Cheap flights with Discovery Airpass

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Updated on 25th September, 2011. First published 6th May, 2008

If you're planning a holiday in Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam and are thinking of flying some of the legs, then the Discovery Airpass -- a flight coupon deal offered by Bangkok Airways, Lao Airlines and Berjaya Air -- can work out to be a slight money saver, delivering on the promise of cheap flights right across Southeast Asia.


The pass is offered for flights on all three airlines, but, as Bangkok Airways has the most comprehensive network, most travellers will find they'll be using at least one coupon with this Thailand-based airline. As Bangkok Airways also flies to Bangladesh, Burma, Hong Kong, India and the Maldives you can even use the passes for other countries in the region.

The Discovery Airpass works on a coupon system, where you buy individual flight-coupons which are valid for most flights offered by the carriers. Not all flights though -- some routes are not included in the program. Most other routes though, are.

Exceptions aside, coupons are valid for either a domestic or an international leg and a passenger must purchase a minimum of three coupons and a maximum of six. Most importantly, the Discovery Airpass cannot be purchased in Thailand.

All Discovery Pass coupons are priced in US dollars.

Domestic

Domestic flights within Thailand cost US$88 for an adult, $66 for a child (aged 2-11), $22 for an infant (no seat), with the following exceptions (in both directions):
Bangkok to Ko Samui, Chiang Mai to Ko Samui and Chiang Mai to Phuket each cost US$113 for an adult, $85 for a child and $29 for an infant (no seat).

Domestic flights within Laos cost US$70 for an adult, $52 for a child (aged 2-11), $17 for an infant (no seat), with the following exceptions (in both directions):
Vientiane to Pakse and Luang Prabang to Pakse each cost US$90 for an adult, $68 for a child and $23 for an infant (no seat).

International

See the Bangkok Airways website for full flight information, but most international flights cost US$120 for an adult, $90 for a child and $30 for an infant (no seat), with the following exceptions (in both directions):

Bangkok to Maldives, Ko Samui to Hong Kong, Bangkok to Bombay, Bangkok to Dhaka, Bangkok to Singapore each cost US$200 for an adult, $150 for a child, $50 for an infant (no seat).

Bangkok to Hong Kong costs US$280 for an adult, $210 for a child, $70 for an infant (no seat).

Pakse to Siem Reap costs US$80 for an adult, $60 for a child, $20 for an infant (no seat).

Berjaya Airways

All domestic and international routes cost US$65 for an adult, $49 for a child, $17 for an infant (no seat).

Taxes, fees and surcharges
Domestic flights in Thailand include fuel and insurance surcharges. The coupon price otherwise excludes taxes, airport departure fees and other charges.

Picking your dates
One of the great things about the Airpass is that the dates are flexible. All you need to do is decide on the date of your first leg and then book all the subsequent coupon dates as you travel. Note though, that some flights have few seats open for Discovery Airpass holders, so it's in your interests to settle on your dates sooner than later.

Validity and changes
Once you've used the first coupon, the last coupon must be used within two month's. The coupons are non transferable, but rerouting is permitted. A coupon rerouting will cost US$30 per change -- plus any fare difference.

Routing
Now this is important. Individual legs may not be travelled more than once in each direction and only one stopover is allowed per city. So what this means is you can fly Bangkok - Ko Samui - Bangkok, but you can't fly Bangkok - Ko Samui - Bangkok - Ko Samui.

Checking in, connection time and baggage allowance
Bangkok Airways recommends allowing at least one hour and 15 minutes connecting time between flights and you're required to be at the check-in counter at least and and a half hours prior to scheduled departure for domestic flights and at least two hours prior to scheduled departure for international flights.

The check-in counter closes 40 minutes before domestic departures and 50 minutes before international departures. Don't forget Suvarnabhumi Airport is HUGE, so allow enough time for trekking around the place.

