If you're planning a trip to Bangkok later this year, give a thought to really seeing Southeast Asia in depth by taking advantage of a special Mekong World Heritage Tour fare (to cities in four different countries) offered by Bangkok Airways, one of Thailand's most influential lines. Starting on July 2, 2002, you can book this circular trip, with stopovers in each city, of course, for just $650. You will fly from Bangkok to Thailand's old capital of Sukhothai, then to Luang Prabang (the mysterious river port controlling access to the Lower Mekong), Danang (the site of the USA's huge naval base in Vietnam), Siem Reap (also spelled Siem Riep, for nearby Angkor Wat, one of the world's most outstanding archeological sites), then return to Bangkok. Special fares are also available if you want to visit Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) to see this former "Paris of Southeast Asia", Singapore (for a look at its skyscrapers and a taste of its many cuisines), or Chiang Mai (for a glimpse of the Golden Triangle's opium trade).
Starting right now, however, you could fly directly to one or more of the several cities Bangkok Airways services. The most popular is from Bangkok to Siem Riep, costing $120 one way, $235 round trip. Other fares, all round trip, and all from Bangkok, include: Phnom Penh (capital of Cambodia) $190 and Luang Prabang $215.
Should you be in Phnom Penh and want to fly up to Siem Reap (recommended rather than taking the road), you fly on affiliated Siem Reap Airways round trip at $110, one way $55. From Angkor Wat you can then fly down to the former Saigon for just $90 one way. Several other permutations are equally moderately priced.
For more information, sales and reservations, phone Bangkok Airways at 866/BANGKOK (same as 866/226-4565), fax 212/279-6602, or visit www.bangkokair.com.