Help - Routing choice to Luang Prabang

Old Sep 27th, 2008, 02:56 PM
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Help - Routing choice to Luang Prabang

I have to book our flights to SE Asia and can either book nyc/jfk to bkk then on to luang prabang, then siem reap, then bkk for flight home

or

jfk to siem reap, siem reap to luang prabang (which it looks like routes through bkk anyway) and luang prabang back to siem reap for the flight home

the flight from nyc to bkk is 500 less overall for two -- eddie had given me a general quote for bkk to luang prabang to siem reap to phnom pehn to bkk I'm just flipping out a bit as fares I found in January have helacious change rules and the hotel/room I want in Luang Prabang only has Jan 18 - 22 (yes, that obnoxious jenskar and mr jenskar are paying for their hotels this time!)

of course I'm going to see Lori and Ponheary and schools and this time, don't really care that much about bkk (i know, horrors) as I want more time in Siem Reap but if I save it for later in trip ....
thanks for any insights anyone !!
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Old Sep 27th, 2008, 04:00 PM
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Does your intra-asia trip qualify for the Bangkok Air Discovery Pass? If it does, the routing doesn't much matter cost-wise.

It sounds like the big constraint for you is when you can get your hotel in Luang Prabang. Plan around that, and the other things will fall into place.


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Old Sep 27th, 2008, 05:04 PM
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How does the Discovery Air Pass work? From their web site it looks like I'd need a variety of differently priced coupons to cover the routes, *and* it clearly states some flights aren't included and some flights won't have seats so if I'm planning for certain dates I don't know how one figures this out before buying the coupons. But obviously, people do, right?

Kathie it was actually your post about flights in and out of Luang Prabang (albeit that poster was talking about coming from Vietnam) that made me think I needed to be a bit more vigilant before picking the long haul part of the trip. If that's not the case and things will just fall into place that's great, but ... doesn't look like it to me without some research. And I am planning around a few other factors too.

I'd love to hear from anyone who used the pass recently with varying coupon prices. I'm quite used to booking my flights in December for January, and getting pretty decent prices too, but this trip is more complicated. Maybe I'm just being too nitpicky
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Old Sep 27th, 2008, 05:07 PM
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Kathie -- here's your post which caused my concern:

Author: Kathie
Date: 09/13/2008, 07:16 pm
Thanks for the clarification, Jane. It is true that a lot of the flights among Luang Prabang, Siem Reap and other cities fly only one direction non-stop, as many are circular routes, and many fly only on some days.

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Old Sep 27th, 2008, 05:26 PM
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You have to book the Bangkok AIr Discovery Pass in the US. Go to the Bangkok Air website and put together an itinerary that works for you. Then you call Bangkok Air and book it. Sometimes particular flights are sold out and you have to flex. But I'd start with the Discovery Pass. As long as your are flying 3 legs on Bangkok AIr or a partner, you'll qualify (and save money). The Bangkok AIr site will tell you which flights exist so you can make it work.

The quote from my previous post is accurate, but it was written for a person trying to see 4 countries in 11 days. She, basically, had no flexibility. I expect your schedule may have enough flex you can make it work.
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Old Sep 27th, 2008, 06:22 PM
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watch out for that siem reap to LP leg. because you have to route thru bangkok that will cost you 2 coupons. it was cheaper for us to go thru a TA and not use the discovery pass.

we are going:
BKK-SR on bangkok air
SR to LP on vietnam air (direct flight)
LP tp BKK on bangkok air

there is a rumor that siem reap air will soon have a direct flight but i didn't want to wait til the last minute to book that.
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Old Sep 27th, 2008, 09:25 PM
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Aii the flight destinations you are thinking about are covered through the Bangkok Air pass either with Bangkok, Siem Reap or Laos Airlines. The cost of international flights are $100 plus $47 for fuel and insurance charges. The flight SR to PP is $60 plus $39. Airport taxes are extra.

In the winter season Nov-Mar both Siem Reap (tues/thur/sat) and Laos (wed) have flights directly from LP to SR. Laos also flies on mon/thur/sat but they stop in Paske adding 1.5 hrs to the flight.

Flying in the oposite direction SR/LP Laos flies mon/thur/sat through Paske. Siem Reap Airlines does not fly this way.

