TNT’s resident travel expert Laura Lindsay from Lonely Planet answers your travel questions
Q: I am planning to stop over in Kuala Lumpur on my way back home to Australia. I would like to spend a few days in KL, then travel down to Singapore and fly out of there. What would be the best way to get from KL to Singapore, and what are the sights to see along the way?
Zoe, via email
A: You can do this journey a couple of ways – it largely depends on how much time you have. When I did this route, I chose to take the train, which was great and only takes six to eight hours – depending on which service you choose. The train runs three times a day and ticket prices range from £7 to £37, depending on which class you opt for.
If you decide to take a more leisurely route to Singapore, I would recommend going via the port city of Melaka (pictured).
Melaka is historically significant as it was once one of the greatest trading ports in South East Asia, and its heritage lives on through the architecture and stunning cuisine. You can take a bus from Kuala Lumpur to Melaka and then on to Singapore.
As for sights, the stunning Pulau Tioman (Tioman Island) is approximately 50 kilometres off the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia and takes two to three hours by boat from the coastal town of Mersing. If you’re going to put in the effort to go off-track, Tioman is a great choice as you can chill out on some of the world’s most beautiful beaches.
Q: A group of us are thinking about travelling from London to Bruges on Boxing Day, heading onto Amsterdam in time for New Year’s, and then back to London. I’ve had a look on the Eurostar website and it looks like you have to book each leg of the trip separately, which seems like a pain in the ass. Is there a way to book a rail journey with multiple stops?
Ben, via email
A: A Benelux pass does exist. It covers unlimited train travel throughout Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg for three, four, six and eight days’ travel within a month, priced from £102 for three days to £208 for eight. Be warned that travelling on the high-speed Amsterdam-Brussels service with a pass incurs a fee and requires a reservation, but the intercity service is fine. If you opt for this pass, you will still need to book the Eurostar portions of the journey separately.
You can purchase a complete ticket for London-Bruges-Amsterdam-London from Railbookers (railbookers.com), including trains, hotels and breakfast, but it will set you back at least £1,114 per person based on two sharing.
My advice would be to opt for two single tickets with Eurostar – London to Bruges and Amsterdam to London – and then book the Bruges to Amsterdam leg separately. Rail Europe (0844 8485848) does all of this for you in one transaction. Book your tickets as soon as possible; costs will increase at lightning speed.
Dodge Delhi belly
Surprisingly, when travelling India, it is the restaurants serving up Western fare that can be the worst culprits for giving you food poisoning. To avoid Delhi belly, be brave, eat at the canteens with
the locals, and head for whichever ones look most packed. You’ll delight the waiters and patrons, have a culinary adventure, and likely save yourself a lot of time on the toilet. Think of it this way: the more turnover a restaurant has, the fresher the food is, as it hasn’t spent days waiting around to get served up. Restaurants in India specialising in schnitzel aren’t going to have a lot of turnover.
Mia, via email
How to perfect beach-bumming
When beach-hopping in Thailand, keep your schedule flexible. Monsoons can ruin your beach time, or mar an otherwise perfect itinerary. Luckily, when rain soaks one coast, the other is usually clear. Check weather forecasts often, and if the west is raining, head east, and vice versa.
Sophi, via email