Far East cities are best bargains for a long haul break

A trio of Far Eastern cities have been named best value for a long haul city break in a new barometer of costs for British holidaymakers in 10 cities with flight times of six or more hours from UK airports. 

The Bangkok skyline and Grand Palace
The Bangkok skyline and Grand Palace

Research for the Post Office Travel Money Long Haul City Costs Barometer found that Bangkok is cheapest overall, narrowly beating Tokyo and Beijing, while cities in North America are significantly more expensive.

At £317 for 11 typical city break tourist items – meals and drinks, sightseeing, airport transfers and three nights’ weekend accommodation – Bangkok prices are around £14 lower than in Tokyo (£331).

However, this is because hotel prices in the Thai capital are almost £100 lower for three nights than in Tokyo.

Aside from this, the Japanese capital has the cheapest prices by far for the other 10 items. Beijing also emerges as great value at £337.


Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said: “Long haul city breaks have been identified by ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) as one of the big new travel trends.  With the autumn season for city breaks on the horizon, we chose to compare prices in 10 cities that attract British visitors for standalone city breaks or as stopover destinations to see which will cost the least. Cities in the Far East are looking unbeatable value.

“We advise people considering a long haul city break to do some advance homework before booking.  Compare meal and drink prices as these are costs that tourists cannot avoid on a city break trip and over the course of a three day stay they will soon mount up.”

The Post Office found that the cost of eating out is lowest in Tokyo, where a three-course evening meal for two with a bottle of house wine is just under £34. This means that eating out for three evenings in Japan costs around the same as one meal in Singapore (£101.20).

Brown added: “Holidaymakers will need to factor in flight costs to the price they will pay for hotels, meals, drinks and sightseeing but these can be surprisingly cheap now that low cost carriers are competing for long haul business with great value fares.  It’s also a good idea to compare airfares in different months to find the cheapest times to fly.”

The shortest flight time for the 10 cities surveyed is to Dubai (seven hours) and the Emirate proved to be the cheapest of five cities that have journeys of eight hours or less. At £361 for the barometer items, prices in Dubai are less than half those in Boston (£823), the most expensive city in the survey.  A cost of £668 for three nights’ four star accommodation in the American city accounts for the high price tag.

Washington DC emerges as cheapest of four cities surveyed in North America. At £504, the US capital benefited from well-priced accommodation – £382 for three nights – and free entry to top galleries and museums, including the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institute.

By contrast, visits to top sightseeing attractions in New York (Metropolitan Museum of Art, American Museum of National History and Ellis Island/the Statue of Liberty) will set British tourists back over £56.

Excluding accommodation, New York is also the priciest city for the 10 ‘cost of living’ items.  Across the border, Toronto (£612) prices are lower than in either New York or Boston.

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