In January, We Are Lao reported Bangkok Airway’s (PG) launch of direct flights between Luang Prabang and Chiang Mai. In early March, the airline announced a new direct route from the northern Thai hub to the seaside resort, Krabi. PG already offers Bangkok-Luang Prabang flights that will kick off a Thai-Lao circuit that ends at the beach.
Varong Israsena Na Ayudhya, Vice President – Sales for Bangkok Airways said the new services are part of the carrier’s strategy to expand its network to cover CLMV countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam) by using Chiang Mai as its hub.
“Chiang Mai is the largest and most culturally significant city in Northern Thailand, and is becoming one of the must-visit destinations for travellers from around the world. The number of travellers has increased continually every year,” he said.
Luang Prabang has also witnessed an ongoing rise in tourist arrivals, with the number jumping some 20% from 2017 to 2018 to around 700,000, and could soon reach 1 million visitors a year.
“The new Chiang Mai flights firmly place Luang Prabang on a world-class circuit,” said We Are Lao Managing Director John Morris Williams. “Foreign tourists arrive in Bangkok, and can then fly to Luang Prabang for a multi-day visit, before exploring Chiang Mai, and ending their holiday at the beach.”
Mr. Varong agrees, adding, “Having a link to this beautiful beach destination will make it easier for our passengers, local people, and people from nearby provinces, (and it) helps promote cross-region tourism.”
He said another benefit of these new direct flights will be to shorten passenger’ journeys, as they remove a stop or transit in Bangkok, which should make this new loop more tempting to travellers.
“Chiang Mai-Luang Prabang is an added Bangkok Airways’ route network to cover CLMV countries. We foresee that this UNESCO city will get positive feedback as Luang Prabang is always on top of the minds of both foreign and Thai travellers who want to enjoy a peaceful atmosphere and richness of local culture,” Mr Varong said.
“By introducing the launch of Chiang Mai-Krabi and Chiang Mai-Luang Prabang routes, I believe it will boost existing travel demand and enhance ease of travel. It will also appeal to potential new travellers to Luang Prabang and surrounding areas,” said Pakkanan Winijchai, Director – Tourism Authority of Thailand, Chiang Mai.
The Chiang Mai-Luang Prabang route will operate three weekly roundtrip flights (Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday) on board a 70-seat ATR 72-600. PG984 will depart Luang Prabang International Airport at 18.30 and arrive Chiang Mai International Airport at 19.45 commencing 2 April 2019. The earlier inbound PG983 will take off from Chiang Mai at 16.30 and arrive at Luang Prabang at 17.45.
Chiang Mai-Krabi (one-way) service will begin operating three weekly flights (Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday) from 31 March – 29 April 2019. This will be adjusted to a daily flight from 30 April 2019. The outbound PG246 will depart Chiang Mai International Airport at 12.00 and arrive at Krabi International Airport at 13.55.The airline will use a 144-seat Airbus A319 aircraft to service this route.
For more information and reservations, please contact Bangkok Airways’ Call Center at 1771 (24 hrs) or visit www.bangkokair.com.