Hi guys & girls,
Myself and a friend wish to fly from somewhere in Europe in early June 2008 (we'll have an interrail pass so getting to wherever won't be a problem. Flight to Northern China. Beijing being the obvious choice, however we were wondering if there is a cheaper route / airport to fly to in China. Also, which airport(s) are best in Europe.
Cross posted to the Asia board.
Thanks very much for your advice!
ps. It finally feels like everythings falling into place!!!!!!
If price is the main concern, consider Hong Kong.
You can fly from London Gatwick to Hong Kong with Oasis Hong Kong airlines for 206gbp inc all taxes. From Hong Kong, you then have a number of options. You can fly direct to Beijing (lots of flights), cross the border to Shenzhen and fly to Beijing (slightly more hassle, but cheaper), go via Macao (often cheaper than HK, and direct boat connections from HK Airport to Macao), or get the night train from HK to Beijing, which is direct and non stop (24hours) and departs every other day for 75usd.
Cheaper still is to get a train from Hk to Lo Wu (the border), then walk across to Shenzhen and get a train from there to Beijing. More options are available by going via Guangzhou (bus or train from HK, or Shenzhen). You can book tickets in Hong Kong directly (thus cheaper than doing it from Europe beforehand).
There are also a number of other offers which come up for flights to HK from London (in particular) and so if you book far enough in advance, you should be able to find something. Beijing will be more expensive, but depending on your specific needs, it might be worth you to save 100-200usd and fly direct to Beijing than the cheaper but longer trip via HK.
It is also often cheaper to fly via somewhere you wouldn't necessarily think of (Moscow, Istanbul, Dhaka in Bangadesh and Doha in Qatar, for example) on connecting flights than it is to go direct
Sorry, I should have clarified. I will be in mainland Europe not the UK.
I'm thinking perhaps France or Germany would be best to fly from? We initially wanted to end up in Italy & fly from there - worth a thought??
Frankfurt-Beijing is 550 EUR with Air China. Cheapest standard fare with all other airlines for this route is 600 EUR.
Frankfurt is a good choice to fly from, but check wether you might not be able to get a 600 EUR fare to Beijing from Rome.
And despite what you said about departing from Europe, it might still work out cheaper to fly Europe-London-(via HK or direct)Beijing, though take into account transfer costs if you need to switch in London
To take maia's example, you could fly with BA from Frankfurt Main to London Gatwick for 65euros, then to Hong Kong with Oasis for 270 euros, and on to Beijing by direct train for 55euro, a total of under 400 euros. That will be cheaper again if you change trains in Shenzhen or Guangzhou, and you can probably fly Frankfurt-LGW cheaper for less than that BA price (i just plonked it into BA, didn't look anywhere else).
And you can fly Easyjet from Rome to LGW for 33euros (inc taxes), which puts Rome-Beijing (via Gatwick and Hong Kong) at just over 350euros
So you save 150-200euros on a direct Beijing flight, though it will (obviously) take you longer. It all depends if price, simplicity or time is most important for you
[ Edit: Edited on Feb 4, 2008, at 8:54 AM by Gelli ]
Gelli is right. Oasis is the best way to do it, especially if you want one-way.
The 550 EUR with Air China however is return, if this is a concern.
Try flying from Belgium. Search online for tour packages from brussels: I was going to go, but I wasn't able to do it for personal reasons. It's like 1500 Euro, but I don't remember pretty well...