Pricy trips to the Maldives

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BANGKOK, 13 July 2018: Cambodia’s start-up, Lanmei Airlines, will launch a new route, 19 July, linking Cambodia’s Siem Reap with the Maldives, a popular upscale destination in the Indian Ocean.

It’s an interesting option that would allow travellers to plunge into the World Heritage experience at Angkor Wat and then jet off to the Maldives for a soak in the sun.

So far, the airline has not posted any details of the new service, either in news releases, or on its website booking engine.

Mums the word from the airline, but Airlineroute’s timetable information identifies the intention to fly three times weekly using an Airbus A319.

Lanmei Airlines might be eyeing the honeymoon segment in China. There might be a market for Chinese honeymooners to combine a trip that highlights Angkor Wat and the sunny beaches of the Maldives with a luxury stay in an over-water villa.

Or perhaps, the luxury dwellers of the Maldives, mostly arriving from Europe on charter flights, might be tempted to sandwich an excursion to Cambodia’s Angkor Wat between the long lazy days booked in the Maldives?

If there is a market Lanmei Airlines won’t have any competition.

The cheapest roundtrip fare, Siem Reap-Male, is on offer from AirAsia at USD515 and it will take 13 hours to reach the holiday island with a stop in Kuala Lumpur for a change of plane.

Flying via Bangkok is considerably more expensive. Bangkok Airways will get you from Siem Reap to Male for USD1,019, roundtrip, but it’s a marathon journey clocking 18 hours.

Silk Air has the best option with an overall flight time of seven hours and a stop to change planes in Changi Airport. The fare costs USD732.

So forget Lanmei Airlines until it wakes up and actually posts a booking option and fares on its website for the Siem Reap-Male trip. An accompanying deal on villa accommodation in the Maldives wouldn’t go amiss either seeing the destination is one of the most expensive in Asia.

As for holiday deals on the Maldives, a Facebook post alerted me this week to a bargain opportunity to chill out in an over-the-water villa at the Maldives’ top-rated Finolhu Bar Athol.

Luxury Escapes presents its ‘great travel deal’ through Facebook posts and incredibly it got numerous likes from the travel writers and media in Asia. They must be loaded if they can like a five-night package that runs up a bill of THB146,973 for two adults.

No it doesn’t include the airfare from a city in Asia. Find your own way, but when you get there the resort provides a domestic roundtrip transfer to and from your villa.

The offer includes all meals at a single restaurant venue (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and an upgrade to the property’s fine-dining restaurant for a one-off  “dinner or lunch experience”. But then every resort in the Maldives goes down that route. The tiny islands usually only have enough space for just one resort. There is no such option as dinning off-site.

Thankfully the villa’s mini-bar is packed with complimentary alcoholic and soft drinks, refreshed daily.

Definitely an upscale experience where you can spoil yourselves, but there are date exclusions on the deal valid for stays through to 30 September 2019. The main date exclusions are around Christmas, New Year and the Chinese New Year in early 2019.

Finolhu Bar Athol claims the package has a value of THB336,960, which is academic from my point of view.

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