Monday, April 2, 2012

(Ticketing Secrets) Visiting China, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysian, and Sri Lanka in 1 Return Ticket from Pakistan!

Ghulam Abbas was planning to visit China to attend a business exhibition and taking the advantage of this opportunity he wanted to explore as much as possible and that too without breaking his pocket.

Somehow he ended up at this blog and then approached me to help him out crafting an itinerary. 

Just to mention, Abbas was initially quoted ~PKR 80,000 by a local travel agent for the simple return ticket to Shanghai, China.

At the end of the day we together fabricated an itinerary that covers around 5 countries, using the ITA Matrix Software, with a saving of ~PKR 20,000 on the quoted ticket.

And believe me, this is no rocket science:

Step 1: The Simple Return Ticket

First we used the Matrix to find out options for a simple Karachi-Shanghai return ticket with flexible dates.  Sri Lankan Airlines came out to be the cheapest option:

May 16 Karachi – Shanghai (via Colombo)
June 2 Shanghai – Karachi (via Colombo)

The fact that the Sri Lankan Airlines flies via Colombo gives an assurance that atleast one country, i.e. Sri Lanka, can be added to the itinerary without significant additional cost.

Step 2: Making it Open-Jaw

In addition to Shanghai, Abbas also wanted to visit Guangzhou for a business call, which he plans to do by road/train.

Luckily, Guangzhou is also served by Sri Lankan airlines, which effectively means that Abbas does not need to travel ~1,600 km back to Shanghai to catch the return flight.

So using the ‘Multi-city’ option, we got the following solution without any additional cost:

May 16 Karachi – Shanghai (via Colombo)
June 3 Guangzhou – Karachi (via Colombo)

So the ‘Simple Return Ticket’ is now converted into an ‘Open-Jaw Ticket’ as it allows to land into one city and flies out from the other, without any additional cost, hence saving the backtracking cost, time, and hassle.

Step 3: Adding a Destination

As mentioned above, Colombo is one obvious destination to be added:

May 16 Karachi – Shanghai (via Colombo)
June 3 Guangzhou – Colombo
June 7 Colombo – Karachi

The additional cost turned out to be less than PKR 3,000 mainly on account of airport taxes. Not a big cost to visit a gifted country like Sri Lanka, by the way!

Step 4: The Real Value Addition

A detailed peek into the Sri Lankan Airline ticket revealed that the Colombo – China flight actually takes a stopover in Bangkok, potentially adding one more destination to the same air ticket.

So, we used the ‘Multi-city’ option again and got the following result:

May 16 Karachi – Shanghai (via Colombo and Bangkok)
June 1 Guangzhou – Bangkok
June 11 Bangkok – Colombo
June 14 Colombo – Karachi

This time, the additional cost to the ticket turned out to be PKR 2,000!

Step 5: The South East Asian Surprise

Abbas was still not satisfied. And how could he be? He knew that South East Asian countries are well connected and it is now easier, read cheaper, than ever to hop between the tropical destinations.

So he planned to use the Bangkok stopover to also visit Singapore and Kuala Lumpur using the budget airline; Air Asia:

May 16 Karachi – Shanghai (via Colombo and Bangkok)
June 1 Guangzhou – Bangkok
June 3 Thailand – Singapore (Air Asia)
June 6 Singapore – Kula Lumpur (by road)
June 10 Malaysia – Bangkok (Air Asia)
June 11 Bangkok – Colombo
June 14 Colombo – Karachi

Obviously, Abbas had to arrange visas and book the Air Asia flights separately, however, the total cost of all the air tickets is still slightly less than the cost of the simple return ticket quoted by the travel agent initially.

Important Notes:
- Dates used are imaginary to keep the privacy; however, the ticket is still valid till the posting of this blog.
- Matrix Software does not support booking; however, the extracted details can be used to let the travel agent booking a ticket. Usually, a Passenger Service Fee (PSF) applies ranging from PKR 2,000-3,000.


  1. How do I find options for multi-city? For example, if I want to go to Shanghai, how can I know about other countries which could be visited?

  2. unbelievable! I think you should start your own Tourist company :).
    very helpful and knowledgeable post for tourist.

  3. Thanks dude your a Godsend. I was looking for the exact combination and none of the agents thought it was possible..ticket prices went like 2 lacks atleast. Matrix allowed me for 1 lack..truely amazing software!

  4. But why did you not catch a flight from kuala lumper to Colombo? Why go back to Bangkok again?

  5. "why go to Bangkok again?" Because this is actually KHI-China ticket with stopover in BKK. This ticket does not include KL. For KL one would need to break the journey and buy a separate ticket, which will be expensive. BKK is just there because of logistic constraint and can be used as a side bonus.

  6. The blog article very surprised to me! Your writing is good. In this I learned a lot! Thank you!
    Eclectic Flight