International flights cheaper than Indian domestic flights

Here's a guest post, compiled by friend and Airlineblog reader Dr. Anuj Budhkar, Assistant Professor, Civil Engineering Department, IIEST, Shibpur, Kolkata. If you wish to contribute, guest post guidelines here.- Shrinidhi

In this article I would discuss some foreign tours which would be actually cheaper than domestic organized tours within India. I will skip our neighbors since one can also visit them with a land border crossing(except China). India is well-connected to certain cities of Middle east (Dubai, Sharjah, Muscat, Kuwait) and a return under 15k is not unusual. I will not be discussing cities in middle east in this article. Considering a decent travel budget of ₹ 1 lakh for two people, and a target airfare of less than 30k for one person at the time of writing this article, one can explore the following.

India is also well-connected with budget airlines to most countries of SE Asia.

1.     Bhubaneshwar - Kuala Lumpur/ Singapore in ₹7k return: There is an AirAsia flight (AK 30/31) departing/ arriving at midnight, from Bhubaneswar to Kuala Lumpur, in about an average 8k return fare from BBI, and I have heard of discount fares of about 5k return too.

2.      Kolkata- Hanoi within ₹11k return: Recently started Indigo nonstop flight, you can get a return trip to Vietnam for about ₹ 10k ex-Kolkata. If you are planning a visit to Laos, the land transfer from Hue is preferred. A Vietnamese visa can be obtained from respective embassies in about ₹  3-4k. Within Vietnam, flights are very cheap, sometimes less than ₹ 1000. My personal experience says that Vietnam is about 1.25-1.5 times costlier than India. You can avail air travel and lodging at cheaper rates, however food is costlier than India. [Related: Vietnam Visa * Vietnam on Budget * Other Vietnam posts]
3.      Kolkata-Bangkok within ₹6k return: With AirAsia discount fares, Kolkata-Bangkok can be as low as 5k return, with 6.5k return being the usual average fare. This is even cheaper than Kolkata to Mumbai, Port Blair or Bengaluru. Surprisingly, Kolkata- Yangon via Kolkata-Bangkok flight and land transfer seems cheaper than a direct Kolkata-Yangon flight (also operated by Indigo). However, I find that Thailand visa regulations are not too friendly for visitors. Inter-thai travel experience and cost are at par with India.

4.      Indonesia: One can easily find fares to Jakarta or Denpasar (for Bali) both under ₹ 18k, operated by AirAsia. 

5.      Philippines:Chennai- Cebu city (Philippines) in ₹ 21.5k by Scoot (Also, Mumbai-Cebu city in about the same rate in March 2020 by Singapore Airlines and Silkair combo).
6.      The infamous Lion Air also provides a 12k return fare to Singapore ex-Mumbai.


The leading budget air journeys to Central Asia are from Delhi. Prominent among them include Air Astana and Uzbek Air. A traveler can consider the following-

1.      Amritsar- Tashkent in about 22k return on some days: UzbekAir operates an old route, Tashkent-Delhi and Tashkent Amritsar frequented by Indian students studying in Uzbekistan. They recently also begun a Tashkent-Mumbai weekly flight with a return fare of about ₹35k.

2.      One may also remember that Uzbekistan offers VISA-FREE TRANSIT for Indians up to a stay of five days, provided the return is via UzbekAir only. (Official website of UZ air is

3.     Air Astana provides comparatively cheaper airfares from Delhi to many destinations such as Tashkent (₹ 13k)  , Bishkek(₹14k), Moscow (₹13k in December), all transiting through Almaty, but Delhi-Almaty fare is almost always higher than any of these.

4.     Typical travel plan: Air Astana’s Delhi-Bishkek, travel in Kyrgyzstan, Border crossing to Astana (half day), Visiting few places in Astana and catching a train to Tashkent, to return back to Delhi/ Amritsar by Uzbekair. For a two-person budget trip, this itinerary is possible within ₹  1 lakh. Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan have a lot to offer, and travel within Uzbekistan is convenient with the recently started high speed trains.

5.      Turkey is an amazing destination covered by Nonstop flights such as Flynas (one-way under ₹  13k), Indigo (return ₹ 25k), or combination of others. Places within Turkey are accessible by train – Istanbul, Pamukkale and Cappadoche combination is a 6-day visit ex-Delhi.

6.      A return fare to Teheran is possible under 25k either from Delhi or Mumbai. However I have been informed that Iranian visa is difficult to obtain, and understanding Iranian currency is even more difficult. By the way, an international train operates from Istanbul to Teheran and takes about 24 hours. Related: Oman Air Tehran Mistake fare


Eastern Asia offers limited option to travelers within ₹ 30k return.

1.      Indigo now operates non-stop flight from Delhi-Chengdu, a properly planned trip will cost less than ₹ 15k for airfare (Also available during Christmas season-19-25 Dec). Chengdu and Chongquing are one of my dream destinations- they offer a lot to visitors, including panda breeding centers, mountains, large cities within mountains and monorails driving through them, river cruises etc.

2.      Indigo also operates Kolkata-Guangzhou (₹ 16k return for 6-15 Dec), Hongkong (₹ 20k return).

3.      The old flight of Kolkata-Kunming operated by China eastern now costs a penny more (about ₹  23k return). Distances within China are traversable easily by trains or HSR, the former being very economical and the prices comparable to second AC class of Indian Railways.

4.      There is a Chennai-Shanghai flight by Srilankan air available within ₹ 25k. [More details]

5.      Kolkata-Tokyo (Narita) in about ₹ 27k return (FD121/ XJ606). The Japanese visa costs just about 600 Rupees, so it is not a bad deal. ANA air is coming, so be surprised for non-stop fares costing less than ₹ 25k ex-Delhi and Chennai.

6.      Korea is still difficult to access under return fare of ₹ 30k. The best one can do is change planes at Bangkok or Hanoi, provided the airlines do not charge extra for check-in luggage.


1.      Egypt, Israel, Jordan etc: the budget airlines of Saudi Arabia comes rescue for travelers from Delhi exploring the middle east- for instance, Delhi-Cairo of Flynas is available for a return fare of ₹ 21k. Egypt is cheap country even by Indian standards, and one may explore oases as a two-day trip ex-Cairo, take a ferry to Saudi Arabia (Jeddah), Jordan (yes, there is an Egypt-Jordan ferry) or cross to Israel- perhaps the costliest country in the middle east. Air India operates the sole (non-stop) flight to Israel which crosses Saudi airspace.

2.      Mumbai-Seychelles (via 22 hr transit in Addis Ababa) in about 21k return. (Two countries of Africa in one go). For further information, you can refer this blog article.

3.      Other destinations in Africa dig slightly deep in the pocket- the cheapest ones include to Nairobi, Kigali or Johannesburg (return about ₹ 32k).

So any excuse not to book?


  1. This post is such an informative that I can't imagine so many flights in this low budget! I think we'll go for some of them.

    Shrinidhi, I'm a huge fan of this blog since its beginning. It has come out well with so many informative articles.

    Thanks for sharing.


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