We were in Asia already. It was end of November. The dry season (the best season for traveling) was only about to start in the Western part of Malaysia. And there was this interesting route I had in my mind – from chaotic Bangkok, a capital of Thailand, to Singapore, Asia’s top financial hub. We had traveled there quite a few times, but never did we take the whole route.
Couple of weeks later it wasn’t just an idea anymore. It was a plan. We were a group of 8 people. All of us had booked plane tickets. And everyone was waiting for this overland trip to start.
And now, as I’m writing these lines, it’s already almost 2 months since our Bangkok – Singapore trip is over. What can I say – it was one of the best decisions we have ever made. It was very interesting. It was fun. And everyone enjoyed the trip from the first moments and until the end.
Now let me tell you about the practical part of this Bangkok to Singapore overland trip – how did our itinerary look, for how long time we stopped at every place and what are the things we did in each of these places. In case you would love to do something similar on your own.
Bangkok to Singapore – Our Route & Transportation
The distance between Bangkok and Singapore is about 2000 kilometers. These cities are well connected. So it is possible to travel from Bangkok to Singapore in several ways. You can fly all the way, or partly. You can travel by bus. And you can also travel by train all the way from Bangkok to Singapore.
Or you can travel some part by train, some part by bus and some – by ferry, like we did.
If you don’t have that much time, then, of course, it’s possible to make a trip shorter. Stop only in 2-3 places along the route and you will get to Singapore faster. But I would highly recommend to go for at least 12-14 days. Especially if you don’t know the region that well as we do.
1. From Bangkok to Krabi by Bus
From Bangkok to Krabi we took an overnight bus. We chose the latest one possible. It left Bangkok at about 8 PM and arrived in Krabi at about 8 AM. Bus ticket from Bangkok to Krabi cost us less than 18 EUR/USD (587 baht).
2. From Krabi to Satun by Minivan
Initially we were planning to take a bus from Krabi to Trang, then another bus from Trang to Satun and from there a songthaew (shared taxi) to Tammalang Port.
But then we got a very good offer from a lady, which leased to us scooters. 850 baht (so just a bit more than 20 EUR/USD) for a package – minivan, which picked us up from our hotel, straight to the ferry port + a ferry ticket to Langkawi island.
A ferry ride from Satun to Langkawi costs 350 baht.
It means we paid 500 baht each for the minivan, which is a really good deal.
3. From Satun to Langkawi by Ferry
At the port we just needed to exchange coupons, given by our driver, for tickets.
TRAVEL INSURANCE: For travelers to Southeast Asia we recommend World Nomads Explorer!
4. From Langkawi to Penang by Ferry
To get from Langkawi to Penang we took another ferry. There are few ferries traveling on this route every day, and you don’t need to book in advance. But if you want to do it, you can do it a day before your planned journey. Earlier booking isn’t possible.
In April 2017 ticket for the ferry from Langkawi to Penang costs 60 Malaysian Ringgits (MYR; less than 15 EUR/USD).
For the schedule and up to date prices check out this website!
5. From Penang to Kuala Lumpur by Bus
From Penang to Kuala Lumpur we traveled by bus.
Here it’s important to mention, Penang is an island very close to “mainland Malaysia”. And “Penang bus station” isn’t really in Penang. It’s in a city called Butterworth, a short (about 10 minute) and also free ferry ride away from Penang. Once you get out of the ferry you are only about 5 minute walk away from the buses. Take that into account, when planning, how much time do you need to get to the bus station.
Buses from Penang/Butterworth to Kuala Lumpur are running frequently. There are several companies. And price varies varies across companies. When traveling by bus in Malaysia we buy bus tickets online. One of our favorite sites, where to do that is RedBus.
A ticket cost us less than 9 EUR/USD per person. Bus ride was about 5 hours long.
6. From Kuala Lumpur to Singapore by Train (2 Trains)
But from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore we were traveling by train. Actually 2 trains. Because right now they are building high speed railway from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore, and it’s already partly finished. And that one part of the new railway is already being used.
