I'll be traveling around the region Jan 22 - Apr 3, and I'm wondering how far in advance I need to purchase airline tickets since I'd like to leave some flexibility in my route. Tickets I'm going to purchase:
Bangkok - Ranong (Happy Air)
Surat Thani - Chiang Mai (Nok)
Chiang Mai - Luang Prabang (Lao Air)
Luang Prabang - Hanoi (Lao Air)
Hanoi - Hue
Thanks for the help!
#1 Pghtraveller has been a member since 3/1/2013. Posts: 2
Of those the Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang and Luang Prabang to Hanoi are the ones I'd be booking in advance -- primarily as if you can't get a flight you're really stuck with international borders and slow overland transport to deal with, while if you can't get say the BKK - Ranong one you can just get a bus.
#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,738
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With respect to internal flights in Vietnam, they are really easy to get, so you don't need to worry about that leg of your journey.
Unless you're planning on travelling at an especially busy time (like Tet) you can easily buy a ticket from Hanoi to Hue a couple of days before you fly (although you may have to spend a bit more for your ticket, the cheapest deals being booked far in advance).
For example, I just checked the Vietnam Airlines website, and they have 4 flights running that route tomorrow, with seats available on all of them (and prices from approx 1million dong for the quieter flights (about $50US), to 2million dong for the busiest flight). There may also be other carriers plying that same route, who may be cheaper (haven't researched this in a while).
And as Somtam said, there's still the option of the train or bus available to you, should you decide the flights are too expensive.
Agree with the above said, book the flights with Lao Air as soon as possible, since it is a little hard to get there and away. So if these flights are booked out you have to fly on another day.
Concerning your other trips, you can always switch to train or bus. But Luang Prabang is a little tricky.
Enjoy your trip and stay flexible. I still regret to have booked flight and train to Hoi An, I really wanted to stay longer there and I guess Hue might just be the same.