Asia Pacific is reopening to international tourism

Asia Pacific region is finally on the road to full recovery, welcoming back foreign travelers from around the world. Most countries in the region have fully reopened borders to all international short-term visitors — lifting travel restrictions and easing tourist visa requirements. As the build-back of global travel demand continues apace, tourist inflows are trending up in Australia, India, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand. Some of the world’s most beloved travel destinations — Bali, Bangkok, Dubai, Hong Kong, Maldives, and Sydney — are now open for everyone, quarantine-free. In many cases, even pre-departure and on-arrival Covid tests are not required anymore.

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Arriving in Asia Pacific

  • If you are flying to Asia Pacific from abroad, you will most likely land at one of its biggest international airports — Bangkok BKK, Beijing PEK, Delhi DEL, Dubai DXB, Ho Chi Minh City SGN, Jakarta CGK, Hong Kong HKG, Kuala Lumpur KUL, Manila MNL, Seoul ICN, Singapore SIN, Shanghai PVG, Taipei TPE, and Tokyo. These are also the best (and the cheapest) airports to fly into Asia Pacific. As they are used by many airlines serving the same routes, the competition for passengers is fierce – with decreased airfare as a result.
  • If you are flying to Asia Pacific from abroad, you will most likely land at its biggest international airport — Bangkok BKK, Beijing PEK, Delhi DEL, Dubai DXB, Ho Chi Minh City SGN, Jakarta CGK, Hong Kong HKG, Kuala Lumpur KUL, Manila MNL, Seoul ICN, Singapore SIN, Shanghai PVG, Taipei TPE, and Tokyo.
  • Once in Asia Pacific, take advantage of frequent flights between the major cities via local carriers such as Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, EVA Air, Garuda Indonesia, Hong Kong Airlines, Korean Air, Philippine Airlines, SriLankan Airlines, Thai Airways, and Vietnam Airlines. To check flight schedules/prices and to book the tickets, visit their official websites — OTAs and metasearch engines often don’t have access to the flight repository of smaller domestic airlines.
  • Planning to explore the region? Popular destinations near Asia Pacific can be easily reached with regional low-cost airlines by the likes of AirAsia, Air India Express, Batik Air, Cebu Pacific, IndiGo, Jetstar Airways, Lion Air, Nok Air, Royal Jordanian, Scoot, and VietJet Air. These budget carriers (AKA no-frills airlines) offer flights at lower prices compared to major full-service airlines, but may not provide free baggage allowance, inflight meals, or onboard entertainment systems.
Best airports to fly into Asia Pacific: Bali (Denpasar) DPS, Bangkok BKK, Beijing PEK, Delhi DEL, Dubai DXB, Jakarta CGK, Hong Kong HKG, Kuala Lumpur KUL, Seoul ICN, Singapore SIN, Taipei  TPE, and Tokyo HND
Airports of Asia Pacific (click the map to open Google Maps view) Asia Pacific has hundreds of international airports, many of which are among the world’s busiest, serving tens of millions of passengers every year – Bali (Denpasar) DPS, Bangkok BKK, Beijing PEK, Delhi DEL, Dubai DXB, Jakarta CGK, Hong Kong HKG, Kuala Lumpur KUL, Seoul ICN, Singapore SIN, Taipei TPE, and Tokyo HND. As in any country, airports with the largest volume of flights are located near major cities – about 10 to 20 kilometers from the city center – with public transport and airport shuttle service available. These are hubs for major Asian airlines, with large passenger terminals, first class lounges, shops, and restaurants.

Tips, tricks & hacksfor flying to Asia Pacific

Book a seat in a quiet zone

Some airlines (for example AirAsia X) start to offer child-free "quiet zones" for a peaceful flight experience. Children below 10 years old are not allowed in this section. Those seats are usually located in front of the plane (bonus: less noise from the engines) with soft ambient lighting and early meal service.

Alcoholic drinks

If you enjoy having a beer or a drink during the trip, you may think about it in advance. Some Islamic countries, such as Malaysia or Indonesia, have completely dry airports, especially if you are taking a domestic flight. Also, if your route is served by Air Arabia, Air Asia Malaysia, or Turkish Airlines (domestic flights) the inflight menu will not have alcoholic drinks available for purchase.

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Flights to Asia Pacific fromUnited States and Canada

  • There are no direct flights from the US or Canada to Asia Pacific. However, most major hubs in Asia have non-stop flights to Asia Pacific, as do some larger airports in the Middle East – your journey will have at least one stop. There are numerous direct flights to destinations in Asia — you can fly direct to China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam and others.
  • Flights to Asia Pacific with one or more stops depart from most major North American airports, including Atlanta ATL, Dallas DFW, Denver DEN, Chicago ORD, Los Angeles LAX, Las Vegas DFW, Miami MIA, Seattle SEA, Houston IAH, New York JFK, and San Francisco SFO in the United States and Toronto YYZ, Vancouver YVR, Calgary LAS, and Montreal YUL in Canada.
  • For long-haul flights, the type of aircraft you choose can make a huge difference to your overall comfort on board – especially if you’re flying economy. The best aircraft have comfier seats with more legroom, WiFi, superior entertainment systems, and a better passenger experience in every cabin in general. When booking a flight to Asia Pacific, look for the airlines that use wide-body planes designed for long-haul flights, such as Airbus A350 (best choice), A380, A320neo, or Boeing 767, 777, and 787 Dreamliner.
  • American Airlines, Air CanadaANA, Delta Air Lines, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Malaysia AirlinesSingapore Airlines, and United Airlines are among the best airlines that operate flights from the US and Canada to Asia Pacific. They are leading full-service carriers offering high-quality service, good flight comfort, and a generous baggage allowance.

Asia Pacific from US & Canada
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Tips, tricks & hacks(continued)

Book your flights in the local currency

Airfares that a flight search engine or airline website quotes you often vary depending on where you book from. Try to spoof your location and currency so that it looks like you're booking the flight from the same country it departs from. For example, if you are in the US and booking a leg of your trip from Tokyo to Bangkok, set the country on the airline website to Japan and the currency to Japanese yen (JPY).

This simple trick doesn't work every time (not all websites set prices the same way), but it can sometimes save you significant money.

Avoid currency exchange kiosks at airports

Airports are infamous for making an exuberant amount of money from their currency exchanges due to the extremely high margins, and Asian airports are no exception. Airport kiosks usually charge higher fees which are sometimes hidden within the poorer exchange rates they offer – their business is based on charging extra for being a convenient, last-minute option.

Plan ahead and exchange some money at home to get the currency of the country you are traveling to.

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