Big Trip FAQ

Q. What is this Big Trip?
A. It's my attempt to travel from KL to London overland. Overland means no planes, only things like trains, buses or ferries.

Q. What about SARS?
A. I plan to keep a lookout on the WHO pages and monitor the situation. As of this moment (2 April 2003), the indication is that Thailand, Cambodia and South Vietnam are safe to travel in. Hong Kong and Guangdong are not. If I have to bypass affected areas by air, I will.

Q. What about the war?
A. The war is in Iraq. I do not plan to go anywhere near there at the moment.

Q. What's the route?
A. The intended itinerary is (deep breath): KL - Hat Yai - Bangkok - Siem Reap - Phnom Penh - Ho Chi Minh - Hue - Hanoi - Beijing - Ulan Batar - Irkutsk - Moscow - St Petersburg - Helsinki - Stockholm - Copenhagen - Berlin - Prague - Budapest - Innsbruck - Paris - London - Oxford - Dublin. Then fly back to KL from London.

Q. What's the timeline?
A. I leave KL on 3 April 2003 and will be back in Malaysia by the end of June 2003. I will reach Beijing by early May, and will leave Beijing on 10 May. I will be in Helsinki by 28 May and intend to reach London by 19 June. Everything else in between is a little up for grabs.

Q. What anticipated "big attractions" do you plan to visit?
A. The journey is more important than the destination, man.

Q. No, seriously - what do you especially look forward to seeing?
A. Angkor Wat, embalmed Uncle Ho, Great Wall, Trans-Siberian, Ulan Batar, Lake Baikul, Prague, Budapest, Musée Marmottan-Claude Monet, adik, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Dublin.

Q. Who's going with you?
A. Ed the duck will be my permanent companion. My mum will be joining me in Beijing and we will travel on the Trans-Siberian to Helsinki.

Q. You'll be stuck for two and a half weeks on a train with your mum?
A. And I'll be enjoying every moment of it. Actually, the train journey only takes up seven of those days. And don't forget Ed.

Q. Ed?
A. Ed: See this and this

Q. I want to know what you're doing! Keep us informed!
A. Go to - I'll try to keep that up-to-date as I travel.

Q. How do we get in touch with you?
A. In order of priority:
1. Send SMS's to my handphone
2. Send emails to
3. Send voicemails

Q. How do we send voicemails to you?
A. By telephone.
1. Dial the access number. From Malaysia, this is 1800-804-146. From England, this is 0800-376-1705. From anywhere else, look at .
2. Press *2 on the telephone.
3. Enter my account number: 2019721016 (20 followed by my birthday)
4. Leave me a message. Keep it short, keep it sweet. Like me.

Q. How much will this whole thing cost you?
A. Lots. Budget runs from under RM100 per day in South East Asia to over RM200 per day in Europe. Plus expensive rail in Europe (about USD600 altogether). Plus the flight home. Donations are welcome.

Q. What about visas?
A. Malaysians have it easy. I only need visas for China and Russia. But boy, is the russian visa a doozy to get...

Q. How on earth did you come up with this?
A. Short story: I saw it on a website.
Long story: Claudi and Ben wanted to know about trains in Malaysia, and while I was searching the web, I came across this page: . Somewhere in the middle of all that is the following sentence: "If you have the time (it will take you a good four weeks one-way), it's possible to reach Singapore overland all the way from London". This was on 8 April 2002.

Q. Why aren't you starting from Singapore?
A. Well, I travelled by rail to and from Singapore last February (when I was there to watch Cliff Richard perform - no, don't say anything, don't ask anything). So, I've kinda done that leg of the trip already.

Q. Is it true you won't be eating American fast food on the trip?
A. "America Evil". Or "Evil America". It works both ways. I'm boycotting US-made products, where possible, so this includes McDonalds, Coke, etc. It's not as difficult as you might think.

Q. I can't believe that Dzof will be able to make do without a computer for three months!
A. There are internet cafes, you know. OK, and I'll also be bringing along the following:
- An Alphawriter (a text editor that runs on batteries and can upload to just about any PC).
- A digital camera (Fuji digital camera).
- My trusty palm pilot.
- A Sony Ericsson handphone, with global roaming activated.
- SmartMedia/SD card reader.

Q. How much does your backpack weigh?
A. About 12kg.

Q. Doesn't this scare you a bit?
A. Only if you remind me about it.

Q. Are you really doing this?
A. Yes.

Q. No, really?
A. Yes.


posted on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - permalink
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