With the onset of winter for most of the northern hemisphere, many are wondering how long the problem will be in Thailand and what options for flights to Asia Cheap they can use to continue to have the much-needed winter break warning in Asia.
When looking for cheaper flights to Asia, I make a point of checking at several airports and several airlines. Invariably, if you are leaving the US from Los Angeles (LAX) or San Francisco (SFO) and many times from Seattle, the best bets are China Air and Eva Air and recently it looks like Asiana Air, which also offers some really cheap flights to Bangkok if you estimate miles frequencies for flights in your calculations.
Today, the best choice I see as an option to Bangkok Thailand for cheap flights is Singapore. KL and Singapore are a bit more expensive to fly in early February, with a stay of two to three weeks. I got rates that were $ 50 higher for Singapore and a little more for KL. Before the current situation, I was looking at these two airports and was rewarded several times with cheaper flights outside Asia. For a while, I even flew from Bangkok to Singapore with a 2 hour release and then back to Bangkok to catch a cheap flight from Southeast Asia.
Saigon is also the one I check. At the last moment I flew out of Saigon, which was several hundred dollars cheaper than the usual routes. The big problem with Vietnam is that you need to have a visa before you get there, and if you transit in both directions, they make you buy two visas and you can't get them at the same time, a big pain in the seat, you can also check out Tokyo, but budget carriers aren't players in this market, so the big guys can have it. Hong Kong also looks expensive without being exposed to Air Asia, Tiger Air or Cebu Pacific, which are the best to limit the cost of traveling to Asia on the cheapest flights.
So for the winter season, if you were to take a pass to Thailand this year, where would you travel instead? I would watch Cambodia, the Philippines and Vietnam. Cambodia is now one of the safest countries in the region if you ignore road accidents. The beaches of Sihanoukville now offer everything you can get in Thailand, and they are excited to have you there. Vietnam also has a problem with road accidents, but it is also very safe for tourists, but not as friendly and a little more expensive. The Philippines has a lot of crime in the cities, but if you are on the beaches, you are more likely to spend great because the locals are very friendly and the prices are reasonable outside their high season, which I think is more about the hotel owners, not the number of tourists. There has been a lot of press about the troubles in the southernmost islands, but people I know who have traveled there recently say it's old news.
I would also really look hard in Indonesia, except for the fact that they are in their monsoon season. Those who disagree with the Myanmar (Burma) boycott would also be on my list. Northern Malaysia would be on my list if I was looking mostly for beaches. The Perth Islands offer some of the cheapest beach resorts in Asia. All of these choices offer relative safety, lots of culture and cheap prices.
Before this crisis, there was a burn in Thailand as the cost of staying there continued to climb and there was no increase in value. Bali compared to Phuket for a good head-to-head comparison, if you are on a tight budget, Bali is a much better business with more culture and with the exception of the internet, much better infrastructure. The only major negatives in Indonesia are visas and traffic police, which see foreigners as mobile ATMs. If you make the mistake of complaining that they are being unfairly targeted, they double or triple the normal "money for tea", which only aggravates tourists. If you are very concerned about safety, Bali is the safest place in Asia.
Many choices will be interesting to look back at at the end of the winter season to see how this develops. Everyone hopes that Thailand will return to normal to make all this controversial.