Usin planes to get around

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1. Posted by kmsimmonds (Budding Member 10 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

Hi. My wife and I are going to SE Asia for the first time in November. Singapore / Kuala Lumpur / Vietnam etc Is it easy enough to go to the airports and hop on a plane (like Vietjet or Malindo etc) rather than book in advance ... so that we're not tied to a definite time and date ?
When we get to Ho Chi Minh, can we get a personal guide or driver to take us to see the Mekong Delta and floating markets for a couple of days ? Then get a plane to, lets say, Da Nang and do the same ? Glad of any help. Its our first time and we're really excited about it.

2. Posted by hasbeen (Travel Guru 1260 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

Within a country it should be easy enough & you can always use the internet to see flights & seat availability beforehand too.

Though hopping from country to country on a whim sounds good in theory, you should first check the visa requirements for each country you intend visiting .. no point turning up at the airport if they will not allow you to board the plane for lack of paperwork. And some countries may require booked travel out of the country too.

Steve

3. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 1156 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

You'll save money by booking ahead. Even so, some fares are reasonable even if you don't purchase in advance.

You may find that tickets for domestic flights in Vietnam will be cheaper if bought there.

You'll have no problems finding a guide and/or driver in Vietnam. Just ask at your hotel or hostel. Or take a day tour. There are many available.

It's always wise to think one or two steps ahead of where you are going. That way, you can begin looking at fares and destinations, so when you're ready to go, you'll know what the ballpark prices are; and the logistics of getting from one place to another.

Travel in Southeast Asia is relatively easy. If you're 60 years or older you may be eligible for discounted travel, including trains. I traveled by train from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore and got a 50 percent senior discount. It always pays to ask if discounted fares are available, even if you're not a senior.

4. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 2249 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

How long will you be on this multi-country trip?

Yeah, good idea to research visa requirements ahead of time. If you can enter a country without paying for a visa depends on the passport you will enter with. Sometimes you must already have a departing flight booked to even leave the first airport. (Proof of onward travel.) Depending on where you begin from the airline reps may ask if you have a visa.

You might be able to get a plane ride on the same day but it would be better to know for sure. Besides booking rides using the internet with a couple days notice local travel agencies in major cities you are visiting probably could book a plane ride for you. (With your laptop you can verify any flights you book.)

For your final flight home (probably an expensive flight home if flying long distance) don't try to arrive at the airport at the last minute from some city far from departure airport. You should be at a departure airport at least 2 hours ahead of time plus time allowed for travel to airport.

If the only flight you can get arrives late at night it is a good idea to have a hotel to head for instead of randomly knocking on doors. If you ask for hotel help always include a nightly price range.

I don't know if you planned on using a lot of one way flights or not. Within Asia not so bad but if coming long distance from somewhere like N. America or Europe compare round trip vs buying 2 one way flights. It might be cheaper to return to first arrival city with a round trip ticket. Do the math!

If you arrive in Asia using a full service airline usually your weight allowance is more generous than when you use a smaller discount airline. If your bags are too big or weigh too much you pay extra for exceeding their limits.

Air Asia might have some flights going where you want to go. You can get a rough idea of prices for comparison anyway.
http://www.airasia.com/us/en/home.page?cid=1

Singapore is the most expensive country on your list unless you only use luxury hotels then you probably won't notice the difference. From Singapore, through Malaysia and on to Thailand there is long distance rail service. (Google "Man in Seat 61" for information.)

Yes, often you can sign on to tours when you are in a city long enough. Fly in and want something same day might work but visiting a travel agency or using the hotel tour desk a day before usually works!

Good luck.

[ Edit: Edited on 09-Jun-2017, at 13:54 by karazyal ]

5. Posted by hasbeen (Travel Guru 1260 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

For what to expect when you try to get your own guide or driver, a search in https://www.viator.com/ for Ho Chi Minh will give you lots of choices & also an idea of maximum prices, length of tours etc .. I would expect you could find cheaper when you are actually there.

6. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 1156 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

If flying, please be aware that some cities are served by more than one airport. It's important to know which one. For example, in Bangkok, the discount airlines, such as Thai AirAsia, use Don Mueang International Airport (DMK) instead of Suvarnabhumi (BKK).

7. Posted by Borisborough (Moderator 1306 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

There's a free shuttle bus between DMK and BBK in Bangkok; every 30 minutes from 5am to midnight and every 12 minutes between 8am and 11am and between 4pm and 7pm. With light traffic, the journey takes about 45 minutes - I have no idea how long it'd be in heavy traffic. You have to have proof that you have booked a flight leaving from the other airport and it could save some time if you have already checked in for the second flight. I'd only do it if I had at least 4 hours between flights.

8. Posted by kmsimmonds (Budding Member 10 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

Thanks for all those replies. For once they really have been helpful. Well be over there for just short of a month, and have a return ticket to the UK. I would guess that woill do as proof of a departing flight. I cant seem to get a straight answer though to visa requirement yet, some sites say yes, some say no. I'' keep trying though. Thanks again.

9. Posted by hasbeen (Travel Guru 1260 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

This is a good starting point for visas https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice ... from there you can go to the actual embassy for current info & to apply.

Your ticket is into a country, Vietnam say, & out of the same country .. so that is Proof of Onward Travel .. Proof you are leaving THAT country. If you then go to Laos, you do not have Proof of travel out of THat country .. In view of your return ticket, that may be a problem, it may not. Sorry to be so vague but there is no way of knowing how the immigration / visa people will look at it.
What it boils down to is they want to be sure you do not intend staying beyond your entitlement,

Steve

[ Edit: Edited on 10-Jun-2017, at 02:58 by hasbeen ]

10. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 1156 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

Your return ticket to the UK should be sufficient proof of onward travel; and you shouldn't encounter any difficulties. In more than four decades of travel, I've only been asked to show proof twice: On arrival in Manila; and while checking in for a Malaysia Airlines flight from Kuala Lumpur to Hanoi.

It's essential to know and understand visa, entry and exit requirements. For that, Steve has provided an excellent link. The U.S. State Department provides a similar service for its citizens. I consult it often, since entry requirements do change. For those who plan to visit Vietnam and Laos, the State Department provides this additional advice on its Vietnam page:

"If you plan to travel from Vietnam to Laos by land, you should request that an adhesive visa be affixed to your passport instead of a detachable one. Lao immigration officials require proof that travelers have departed Vietnam, something that can only be shown with an adhesive visa. Vietnamese officials remove detachable visas from passports when travelers depart Vietnam, leaving travelers with no proof of their Vietnam departure. This situation can result in Lao officials requiring travelers to return to Vietnam."

You'll have a wonderful month in Southeast Asia. It's a favorite destination for millions of visitors each year, for good reason.