Visiting S.E.Asia on a surface tour,need help.
Hi, My husband and I are traveling to Singapore,from there we want to go to Bangkok passing thru KL,Penang and Phuket. We don't want to fly,we'll either hire a car or travel by bus or train. Which is the best season to travel this way and visit all these places? How should we travel? Car or public transport? Which places should we visit? What order of places? How much will the cost work out to? Any other advise?
You can take a coach(Transtar- 16seater est USD48) up to KL. In KL, it's pretty much the same as Singapore. Just city life.
Then coach up to Penang. Old town. Again, for the food, and some old town nostalgic buildings. Maybe you can pop over to Langkawi as well.
Then coach again into Hatyai and finally take a cheap flight to Bangkok. The whole trip for transport probably cost you less than USD300
go on google and type in starcruises!
Alternatively, there are buses that do the SG-KL run. There are many classes of travel and many companies to choose from, many running from Beach Road. Simply key in "Singapore KL bus services" into Google to find them. One way tickets should be in the region of $30 - 70 (the upper region for "business class" travel).
From KL, there are many bus services to Penang and even taxis (about RM500) per trip. Buses cost between RM30 - 60 per trip and will take about 5.5 hours. There is a KTM (Malayan Railway) train that runs from KL to Butterworth within Penang state but you'll need a ferry or a taxi to get across to Penang Island proper.
From Penang, there are buses that run to Thailand. Hadyai is a popular stop as it is nearby (3-4 hours, RM20-30) but if you want to go straight to Phuket, it's about RM70 and it will take about 10 - 11 hours by bus (there will still be a stop in Hadyai for a change of bus). The KTM train will go from Butterworth to Hadyai. I hear there is a ferry from Penang to Phuket from Nov - May each year but I am not too sure about that.
I hope you have enough time. There is already a lot to see (3 different countries with 3 different cultures, attractions, etc) and a lot of travelling time involved. It's a lot faster to fly and cheap too, especially with the many budget airlines operating between Singapore and KL, KL and Penang. You will miss out on some scenery but going overland all the way, you'll be seeing plenty of that. You might want to consider taking a flight on one leg to cut down on this.
To do each place justice, you will need at least 3 days in each city so the entire trip will be about 2 weeks at the minimum. Have fun and check back here for more tips on where to go and what to do in Singapore. Let us know what your interests are and we should be able to zoom in on places for you.
If you like to cover major attractions like Sentosa island, zoo, bird park, Bukit Timah Nature reserve, then you need to allocate 3-4 days. If you like to get good quality branded goods, SIngapore is a place that offers value. From top-end boutiques to street fashion. Granted things in KL are cheaper but some of the quality is not so good as most are imported from Thailand.
Penang is a small place and very nice to travel. You can spend 2-3 days there and be sure to try some of the street food that are found in Mccalister street and some back lanes do serve delicious food. You will usually find locals eating there.
Must try food in Penang include the Penang curry mee, Penang Laksa(though not as authentic as 10 years ago), Ghee Hiang Green bean paste biscuits, ice coffee and fried oysters before moving to Phuket.
If you like to save on accomodation, taking a train is best and offers a different experience from taking a coach. But it is best to take a train from KL to other parts of Thailand as the prices are cheaper than from Singapore to KL.