by Nick Upton

Cheap Flights to and within Asia


It was recently announced that Air Asia would begin making direct flights from Manchester, UK, to Kuala Lumpur starting from around £200 including taxes; the first airline to provide cheap travel from Europe to Asia by introducing budget flights. With the proliferation of airlines described as "low cost", "no frills" and "low fare" in Asia since 2000 this means that by combining a flight to Kuala Lumpur with a no frills flight onto Bangkok or one of a few other destinations within Thailand, the cost of travelling to Thailand from Europe could be as cheap as £250, quite a lot less than current fares.

However, considering the long distance and time involved it may well be worth paying the extra for comfort, service and entertainment.

Within Southeast Asia, Bangkok Airways has the largest range of flights serving Thailand, with regular flights to and from Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Trat, Ko Samui and Phuket as well as flights to Cambodia , Laos, Japan, Singapore and China. I hear that the airports at Trat and Ko Samui have thatched rooves!

Nok Air serves Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Hat Yai, Nakorn Ratchasima, Trang and Phuket.

One Two Go deals with Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Surat Thani, Hat Yai and Chiang Rai, apparently serving free snacks and soft drinks in flight.

Phuket Air, curiously, does not fly to Phuket, Instead flights between Bangkok, Ranong and Yangon in Myanmar are provided.

PB Air runs flights between Bangkok and Lampang, Nan, Sakorn Nakorn, Nakorn Phanom, Roi-Et, Mae Hong Son, Buriram and Chiang Mai, although the wisdom of stepping foot on an airline run by a brewert remains questionable.

Air Asia flies from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur, Phnom Penh, Singapore and Hanoi amongst others.

Tiger Airways supplies a range of flights within southeast Asia and serves Bangkok, Hat Yai, Chiang Mai, Krabi, Phuket and Udon Thani within Thailand. Don't confuse this with Tiger Airways in the UK or you may find yourself in a biplane flying over the British countryside!

Many of these fares within Thailand can be very little more than travelling by bus and I have been told that in some cases they are less; they certainly make some long and uncomfortable journeys much more manageable.

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However, budget flights within Europe are beginning to become controversial due to the carbon emissions they are responsible for; the air industry is the fastest growing source of carbon dioxide, even though it still only contributes a small percentage of all greenhouse gas emissions. A dramatic increase in low cost flights in Asia could spark another surge in CO2 emissions - try to consider whether your flight is really neccessary before booking in order to prevent yourself becoming a frivolous contributor to environmental degradation. It would be a real shame if birdwatchers and other conservation minded people were to further contribute to global warming by taking unnecessary flights around Thailand when there is a decent and reasonably comfortable bus or train service for most destinations.

This article in the Guardian newspaper proves that it is in fact possible to make the trip to Thailand from Europe without using a plane.


Don't forget that departure tax is payable and passports are neccessary for internal flights in Thailand.

Nick Upton, 10th January 2007.

Related pages: Back to Don Muang , Airport Departure Tax Rises

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