While Japan is a country with a rich cultural heritage and a never-ending list of sightseeing attractions, sometimes it is necessary to have a change of pace. While most tourists will not spend more than two weeks in the nation, for the foreigners who have extended visits, the plethora of temples, miles of shopping, and intensely bright neon gets a little tired. While researching a quick escape from Japan for the past few weeks, I stumbled upon many airlines that can whisk the weary soul from Japan and plant them in a new and exotic Asian destination for as little as $20 each way. Below is a brief guide to securing cheap travel out of Japan and throughout Asia.
The key to finding the best deals are to absolutely, no questions asked, avoid travel sites like Expedia, Orbitz, Cheap Tickets, or any other website that bundles searches for reservations. These sites exclude discount airlines, often allowing the best deals to sail right under the nose of the average traveler. Instead, do an online search for Asian discount airlines that fly to your target region of Asia. While Asia may not have the same incredibly cheap and accessible flights as Europe, many budding “low cost carrier” airlines have sprouted up in the last five years.
For the cheapest flights out of Japan, unfortunately one must travel to the major hub of Osaka-Kansai Airport, or lesser so to Tokyo-Narita Airport. Most Asian discount airlines fly into Osaka, and easily carry travelers to most Asian destinations, even going as far as Australia and New Zealand. Whether flying out of Osaka, or another Asian hub be sure to search for Air Asia, Jet Airways, Jetstar, Peach, and Skymark. These airlines rank highest in quality and safety of Asian low-cost carriers and serve hundreds of cities. A quick search of the websites of Air Asia, Jet Airways, and Jetstar Airways will reveal unbelievably cheap flights from Osaka to large and mid-sized cities in Southeast Asia.
Some of the best deals I found were on Air Asia. A flight nonstop from Osaka to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (about a six hour journey) was only $100 one-way. As Air Asia is based in Kuala Lumpur, the city is a key jumping off point to cities throughout the region, specifically Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam. Flights from Kuala Lumpur to nearby Singapore were only $20 one-way, and flights to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Jakarta, Indonesia, and Bangkok, Thailand were about $60 one-way. One of the most intriguing flights was the three-times-daily flight from Kuala Lumpur to the Sultanate of Brunei. Known around the world for its incredible wealth and personable sultan, one can fly to Brunei for only $20 one-way from Kuala Lumpur.
As for domestic flights in Japan, Skymark and Peach offer strikingly low prices to major Japanese cities. As of this year, Peach also offers $50 flights to Seoul, South Korea, and $88 flights to Hong Kong.
My escape of choice: Seoul, South Korea. Stay tuned for my experiences in my next article!