Fly here for $159. Forget Thailand and Bali
JETSTAR has declared Vietnam the new Bali or Thailand for budget Aussie travellers as it launches direct flights to the South-East Asian country from $159.
The airline will become the only low-cost carrier to fly directly from Australia to Ho Chi Minh City in May.
Tickets go on sale today, with a 12-hour launch sale offering $159 fares for one-way flights.
The airline will fly its Boeing 787 Dreamliner direct to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) four times weekly from Sydney and three times weekly from Melbourne.
Ready to go? Fly to Sydney from:
Hervey Bay $155
Gold Coast $49
- Coffs Harbour $99
Jetstar Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said Vietnam was a growing destination, and the new budget flights would allow more Aussies to tick it off their travel bucket list.
"Vietnam has the potential to become as popular as Bali or Thailand for Australian travellers," Ms Hrdlicka said.
"Vietnam is well known for its rich culture, vibrant cities, beaches and cuisine, and travellers can take advantage of the wide range of experiences the region has to offer.
"We expect our low fares and direct flights will generate even more demand for holidays to Vietnam."
Flights from Melbourne to Ho Chi Minh City will commence on May 10, and flights from Sydney will commence on May 11, subject to regulatory approval. The $159 sale fares are available for select periods between May and October.
From Ho Chi Minh City, travellers can connect to 15 other destinations within Vietnam on Jetstar Pacific.
Ms Hrdlicka said the new route should also stimulate inbound tourism to Australia.
"In the last 12 months, there has been a 21 per cent increase in visitors from Vietnam to Australia and we expect to see that increase with the introduction of our low fares on the route," she said.
"The growing middle class in Vietnam has made it one of the fastest growing aviation markets in the world."
FIVE REASONS TO VISIT VIETNAM
1. Hoi An
Despite being one of Vietnam's most popular tourist destinations, Hoi An retains its charms with Lonely Planet calling it the country's "most atmospheric and delightful town".
It's got a gorgeous old town, great restaurants and cooking courses, and tailors' shops for couture on the cheap, plus it's a hub for day trips to scenic spots and beaches.
No, that's not a place name - we're talking about Vietnam's famous noodle soup.
Perch yourself on a plastic stool at a roadside eatery and enjoy a bowl. Vietnam's food is a major drawcard for visitors, with other highlights include banh mi - French baguettes with fillings such as pork belly and pate.
The French also introduced coffee to Vietnam, and now it's known for its strong, sweet brew.
Oh, and of course, there's cheap beer to wash down a hard day's sightseeing.
3. Halong Bay
This World Heritage site's amazing limestone islands, rock formations and caves has become a wildly popular destination among visitors to the north.
In 2012 it was named one of the New Wonders of the World. Overnight boat trips let visitors take in the full experience of the bay, but for those wanting to avoid the beaten path, Lan Ha Bay is a less visited option.
4. Da Lat
Voted one of Asia's top destinations on the rise by reviewers on TripAdvisor, this former colonial resort in Vietnam's central highlands provides a respite from Southern Vietnam's year-round swelter.
With French-era buildings, pine trees and farms growing exotic vegetables and flowers, it's worth the trip to escape the heat for a few days.
5. Con Dao Islands
Ranked among Asia's hottest emerging destinations by Lonely Planet, this archipelago is the place to feast on fresh seafood, search for a perfect beach and revel in a castaway vibe.