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This week’s question comes courtesy of blog reader Lorna, who’s about to embark on a round the world trip (lucky Lorna!). Let’s hear her question for the Experts:
I’m all booked up on my around the world tour and my very last stop before home is Asia, flying into Hong Kong and out of Thailand (hoping to get to relax on a Thai island before having to go back to reality). I’ll be in Asia for 3-4 weeks and need a budget-friendly, safe and exciting way to cross from Hong Kong to Thailand. I’ve looked at tours but is this the most cost effective way to do it? Help! Lorna
Luckily for Lorna, ‘Asia’ and ‘budget’ go together like rice and peas, like Beyonce and Jay Z, like STA Travel and Travel Experts. So don’t worry Lorna, our Travel Expert Jess has just the Southeast Asia itinerary for you – and it won’t break the bank, either. Let’s hear what she has to say…
Jessica Ambrose from STA Travel Leeds Vicar Lane says…
Doing a tour is definitely the safest way to cross any borders, Lorna, and also a lot more fun! They can be a really cost-effective way of doing things, especially if you’re tight on time. They include transport costs plus accommodation, so you actually get a lot for your money. Add this together with all the memories and the friendships you’ll make whilst on your trip and it’s definitely worth it. But most of the tours that will take you from Hong Kong all the way to Bangkok tend to start higher up in China, and can last about 30-40 days – so a mix of independent train travel and tours could be perfect for you.
I reckon that the best way to do this border crossing is by using one of our rail packs. You’d just need to book trains dates and times to suit you, and then you can arrange your accommodation and activities around those. The rail packs we offer will take you into Vietnam rather than Thailand, as this is generally the safest place to cross the border, so doing this will allow you to take a bit of time to explore the hustle and bustle of the amazing Vietnamese capital, Hanoi.
Take some time to explore Vietnam's bustling capital, Hanoi
With 4 weeks to explore, it’s definitely worth branching out and seeing a bit more of Southeast Asia. Instead of flying from Hanoi straight to Bangkok, you could travel through Vietnam. The Vietnam rail pack starts from £185, taking you from Hanoi to Ho Chi Min City. I’d definitely recommend Vietnam – from ancient citadels to lazy beachside towns, it really has everything. The north is home to the amazing Halong Bay, where you can take a junk boat out through the UNESCO world heritage site, or do a trek up in the mountains of Sapa. The south boasts the Mekong Delta, where you can take a slow boat, visit the villages and see how the local people live on the river.
After Vietnam you could then make your way across to Thailand by travelling through Cambodia. Take a couple of days to explore Phnom Phen and some time at the breathtaking temples of Angkor Wat. Check out Cambodia on a Shoestring – it’s for people like you on a budget looking for a cost effective but, more importantly, fun way to travel with like minded people. It’s just £499 for 10 days, and includes a home stay out at the Mekong Delta – not something that is very easy to arrange yourself!
Make the most of your time in Asia with a trip through Cambodia
For cheap stays on the Thai islands, we have some amazing offers which get as good as 3 nights for the price of 2, or 6 nights for the price of 2 – bargain! Chat to your Travel Expert about which island takes your fancy and they can check out the current deals for you.