Passengers (both adults and children) are allowed 20kg, babies get 10kg and Frequent Flyer Members get 30kg. Excess baggage attracts a charge of 1.5% of the highest applicable fare per kg -- so travel light -- or borrow your neighbours babies to beef up your allowance.

Bangkok Airways recommends reconfirmation of flights by telephone at least one day prior to departure.

Taking a browse through the Bangkok Airways website I got the following fares for departures a week from now -- the equivalent price with a Discovery Pass is in orange:

Bangkok to Phuket
US$75 -- US$88
Bangkok to Phnom Penh
US$106 -- US$120
Bangkok to Siem Reap
US$161 -- US$120
Bangkok to Trat
US$61 -- US$88
Chiang Mai to Phuket
US$144 -- US$113
Pakse to Siem Reap
US$95 -- US$120
Luang Prabang to Vientiane
US$76 -- US$70
Vientiane to Pakse
US$120 -- US$90
Luang Prabang to Hanoi
US$105 -- US$120

Savings vary considerably and in some cases the Discovery Airpass is quite a bit more expensive than what you'll get direct from the airline websites (and other low cost carriers may be even cheaper), but for some routes, notably Bangkok to Siem Reap (long a Bangkok Airways cashcow) significant savings are possible. If you do use the pass, plan to use it for very specific segments and shop elsewhere for the other tickets.

The Discovery Airpass cannot be purchased in Thailand, nor can it be purchased through the Bangkok Airways website (http://www.bangkokair.com), and while we'd heard you couldn't buy it anywhere in Southeast Asia, that may not actually be the case. Here's a list of agents that Bangkok Airways suggests you approach for the ticket.

Australia - Melbourne
Airline Marketing Australia
Level 7, 246 Bourke Street, Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
T: (61) (03) 9251 5049
F: (61) (03) 9663 6203
Email: bangkokair-mel@airlinemarketing.com.au

Australia - Perth
Airline Marketing Australia
Level 3, Singapore Airlines House, 178 St George Terrace, Perth WA 6000 Australia
T: (61) (08) 9442 6044
F: (61) (08) 9486 1930
Email: bangkokair-per@airlinemarketing.com.au

Australia - Sydney
Airline Marketing Australia
Suite 1819, Level 18, Australia Square Tower, 264 George Street, Sydney NSW 2000 Australia
T:(61) (02) 8248 0050
F: (61) (02) 9252 5217
Email: bangkokair-syd@airlinemarketing.com.au

New Zealand - Auckland
Airline Marketing New Zealand
Level 14, 120 Albert Street, Auckland, New Zealand
T: (64) 9 969 7600
F: (64) 9 969 7619
Email: bangkokair@airlinemarketing.co.nz

Czech Republic - Prague
Art of Travel Worldwide
Anny Letenské 7, Prague 2, 120 00, Czech Republic
T: (420) 224 239 250
F: (420) 224 220 414
Email: pg@artoftravelworldwide.com

France - Paris
Aviareps France 11, rue Auber 75009 Paris, France
T: (33) 1 5343 7915
F: (33) 1 5343 7919
Email: reservation@bangkokair.com.fr

Germany - Frankfurt
Bethmannstr. 58, 60311 Frankfurt/Main, Germany
T: (49 69) 133 77 565/ 566
F: (49 69) 133 77 567
Email: info@bangkokairways.de

Hungary - Budapest
Art of Travel s.r.o. Budapest Office
Ferenciek tere 2, 1053 Budapest, Hungary
T: (36) 1 328 0521
F: (36) 1 328 0521
Email: hu@artoftravelworldwide.com

Italy - Rome
SPAZIO s.r.l. Via Nazionale, 66, 00184 Rome, Italy
T: (39) 06 488 2433
F: (39) 06 488 0862
Email: bangkokair@spazio.aero

Italy - Milan
SPAZIO s.r.l. Via S. Antonio 4, 20122 Milan, Italy
T: (39) 02 5830 0646
F: (39) 02 5830 0416
Email: bangkokair@spazio.aero

