Thinking about vacationing in Asia this year? International travel can sometimes be prohibitively expensive, which is why it pays to know the ins and outs of finding affordable airfare. As a serial traveler who’s spent more than his fair share of time exploring the Far East, no one understands that better than I do. That’s why I’ve put together this helpful guide pointing you toward the cheapest places to fly to in Asia!
Comprising a whopping 48 countries, including China, Vietnam, India, the Philippines, and more, Asia is one of the most culturally diverse continents on Earth. From beautiful natural landscapes and centuries-old shrines to lively metropolises and luxurious resorts (not to mention some of the most beautiful islands in the world), there’s so much to see and do, it’s impossible to get bored.
Everywhere you go in Asia has its own unique personality, history, and charm. It’s no wonder, then, that it’s such a popular bucket list destination for travelers of all backgrounds. Even if you’ve come to know one place like the back of your hand, the next spot you travel to will undoubtedly be full of surprise and delight.
#1 tip for finding the cheapest flights to Asia
Want to know how to find affordable airfare to anywhere in the world? Before getting into my recommendations for cities with the cheapest airports in Asia, first I want to share a quick tip on how to save money on airfare.
For the past two years, I’ve been using Going to find cheap flights to Asia from USA, and it’s allowed me to find ridiculously cheap flights. Don’t take my word for it, though; try it yourself. All you have to do is type in your preferred departure airport and your final destination and they’ll send mistake fares and other extra cheap flight deals directly to your inbox for FREE!
In 2022, Going’s email alerts helped me save thousands of dollars in airfare tickets– including most recently, a $672 roundtrip flight from Boston to Indonesia. On average, I save between $300-500 roundtrip on selected flight routes thanks to Going. If you’re a frequent traveler like yours truly, consider upgrading to a premium membership for just $49 a year.
Best of all, if you use my discount code Jon20, you’ll save 20% when you join!
Considerations when looking at the cheapest places to fly to in Asia
Ready to explore the busy streets of South Korea’s capital? Maybe you’re looking forward to digging into the colorful cuisine of Taiwan or shopping the artisan boutiques of Malaysia. To help you achieve your travel goals, we’ve scoured data from major airports all across the world. We now bring you 8 of the cheapest flights to Asia from the USA.
Worried about having to fly from a small airport? No problem. In most cases, you’ll be connecting through a larger US hub like before you make your way to Asia. That said, please remember that prices vary depending on your point of departure. Flight from East Coast regions like New York City or Philadelphia to places like China or the Philippines may be pricier than West Coast cities like San Francisco or Dallas.
No matter where you’re taking from, one thing is certain: the destinations listed below are some of the very best deals for anyone planning a trek through the Far East. More importantly, these aren’t just the cheapest Asian countries to visit. They’re also among the most beautiful, enriching, and fun tourist hotspots in the whole world.
Seoul, South Korea
Where better to kick off your Eastern journey than in the most livable city in all of Asia? Of course, I’m talking about Seoul, South Korea. In addition to being the nation’s capital, Seoul offers a unique blend of centuries-old tradition, modern luxury, and cutting-edge tech innovation.
No slouch in its own right is Seoul’s Incheon International Airport (ICN). It has been rated the fourth-best airport in the world by Skytrax. When you exit the terminal upon arrival, you’ll marvel at the sight of the city’s sleek, shiny skyscrapers. They loom above ancient Buddhist sites like Bongeun Temple, whose serene splendor dates all the way back to 794 AD.
Once you’re done achieving inner peace, there are plenty of fun and fascinating attractions to find. Inside the city, you can browse local art galleries, traditional tea shops, and scrumptious street food vendors in the tourist-friendly Insadong neighborhood. Or take a stroll through scenic Olympic Park. As the name implies, this was the site of the 1988 Olympics. Today, it’s home to both an extensive sculpture garden and the SOMA Museum of Art.
Feeling adventurous? A short drive from Seoul, you can take a guided tour of the Korean Demilitarized Zone, which separates South Korea from its northern cousin. As one of the last active relics of the Cold War, it is a living piece of international history. Definitely not something you’ll ever experience during a “staycation.”
Hong Kong, China
Being that China is one of the biggest countries in Asia, it should come as no surprise that it boasts a wealth of appealing attractions, from the placid banks of Victoria Harbour to the sights and sounds of its street markets. What may be a surprise, however, is that it’s also one of the cheapest places to fly to in Asia. Hong Kong, in particular, is as affordable as it is enthralling.
You’ll likely get your first taste of the region’s distinct personality when you arrive at Hong Kong International Airport (HKG). Just as HKG is one of the busiest airports in the world, the city itself is one of the most popular travel destinations on the continent. The streets are packed with locals and tourists alike, which is why it helps to have an itinerary.
