|Subject: Re: Thailand and Vietnam|
In the event that you don't get a good TA recommendation for SE Asia, I have a suggestion.
About 5 years ago we visited Bangkok and Hanoi. Our itinerary was BKK- Hanoi-BKK. Our choice of airlines included Vietnam Air, Thai Air and Air France. We chose Thai Air because of it's mileage alliance to UA at the time. The prices for Thai Air and Air France were the same. I don't recall what we paid for that R/T segment but it wasn't all that expensive and for only $25. more PP we flew Biz Class.
We booked the tickets directly with Thai Air reservations here in the US. There were no discounts and the tickets were rack rate, meaning they were fully refundable, changeable, etc. with no fee's. However, they were so reasonable we didn't look further for discount agencies. Additionally, we liked the fact that we could change our mind and fly to Laos instead, which was a consideration.
My suggestion is that if the tkts are still refundable and changeable you book them now and then once you get to BKK, if you find a cheaper deal, just trade in the ones you bought in the US. I know that there are many discount agency's in BKK and easy to find once you're there.
RE: Hong Kong along the way...... If you look at a map, you'll see that Hanoi is in between Thailand and HK, so there's no "along the way". It's a seperate part of your journey.
Hanoi was one of my favorite cities and I hope to return. I would strongly suggest you make taxi/car service arrangements with your hotel. Though I found the Vietnamese to be warm and charming people, the taxi drivers at the airport are a bit too capitalistic and rip- offs are common. Didn't have that problem with taxi's within the city.
I've been to HK twice and always have a blast there. Bangkok was nice and I'm glad I went but have no burning desire to rush back.