It didn’t make our journey any harder. Because at the train station in Kuala Lumpur (KL Sentral is the main train station) we got all the information – that we will need to change the train and when. You can’t miss it. Because it’s kind of the last station and the next train is waiting for you (or coming after some time) on the opposite platform, few meters away from you.
Already at the very beginning we agreed, that we will travel using only public transport. But to make the trip more interesting we decided to use several types of public transport – buses, train, ferries, metro, boats and intercity buses.
It’s cheaper and it’s way more fun!
TRAVEL INSURANCE: For travelers to Southeast Asia we recommend World Nomads Explorer!
Bangkok to Singapore in 2 Weeks – Our Itinerary
As 6 of us were flying from Latvia (Europe), and it’s quite a long journey – first and also last day of our 2 week backpacking trip was spent in the airports and on the planes.
Day 1 – Flight to Bangkok
Day 2 – Arriving in Bangkok
Afternoon in Bangkok. We were staying near Khao San Road (getting to Khao San Road – cheapest way). The Golden Mount (Wat Saket) – a temple short walk away from Khao San Road, which has a really beautiful view of Bangkok from above. Dinner at Chatuchak Weekend Market, Thailand’s largest market. Massage and chilling on Khao San Road afterwards.
Day 3 – Bangkok
Few temples near Khao San Road. Wat Bowonniwet Wihan and Wat Chanasongkhram Ratchaworamahawihan I would visit again. A boat ride (public boat service) to Bangkok’s one of the most iconic temples – Wat Arun.
Visiting Bangkok on weekend try to visit Taling Chan Floating Market. Bus 511 leaves from near Khao San Road and will take you almost all the way to Taling Chan Floating Market. It will cost you maybe 50 cents, while a ticket for tourist boat will be more like 20 EUR/USD. And if you are taking a bus you will have as much time there as you will want (tourist boats usually stop for 30 minutes or 1 hour).
Wat Pho. If I would visit only one temple in Bangkok, then it would be Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho). It’s a very big complex with many beautiful sculptures and buildings.
1 hour long Bangkok Canal Tour from a pier near Wat Pho.
Late night bus to Krabi.
Day 4 – Krabi
Renting scooters and booking an island tour for the next day. Leaving Krabi Town on scooters at about 11:30 AM. Namtok Ron (Hot Spring Waterfall). Sunset on Klong Muang Beach. Dinner at Krabi night market.
Day 5 – Krabi
Leaving hotel at 5:30 AM to go for a sunrise at Tiger Cave Temple (Wat Tham Suea). 15-45 minute walk up the stairs, depending on your physical fitness. Going to scooter rental, returning scooters. At 8 AM leaving for an island hopping tour. Afternoon on Ao Nang beach/Krabi Town. Dinner at Krabi night market.
Day 6 – Heading to Langkawi island
Minivan from Krabi to Satun. Lunch at ferry terminal. Ferry from Satun to Langkawi. Arriving in Langkawi late in the afternoon. Renting scooters (here is our guide to renting a scooter in Langkawi).
Day 7 – Langkawi island
Driving around in Langkawi. Tanjung Rhu Beach. Gunung Raya hill. Dinner at a night market (they change location every day).
Day 8 – Langkawi island
Watching sunrise from a pier near Resorts World Langkawi. 7 Wells Waterfall (Telah Tujah Waterfall). Trekking to the top of Gunung Mat Cincang, second highest peak of Langkawi. Do you wanna have the best view of Langkawi? Put on your running or hiking shoes, take 2-3 liters of water, some snacks and climb that hill! It’s totally worth it. Pasir Tengkorak Beach. Dinner at night market.
Day 9 – Langkawi island
Island hopping tour. Kuah. Dinner at a night market. Parasailing on Pantai Tengah beach.
Day 10 – Penang
The first morning ferry from Langkawi to Penang. Afternoon in Penang. Eating famous Assam Laksa (you can get it here; it’s a very simple local food stall). Kek Lok Si Temple – where you feel a bit like in China & from where you can get a really nice view of Penang (because this temple is on the hill). Wandering around in George Town, Penang. Eating dim sums and pao for dinner at some random, popular looking, local Chinese restaurant.
