So, watching BBC’s new hit documentary, Race Across the World, Like me, You feel inspired to take such a mammoth trip yourself. However, before you book 50 days off from work, you may want to read this post. How feasible is it really to get to London from Singapore without flying for £1350? To find out I have spent many painstaking hours researching trains, coaches and ferry, schedules, and tickets to find the answer to my question
Unlike the BBC’s experiment, I’m allowing phones, and I’m also pre-booking tickets, it’s probably a lot less fun, but it gives you a true representative of how much a trip this scale costs. I’m covering the same route with the same number of checkpoints that being the checkpoints being slightly different, Athens instead of Delphi, Hong Kong instead of Huangyao and Siam Reap instead of Koh Rong.
Like the tv programme, the start time is 14.30, and I’m choosing May 21st, 2019 as my start date just because that’s when I finish University. The most obvious way to get across the English channel is taking the overnight coach to Paris.
For easy reading, I have broken down the purposed itinerary into six tables that separate each checkpoint.
Europe Leg to Athens
Leg Cost = £224.56
Athens to Baku Leg
Leg Cost = £134
Baku To Tashkent
Leg Cost = £120
Tashkent to Hong Kong
Leg Cost = £305
Hong Kong to Siem Reap
Leg Cost = £185
Siem Reap to Singapore
Leg Cost £76
Transport and Accommodation Cost =£1044.56
So, you’re thinking great that’s way below the £1350.00 budget, but hang on what about visa’s, food and unforeseen circumstances that come up, like a change of timetable for the Caspian Sea ferry for example. Visa costs are listed below; please check with all the official government sites about entry requirements.
Trains through Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan to China do not operate daily; they typically run 3,4 times a week. So please add this into your traveling plans. I did find the timetables on Seat61 for most of these trains. However, the ferry crossing the Caspian Sea departs three times a week, but I fail to find any resources that state which days ship’s depart and what time? Its, therefore, I haven’t added this factor into the journey itinerary.
I would recommend adding an extra seven days to your overall trip itinerary and adding the additional cost of food and accommodation to the budget, £40 per day x7 = £280
Europe = FREE
Turkey = £20
Georgia = Free
Azerbaijan = £20
Turkmenistan = ?
Uzbekistan = Free
Kazakhstan = free
Vietnam = £20
Cambodia = £20
Thailand = free
Malaysia = free.
Singapore = free
Total = £231
That adds the some total up to £1260.56
By the time you add the visa cost, you are left with £89.44 to spend on food. A more realistic food budget would be £20 a day. It would be more expensive during the Europe leg, but it would average out by the Asia leg. £20 x 30 = £600. and these not forget the £280 you spend waiting around for ferries and trains in middle Asia.
That’s an extra £880 on top of your £1260.56 equalling to £2140.56.
Coaches may be available throughout China, could not find much info about them but if they do run it could be far cheaper than catching a train. Savings could be made by hitchhiking and coach surfing.
It’s feasible that £1350 will pay for your transportation and accommodation cost to Singapore, but ultimately it would not pay for visas and food adding £831 to the budget. Unlike the contestants on the hit documentation, being able to pre-book tickets across Europe on the internet would save loads of money. I will be very impressed if each contestant makes it to Singapore for £1350 especially with all the taxis trips each team makes.
You Can Watch Race Across The World on BBC 2, Sunday at 9pm all on the IPlayer