Our Southeast Asian Adventure: 12 Flights, 4 Countries & 16 Days

by joeheg

Eight months ago, I started planning our visit to Southeast Asia. The trip was centered around a package tour of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia with Adventures by Disney. All of the travel arrangements during the tour were handled by Disney so my only job was to get us from Orlando to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and then home from Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Once deciding between taking Emirates or Singapore Airlines, all I needed to do was find positioning flights and book an overnight in Singapore.

During our trip, we took 12 flights over 16 days.

Delta A321 Economy Class MCO-LAX

a group of airplanes parked at an airportI booked our positioning flight to LAX using the Capital One travel portal. Our two tickets cost $477.80 and I received $300 back from the Venture X yearly travel credit. This was a typical economy-class Delta flight, so we got a drink, cookies, working Wi-Fi, and reasonable legroom.

Singapore Airlines A350-900 Business Class LAX-SIN & SIN-SFO

a plane at an airport

I booked Trans-Pacific flights in each direction using 95,000 KrisFlyer miles. It was easy to get KrisFlyer miles since Singapore Airlines is a transfer partner with AMEX, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Marriott Bonvoy. Singapore releases additional award inventory to KrisFlyer members so it’s not difficult to find award space if you’re willing to pay a little extra

The taxes on the outbound were $12.10 and $54.67 on the inbound flight. The service was slightly different on each flight but the hard product was the same.

a man and woman taking a selfie

Singapore Airlines A350-900 Regional Business Class SIN-SGN

a screen on the side of an airplane

Same plane, with different seats. This flight was part of our LAX-SIN-SGN award ticket, allowing us to transit in Singapore without clearing immigration.

Vietnam Airlines A321 Economy Class SGN-DAN & DAN-HAN

Our first two flights on our tour were domestic flights with Vietnam Airlines on A321s.

a group of people sitting in an airplane

Lao Airlines ATR-72 HAN-LPQ & LPQ-VTE

a man and woman standing in front of an airplane

We checked off several firsts with this ATR turbo-prop flight from Hanoi to Luang Prabang, Laos. We got to fly this aircraft again on our 3 segment trip from Luang Prabang to Siem Reap (Note from Sharon: those planes were so tiny that I was able to reach the overhead bin to store my own luggage [this was the bag], without any help. At 4’6″, I have never been able to do that in my entire life!).

Lao Airlines Economy Class A320 VTE-HAN

an airplane on the tarmac

I was looking forward to our flight on a Lao Airlines A320 after a good experience with their ATRs. We didn’t feel the same after flying on an older A320 to Hanoi.

Cambodia Angkor Air Economy Class A320 HAN-REP

a group of people sitting in an airplane

I had never heard about this airline until I learned we were flying with them earlier that day. After our Lao Airlines A320 flight, my expectations were low. This flight was a pleasant surprise.

This was the last flight included in our tour.

Singapore Airlines Economy Class 737-8MAX REP-SIN

an airplane on the tarmac

The first leg home. I booked our flight back to Singapore using 8,000 Aeroplan points plus 78.10 CAD. Because we booked with Aeroplan, I could only secure seats toward the back of the plane.

a row of seats with monitors on the side

I was impressed with the large IFE screens with the full KrisWorld selection of movies, TV and music. We also received a full meal service on this 2-hour flight.

United Economy Plus 757-300 SFO-MCO

a row of seats on an airplane

I paid the cash price for these flights, which were $264.70 and $275.45 (yes, the price increased after I purchased 1 seat.) I booked the tickets separately to use the $50 travelbank credit from our IHG Premier Cards and the 2x $100 air travel credit from the AMEX Platinum card. Our total OOP cost was $240.15 for the 2 tickets.

Thanks to my limited-time Silver Elite status from Bilt, I could upgrade to an Economy Plus exit row 24 hours before departure at check-in. The few extra inches of legroom were clutch to catch a nap on the flight and then to get some work done before landing.

Final Thoughts

After over 25K miles in the air, you’d think I’d want a break. That’s not going to happen as it’s less than 30 days till our next flight and we’ve got travel plans at least once a month until the end of the summer. Fortunately, none of those trips will give me the jetlag I’m suffering after being 12 hours ahead time for the past 2 weeks.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Christian February 21, 2023 - 6:12 pm

I look forward to reading the detailed reviews. I’ve never been to Laos but it’s on my radar so that interests me a great deal.

joeheg February 21, 2023 - 10:24 pm

With the people in our group, our time in Luang Prabang was the sleeper hit for our tour.


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