Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: We want an Oriental Christmas with our son
Every day our travel guru answers your travel questions
Simon Calder’s career in travel started at Gatwick Airport, where he cleaned aircraft for Laker Airways and later worked as a security officer. He became The Independent’s Travel Correspondent in 1994, and is known as “the Man Who Pays His Way” because he does not accept free travel facilities. He writes across the Independent titles, as well as for the Evening Standard.
Monday 03 December 2012
Q Our son is working in Shanghai. We want to meet him somewhere in Asia for Christmas, but fares are very high and accommodation seems in short supply in places like Bali. Where would you recommend?
ND, London NW8
A Wherever you go, prepare to pay a fortune. Christmas is the time of heaviest demand for travel from the UK, with routes to Asia particularly expensive. Leaving a few days before 25 December and returning a week later will cost more than £1,000 return to pretty much anywhere, and is likely to involve a circuitous journey unless you are prepared to spend freely on a non-stop flight.
With only a few weeks remaining, your options for finding alluring options are limited. I have searched destinations from southern Vietnam via Sabah in Malaysia to Singapore, and found the biggest problem to be scarce seats from the UK.
In terms of a fabulous destination with flight and accommodation availability, my recommendation is Thailand’s largest island, Phuket – with beaches, heritage and nature in abundance. Even if you insist on departing on the most in-demand day, Saturday 22 December, returning a week later, you can still reach Phuket – and stay for five nights in comfortable but modest accommodation - for under £1,200. Find such deals through travel agents or online at, for example, Opodo.co.uk – which is selling one that includes a flight from Heathrow to Phuket on China Eastern via Shanghai. With a bit of coordination of flight schedules, you can join your son at Shanghai airport, and fly down to Thailand together. He should be able to find a ticket for under £500 return for his flight from Shanghai to Phuket, but will need to book the hotel independently.
Click HERE to email Simon.
You can also tweet him your questions @SimonCalder
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
- 2 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Dad attempts revenge on teenage daughter, plan backfires spectacularly
- 5 Ball pool for adults opens in London
BA vs Virgin Atlantic: Who has the best premium economy?
Warnings stepped up for travellers to Israel and Thailand
The 10 Best hiking boots
Gatwick’s biggest airline, easyJet, calls for new runway at Heathrow
Peru's 'second Machu Picchu', Italy by train, and the original Hogwarts Express - Travel agenda
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...
£21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...
£26 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Email Marketing Specialist is needed to join...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...