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Wonkyknee Oct 12th, 2009 11:25 AM

Flights while in Asia
 
I am still working on my trip to Thailand, Burma, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. I have managed to get a good price flight on 30th January to BKK with Etihad from London. I now want to book onward flights to the following and need some advice:

BKK to Yangon return - I will have to book in Rangoon for flight to Mandalay return
BKK to Hanoi then OVERLAND to Saigon
Saigon to Phnom Phen
Phnom Penh to Siem Reap
Siem Reap to Luang Prabang
LP to BKK

I am stuck between Thai Air, Air Asia and Vietnam Air. I know that the sooner I get this sorted out the better rates I should get - is that true?

Await advice with thanks.

seagypsy Oct 12th, 2009 01:23 PM

Hello again wonkyknee,
Yes, I agree that getting your flights booked usually delivers the least expensive airfares, especially with a budget carrier as Air Asia BUT the downside is that it means you're locked into your flights unless the carrier allows for changes without charging you an arm and a leg. It also means less flexibility/spontaniety. So before booking those flights, make sure you've got a pretty comprehensive itinerary.

For flights to Luang Prabang, the least expensive routes are either from Chiang Mai or from Hanoi and the most expensive is from Bangkok to LP on Bangkok Airways (unless you've got the discounted BA 'discovery pass'). Lao Airlines is usually cheaper than their international competitors. For example, although Lao Airlines and Vietnam Airlines code-share the LP-Hanoi route, if you fly Vietnam Airlines, you'll pay a higher airfare than if you book via Lao Airlines.

Air Asia offers the budget flights between Bangkok:
Phnom Penh for Cambodia
Hanoi AND Saigon for Vietnam.
Yangon for Burma
They also offer quite a number of popular domestic Thai routes or other SEA countries and all the way to Australia, too.

Both Lao Airlines and Vietnam Airlines offer the Siem Reap to Luang Prabang route with Lao, again less expensive, but also again, this route is more expensive than flying Hanoi to LP.

For destinations within Vietnam, heading south from Hanoi, then Hue, and Danang for Hoi An are good destinations in between. Danang Airport services travelers headed to/from Hoi An.
If it came to choice between Nha Trang as a beach destination or some of Thailand's, imo, Thai offers far superior beaches, especially for marine life.

Land transport between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap is only 5 hours by VIP bus so for the cost, it may be better to go via VIP bus and also this provides a good way to see the Cambodian countryside.
What might work well for you is (and of course this could easily be reversed) if you're in Saigon, fly between Saigon and Siem Reap with the new Cambodia Angkor Air (a joint venture between Cambodia and Vietnam Airlines). The travel by VIP bus to Phnom Penh, spend a day or two before flying Air Asia back to Bangkok from PP.

gpotvin Oct 12th, 2009 01:52 PM

Book marking

Kathie Oct 12th, 2009 03:58 PM

One of the difficulties of this itinerary is that there is no one (or two) airlines that fly all of those routes.

Bangkok to Rangoon and return: Thai Air, Air Asia and Bangkok Air are your choices.

Bangkok to Hanoi: Thai Air, VN Air and Air Asia

Saigon to PP: VN Air

Siem Reap to LP: Lao Air, VN Air

LP to Bangkok : Bangkok Air

Take a look at Bangkok Air's Discovery Pass. You must take three flights on Bangkok Air to use it, but it will likely save you a lot of money. You could take your BKK-RGN, RGN-BKK and your LP-BKK flights on them You MUST book Bangkok AIr tickets from outside of SE Asia.

While Air Asia is often cheap, they allow no changes. If you miss your flight for any reason you have to buy a new ticket. There are also lots of extra charges, like luggage overage (they only allow 15kg free) so compare all costs before you book.

anotherlostsoul Oct 13th, 2009 08:55 AM

Ho Chi Minh City / Saigon - Phnom Penh and onwards to Siem Riep ...... I would go overland. Easy, pleasant and cheap.

Bangkok - Yangon, Air Asia is cheap but very early flight out of Bangkok ... 0715. Bangkok Airways is more convenient.

For flights in Myanmar email [email protected] - a reliable local agency.


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