Low-cost flights in Southeast Asia

Resurging Flights and New Express Routes in SEA

October 18, 2022

We’ve had increasing requests coming in for some of Southeast Asia’s most-in demand direct flight routes. Despite the high ticket prices that have become the norm around the world this year, flights within this region are currently reasonably priced with a few of Asia’s top low-cost carriers. Here we highlight some resurging flights with these airlines, focusing on routes within and between Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam 

What’s more, Laos’ new high-speed train is gaining increasing popularity for domestic travel – find out why this is a great alternative to internal flights for your clients. We also look at Cambodia’s new expressway between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville.  

Laos’ high-speed train through unspoiled countryside

As tourism makes its way back to Laos, the country’s high-speed train now offers travellers an alternative to short-haul domestic flights with exceptional, wild scenery along the way. The advanced train and its long-distance route between Vientiane and Boten (on the border with China) cuts through the centre of the country, covering 414 kilometres at speeds of up to 160km/hour. Your travellers can now get from Vientiane to former royal capital, Luang Prabang, in about two hours, with a one-way ticket costing between US$15-40. While the flight typically takes about 45 minutes, the train ride can prove to be a much more memorable experience for your clients.  

Laos high-speed train journey

Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway

The drive between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville, Cambodia, typically takes four to five hours on the National Road 4, but the expressway will now reduce the driving time to about two hours, according to Cambodia’s Ministry of Public Works and Transport. 

USD$2-billion have been invested in the 187-kilometre long expressway that stretches between these two destinations. For the entire month of October, the expressway has been opened to the public free of charge to raise awareness for and encourage its use. 

All vehicles with a maximum speed of over 70 km/h and all motorcycles of 500cc are allowed to drive along this new route. We’re excited to see this development shorten travelling times for your clients whenever they traverse the Kingdom of Wonder.

Laos to Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam direct flights return

Thai Smile Airways (Thai Airways International’s daughter airline) will launch direct daily flights from Bangkok to Luang Prabang later in October. According to ground handling services, the flight should commence on 30 October following an introduction this month of a second daily flight from Bangkok to Laos’ capital, Vientiane.

Thai Airways International’s services to neighbouring countries Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, have been transferred to Thai Smile.

Using a fleet of A320s, Thai Smile will fly daily to Luang Prabang, departing Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport at 08:45 and arriving in Luang Prabang at 10:20. The return flight will depart Luang Prabang at 11:20 and arrive in Bangkok at 12:55.

Currently, Thai AirAsia flies daily to Luang Prabang from Don Mueang International Airport, and Lao Airlines also flies daily on this Luang Prabang route. Bangkok Airways will resume daily flights to Luang Prabang just one day after Thai Smile, on 1 November, from its Bangkok Suvarnabhumi base.

We have a fixed rate agreement with Lao Airlines, and the schedule (until March 2023) for specific flights between Laos and Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam can be viewed below.


Lao Airways schedule

Ho Chi Minh City to Bali, Chiang Mai, or Phuket with VietJet

In 2019, Vietnam’s low-cost airline introduced a direct route from Ho Chi Minh City to Bali, catering for demand to connect the two travel hotspots. After a hiatus during the pandemic, the route was reinstated this year, and now operates twice a day every day of the week, with a flight time of three hours and 50 minutes. A one-way fare can cost between USD20-USD230, excluding VAT and other fees.

VietJet has also resumed the direct service between Ho Chi Minh City and Chiang Mai on 1 September. The route will be operated three times a week, every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, with a flight time of just two hours. Flights depart Ho Chi Minh City at 11:25 and arrive in Chiang Mai at 13:30. Return flights take off at 14:30 in Chiang Mai and land in Ho Chi Minh City at 16:35. The 2h5min one-way flight with 20kg checked baggage can cost less than USD120.

The Phuket – Ho Chi Minh City route resumed 3 June, with four weekly return flights every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. The flight takes off from Phuket at 12:00 and arrives in Ho Chi Minh City at 13:50. The flight departs from Ho Chi Minh City at 09:00 and lands in Phuket at 11:00 on the return sector. A two-hour one-way flight with 20kg checked baggage can cost less than USD150.

Phuket holidays

Direct flights between Chiang Mai and Phuket

Thai AirAsia and VietJet both operate this direct flight between popular northern Thailand city Chiang Mai and lovely island Phuket every day. We’ve seen more requests come in for this route and can understand why. Combining the forested mountains and temples of Chiang Mai with a laidback tropical island paradise can make for a perfectly balanced holiday. The roughly two-hour one-way flight with 20kg checked baggage can cost less than USD100.

These low-cost carriers are a great way to beat current high flight prices, and we can upgrade options with special seat selection, premium check-in, international luggage allowances, and more. 


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