I’ve a confession to make—before June this year, I had only been to Vietnam twice, and I had only been to Ho Chi Minh. I know little about the places in Vietnam and the country itself. Well, that made me want to plan an epic Vietnam trip, and I made it happen—I allotted two weeks to go from south to north to explore its must-see destinations. With the journey starting in Ho Chin Minh and ending in Hanoi, I listed eight places I wanted to go to, and although fellow travelers had encouraged me to try the train, I was working with a short amount of time. And besides, I’ve no patience for long land trips, to be honest.
Given the situation, I decided to fly between places far apart, and since I’m a huge fan of the Jetstar brand, I chose to book my intra-Vietnam flights with Jetstar Pacific.
WHAT IS JETSTAR PACIFIC?
The best low-cost carrier in Vietnam according to Nielsen, Jetstar Pacific is part of the Jetstar Group, which also has airlines based in Australia/New Zealand (Jetstar Airways), Singapore (Jetstar Asia), and Japan (Jetstar Japan). Owned jointly by Vietnam Airlines (70%) and Qantas of Australia (30%), it has a fleet of 20 Airbus 320 aircraft in an all-economy configuration.
WHERE DOES JETSTAR PACIFIC FLY TO?
The short answer is, all over Vietnam, as well as a handful of international destinations. Its main hub is in Ho Chi Minh, but it also operates many flights out of Vietnam’s biggest cities, such as Hanoi and Da Nang. Do note that there are direct flights from Manila to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, while Jetstar Asia flies from Manila to Ho Chi Minh and Da Nang via the award-winning Changi Airport in Singapore.
The cities Jetstar Pacific serves in Vietnam are Chu Lai, Da Nang, Hue, Quy Nhon, Dong Hoi, Hai Phong, Hanoi, Thanh Hoa, Vinh, Buon Ma Thuot, Quy Nhon, Dong Hoi, Hai Phong, Hanoi, Thanh Hoa, Vinh, Buon Ma Thuot, Dalat, Ho Chi Minh, Nha Trang, Phu Quoc, Tuy Hoa, and Pleiku. The airline flies to most of these destinations out of Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi, but it also operates several routes between non-focus cities, such as Dong Hoi to/from Hai Phong.
PLANNING AN EPIC VIETNAM TRIP
I had a ticket booked from Kuala Lumpur to Ho Chi Minh then from Hanoi going home to Manila. I wanted to do a south-to-north Vietnam trip, which is popular among backpackers from all over, but since, as mentioned, I only had two weeks to cover eight destinations, traveling by land and sea was time-consuming and thus imprudent.
As mentioned, I started in Ho Chi Minh and ended in Hanoi. In between, I visited Phu Quoc, Hue, Lang Co, Hoi An, Da Nang, and Halong Bay. I flew four intra-Vietnam flights in total:
Ho Chi Minh (SGN) to Phu Quoc (PQC)
Phu Quoc (PQC) to Ho Chi Minh (SGN)
Ho Chi Minh (SGN) to Hue (HUI)
Da Nang (DAD) to Hanoi (HAN)
Taking the bus or train from south to north would’ve taken ages. For example, the train ride from Ho Chi Minh to Hue would’ve taken anywhere between 19.5 and 22 hours, while the bus would’ve taken an astounding 25 hours or maybe more.
Costs between taking the train and flying can be comparable. Again, for Ho Chi Minh to Hue, I got my flight on Jetstar Pacific for 671,500 VND (~1500 PHP), and I booked only a month ahead. On the other hand, a soft seat on the train plying the same route would’ve cost 599,000 VND (~1335 PHP). So in many cases, it’s really a no-brainer.
Having flown Jetstar Asia, Jetstar Japan, and Jetstar Airways on their respective A320’s, I can say the experience on Jetstar Pacific is more or less consistent. The only major differences are the crew who are (of course) Vietnamese, the inflight menu, the souvenirs being sold (which were surprisingly more affordable than other Jetstar airlines), and the announcements done in Vietnamese and English.
The leather seats were comfortable, the ground staff and cabin crew were friendly, flights landed on-time in general, and baggage was delivered promptly. In addition, the airline offers shuttle transfers from the airport to the downtown of the cities they fly to, and tickets may be bought onboard.
All my four flights were positive experiences, so I was glad to have entrusted Jetstar Pacific for my epic Vietnam trip. I surely recommend flying the airline within Vietnam and beyond.
P.S. Know more about my epic Vietnam trip on my subsequent posts.
Jetstar Pacific flies all over Vietnam and beyond from Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi, while Jetstar Asia flies from Manila to Ho Chi Minh and Da Nang via Singapore. For “all day, every day, low fares,” book flights at jetstar.com. For promos and updates, follow Jetstar Asia on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.