Russia - Moscow
Tal Aviation Russia, Sadovo Kudrinskaya 20, 103001 Moscow, Russia
T: (7) 095 234 4074
F: (7) 095 234 4079
Email: salestalav@comail.ru

Spain - Madrid
Aviareps Espana
C/ Santa Hortensia No. 15. Oficina E., Madrid 28002, Spain
T: (34) 90 220 2212
F: (34) 91 413 6298
Email: BangkokAirways.Spain@aviareps-group.com

UK - West Sussex
Aviareps House, Gatwick Road, Crawley, West Sussex RH10 9RB England
T: (44) 1293 596 626
F: (44) 1293 596 658
Email: bangkokairways@aviareps-group.com

Maldives - Male
Surf Travel Pvt.Ltd. (General Sales Agent), H.Faalandhoshuge, Ground Floor Ameer Ahmed Magu Malé, Maldives
T: (960) 331 7117
F: (960) 332 1771
Email: bangkokair@surftravel.com.mv

Sri Lanka - Colombo
Jetwing Air (PVT ) Ltd., No 140 / A Vauxhall Street, Colombo 02, Sri Lanka
T: (94) 11 473 24561 ext. 403
F: (94) 11 473 2444
Email: bangkokair@jetwing.lk

United Arab Emirates - Dubai
Sharaf Travel, PO Box 21593, Dubai United Arab Emirates
T: +971 4 3976161
F: +971 4 3978176
Email: gsapg@sharaftravel.com

Canada - Toronto
1235 Bay St. Suite 601, Toronto, Ontario - Canada - M5R 3K4
T: 1 866 BANGKOK
F: (416) 972 0185
Email: yyz@bangkokairwaysna.com

Canada - Vancouver
1166 Alberni Street, Suite 1406, Vancouver, BC V6E 3Z3, Canada
T: 1 866 BANGKOK
F: (604) 681 8953
Email: yvr@bangkokairwaysna.com

US - Chicago
401 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 865, Chicago, IL 60611, USA
T: 1 866 BANGKOK
F: (312) 822 0048
Email: chi@bangkokairwaysna.com

US - Houston
3050 Post Oak Blvd, Suite 1320, Houston, TX 77056, USA
T: 1 866 BANGKOK
F: (713) 626 1905
Email: hou@bangkokairwaysna.com

US - Los Angeles
16250 Ventura Blvd, Suite 115, Encino, CA 91436, USA
T: 1 866 BANGKOK
F: (818) 501 2098
Email: lax@bangkokairwaysna.com

US - New York
350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 1421, New York, NY 10018, USA
T: 1 866 BANGKOK
F: (212) 279 6602
Email: nyc@bangkokairwaysna.com

Burma - Rangoon
0305, 3rd Floor, Sakura Tower, 339, Bogyoke Aung San Road, Kyaulktada Township, Rangoon, Burma
T: (95) 01 255 122
F: (95) 01 255 119
Email: rgnrrpg@bangkokair.com.mm

Cambodia - Phnom Penh
No. 61A St. 214, Sangkat Beong Rang, Khan Don Penh, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
T: (855 23) 722 545-47
F:(855 23) 725 502
Email: sales_cambodia@bangkokair.com

Cambodia - Siem Reap
571 Rd., No. 6 Phum Salakanseng, Khum Svay Damkum, Srok Khet, Siem Reap, Cambodia
T: (855 63) 965 422-3
F: (855 63) 965 424
Email: reprrpg@bangkokair.com

China - Guilin
No. 18, Binjiang Road, Guilin, Guangxi PRC 541001, China
T: (86 773) 288 0835-6
F: (86 773) 288 0833

China - Hangzhou
19th Floor Biaoli Building, No.528 Yan'an Road, Hangzhou 310006 China
T: (86 571) 8577 4571-2
F: (86 571) 8577 4573
Email: hghrrpg@bangkokair.com

