From America to Thailand:  

I recently have been going through the process again of getting roundtrip plane tickets from America to Thailand again.  My mom is coming to visit us for the first time, so we are pretty excited about it!

Got me thinking about the process of traveling to Thailand and so I wanted to share my way with you.

My way is possibly not the easiest but I try to make it the most cost effective, especially when I travel with three other people or more in our group.

Cheap Domestic Flight:

My first step is to find a cheap domestic flight within the US to Los Angeles.

Bangkok Airport by Trey Ratcliff (CC) See more at http://www.stuckincustoms.com

I have tried San Francisco with some success as well, but LAX is my first “go to” hub.  This is not because its the nicest, but because its usually the easiest to fine good deals to Asia.  I try to search many comparison web sites to get the best deal, but I always end back up at Orbitz.com.

To Los Angeles or San Francisco:

From LAX, I try to find an International carrier going to Bangkok.  In the past I would use EVA airlines, but the best deals recently have been coming through China Airlines (not to be confused with Air China).  They have a real easy to use web site and I am able to search through the best possible schedules and prices pretty easily.

Their flights usually leave just after midnight.  This means that if I travel domestically to LAX on the 1st, I will leave LAX just after midnight on the 2nd.  Make sense?  So, be sure to double check your times and dates.

That flight usually lays over for a bit in Taiwan if you are on China Airlines.  Then you switch planes, take off again, and arrive in Bangkok.

Arriving Bangkok or Passing Through:

Arriving in Bangkok can be tricky if its not your final destination.  Many times the cheapest flights arrive at 1:30 in the morning or so. If you want, you can get a cab to a nearby hotel.  I use Agoda Hotels to find the best deals in Asia. Metered taxis are lined up at the airport to take you where you need to go once you exit the airport.  Ignore the “touts” and find the official taxi line.

But mostly to save money, I just stay in the airport and kick back for a few hours until the first 6:30 am flight, in our case, to Chiang Mai.

To fly to Chiang Mai, I use Air Asia.  The flights are the least expensive even after they tack on all of their fees; especially for baggage, seat selection, food, and optional travel insurance (which I don’t buy).  The flight takes a measly hour or so.

If you don’t fly from Bangkok, you have two options: bus or train.  If I use the bus to Chiang Mai, I go Nakhon Chai Air First Class out of their own little bus station or the big Mo Chidt Station. The one I use leaves sometime around 9:00 pm and arrives in Chiang Mai the next day at 6:30 am.  Seats do fill up fast so buy your tickets asap.  Schedules here.

I have not used the train yet, but my friends like it.  They get a sleeper train, usually first class.  But be aware that the train takes longer and is frequently delayed.

Total Time Traveling:  

From the South or Eastern part of America to Chiang Mai Thailand, the whole process takes about 36 hours total with layovers and wait time.  So my mom will leave early Saturday morning and will arrive in Chiang Mai early Monday morning.

You lose time coming into Thailand, but you gain it on the way back.

Total Costs:

The whole amount this time was $1395.25 (could be more or a less depending on the season) round trip.  This is a good lower average though.

  • Air Asia from Bangkok to Chiang Mai: 4553 bht or $146.25 Total (all fees included + one paid for checked bag)
  • China Airlines from Los Angeles to Bangkok: $947.50 Total (all fees included)
  • Delta Airlines from New Orleans to Los Angeles: $302.10 Total (all fees incl.- Delta checked bags all the way to Bangkok with no additional baggage fees because it was an international flight & they have an agreement with China Air)

If you have done this route from America to Thailand and back, what are your insights?  

What kind of deals do you find and where?  Tell us something that you find helpful by leaving a comment below.  Got questions, let us know and we will see if we can answer them.

Maybe we will see you in the future!

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