S'pore couple driving 25,000km from London to S'pore across 23 countries in 100 days on S$110,000 budget

That's more countries than I've been to my entire life.

Daniel Seow | June 22, 2023, 05:32 PM

Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates: https://t.me/mothershipsg

A Singaporean couple is set to go on a road trip in August 2023 where they will attempt to drive a whopping 25,000km from London back home to Singapore.

The journey will take them through 23 countries, and allow the couple to visit more than 160 towns, villages and cities.

Here are the countries that they will drive across:

UK > France > Belgium > Germany > Austria > Slovakia > Hungary > Croatia > Bosnia > Montenegro > Albania > Greece > Turkiye > Iran > Turkmenistan > Uzbekistan > Kyrgyzstan > Kazakhstan > China > Laos > Thailand > Malaysia > Singapore

The trip is estimated to take them 100 days, from Aug. 5 to Nov. 10, with their car being shipped to London to begin the trip.

The couple will be in a 2019 Toyota Land Cruiser 4.6L V8.

They will also have a Nissan GTR and a Mercedes S-Class in the convoy.

That's an epic journey indeed.

The couple, Jeremy See and Sharleen Lim, announced their upcoming adventure in two separate posts on Facebook.

In Lim's post, she wrote that if all goes well, they should be back for Christmas.

The pair will also be actively documenting the road trip and providing regular Facebook updates.

Inspiration for the road trip

See, 47, explained to Mothership that he and his wife were inspired by travel documentaries.

After all, he said, there are people in Europe and the U.S. who have travelled round the world in their minivans, motorbikes and bicycles.

Additionally, See shared that he and Lim, who have an affinity for driving, have a particular love for road trips.

For instance, they have driven to Thailand on a number of occasions, and would even drive six hours from Singapore to Ipoh to indulge in the food there before heading back home.

In fact, See admitted that he drives about 60,000km per year, which is more than four times of the average Singaporean's mileage.

"And no, I'm not a Grab driver," he chuckled.

However, their upcoming road trip was prompted by a desire to travel beyond Southeast Asia and "stereotypical tourist traps" such as Japan, Australia, and Korea.

With the reopening of borders post-Covid, See added that it was time to "seize the moment".

After all he and Lim have been planning and saving up for this road trip, for the past three years.

Travelling in a convoy with 11 other cars

On this trip, the pair will not be travelling alone, but will be driving in a convoy with 11 other couples, who Lim calls "like-minded adventurers".

See shared that the trip was organised by the Automobile Association of Singapore (AAS).

The AAS also issued them the Carnet de Passage, a document that allows them to cross international borders with a vehicle and avoid paying customs charges.

Organising the trip with the help of AAS made it much easier logistically, and saved them about S$50,000, See revealed.

Preparing for the trip

In See's Facebook post on June 20, he shared that they are in the midst of making preparations for the trip, and their car will be shipped to London in three days' time.

The couple preferred to start the journey in London rather than Singapore for the sake of novelty - starting the trip in Europe will simply be more fun for them than retreading a familiar route through Malaysia and Thailand.

See also posed a tricky question - what should you stock up on for a 100-day road trip?

Here is what they decided to pack into their car:

  • Spare car parts
  • 30 bottles of octane boosters
  • Two weeks' worth of spare clothes
  • Extra pairs of broken-in shoes
  • Extra eye-glasses
  • Medication for chronic illnesses
  • Food that is easy to heat up, and sufficient beverages

This list of items reflects the pitfalls that the couple anticipates during the trip: refuelling in places with poor-quality fuel, not being able to find a proper laundromat, and lengthy desert crossings.

Additionally, their vehicle will carry a collection of recording equipment, along with a laptop powerful enough to edit photos and videos on the go.

That said, See said these preparations are just the "tip of the iceberg".

Have set aside S$110,000 in savings

"We want to enjoy the trip and have spared no expense," See affirmed, sharing that they intend to stay in the best accommodation available and eat at fine-dining restaurants.

As such, he and Lim have set aside S$110,000 from their savings to finance the trip.

This includes S$43,000 per pax for food, accommodation, tolls, local guide fees, attraction fees, and other costs.

The rest of the fund goes towards shipping, customs clearance and permits (S$16,000) as well as fuel and other miscellaneous fees (S$8,000).

Sadly, the cost is the main reason why the couple are not able to bring their five children, ranging from two years to 23 years old, on the trip.

"It would be prohibitively expensive to bring them all," See admitted, noting that his children's school and work schedules also do not permit them to join.

As a retired piano teacher, See stated that his schedule was definitely more flexible.

His wife, on the other hand, who works as a banker, has applied for a three-month sabbatical that has yet to be approved.

Worst come to worst, he said, she would have to tender her resignation to go on the trip.

Looking forward to visit less-travelled countries

See and his wife are looking forward to visiting less-frequented countries in Eastern Europe, such as Hungary, Bosnia, Croatia, and Albania as well as countries in Central Asia like Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.

"These are the places less travelled and you are unlikely to see a Singapore number plate car running around on their roads," See explained.

See also admires Central Asia's rich culture and feels that its countries are largely misunderstood, something he hopes to change through documenting his travels on social media.

He also singled out two places on his list, in particular, as rare gems he is looking forward to visit.

Iran, as a U.S.-sanctioned country, is hard to access, let alone with a Singapore-registered vehicle, he said.

See is also eager to visit Turkmenistan, one of the least visited countries in the world.

The spirit of adventure

I asked See how he felt, knowing that in less than two months, he and Lim would embark on this ambitious road trip.

"It feels surreal," he replied.

"We want to see the places where few Singaporeans have gone and come back with stories we can tell our grandchildren when we are old," See explained.

Through documenting their travels on social media, he also hopes to spread positivity and the spirit of adventure.

Fellow travel enthusiasts can check out See and Lim's respective Facebook profiles for updates on their journey.

Top image from Jeremy See / Sharleen Lim on Facebook.