China - Hong Kong
Suite 1418, Jardin House, 1 Connaught Place, Hong Kong
T: (852) 2899 2597, (852) 2899 2634
F: (852) 2537 4567
Email: hkgrrpg@bangkokair.com

China - Jinghong
No.8 Jingdexi Rd., Jinghong, Xi Shuang Banna, Yunnan, 666100, China
T: (86 691) 212 1881-2
F: (86 691) 212 1880
Email: jhgrrpg@bangkokair.com

China - Shenzhen
No.10# Shop,Shangri-la Hotel,Renminnan Road, Luohu District,Shen Zhen China
T: (86 755) 8232 1251, 8232 5252
F: (86 755) 8232 4345
Email: szxrrpg@bangkokair.com

China - Xi'an
No. B105 Pioneering Square, No.48 Keji Road, XI'AN Hi-Tech Zone, XI'AN Shaanxi P.R. China 710075
T: (86 29) 8835 0081-2
F: (86 29) 8835 0083

China - Zhengzhou
18th Floor, Weilai Building, No. 69 Weilai Road, Zhengzhou, Henan, China 450008
T: (86 371) 6562 8001-2
F: (86 371) 6562 8006

Japan - Fukuoka
6th Floor, 6th Myojo Building 1-15-2 Tenjin, Chuo-ku Fukuoka-City, 810-0001 Japan
T: (81) 092-739 6375
F: (81) 092-739 6378
Email : reservation.fuk@bangkokair.com

Japan - Hiroshima
9th Floor 6-11 Hondori, Naka-Ku, Hiroshima-City, Hiroshima 730-0035 Japan
T: (81) 82 545 5066
F: (81) 82 545 5072
Email: reservation.hij@bangkokair.com

Korea - Seoul
Korea Universal co., Ltd.
8th Floor Soonhwa Building No.5-2,
T: (82) 2 3706 3322/ 3388
F: (82) 2 319 0888
Email: kuc@koreauniversal.com

Laos - Luang Prabang
57/6 Srisawangwong Rd., District 3, Bann Xiengmuan, Luang Prabang, Laos P.D.R.
T: (856 71) 253 334
F: (856 71) 253 335

Laos - Pakse
Ban Sanamsay, Pakse Town, Champasack Province, Lao P.D.R
T: (856 31) 254 499
Email : PKZKKPG@bangkokair.com

Singapore
WISMA ATRIA Office Tower, Unit#20-02, 435 Orchard Road, Singapore 238877
T: (65) 6738 0063
F: (65) 6738 8867
Email: sinrrpg@bangkokair.com

Taiwan - Taipei
Global Aviation Service (Taiwan) Inc. 11F-2, 103, Nan-King E. Rd., Sec. 4, Taipei,
T: (886) 2 8712 2113
F: (886) 2 8712 3151
Email: gastwn@ms12.hinet.net

Vietnam - Ho Chi Minh City
Unit 103, Saigon Trade Center, 37 Ton Duc Thang Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam.
T: (+84) 8 910 4490 - 91
F: (+84) 8 910 4548
Email: sgnrrpg@bangkokair.com


About the author:
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton and he spends most of his time in Bali, Indonesia.


Read 17 comment(s)

  • Hey everyone, just wanted to specify some information about the airpass that I didn't know before travelling. While in Laos I went to a travel agent and told her I wanted to purchase one... we wanted to fly from Vientiane to Hanoi, Saigon the Phnom Penh, and Siem Reap to Bangkok due to lack on time. However, what we didn't know is that you MUST fly in and out of the same location, which makes travelling around- without backtracking- nearly impossible. In addition, using it to fly in or out of Vietnam was pretty much out of the picture (due to the airlines that it excludes, like Vietnam Air) so if you're planning to use it for Vietnam make sure it's doable before buying one.

    Hope this helps! It wasn't what we had hoped it would be, but there are certainly times when it would be useful.

