Southeast Asia traveling

SEA Games 30: Philippines tours hotcakes as Vietnam in football final

The demand for tours to the Philippines has increased after Vietnamese female footballers defeated Cambodia to enter the SEA Games football final match against Indonesia.

The number of people who are buying tours to Manila of the Philippines has experienced a rapid surge since last Saturday night after Vietnam advanced to its first SEA Games final in one decade. The final match of the SEA Games 30 men’s football will take place on Tuesday.  

Local operators said that tours with price from VND9.5 million ($409) to VND15 million ($646) are almost sold out.

A representative of Vietravel – local tour operator – said that more than 500 slots departing from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Da Nang City to Manila were sold out. “We’re working with airlines to open more flights to cater to the increasing travel demand,” the representative said.

Top travel company Saigontourist has sold 60% of its tours and went on to receive bookings till Tuesday morning.

Meanwhile, travel agency Hanoi Redtours has chartered an aircraft in order to take football fans from Hanoi to Manila with 90% of the seats having been booked as of Saturday night.

In addition to charter tours, local travel companies are still providing customers regular tours to visit the host country Philippines in combination with watching the final match between two teams Vietnam and Indonesia.

Presently, three carriers, Vietnam Airlines, Cebu Pacific Air, and Philippine Airlines operate direct flights from Ho Chi Minh City to Manila with an average ticket price of VND9 – 11 million (about $387-$473) for a round trip. Vietnam Airlines doesn’t have a direct flight from Hanoi to Manila.

The carriers themselves all have increased the number of flights to the Philippines.

Last Saturday night, Vietnam Airlines announced that it would add 6 additional flights, equivalent to 1,300 seats to take Vietnamese football fans to the Philippines. Vietnam’s U22 football team is chasing a 60-year gold medal dream.

The additional flights will leave for Manila on Tuesday morning and return to Vietnam one day later.

Winter Escape: 25 Places to Warm Up in Southeast Asia (part 4)


  1. Irrawaddy River, Myanmar 

Cruising down the massive Irrawaddy River to experience Myanmar like an old school explorer. It bisects the entire country, runs from north to south, and connects Mandalay and Bagan – the major cities of Myanmar. Sanctuary Ananda has luxury cruise options for 11 nights of slowly watching the world go by. However, there are ships for any budget – taking day trips into the river towns as well as glimpsing the impressive cultural pieces such as the Maya Tha Lun Pagoda.


  1. Singapore

Considered the cleanest place in Asia, Singapore doesn’t come cheap, however, traveling in Singapore is worth the accompanying price tag. This modern island has everything from an impressive skyline, including Ferris wheel to world-renowned dining experiences such as famous Restaurant ANDRE. “Since 2010, Restaurant ANDRE has been listed in World’s 50 Best Restaurants Award for six consecutive years and the Best Restaurant in Singapore,” said Wendy Huang, Marketing and Communication Manager.

  1. Si Phan Don, Laos

Laos, a landlocked country beside the more popular Vietnam and Thailand, falls under the radar of many travelers. Laos has left places such as Si Phan Don, or the 4,000 Islands, on the Mekong River seemingly untouched. Porches to simply watch the sunrise, humble roads to ride bikes, and a host of natural beauties such as flowing waterfalls and curious dolphins calling the adventurers to search for authenticity.

  1. Vientiane, Laos

Vientiane, the chronically laid back Laos capital, contrasts sharply to cities such as Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. The bulk of tourism still revolves around drinking Beerlao at sunset on the Mekong’s bank and slow-paced visits of cultural sites such as the Laos National Museum or Buddha Park.

  1. Luang Prabong, Laos

Luang Prabong, a UNESCO World Heritage site, has gracefully combined traditional urban architecture with 19th and 20th-century colonial design. It provides access to Kuang Si waterfalls, nearby mountains, and ample temples.

  1. Vang Vieng, Laos

Vang Vieng’s serene river and peaceful environment are the reason for people to flock here. The Organic Mulberry Farm Restaurant is not to be missed to go back to the basics as well as a lazy afternoon floating down the river.

Winter Escape: 25 Places to Warm Up in Southeast Asia (part 4)


  1. Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi is another bustling city of Vietnam, it’s easy to access the greenery at the nearby Hoan Kiem Lake or West Lake and a little further away Ba Vi National Park. To have authentic downtown experience, walk along the streets of its Old Quarter to admire the colonial architecture and enjoy the best traditional beef pho at Pho 49 Bat Dan.

  1. Hoi An, Vietnam

Hoi An, a transitory town on the coast, in the middle of Vietnam, is famous for its relaxing environment and tailor-made clothing. This is the perfect place to kick back and have a drink. Hoi An turns it up each lunar cycle for a vibrant full moon party which fills the quiet streets with music, traditional plays, and colorful lanterns. Book early because the event draws quite a crowd.

  1. Sapa, Vietnam

Head north to Sapa for a bit more of a perspective on rural life. Sapa can get cold in the winter, however, this northern region shouldn’t be missed when visiting Vietnam. The impressive mountains surrounding this town offer a perspective view on rural living. It is home to indigenous tribes and a traditional lifestyle. Discover the Sapa Square for colorful handicrafts or head into the hills with the local guide group – a social enterprise run entirely by local women – Sapa Sisters.

  1. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur has quickly become a destination hot spot. Because public transportation is easy and cheap, touring this bustling city is a walk in the park. After having the obligatory view of the Petronas Towers, head to Little India and Chinatown to experience this cultural amalgamation.

  1. Bagan, Myanmar

Bagan is famous for having more than 2,000 Buddhist temples that are being restored to UNESCO standards currently. This rich and historical city gets a recent increase in tourism. It has catered to foodie travelers because the various cuisine from regions near and far have been settled here. One of the most notable is Sharky’s restaurant, an artisan eatery which focuses on locally grown produce and expertly produced cheeses.