Once upon a time in Japan there was little hope of flying on the cheap, except perhaps after transiting in Seoul or Taipei. But over the past ten years, Chinese airlines have steadily increased services to all parts of Asia and beyond, serving booming businesses and mainland residents enjoying leisure travel for the first time. And even more recently, Low-Cost Carriers have arrived on the long-haul Asian travel scene, with 2012 a very busy year for them in Japan.
Long a fixture in US/EUR markets, these no-frills, pay-as-you-go airlines are relatively new in Asia – particularly Japan. But with airlines/routes being added every month, it’s never been a busier and better time for budget travel (see news). Yesterday, Martin made a very good suggestion (see post) that we engage in local travel and there is certainly plenty of interest to do and see in Japan. But should you wish to venture abroad, and as long as you can get past the (not insignificant) environmental costs of air travel, the economic costs are becoming increasingly affordable – despite the high price of energy.
In addition to the daily fulfilment of teaching English to diverse and interesting students at スミス英会話長岡京, I enjoy the pleasure of recharging my batteries twice a year for two weeks at a time. This year, I got to HCMC/Phu Quoc at New Year’s and then KL/Singapore during Golden Week. Airfare was very reasonable and travel split between AirAsiaX, Tiger Airways, Air Mekong and China Southern – three LCCs and a Chinese airline. Had you told me I would be doing this ten years ago, I would have replied: “Not a chance!” Anyway, the reasons to go are a-plenty: food, history, sightseeing, beaches, tropical weather, and of course, a little rest.