    Posted by travelr on 2nd March, 2009

  • To book a pass, e-mail to one of the above adresses. Even if it's not in your country, we are arranging it through a travel agency in Belgium & flights from & to Pakse keep on getting canceled (3 times already). When I e-mailed to the french & UK office, they were able to give us more flight options, including the flights that were canceled by our travel agent.
    And last but not least, it was 25€ extra per person with our travel agent.

    Posted by pabloeskimo on 30th June, 2009

  • I called the New York number on their websitebecause the one listed here does not work.

    It was a very surreal experience to say the least. I reached a call center in India, when I asked if there was any place in New York or NA where I could physically buy the ticket the answer was "We are in India and don't know New York, you have to call this number 1866 226-4565" This was the exact nuber I had already called.

    Will now try to e-mail some of the offices.

    Posted by Nywoman on 16th July, 2009

  • Hi everyone. I've just spoken to the Perth contact mentioned above and was told that i should go to a travel agent with my itinerary and book through them. The fella was nice enough to explain that bangkok airways don't book for the other airlines and that if he were to book i would have to return to bangkok every time and it would cost more and waste time.

    Perhaps the above information should be updated seeing as other people have had similar differences.

    Hope this helps!

    Posted by Jelena on 8th October, 2009

  • A couple of questions re Discovery Pass/ASEAN Pass/Train from Bangkok to Vientiane...

    I've found different rates when trying to book the Discovery Pass via Bangkok Air versus booking the ASEAN pass through Vietnam Airlines. The carriers on both ticket deals are the same. Is the discrepancy solely in name?

    Is the only benefit of the Discovery Pass/ASEAN Pass that you can secure these fixed prices?

    Bangkok Air advertises the $60/$120 rate, but apparently that doesn't include tax? Did I just speak to someone who didn't know what they were talking about?

    Am thinking of just booking these flight legs on my own using a combination of Air Asia/Lao Airlines/Vietnam Airlines.

    Also, I have found a $170 dollar flight from Bangkok to Vientiane. Admittedly, I am trying to book at the last minute. Is this a normal rate regardless of when I would book? Also, a friend told me I might be able to secure cheaper flights on airlines from within Bangkok. True? Or, too risky given that I have limited flexibility with travel dates.

    Thanks in advance for all tips/advice/etc!

    Posted by Gabriela on 27th February, 2010

  • some of this info seems slightly incorrect, at least when i called this afternoon.

    i haven't booked anything yet - as when i called 866 bangkok, the person who i spoke to said that you must book ALL travel at that time (not just the first leg as the article states) - once all flights are decided upon, then prices can be determined.

    i will be calling tomorrow to book tickets, & will comment again with what i find out.

    Posted by rohini on 9th October, 2010

  • following up on my last posting -
    i called and booked 3 legs of travel with bangkok airlines. here is what it cost me (which is different from what is in the article).

    BKK>REP cost US$120
    CNX>USM cost US$113
    HKT>BKK cost US$88

    so you may expect to pay something different and higher than what appears in the article. this also may be because air travel in thailand during november is supposedly more expensive than at other times of the year.

    as noted in the article, there really were limited tickets on the flights. it's possible that certain flights are completely excluded from the program.

    there was also tax and a service charge applied, so the total for these 3 tickets was US$406.

    hope this helps some of you travelers out there.

    Posted by rohini on 12th October, 2010

  • Oh Air Asia also has some fabulous deals, and I must add it is worth going to one of the many travel agents in Thailand. The have all the knowledge at their finger tips. I have just saved myself over 10,000 baht traveling to Malaysia onto Bangkok, then to Phuket. All inclusive of accommodation.