Day 11 – Kuala Lumpur
Traveling from Penang to Kuala Lumpur. Evening in Kuala Lumpur. Dinner in the area of Bukit Bintang, shopping and entertainment district of Kuala Lumpur. Fountain and light show by Petronas Towers, in KLCC park. Midnight swim in our pool. In Kuala Lumpur we stayed in a big condo apartment rented via Airbnb.
When you are in KL, I highly recommend you to rent something similar for yourself, too. Especially if you are traveling together with someone, because then this cool apartment may also cost you the same or even less than 2 rooms in a budget hotel. Prices for 3-4 bedroom apartments in Kuala Lumpur start from about 50 EUR/USD a day.
If you aren’t on Airbnb yet, register through my link and get a discount for your first booking! I’ll get a discount, too.
Day 12 – Kuala Lumpur
Day 13 – Singapore
Mid-day train from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore. Arriving in Downtown Singapore late at night. Heading out for a midnight dinner. Wandering around the area of Marina Bay Sands until 3 AM. At night Singapore is so peaceful and beautiful! Highly recommended to go for that walk! And if you aren’t too tired head also to this elevated point! The view from there is the best!
Day 14 – Singapore
Little India. Arab street. Singapore Flyer. Gardens by the Bay. Dinner at Chinatown food street. Evening light shows in front of Marina Bay Sands & in the Gardens by the Bay (this was WOW!). Flight back home in the evening or on the next day.
Traveling Overland from Bangkok to Singapore – Accommodation
We chose to stay in well rated budget hotels and hostels, where a double/twin room cost us between 15 – 25 EUR (16 – 27 USD) per night. There are many cheaper and also more expensive options. The choice is really wide, with hundreds or even thousands (in Bangkok, KL, Singapore) of hotels, hostels and home-stays in one city.
This is where we stayed:
1. Paragon One Residence – Bangkok, Thailand.
Short walk away from Khao San Road. Near many of the best attractions of Bangkok. 5 minute walk away from a bus stop. We would stay there again.
2. Krabi Hipster Hotel – Krabi, Thailand.
Very nice and stylish hotel a little bit away from everything. 2 kilometers away from city center. But it’s not a problem to get taxi or public taxi to get to town or beach. Hotel is just 2 minute walk away from the main road, where you can catch a shared taxi. We would stay there again.
3. Desa Terrace – Langkawi island, Malaysia.
Very simple, clean budget hotel about 1,5 kilometers away from the beach. It was OK, but we wouldn’t stay there again. There are many other options in the area closer to the beach.
4. Red Inn Heritage Guest House – Penang, Malaysia.
It’s a hostel, but they have both small (4 bed) dorm rooms and also private rooms with shared bathroom. Thanks to its central location we would stay there again.
5. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – 4 room apartment.
15 minute walk away from world famous Petronas Towers. We booked it through Airbnb. This is the apartment.
Do you want to try out Airbnb? Register through my link and get a discount for your first booking! I’ll get a discount, too.
6. Beds and Dreams Inn @ Chinatown – Singapore.
It’s a hostel in Singapore’s Chinatown, really close to Chinatown food street. Good location. Friendly staff. Small rooms and bathrooms. Cheap. Would stay there again.
Do you have some more questions about over-landing from Bangkok to Singapore?
Or maybe from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur? Ask in the comments or reach out to us on social media!
Disclosure: some of the links on this page are affiliate links. This means – if you choose to book accommodation through these links, we may earn a small commission. This has no effect on the price for you.
Author: Kaspars Misins
Kaspars is a long term traveler and a travel blogger from Latvia. He loves going on long walks, reading non fiction books and spending time outdoors. Together with his girlfriend Una they have been traveling – volunteering – working abroad since 2013. On We Are From Latvia they share their experience and things learned along the way.