November 23, 2013

Another Cunning Plan

The title of this blog post refers to the fact that the first “cunning plan” (a plan so cunning that you could brush your teeth with it) was my trip from Edinburgh to Shanghai last December. So I now have “another cunning plan” – from Newcastle to Singapore.

Sorry I haven’t posted much over the last month. I did consider it, but my only real news has been the steady arrival of tickets, visas and equipment here at HQ. I have also not been very well, so working hard to get fit for the adventure ahead.

A few people have asked for a summary of the plan, so I have listed it all here together with a few details (in case you are mad enough to be planning a similar trip). Drop me a note below if you have any questions!

Leg 1
UK – Holland
From Newcastle to Amsterdam
DFDS ferry
Commodore class
401 km, 17 hours

Leg 2
Holland – Germany – Poland
From Amsterdam to Warsaw
EN447 “Jan Kiepura”
1st class sleeper
1094 km, 16 hours

Leg 3
Poland – Belarus – Russia
Warsaw – Moscow
D10 “Polonez”
1st class sleeper
1502 km, 20 hours

Leg 4
Russia – Mongolia – China
From Moscow to Beijing (Trans-Mongolian route)
Train 004
1st class sleeper
10823 km, 6 days

Leg 5
Chain – Vietnam
Beijing – Hanoi
T5 train
2nd class soft sleeper
2995 km, 3 days

Leg 6
From Hanoi to Da Nang
SE1 train
2nd class sleeper
763 km, 15 hours

Leg 7
From Da Nang to Saigon
SE3 train
2nd class sleeper
961 km, 15 hours

Leg 8
Vietnam – Cambodia
From Saigon to Phenom Pehn
Mekong Express bus
240 km, 7 hours

Leg 9
Phenom Pehn – Siem Reap
Mekong Express Bus
314 km, 6 hours

Leg 10
Cambodia – Thailand
From Siem Reap to Bangkok
Taxi/foot to Poipet, then train aka “Cambodian Express”
3rd class seat
407 km, 11 hours

Leg 11
Thailand – Malaysia
From Bangkok to Butterworth
Train 35 “International Express”
2nd class sleeper
926 km, 23 hours

Leg 12
Malaysia – Singapore
From Butterworth to Singapore
Train 1 “Rakyat Express”
1st class seat
1058 km, 14 hours

18440km, with stop offs, 45 days door to door.

I now have most of the paperwork done, copied in triplicate and filed in my trusty Tenba bag, ready for action. I had a bad dream about losing this bag last night, so I’m also going to scan everything onto a memory stick and keep that somewhere else. The only ticket now outstanding is the Beijing – Hanoi leg that goes on sale 20 days prior to travel. I have the tickets in my hand up to Beijing, and from then on will hopefully be getting new tickets delivered to my hotel as I arrive in each new city.

On the consular front the visa process went smoothly. I now have added a Cambodian e-visa to the set – ┬áBelarus, Russia, Mongolia, China & Vietnam. It was really easy to get online (and the added bonus of the brilliant Khmer music on their embassy website).

I’m tying a few loose ends together at the moment – if I have time I might get an equipment post out next week. I have been thinking hard about my medical kit this week and will share where I have got to on the potential perils of cross border travel with a range of supplies that would be suitable for a MASH unit.

Thanks for visiting my blog – the real journey starts soon!

2 Comments on “Another Cunning Plan

April 18, 2016 at 1:19 am

I keep googling but I cannot find this journey – even if I click on the banner that comes up – help!

Matthew Woodward
April 18, 2016 at 11:13 am

Hi – sorry about that – the link had become broken. Now fixed. Hope you enjoy reading about my journey!


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