    Posted by Simon Coleman on 26th November, 2010

  • I was just about to book the airpass (for flights BKK-Luang Prabang and back, plus BKK-Samui and back) when I found on Bangkok airways website discounted tariffs that actually were better value. I saved about 400 USD for the whole family (3 adults, 1 child) by booking their web special tariffs vs the airpass

    Posted by fbinder69 on 18th February, 2011

  • I have also found it difficult to get clear information about the discovery pass. I wrote to the Laos airlines to ask about it and the information was vague and amounted to one line statements 'Your flight should be connect; can't take surface flight.' I am planning three sectors.
    Hanoi to Luang Prabang
    Vientenne to Pakse
    Pakse to Siem Reap.
    However it seems (and I am not sure) that each sector must be in and out of the same place (which seems somewhat pointless). If you want to do some overland travel it appears it doesn't work. The lack available flights makes it difficult (because of the low price category) and seemingly is still going to include further costs in taxes.
    I think one is better to buy online directly which will offer more flexibility with dates.

    Posted by jaam on 25th July, 2011

  • Guys, you should really update this article. For example, Siem Reap Airways hasn't existed for years.

    Posted by sk on 25th September, 2011

  • Thanks sk for the heads up!

    Story has been updated to remove Siem Reap Airways, add Berjaya and bring the prices up to date.

    Overall it is nowhere hear as good a deal as it was when we first wrote this story, but for selected legs it is still quite a good deal.

    Posted by Stuart on 25th September, 2011

  • Great tips! Travelfish has got a place in my heart! :)

    Posted by Karinny on 27th January, 2012

  • We are Travel Agents based in Bombay.Please let us know if you have any agents in India.As No Indian Agents are flashing on your list.

    We are working on groups, so facility of Air Pass will help us.

    Looking forward to hearing from you,

    Thanks

    Posted by Mamta Shah on 25th July, 2012

  • My husband and I just purchased our Discovery Pass, and it was definitely an ordeal, but I think we are set.

    We live in the States, so we called the Bangkok Airways in Houston to inquire about it. All of the clerks we spoke with spoke poor English, and it was hard to understand, so I did a lot of repeating and clarifying.

    We purchased 3 legs: Bangkok to Siem Reap, Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang, and Luang Prabang to Haoni. As of Aug. 2012, when we booked, there was NO requirement to fly in/out of same place. I would be surprised if that policy ever existed, since it seems to defeat the purpose of this pass.

    The legs were $120. This does NOT include tax. All in, passes cost $1055 for both of us. We ended up saving about $300 all in.

    Now, after speaking to Jason (his American name, for sure) at Bangkok Air in Houston over the phone and communicating what we wanted, he emailed us a "proof" with our names, dates, destinations that would be held for 48 hours. We needed to fill out a CC authorization, and photocopy of front/back of card, and send back with confirmation.

    We had one slight change, and never received phone call back, email, etc from Jason, even though I called 2 days in a row to reach him via both methods.

    The other clerk said since Jason had started our process and would need to complete, but as we neared the end of the 48 hours, I demanded someone else help me.

    They sent change over to proof again, and we replied with thumbs up, as well with all our CC information, asking them to email back or call to confirm all was received.

    Was like pulling teeth for confirmation, but finally got something from Bangkok Air (even though 2 of our flights are on LAO air) showing we have paid. It is a regular sheet of people printed, and apparently we are to show it to the airline when we get to airport to redeem for ticket.

    Again, I think we are good, but you can bet I'll be checking as we get closer. We leave for our trip in 6 weeks.

    Hope this offered some insight to a few. I was just as confused about it before calling. Lots of conflicting info out there. Bottom line, be patient and persistent.



    Posted by stephanie on 1st September, 2012

  • Hello,

    The phone number and the email listed here is invalid. Can you tell me what company is at This address please?

    Vietnam - Ho Chi Minh City
    Unit 103, Saigon Trade Center, 37 Ton Duc Thang Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam.
    T: (+84) 8 910 4490 - 91
    F: (+84) 8 910 4548
    Email: sgnrrpg@bangkokair.com

    Thanks

    Andrea

    Posted by Andrea on 4th December, 2012

  • Looking at Discovery Pass and would be interested to hear how things went with Stephanie, or anyone who has purchased this pass successfully in the past few months

    Posted by Emily on 26th March, 2013

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