Vietnam Airlines does not fly this route in winter months only during the summer.
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Old Sep 27th, 2008, 10:28 PM
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Thank you everyone. Scotters, you're right, I can't get anything to come up for Viet Air in January from SR to LP. It almost looks like I have to go from BKK if I want to fly into LP on a Sunday.

quimbyboy -- when are you travelling??

Kathie, thanks for the detailed instructions. Much appreciated. I'm really missing the days when I took off for a month and a half and only booked a flight out with an open return and a few nights hotel in the first city.
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Old Sep 28th, 2008, 05:20 AM
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hi jenskar2,

i'll be in SEA in late january.
BKK - 3 days, 1/18-20 & 1/31
Siem Reap - 5 days, 1/21-25
Luang Prabang - 5 days, 1/26-30

will any of these dates coincide with your trip? ;-)

is there any flexibility with your days so you'd be able to fly to LP on a monday (as we are doing)??
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Old Sep 28th, 2008, 08:10 AM
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quimbymoy -- I can't find your flight - found a direct from LP to SR via Vietnam (sold through Laos Air). Who is your travel agent?

I'm trying to work with 14 - 17 SR
18 - 21 LP
and then who knows (BKK or Phnom Pehn) until flying back from SR on the 26 or 28th

Looks like you're in LP for Chinese New Year


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Old Sep 29th, 2008, 07:25 AM
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hi jenskar, oh we're going to miss each other by a week. too bad...

i originally found that flight on vietnam air searching on travelocity... and when i went to vietnam air's website, it wasn't too helpful. i then called my TA to search it out (aspen travel in jackson hole, wy. they're not asia specialists but they can book flights for you easily).

i just went back to look for the flight again on travelocity and it wasn't offered... maybe call vietnam airlines directly?
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Old Sep 29th, 2008, 07:45 AM
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Scotters (above) says this VN air flight isn't offered in the Winter months (usually Nov - Mar), so I'd suggest you have your travel agent call VN and see if you flight still exists, quimbymoy.
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Old Sep 29th, 2008, 10:00 AM
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i just called vietnam airlines directly, gave them my confirmation # and they told me i was confirmed on that flight. so i'm not sure what to tell you... tho this makes me nervous and i'll have my agent reconfirm too. not sure how they could sell me a ticket for a flight that seems to not exists, but i guess anything is possible.
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Old Sep 29th, 2008, 10:37 AM
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*sigh* yes, anything is possible...
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Old Sep 29th, 2008, 10:46 AM
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another thing, my TA sent me an updated itinerary with time change on that Vietnam Air flight. it was to originally leave at 12:40p, the new itinerary now leaves at 12:55. so i don't know why they would send that if the flight doesn't exist.

i'm having my TA look in to this too. can't say i am making this up...
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Old Sep 29th, 2008, 12:34 PM
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Good luck ! I hope this flight still exists!
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Old Sep 29th, 2008, 01:54 PM
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I hope so too !! I'm routing the other way now so it looks like we will be in SR with some overlaps -- I've never met up with a fodorite on the road before

BKK 14 - 17
LP 18 - 21/22
SR 22/23 - 27th ish

Living dangerously and waiting a few more days on booking flights and other hotels. Where are you guys in SR?

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Old Sep 29th, 2008, 02:34 PM
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we'll be in SR from jan 21-25 so if your itinerary sticks, we'd be in SR the same time! there will be 4 of us. we rented the treehouse of the villa siem reap. it looks nice cause we can spread out and it's like a self catering unit. would love to meet up with you one night!

well the TA said she reconfirmed with Vietnam AL and she said we are GTG with our flight. so that's 2 phone confirmations. can't figure out why i don't see the flight online anymore...
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Old Sep 29th, 2008, 04:25 PM
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quimbymoy - You are correct in your time for the Vietnam flight, leaves at 12.40 and arrives at 14.20, VN 868. While their website shows the last day for this flight as Oct/26 who knows. Things are also changing with airline flights. Best of luck and enjoy your trip
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Old Sep 30th, 2008, 05:42 AM
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thanks scotters, makes me feel a little better. i also found that flight available on expedia. i think that is where i saw it in the first place. i'll also check the schedules again at the end of october.

jenskar, have you found hotels in LP & SR yet? in LP we are booked at the Apsara.
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