I plan on going to SE Asia for 10 weeks starting mid June from the US. I have decided to take the route listed here on this site for Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand. The only thing is that I plan to start in Hanoi and end in Bangkok (after visiting the south Thailand beach islands). I have decided to take the following route, although not the exact timeline.
My questions for all the seasoned veterans out there is this: Should I fly directly into Hanoi from the US and then back home from Bangkok, as opposed to in and out of Bangkok?
My friend is telling me it's better to fly into Bangkok, but the flight price is only about $100 coming into Hanoi.
Any advice on the flight or other aspects you can think of is greatly appreciated.
#1 melee75 has been a member since 25/5/2011. Posts: 15
For me flying into Hanoi is over $700 more from my (major) airport. You need to check the costs and the cost from BKK to Hanoi. Saving a few hundred bucks means a LOT in SEAsia.
I always fly out of NYC and in the months before I leave I always scour the web for fares to/from all major airports in the region, and I've found Hanoi to be consistently more expensive to fly in/out of than Saigon, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur or Singapore. So, I'd educatedly guess that the cheapest way to do this itinerary would be to buy a roundtrip to/from Bangkok and a one-way from BKK to Hanoi on Air Asia leaving shortly after your arrival in BKK, perhaps the same day (in June Air Asia is offering promos of this flight for just over US $60). Then you'll be able to end off in BKK and fly home from there, saving the usually extreme cost of buying two one-way flights in and out of the region. If you do happen to find a cheaper roundtrip to/from Hanoi you could just flip the itinerary around, catch a one-way on Air Asia from Hanoi to BKK (around $75), and end off in Hanoi.
Hope that helps. That's a pretty awesome itinerary - enjoy!
My original itinerary included a few days in Tokyo, then fly into Singapore and hang in Indonesia/ Maylasia for a week or two, then off to Viet, Cam, Laos, Thai. But seeing as I have only ten weeks and am a SE Asia rookie, I think just doing the last four would give me more time to really enjoy it.
The reason why I wanted to fly into Hanoi is so I can end off in Bangkok and then spend my last few weeks there and the beaches in southern Thailand. My friend advised me to just do a round trip in and out of Bangkok becasue it would be cheaper and I would meet more travellers there to start off, but for some reason the roundtrip Bangkok flight would only be $60 - $100 cheaper than my Hanoi - Bangkok option (and I've checked everything including substituting Saigon which would be more expensive).
I think the weird prices might be due to the fact that I'm booking so late (trip would be in two and half weeks), and everything I'm looking at is in the $1300 - $1450 range right now. Or maybe the flights from the west coast (I can fly from LA or SF) are priced very differently from NY.
Anyways, thanks everyone for your help/ advice, and if there's anything else you want to add/ advise please let me know...
#5 melee75 has been a member since 25/5/2011. Posts: 15
Yeah if it's only that much more to fly to/from Hanoi then you might as well. The fares are more expensive this summer than I've ever seen (usually it's significantly cheaper from the west coast than NYC)... Chalk it up to oil prices/mideast unrest I suppose?
But (sorry can't resist), if you are in fact going to take the suggestion of the Air Asia flight anyway, you could still fly to/from Bangkok, start from there and speed up your travel by 10 days or so, so that you get to Hanoi before the end of your trip, then fly back to BKK and take the end of your trip in Thailand. That way you'd still get to end it in Thailand as you want, and would save the extra money and get the other benefits of starting in Bangkok.
I do have to agree with your friend in regard to which is a better place to start... Besides it being cheaper in terms of flights, Bangkok is also a slightly easier place to meet other travelers, and in general for a rookie to SE Asia it's a much less stressful place to get your first taste of the region... Don't get me wrong - I love Hanoi and Vietnam in general, but it can be a little intense compared to laid back Bangkok. Just getting the taxi from the Hanoi airport can be a little stressful (if you do land there beware of taxi driver scams, only take marked and metered taxis and always negotiate beforehand, and be very clear!) while it's quite easy in Bangkok where the taxi system is exceptional and scamming less common.
But hey, do what you feel. Both will be a culture shock, but if you want a more intensely compounded culture shock then go with Hanoi.
Either way, keep a sense of humor and enjoy it.
As a rookie...I would def do BAngers first! I know it seems backward but we are talking from experience. Bkk is sooooo much easier and friendlier to a newbie. If you have any Tokyo questions PM me. Lived 7 years there.