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From the UK and Ireland to Vietnam

There are as yet no non-stop flights to Vietnam from the UK or Ireland (believed to be starting with Vietnam Airlines in December 2011). Instead, most people fly with a Southeast Asian carrier such as Singapore Airlines (w singaporeair.com), Thai Airways (www.thaiairways.com), Malaysia Airlines (w malaysiaairlines.com) or Cathay Pacific (w cathaypacific.com) from London via the airline’s home city. In recent years the big Middle Eastern airlines, Qatar (w qatarairways.com) and Emirates (w emirates.com), have also offered very competitive prices. Scheduled low-season fares from London start at around £450, rising to £600 or more at peak periods.

A good place to look for the best deals is the travel sections of the weekend newspapers and in regional listings magazines. Students and under-26s can often get discounts through specialist agents such as STA (w sta.com) or USIT in Ireland (w usit.ie). Whoever you buy your ticket through, check that the agency belongs to the travel industry bodies ABTA or IATA, so that you’ll be covered if the agent goes bust before you get your ticket.