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internal flights, book far in advance or last minute?

Travel Forums Round the World Travel internal flights, book far in advance or last minute?

1. Posted by LadyJo (Budding Member 8 posts) 6y

Hi,
Im going travelling round south east Asia in Decemeber.
I am booking a RTW ticket from uk-oz-Nz-Singapore//overland round thailan,laos,vietnm,cambodia//thailand-Uk
i will want to fly to certain places outside of my ticket for e.g thailaand-cambodia
is it best to book these flights now or to book them as i go along, or somewhere in the middle?

also does anyone have any information on travelling using trains over borders etc? costs?how easy is it?

cheers

Jo

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2. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 1993 posts) 6y

You will have the best selection of flights and best price if you pre-book online. Dec is high season and that jacks up prices too. Bangkok Air and Lao Air have a pass that could save you some money, but it has many restrictions. The cheapest by far are the area's LCC's - Jetstar Asia, Jetstar Pacific (Vietnam) and Air Asia (largest network). Vietnam Airlines is considered to be a full fare airline, but often has excellent sale fares. It is possible to find seats last minute, but December has extra demand and prices would be expensive.

The only international trains in this area are from Singapore to Malaysia to Thailand. Vietnam has a domestic train system and tourists in Vietnam usually prefer the privately run cars attached to several of the state-run trains. (The train from China to Vietnam does not actually cross any border - passengers walk across the border and board another train).

I would use an airfare search engine like Momondo.com to find which airlines why which routes and get approx. fares, but I would book directly on each airline's website for a better deal. I have personally booked successfully on both Air Asia's site and Vietnam Air's site. Vietnam will be the only country where you'll require a pre-arranged visa, but that can also be arranged online (that visa is then put in your passport at the VN airport). Your option is to visit a Vietnamese Consulate in your country - I find the online method works very well.

[ Edit: Edited on 28-Mar-2010, at 23:24 by Daawgon ]

3. Posted by LadyJo (Budding Member 8 posts) 6y

Hi Daawgon,
That was really helpful thankyou so much!
I am going to book my rtw ticket today i think as then i can start really looking into all the nitty gritty of the trip ie booking internal flights etc.
That is great about the border trains going from Singapore-Malaysia-Thailand as this is exactly what i had wanted to do!

Also thankyou for your help on visas, so what you are saying is all the other countries i can get a visa on the border is that right? but Vietnam i have to get before i go there?

thanks so much

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4. Posted by mcguirep (Budding Member 4 posts) 6y

Yep, you need a visa for Vietnam prior to entering the country (same for China). You can get a vietnamese visa in all the other South East Asia countries at very short notice.

5. Posted by CluedIn (Budding Member 9 posts) 6y

Here is some detailed information I found surfing about the Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur train.
http://www.seat61.com/Malaysia.htm
I've not taken it, but did take the overnight from Chiang Mai to Bangkok and enjoyed my private cabin enough that I plan to do it again in November.

Since you trying to do so much in a month I agree with Daawgon -- a very insightful poster -- that you may be better off scheduling and booking in advance. If somebody had months I would suggest adding a bit more flexibility, even if it meant perhaps paying a few extra bucks for the internal flights.

6. Posted by LadyJo (Budding Member 8 posts) 6y

Thanks for your reply,
I think i confused people when i said i was going travelling in december and thats my fault sorry! i am not JUST going to be away for december. i leave for oz in december, then Newzealand in January, i will be in Singapore around february time and have about 4 months or so then to make my way round south east asia.
Thanks for the info about the trains that is great, the website was really helpful!
From speaking to a friend of mine who went travelling round SE Asia she foun it quite easy to be flexible and decide how and where she was going relatively close to departure.
But saying that all this advice is brilliant and is really helping me get a bigger picure of what i need to do!

Jo

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7. Posted by CluedIn (Budding Member 9 posts) 6y

LadyJo,
WHEW!! Glad to hear you have a LOT more time!

I have a very similiar situation with the RTW I am planning for this fall, including several weeks to explore SE Asia. I am holding off on my Air Asia flights until I get a better feel for where I want to go, and how long I want to stay there. On last year's RTW I was glad to have the flexibility to just hang out -- especially in northern Thailand -- and the Air Asia tickets were still rather reasonable even with less notice.