Delta and AirAsia. AirAsia is a Delta partner, which is excellent news! We can use our Delta SkyMiles to book free tickets in Thailand on Thai AirAsia…
That means we can fly around inside Thailand on domestic AirAsia flights, and we can also fly roundtrip for international flights free from Bangkok, Thailand to Cambodia, China, Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Singapore, on award flights.
Learn more on how to book your AirAsia flights using Delta SkyMiles here. I include the chart of how many miles you need in your Delta SkyMiles account to book a free flight on Thai AirAsia using those miles.
How many miles will these mostly Southeast Asian flights set you back? Not too many. Here’s one example: Bangkok to Bali round-trip for only 20,000 miles. This is a route I have purchased tickets for in the past, only one way, perhaps 7 or 8 times, and paid between $200 and $300 each time. So, I would say that this, like the others, is an excellent redemption option, and the fees and surcharges are modest at best. Find more Delta awards on Thai AirAsia here.
Delta, in my eyes you are redeeming yourself with this no cost low cost airfare to highly interesting destinations, on one of my favorite smaller airlines, offering us topnotch travel that won’t bust anyone’s budget. Here’s hoping you’ll hook up with easyJet next…😉
I’ve been to all of these Thai AirAsia countries except Myanmar, and hope to get there soon, too. I also long for the time to make a post for each place, but in the absence of that, here are a few of my favorite spots and things to do or see there:
What to do in Thailand: Learn how to cook authentic Thai food and shop at the market for the freshest ingredients, at the Chiang Mai Cookery School. I took the course twice, because once was not enough, it was that good!
I attended classes (sounds so serious, doesn’t it? But it was fun, and yum) at the Chiang Mai Cookery School in pretty Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand. I love Thai food and I wanted to learn how to make Thai food at home.
Now, I must say, I can make a pretty mean Tom Ka Gai (chicken coconut soup), and without anything canned. Fresh coconut milk makes a huge difference. Of course anything with fresh lemongrass, fresh galangal and fresh coconut milk has to be awesome, right?!
As part of the course we also visited a produce market, and learned how to select the best vegetables and herbs for cooking our Thai food. The market visit was very helpful. (By the way, I do write about Bangkok in another post…)
What to see in Cambodia: You can fly for free using your Delta miles to book a ticket on Thai AirAsia and fly from Bangkok to Siem Reap. Well, of course you absolutely have to see Angkor Wat, and my favorite part of that massive complex of ruins, is Ta Prohm. Best to rent a car with driver because it’s a bit of a ride from Siem Reap.
Places to visit in China: Although I have been to China, I have not visited the Thai AirAsia China destinations from Bangkok. If you have, and can recommend anyplace there, please do. I enjoyed my visit to Suzhou, a short distance from Shanghai, because they have the most beautiful gardens there…
What to do in Malaysia: You can go to a few different destinations in Malaysia, from Bangkok, on AirAsia. Yes, I adore scuba diving at Sipadan Island off of Borneo (and mention why in another post), but let’s start out in Kuala Lumpur, the capital, an interesting city to visit, too, with an absolutely gorgeous mosque. Remember to dress appropriately. And for those who forget the importance of respecting the local culture or religion in which you are a guest, they will loan you a covering.
On a different note, I think some of the nicest luxury chain hotels located in the world are found in Malaysia, strikingly handsome architecture and design, bold, beautiful furniture and artwork, and best of all: they seem to all offer wonderful luxury amenities for very little money- soothing spas, magical massages, and other preferred pampering treatments.
I often close my eyes and remember myself there (in my two favorites- the Regent, and the Imperial…), wrapped in luxurious cotton from head to toe, after having enjoyed some stellar spoiling at the wondrous hands of someone else, and I sigh. That was one place in the world I could really and truly profoundly relax.
I also liked visiting the interesting Cameron Highlands area for a couple of days on a four hour bus ride from KL. It’s a different feel from the rest of Malaysia- and a nice cool escape for a change.
The magic of Indonesia: Where to begin? I fell in love with Indonesia- its thousands of beautiful islands, millions of beautiful people- heart AND soul, fascinating geography, complex history, gorgeous music and dance traditions, excellent cuisine, artisanal craft shopping – both housewares and Cheryl wears, its travel cutie budget compliance, heavenly hotels, beaches to spoil us, fantastic food, wonderful opportunities for scuba diving and other sports, and best of all- Indonesia’s diversity- in everything mentioned above. But there is more, and it’s hard to articulate, how do you explain magic? I am always sad when I have to leave there, never sure if I will have the chance to go back.
The picture below shows one of my favorite places to visit in this great archipelago, on the island of Java: the Hindu ruins at Prambanan. I also love to see Borobudur, the Buddhist ruins not too far away, each time I go. Both are easily accessible from Jogjakarta, where I usually stay in a small hotel on Prawirotaman street, and do my favorite shopping in the Muslim batik boutiques on Jalan Malioboro.
Favorite things to do in Hong Kong: It’s a big, crowded, humid city, that I only visited once. Things I liked the most there: watching people do T’ai Chi in Kowloon Park at the crack of dawn, having vegetarian lunch with the monks at the Po Lin monastery on the island of Lantau, and enjoying a light cocktail with an amazing view from the Lobby Lounge at the Intercontinental Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui. Oh yeah, and getting my required daily calcium intake in the form of a cool, sweet, vanilla cone at the McDonalds, just before boarding the Star Ferry. Sometimes the simplest pleasures in life do the trick.
Travel in Vietnam: I really liked Hoi An the most. I think it’s the best city to visit in Vietnam because of its walkability, moderate weather, friendly people, Japanese bridge, attractive temples, colorful lanterns and genuine charm (that I found sorely lacking in the bigger cities or popular beach areas or island). For shopping, I loved Reaching Out Arts and Crafts- the best shop in Hoi An, which sells beautiful items handmade by extremely talented disabled folks, and then gives back to help them with a large percentage of its profits. I highly recommend it.
Eat in Singapore: One of my favorite things to do in Singapore, is eat, I mean come on, a mix of cultures with fantastic culinary traditions- Indian, Muslim, Chinese, and their fusion cuisines, too. Wow! Heaven! My favorite thing to eat there is cendol (pronounced chen/dole). You can find it at any one of many excellent hawker street food markets or centres, and mañana restaurants, too. It can vary slightly from cook to cook, and vary more from one country to another; in some places you eat it with a spoon, in others you sip it through a straw. The ingredients can vary, too, but usually in my favorite there is at least fresh coconut milk on shaved ice, with sweet syrup made from a base of palm sugar.
It’s definitely one of my favorite desserts in the world (and oh, yes, there are many, but this one’s sublime symphony of flavor combined with its simplicity of preparation are endearing).
And, on my first few visits to Indonesia, unlike in Singapore, I used to find popsicles that were cendol flavored. They were sooooooo… good. But during the last couple of visits, I didn’t see them. 😦