The Real Deal: Round-trip flights to Bangkok or Singapore, with a free stopover in Hong Kong, from $926 — plus an estimated $85 in taxes.
When: Departures daily from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30, 2008.
Gateways: Los Angeles and San Francisco; add $50 for New York City.
The fine print: Does not include taxes and fees of at least $85 per person. No minimum stay required; maximum stay is 30 days. Price is based on Monday through Thursday departures; there is a $50 surcharge for weekend travel. This deal can only be booked online. Price includes round-trip airfare and fuel surcharges of $226. U.S. citizens will need a valid passport, but no visas are required for travel to Bangkok or Singapore. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.
Book by: July 31, 2008.
Contact: Cathay Pacific Airways, cathaypacific.com/us.
Why it's a deal: A recent Kayak search yielded an $892 flight between L.A. and Singapore (Asiana) and an $852 flight between L.A. and Bangkok (Asiana), including taxes, in early September. But with Cathay Pacific, you'll have the benefit of flexibility — you can spend a lay over for close to a month in Hong Kong at no additional charge. So, you get two destinations out of one booking instead of paying a multicity itinerary. There's also no minimum-stay requirement, and fuel surcharges of $226 are included in the price.
Trip details:Book your tickets to Bangkok or Singapore during the July Deal of the Month.
Cathay Pacific has consistently been named one of Asia's best airlines. You can pass the time during the long flight by making use of a personal TV — watch Hollywood movies and TV shows, or play games. You can also choose from 22 music stations in a variety of languages from different cultures, including Cantonese, Mandarin, and Thai.
Your seat will be in economy class; Cathay Pacific has been rolling out newly designed cabins with seats that have more spine support and that lean back without intruding on the person behind them. You'll also eat (a nice surprise) — the planes have rice cookers, toasters, and skillets on board so the staff can better serve you.
If you've never been to Malaysia and the surrounding area, Singapore is the perfect first step (it's a modern, English-speaking city). Check out the Colonial district, including the Merlion — a mythical half-lion, half-fish beast — among other sights. Singapore has kept vast tracts of its old architecture intact, so get your camera ready. Shopping is another activity, especially in Little India and Chinatown neighborhoods. Bonus: Singapore is duty-free. Also, eat plenty of food: Singapore's ethnically diverse population (Chinese, Malays, and Indians) translates into varied and often spicy dining options. Singapore is warm and humid all year, with only slight variations in the range of 73 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit. The monsoon season is from November to January; there are sudden, heavy showers.
Some attractions in Bangkok include the Royal Coronation Hall (Amarin Vinichai Prasad), where the kings of Siam have been crowned, and the Emerald Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Kaeo), which houses an amazing Buddha that is carved from a single piece of jade and is one of Thailand's holiest objects. The capital of Thailand is a growing city plagued by pollution and traffic and full of striking contrasts between, say, modern shopping malls and historic temples with saffron-robed Buddhist monks. As for the weather, the monsoon season lasts from June to October, and temperatures in the fall are generally still hot, usually between 75 and 89 degrees.