To get the most out of your vacation, I recommend starting in the village of Ngong Ping, a gorgeous preserved showcase of traditional Chinese architecture dotted with tourist-friendly shops and cafes. Afterward, stop by the nearby monastery of Po Lin to show respect at its hugely famous (and famously huge) Tian Tan Buddha statue.
One of my favorite things to do in Hong Kong is to take a cruise along the Yangtze River. Stretching out over nearly 4,000 miles, the Yangtze is one of the longest rivers in the world, behind only the Nile and the Amazon. It’s also one of the most gorgeous, offering stunning views of the scenic Three Gorges.
Looking for the cheapest places to fly to in Asia that have more of an equatorial flavor? Indonesia is home to the second largest tropical forests in the world after Brazil, and it enjoys a warm, sunny climate. It’s also home to the vibrant city of Jakarta, a diverse melting pot of cultures and attractions well worth visiting.
The most affordable airport servicing Jakarta is Soekarno–Hatta International Airport (CGK), which has seen rapid expansion in recent years to accommodate the growing number of tourists discovering this hidden gem.
Some travelers are drawn to the enchanting aromas of the street food vendors of Pasar Baru Market. Others are captivated by the architectural majesty of Istiqlal Mosque, the largest structure of its kind in Southeast Asia. Then there are those visitors who become engrossed in the rich history of display at sites like the Fatahillah Museum and the National Museum of Indonesia.
Arguably the biggest attraction of Jakarta, however, is the Thousand Islands. Don’t get it confused with your favorite salad dressing. The Thousand Islands is a string of 342 tropical islands (no, they’re aren’t actually a thousand of them) along Jakarta’s northern coast. Here you’ll find sandy beaches with ample opportunities for swimming, snorkeling, boating, and more.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Before officially changing its name in 1975, Ho Chi Minh City was already famous as “Saigon.” Just as a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, it doesn’t matter what name you know the Vietnamese capital by. Either way, it’s an unforgettable adventure for travelers of all stripes.
Although traffic around Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport (SNG) is often quite congested, once you make it into the city proper, you’re in for a treat. Ho Chi Minh City isn’t just one of the cheapest places to fly to in Asia. It also offers a glimpse into historic French culture thanks to the lingering influence of early French colonization.
A perfect example of this is Ho Chi Minh City Hall, which features a turn-of-the-century design by architect Paul Gardès. It’s also home to a statue of deceased president Ho Chi Minh himself. He remains a beloved figure in Vietnamese society to this day.
Aside from paying your respects, there’s so much to see and do in the city. Take a relaxing boat ride down the famous Mekong Delta River, which separates Vietnam and Cambodia. Or, shop for souvenirs and delicious food at the Cái Bè District’s floating market. Last but not least, don’t forget to explore the Cu Chi Tunnels. This incredible underground maze acts as one of the last remnants of the Vietnam War.
Manila, The Philippines
Historically, the Philippines has been called “the Pearl of the Orient” due to the abundance of precious stones divers have been discovering off its shores for centuries. Thankfully, though, it won’t cost you a fortune to visit there. In fact, the Philippines may just be the cheapest Asian country to visit of them all. This is thanks in no small part to the reasonable rates of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL).
Of course, if the Philippines is the “the Pearl of the Orient,” then the city of Manila is undeniably the Pearl of the Philippines. With more than 1.78 million residents spread across 16 territorial districts, Manila is the most populous city in the country. Its skyline is a dazzling union of towering modern skyscrapers and ornate Spanish Colonial architecture.
Indeed, Manila’s commitment to preserving its own history is one of its most mesmerizing qualities. Arguably the most popular tourist destination here is Intramuros. This historic “Walled City” once served as the entirety of Manila itself. Since its construction as a settlement of the Spanish Empire in the 1500s, Manila has grown by leaps and bounds. However, Intramuros still stands, a living testament to the legacy of those who came before.
After sunset, visitors can take part in the rambunctious nightlife scene of the Bonifacio Global City district. This area boasts a variety of bars and clubs to satisfy every taste. Ar you looking for tropical tiki bars with fruity cocktails? Casual pubs with live entertainment? Hip, Jazz Age-inspired speakeasies? Manila has all that plus a whole lot more.
Nestled along the banks of India’s Gomti River, the city of Lucknow serves as the capital of Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in the country. Anyone looking for the cheapest airports in Asia will immediately be drawn to Lucknow and its nearby Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport (LKO). Not only does LKO have some of the most affordable rates on the continent, but Lucknow itself is a truly special tourist destination.
With its humid, subtropical climate, Lucknow is ideal for anyone seeking out fun in the sun. The heat of India’s weather is matched only by that of its spicy cuisine. Lucknow’s culinary specialty is Gulawati kebab. It’s a melt-in-your-mouth wonder made of fried, marinated mutton, heavily seasoned with lush Indian herbs.
