• Claire

2 Weeks Backpacking SINGAPORE to BANGKOK | Itinerary - My First Solo Backpacking Trip ~ 2016

Updated: Oct 24, 2019


In 2016 I was 18 and embarked on my very first solo backpacking trip - I spontaneously booked the trip 2 weeks prior and travelled through Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand (from Singapore to Bangkok) on a group tour. My first time travelling alone and my first time in Asia got me hooked!



Solo travel may seem daunting to some people as might travelling in Asia - but I hit two birds with one stone and did both in the one trip! While solo travelling may seem scary you are never really alone - there's always things you can do to meet other travellers while abroad (I wrote a blog post on the pros and cons of solo travelling here). For my first trip overseas alone I chose to join a group tour with Intrepid. This was a great intro to solo travelling - there was a number of people on my tour who were also solo travellers and we had a group leader with us if we needed any help.


I remember that everyone around me thought I was a bit crazy /dumb to go to Asia by myself, but really Asia is so backpacker friendly and very safe if you keep your wits about you! I flew with Scoot Airlines from the Gold Coast airport to Singapore and back from Bangkok - they have awesome cheap flight deals, my flights were only around $200 each way.


You can watch the video I made on my trip through Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand here!


Itinerary - Singapore to Bangkok


Singapore (1 Day)


Singapore is a great into-to-Asia city - everyone speaks English, it's clean, it's airport is one of the best in the world and has a thriving multi-cultural food scene. The view of the city from the Marina Bay Sands observation deck is pretty awesome and I didn't get there, but Gardens By the Bay is supposed to be great.


I remember my first day in Asia was a little rough - I got really lost and had to find my accommodation by walking around and using buildings to guide me in the sweltering heat as my phone had stopped working, I couldn't find any vegetarian food for ages and all the crazy traffic was overwhelming - maybe it was a bit of culture shock, but after day 1 I was fine!


I would recommend staying in Footprints Hostel.


View from the Marina Bay Sands Observation Deck

View from the Marina Bay Sands Observation Deck

View from the Marina Bay Sands Observation Deck

Marina Bay Sands Light & Water Show


Malaysia


Malaysia is connected to the island of Singapore by a bridge and the border crossing is fairly straightforward. Australians can get a visa on arrival for a stay of up to 90 days in Malaysia. Bus services run many times a day between the two countries.


Malacca (1 Day)


Malacca City is known as the historical capital of Malaysia as the streets have a distinct colonial feel - remnants of the British, Dutch and Portuguese rule. Top sights include the A’Famosa Fort and the Jonker Street night markets.


I would recommend staying in Yoke 28 Hostel.


Malacca

Malacca

Malacca


Kuala Lumpur (2 Days)


The bus from Malacca to Kuala Lumpur takes around 3 hours and was surprisingly comfortable - the rows were 2 x 1 instead of the normal 2 x 2 so the seats were super wide!


Kuala Lumpur is the capital city of Malaysia and is home to the famous Petronas Towers - the highest twin towers in the world. We found the best view of the Petronas Towers at Sky Bar, we could also see the nightly light show happening down below.


I stayed in Chinatown amid the famous Petaling Street night markets which sell everything and anything - lots of knock-off merchandise. Bukit Bintag is another famous shopping district in KL and Central Market is also cool to check out.


I would recommend staying in Tuxedo KL Hostel.


The Petronas Towers

Chinatown Markets

Petronas Towers at night - View from Sky Bar


Cameron Highlands (2 Days)


The Cameron Highlands is a district north of Kuala Lumpur known for its cooler climate and tea plantations. We explored the highlands by jeep, drank iced tea fresh from the fields outside and picked fresh strawberries!


I recommend staying in Traveller Bunker Hostel.


Tea Plantations

Exploring the Tea Plantations by Jeep

Fresh Iced Tea from the Fields Below!

Strawberry Picking!


Penang (2 Days)


Penang is a built-up island off the coast of the Malaysian peninsular. It was the first destination of the colonial British in 1786 and the World Heritage site of Georgetown is known for its historical buildings and super cool street art.


A funicular railway takes you up to the top of Penang Hill to a panoramic view of the island.


I recommend staying in the Old Penang Hostel.


Street Art in Penang

Street Art in Penang

Street Art in Penang

Penang Hill Lookout

Penang Hill Lookout


Thailand


The bus ride from Penang, Malaysia to Krabi, Thailand took around 8 hours. We crossed the border at Wang Kelian / Wang Prajan. When entering Thailand through a land border Australians are permitted to stay for up to 15 days.


Krabi (2 Days)


Krabi is located on southern Thailand's west coast and is a popular tourist destination for its white-sand beaches, limestone cliffs and surrounding islands. I stayed in Ao Nang and did a day trip to the Phi Phi Islands - which are beautiful but are no doubt feeling the impact of mass tourism.


I recommend staying at the Haleeva Sunshine Hostel.


Phi Phi Islands

Phi Phi Islands

Maya Bay - Phi Phi Islands

Thai food is the best!

Sunset in Krabi

Sunset in Krabi


Khao Sok NP (1 Day)


Khao Sok National Park is a nature reserve in southern Thailand and my favourite destination of the trip. We took a traditional long-tail boat to our raft house accommodation on the man-made Cheow Lan Lake. We swam in the lake, hiked to a viewpoint looking out over the national park and went kayaking. The food we got served in the raft house - even though it was in the middle of nowhere - was the best Thai food ever!


Cheow Lan Lake

View over Khao Sok NP

Cheow Lan Lake

Raft House on Cheow Lan Lake

Long-tail boat on Cheow Lan Lake

Raft House on Cheow Lan Lake

View from my raft house bed on Cheow Lan Lake


Bangkok (2 Days)


The mode of transport from Khao Sok to Bangkok was my very first overnight sleeper train experience. It was surprisingly comfortable albeit noisy but I didn't get very much sleep!


In Bangkok I treated myself to a nice hotel - a room in a 5 star hotel was only $99AUD/night and explored a few of the sights before heading back to Australia.


For backpackers, I would recommend staying at Click Hostel.



First sleeper train experience!

Golden Mountain Temple, Bangkok

View from my hotel room over Bangkok

Temple of Reclining Buddha, Bangkok

The Grand Palace, Bangkok


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My first solo travel backpacking experience opened up a whole world of adventures for me and gave me the confidence to go on other trips solo like my trip to the Philippines. I would highly recommend this kind of travel to anyone - if I can do it, you can definitely do it!