Head Down Under and yap about bloody Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. Determine the best place to buy a car, how to get a working holiday visa and the best route for travelling the east coast of Oz and around the Kiwi Islands.

Overland travel Thailand to Beijing - need help


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  • Added on: November 12th, 2010
I'm planning on leaving Canada (Calgary) late Feb early March. I'm a little confused as to how I should setup the first half of my RTW trek.

Australia - Right now I'm thinking fly to Australia, Sydney or Melbourne. Move around for 2-3 weeks then somehow get myself over to Thailand, flight most likely. Are certain cities in Australia better/cheaper to fly out of than others? Should I even bother going to Australia first? is it going to be too expensive? I'm on the fence about my start point.

Thailand - this is where the relaxation really gets started. I plan to bum around the country doing as I please for at least 4 weeks, maybe 6. My big plan is to somehow get myself over to Beijing and board the railway that runs to Moscow via Mongolia. I'm confused as to the best way to get myself to Beijing overland from Thailand. Which countries should I pass through? Which railways should I take? Am I going at the wrong time for decent weather? I don't want to buy visas for country's I don't need to pass through!

Once I'm in Moscow finding my way into Europe and the EU shouldn't be to hard. Like I said it's the first part through Asia that has me scratching my head. Has anyone gone this route?


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  • Added on: November 13th, 2010
I'm in the planning stages of a trip similar to yours, except backwards! I'm starting by taking the Trans-Mongolian to Beijing and going overland through China and SEA then to Australia! Anyways, back to your trip.

Sydney or Melbourne are the main international ports of entry from North America. Depending on what you want to do, 2-3 weeks may not be enough time. Although I don't know your budget, so I can't say if it will be TOO expensive, I think it wouldn't be a bad idea to start your trip in one of the more expensive regions to get that spending out of the way.

You say you're confused about the best way to get to Beijing. What do you mean by confused? We can't tell you what countries to visit, what you want to see and do...We also don't know how much time you're allotting yourself for this part either. That would help heaps.

That being said, the popular route would be to go through Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. From my understanding (since I'm only in the beginning stages of planning) is that you can show up at a border anywhere and get a visa EXCEPT Vietnam. You need a visa prior to arriving at the border crossing. (Can anyone else vouch for this? Or am I wrong here?) I think you need "proof of onward travel" before you are granted a visa as well, but once again, someone who's actually done this can clarify. I would imagine that local public transport through these countries would be the way to go, but once you get to China you might want to look into cheap flights and overnight trains, as there's a lot of distance to cover from southern China to Beijing!

I think that by the time you get to Thailand you'll be past the high tourism season, but from my understanding, it won't be monsoon season.
"i'm on my way, don't know where i'm goin..."~Paul Simon, Me and Julio


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  • Added on: November 13th, 2010
It's going to cost big time to visit OZ for only a couple weeks but if you want to go it's best to get it out of the way first. Fly in to where ever the prices are best but do yourself a favor & bus/train your way to Perth, the best city in OZ, Ten fly to BKK or better yet Singapore & make your way slowly to BKK. From there bus/train/boat your way to HCMC, catch a train to Bejing where you get the Trans-Mongolian to Moscow.

Pick up your Vietnam visa in BKK but be aware that entering Thailand by land you only get a 15 day visa while by air it's 30. Of course you will need to get the Russian one before leaving home or do a search on how to do it in Hong Kong where you would have to spend a few days. Oh yeah Canada must have p**doff Mongolia somehow as you need a letter of invitation there if you stay a couple days, not sure if you don't get off the train.
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  • Added on: November 13th, 2010
Talluer wrote: Are certain cities in Australia better/cheaper to fly out of than others? Should I even bother going to Australia first? is it going to be too expensive? I'm on the fence about my start point.

That depends on where you are flying *to*. For example, the cheapest place to fly to Indonesia from Australia would normally be Darwin or Cairns. But the cheapest place to fly to New Zealand from Australia would normally be Brisbane or Sydney.

So if you were going to fly into SE Asia from Aus, the cheapest place to fly from would probably be Darwin or Cairns. But if you weren't intending on seeing that part of the country, it would not be worth going all the way up there just to cut a bit off the cost of your flight. Plus, the airlines often have sales and the sales are usually for flights in/out of Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne. (Not to say they don't have sales out of other cities - they do, a lot - it's just that those are the most common ones).

And don't go to Perth just to fly out to Singapore or wherever. What a waste of time and money. Only go to Perth if you actually want to see Perth and understand how much money and/or time it might suck up to get there!

Another suggestion: look up BNA member Mama-to-many, check out her blog and contact her if need be. She, her husband, father-in-law and 8 children went overland from Malaysia, through Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, into China, overland through Mongolia and Russia to Europe.


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  • Added on: November 14th, 2010
Mama-to-many waves. I was going to reply to this post, but Busman had already said exactly what I would - right down to the 15 day warning re Thailand :tup:
But yeah, if I can help more, I'd be delighted - just PM me.

My $0.02 would be to skip Australia and just concentrate on SE Asia. Go back to Oz when you avhe lots of money and a bit more time. We just spent a few days in Melbourne, and as nice as it was, we said we were glad we did not start a big trip there because it was too "same same" and we wouldn't have felt like we were really travelling! But of course it's up to you.
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