After you’ve loaded up on the local delicacies, spend the day wandering the historic labyrinths of Bara Imambara and Bhool Bhulaiya. Together, these 18th-century marvels form an elaborate tomb complex serving as an important place of worship for the country’s Muslim population.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for a souvenir to take home, you can hit up Hazratganj, Lucknow’s chic downtown shopping district. From traditional Chikan embroidery to cutting-edge gadgets, you’re sure to find something you love here. Be sure to drop by on the second Sunday of the month. That’s when the whole area is transformed as part of the nighttime Ganj Carnival.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Starting as a small mining outpost in the 1800s, Kuala Lumpur has since grown into the largest city in Malaysia. It’s also one of the fastest-growing and cheapest places in Asia, bar none. Kuala Lumpur is home to numerous affordably 5-star hotels, plus unique shopping and dining opportunities.
Serving the Malaysian capital is Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL), the largest and busiest airport in the country. From there, travelers can enter the city by bus, car, or rail, taking in a wealth of eye-popping scenery along the way. Unlike most Western cities, Kuala Lumpur has been designed to maintain a harmonious balance between urban development and natural preservation. As a result, it is a uniquely beautiful and even peaceful place to visit.
On the city side of things, you’ll definitely want to check out the iconic Petronas Towers, the tallest twin skyscrapers in the world. What really makes these buildings special, aside from the spectacular views they provide, is the sky bridge that connects them. Walking across this structure, an astonishing 558 feet above the streets below, is an unforgettable experience.
On the nature side of things, Kuala Lumpur offers an array of one-of-a-kind experiences. These include the exotic foliage of the Perdana Botanical Gardens and the hanging bridges of KL Forest Eco Park. What really takes the cake, though, are the Batu Caves. Here, under the watchful gaze of Lord Murugan’s statue, tourists can visit a Hindu shrine, explore 400 million-year-old caverns, or take part in the annual Thaipusam festival.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the cheapest places to fly to in Asia
Need more help preparing for your big trip? Here are a few common questions and answers about the cheapest Asian countries to fly to.
What is the cheapest airport to fly to in Asia?
At the time of this writing, the cheapest airport in Asia is Hong Kong International Airport (HKG). Serving more than 60 million passengers every year, HKG is an affordable arrival point for those seeking cheap flights to Asia from USA.
HKG is also an ideal place to catch connecting flights elsewhere. It is currently home to Cathay Pacific, which has frequently been named by Skytrax as the World’s Best Airline.
What is the best time of year to visit Asia for good weather?
Because of the heavy amount of tropical rainfall most Asian countries experience, it’s important to plan ahead and time your trip so that it coincides with good weather.
The best time of the year to visit Asia is between April and July. During this period, the worst of the annual precipitation will have already passed, allowing you to enjoy fun in the sun.
What is the best time of year to visit Asia for low airfare?
If you’re more concerned about finding cheap flights to Asia than experiencing picture-perfect weather, it’s worth noting that the continent’s “busy season” tends to stretch from November through to January. The best time to fly to Asia from the USA if you’re on a tight budget is in February.
With that in mind, don’t forget that airfare prices fluctuate constantly. Your best bet for scoring cheap airfare to Asia is to book your flight well in advance and/or use a service like Going to get ticket alerts.
How far in advance should I book a flight to Asia?
As noted above, it’s a good idea to book tickets to Asia in advance in order to ensure affordable pricing. In most cases, the closer it is to the departure date, the higher the ticket prices will be. For best results, I recommend booking your airfare 2-8 months ahead of time.
Why you should fly to Asia in 2023
The Asian continent is a vast and diverse place, full of exhilarating opportunities, jaw-dropping scenery, and mouth-watering cuisine. Most people in the USA go their entire lives without ever stepping foot in Asia. They don’t know what they’re missing.
From the modern luxuries of South Korea and China to the age-old traditions of Malaysia and India, there’s no shortage of places to go and things to do. Taste the wares of an Indonesian street food vendor. Or journey through time via one of Vietnam’s many museums and historical sites. However you choose to spend your time in Asia, one thing is for certain: you’ll never forget it.
What’s the best part of vacationing in Asia, though? Quite simply, it’s the fact that many of the best places to fly to in Asia are also the cheapest places to fly to in Asia. It’s a rare and beautiful thing when affordability and opportunity come together to create an experience that allows you to widen your horizons without breaking the bank.
Few things are as personally enriching as exposing yourself to other cultures, other histories, and other people. That’s why I relish traveling as much as I do. It’s why I started this blog. And it’s why I’m sharing this list of cheap places to visit in Asia with you. Because the pleasure of travel is a joy we all deserve to experience in life.
There’s no better time to start than now. If you’re interested in visiting Asia, consider booking a trip to one of the destinations I described here. I promise it’s something that will stay with you for life.
For more travel tips (and inspiration), follow my adventures on Instagram: @Global.Viewpoint. Happy Travels! -Jon