and Cambodia to Thailand or through Laos to Thailand (possibly via Cambodia), and leave either Laos or Vietnam out. That way you'll have more time to see things and won't spend the majority of your time in a bus or train, as fun/interesting as that can be too. Of course you could fit all the countries in if you fly, as somtam points out, but doesn't that kind of defeat the purpose of going overland?

#5 Lother has been a member since 12/5/2006. Location: Earth. Posts: 214
 Send Lother a private message 

Posted by MADMAC on 6/1/2010 at 08:56

"That way you'll have more time to see things and won't spend the majority of your time in a bus or train, as fun/interesting as that can be too."

Lothar
You and I definitely have a different view regarding busses. I seldom find them to be anything other than boring or even tortuous.

#6 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
 Send MADMAC a private message 

Posted by marianaspagnuolo on 6/1/2010 at 09:47

Hi Everyone!!!

Thanks a lot for the replies, I am changing the itinerary now... Yeah, Madmac, I will try to avoid seeing the contries just from the buses or trains windows.

Thinking about flying some destinations in China and Vietnam and going by land between Guilin and Bangkok. It would be like this:

China 12 days
Beijing > Shanghai > Guilin (connect by flights)

Vietnam 15 days
Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Ninh Binh, Hoi An, HCMC, Chau Doc

Cambodia 8 days
Phnom Phen, Siem Reap, Stung Treng

Laos 6 days
Pakse, Vientiane, Luang Prabang

Thailand 8 days
Chiang Mai, Bangkok and some other city

Fly to Kuala Lumpur...

What about? Should be less rush!

Thanks again everybody!

Mariana

#7 marianaspagnuolo has been a member since 3/1/2010. Posts: 3

Posted by lostagent on 6/1/2010 at 16:18

15 days in China! No it is not long enough. 50 days to do the whole trip? You'll be exhausted. Your route in China misses some or most of the main attractions. I lived there for 10 years and I can advise that with no Chinese your life will be slowed down considerably. Also it is FREEZING in Beijing and you are moving into warmer climes. Great wall at 3PM on a Monday and how many tourists will you see in Jan? Vietnam in 10 days? Cambodia in 5? It all sounds like th makings of a totally bananas trip. Forget it or triple the length of the trip or better still look at a map before posting idiotic questions here.

#8 lostagent has been a member since 6/1/2010. Posts: 2

Posted by lostagent on 6/1/2010 at 16:23

I looked at your changed plans - still bananans. WHy even go to Laos for 6 days. What are you going to do? Nothing ... your whole 6 days will be on a bus. Vientiane to LP is a day trip and Pakse to Vientiane is the most pointless trip on a bus in S-E Asia as you could exit Laos and go up through Thailand in half the time and then reenter laos. Pakse - Vientiane nothing to see except traffic speeding past you in Thailand.

Cambodia? Stung treng / PP and Ankor in 8 days? I have now decided that your post is a joke and will stop here.

#9 lostagent has been a member since 6/1/2010. Posts: 2

Posted by Lother on 6/1/2010 at 19:37

Please ignore the silly hostility above.

As to your revised itinerary, I can't comment much on the China or Vietnam parts (only been to Southern Vietnam), but 8 days for Phnom Penh and Siem Reap sounds okay, as does another 8 for CM and Bangkok.

However, I would reconsider going overland all through Laos to Luang Prabang in just 6 days. The trip from the southern end of Laos through Pakse to Vientiane is very long and probably not that interesting if you're not stopping anywhere. If you're set on seeing Luang Prabang, maybe a flight from Siem Reap would be in order? Or you could go overland from Cambodia to Bangkok and then fly to Chiang Mai and cross over to Laos for a week or so from there.

#10 Lother has been a member since 12/5/2006. Location: Earth. Posts: 214
 Send Lother a private message 

Posted by christay2009 on 30/1/2010 at 00:59

if you're going to Beijing, Shanghai and Guilin you will definately NOT need to know any chinese. I visited these places sept 09 on my 30 day jaunt round China. I didn't know any Chinese and was travelling alone. You just have to make sure you do a bit of research. The most important thing is to find out directions to where ever it is you're staying from wherever you arrive from. These are usually available on websites like hostelworld, or alternatively just email the accomodation.

I think navigating round China used to be a major challenge but, since the Olympics especially, it's been made much easier for non-chinese speakers. Of course, this isn't the case everywhere but certainly where you're going i had no problem. I found everyone very friendly and helpful. The Beijing and Shanghai tube systems are really easy to use. I found getting round Beijing very easy. On the other hand, you should probably be prepared to get lost in China - i know i did - but i was never lost to the extent that i was worried. Just the odd wrong turn or perhaps i was looking for a museum and couldn't find it...in fact, i got lost in a park in Beijing for 45 minutes or so...

Guilin isn't anything special, despite the fact that all the Chinese i met raved about it. I would personally leave as soon as you arrive and head to Yangshuo. Yangshuo is a really good destination and, although it can be quite busy with tourists, you can easily escape them by renting bikes, going rock climbing etc

If you want any more info on my fairly recent experiences with Beijing and Guilin let me know and ill post my email address up or post yours and ill drop you a line

good luck

#11 christay2009 has been a member since 8/2/2009. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 414
 Send christay2009 a private message 


Posted by ShawnAlvin on 31/5/2010 at 11:59

Well it seems you plan well,i don't think you need to change this plan.....Thanks for Sharing.
_______________________________________________

villa spain
villas ibiza
villas malorca

#12 ShawnAlvin has been a member since 31/5/2010. Posts: 4


Please login to add a reply

You need to be a Travelfish member to be able to add a reply to this post. Please use the button below to log in. After logging in you'll be returned to this page automatically to add your post. Not a member? Join up here.