A call out for updated travel info about getting from Hong Kong to Hanoi, as well as border crossing issues
Hi, I'm planning on travelling around Asia (only for a couple of months on some extra money I have left after I graduate from uni in June). I'm planning on flying to Hong Kong to see some friends for about a week, then travelling down to Hanoi and on from there (hopefully ending up in Kuala Lumphur around September time).
From what I can gather, the train is the cheapest option... But does anyone have any other information about passing between Hong Kong, China and Vietnam as an English passport holder? As well as any other general information about the quickest way of getting between the two destinations...
Also, how expensive is it to get from Hong Kong to Hanoi? Do you have to pay anything at border crossings (I wouldn't see why you would have to...) And lastly, how much money would you reccomend taking for 2 months (travelling around a lot, I'm hoping to go Hong Kong, Vietnam, Camodia, Laos if I have enough time, Thailand and down into Kuala Lumphur? I know I'm cramming a lot in but I've been to Thailand before... And I'm after a general overview I guess...
Sorry this is so long!!! Any answers to any of the above questions would be greatly appriciated. Thanks!
You can indeed go from Hong Kong to Hanoi overland. You can go by train all the way now, or by combination of train and bus. From Hong Kong to Nanning and then from Nanning to Hanoi is one way. I think you can also go via Kunming.
The man in Seat 61
will be able to give you the logistics of the journeys, including a rough idea of costs.
Regarding costs at the borders, you will have to buy both your Chinese and Vietnamese visas in advance, so there shouldn't be costs involved with crossing borders. You can get these visas in Hong Kong, depending on how long you have given yourself there. They take a few days to process. Check with the embassies how long.
It's difficult to give you an idea of costs without knowing what sort of trip you are planning. As you are a student, I'm assuming you are at the backpacker end. Hong Kong is expensive. We found it to be more like UK prices. If you are staying with a friend then accommodation should be taken care of, but food and drink is pricey. I'm talking around 5 quid a pint! (we live in Vietnam so it was pretty shocking for us!).
As you have said, you are trying to cram a lot into 2 months. It will take you two weeks minimum to travel from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh, if you actually want to stop and look at things on the way. Even then you haven't got time to take many stops. Travel in this part of the world is generally quite slow. The more places you visit, the more expensive your trip will be because transport and visa costs (you also need to buy visas for Cambodia and Laos - about $25 each) will eat up money.
However, just an idea of Vietnam - a cheap hotel bed will cost you about $10 a night. A bus ticket from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh with a couple of stops on the way will be about $40. You can eat in a cheap restaurant for $1-2 a meal, if you stay with local food. A beer is also about $1. Spirits and wine is a bit more expensive. Day trips to places like the Cu Chi Tunnels and the Mekong Delta start at around $10. The bus from Ho Chi Minh to Phnom Penh in Cambodia is $10.
You can get a better idea of places by browsing the Asia
blogs on this site to find others who are or have done the same route as you. Often bloggers will give details of times and costs and also good places to stay.
hey, what helpful advice, thank you!
i generally go for the cheapest options when travelling... saying that i do think i'm being a bit ambitious in trying to cram so much into my journey... i think i'll be doing some re-assessing! would i have to have a visa even for 2-3 weeks in vietnam with an English passport? I know as a tourist in Hong Kong i'm alowed around 180 days but if i want longer then a visa is needed. hmmm...
thank you for your helpful advice!
You are allowed a visa free visit to Hong Kong because of it's past relations with Britain. You need visas for a visit of any amount of time to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. The Vietnamese visa cannot be bought on the border and needs to be prearranged. You can get a stamp allowing 15 days visa free entry to Thailand on the border if you're crossing overland. For longer visits you need to get a visa or do visa runs.