initious From Singapore, joined Dec 2008, 1067 posts, RR: 6 Posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 12738 times:
This is the last part of my Great Asia Trip series which documents my travels around Asia. For the origin and to know more about the trip, I would strongly recommend reading the first 3 parts of the series.
Once again, this trip started out in a conversation…
“Would you like to come to Taiwan with us?”
“I wish to but I do not have the money.”
“How about flying direct from Bangkok to Taipei?”
“Nah, I guess I’ll pass. Do you want to visit me in Bangkok? We could chill out for 3 days.”
“It’s hard to reject your offer, which airline do you suggest?”
“Since you are doing a last minute booking, let’s try Thai. They offer great fares”
Little did I know, that simple MSN conversation made the best 3 days of my Great Asia Trip, a wonderful finale and a trip to remember forever. It was meant to be a simple trip; Just my best buddy, Adrian, and myself in the Land of Smiles, shopping and bargaining along the way. No rushing between destinations or arguing about which transportation to take etc.
As my Adrian has never booked flights by himself before, I helped him in the booking process. The TG website was as usual easy to navigate. However, I was unable to pay for the tickets for him using my card as there will be a credit card verification done during check-in. We decided to do a reservation on the TG website and head down to their office in Singapore to pay in cash.
Getting to their office was not an easy task even as Singaporeans. It is located in the Central Business District of Singapore and I tend to get lost in that area as it is so messy. After several rounds of walking and passing by the UA office on the way, we finally managed to reach the office which is adorned by a very beautiful “THAI” signage. No mistake, this is definitely the airline that touts about their Royal Orchid Service.
TG Singapore office
The office only had 1 other customer when we stepped in and right after pressing the machine for the queue number, we were called upon to Counter 3 where a middle-aged lady was waiting to serve us, with a smile on her face. After explaining our situation, she asked for Adrian’s destination and date of departure to which I just gave her the reservation number and we paid the money while she printed an e-ticket for him. As I saw that, I requested for one too and sure enough, I got mine in just a minute, coupled with a ticket holder but none was given to Adrian. This has got me thinking again, is it the power of the magical words, “Business Class?”
I also managed to purchase an Airbus A340-600 model from their office for S$35 which was pretty cheap. It also bears the registration HS-TNA, TG’s first A346.
Arrival from Dubai
Fast forward to the day Adrian and I meet in Bangkok. I arrived from Dubai on TG 517 that landed 10 minutes ahead of schedule at 8.30am. This was bad news for me as Adrian only arrives at 9.35am. Little did I know, more bad news were to arrive. As I got off TG 517, I got a series of 6 messages sent by him updating me about his plane that actually got a technical problem. Just days before, the scheduled equipment was changed from an Airbus A330-300 to a Boeing 777-200. Now, this B772 (HS-TJH) decides to be naughty while his brother that I flew in with (HS-TJE) was alright. The last message was sent at around 9.20am Singapore time informing me that the flight is finally boarding. As he guessed so, I arrived in Bangkok at 9.30am Singapore time but he only departed at 9.59am which means that he has not even taken off when I arrived. Scheduled arrival time was pushed to 10.30am according to the FIDS but has been further pushed to 11.30am a few moments later.
FIDS showing the delayed flight
This marks the beginning of an aviation freak panda roaming around Suvarnabhumi not knowing what to do while waiting. I decided to head to the handphone shop to purchase a sim card to make calls and possibly get mobile internet. The international calling surcharge was pretty cheap, 1 baht per minute. Guess getting a sim card will be the norm whenever I arrive at a new country.
I decided to look for the limousine driver that I have engaged as I was not sure if they knew about the delay. I booked the limousine service from a company known as “SPT Limousines” but I saw this signage that said “SP Limousine” so I got up to enquire about it. A guy which looked in his late 30s approached me and asked if I was a customer of his company but it turns out that both are different companies. However, he was very kind and offered to help me call the number stated on the booking I printed out. Shortly after, a young lady approached me and told me that the flight was delayed so she told me to sit down while waiting. As I waited, they tried chatting with me and asked if I speak Thai. According to them, I look like a Thai. I have always loved the Thais hospitality and was of course glad to hear that.
Sitting down with my wrapped luggage
I decided to utilise the internet I bought earlier on to cure my boredom. However, the internet was not cheap. It costs 250 baht an hour. However, it only managed to last me till 10.30am which means I had an hour more to burn.
Finally, the plane landed at 11.40am and I immediately contacted him to confirm that he actually landed safely. As it was around noon time, I expected the immigration to be in chaos. As Adrian told me, there was a long queue of people at immigration and the particular officer serving his row was very slow. Thankfully it did not take long and he finally came out at 12.10pm after a wait of almost 4 hours. We boarded the limousine and headed for Adelphi Grande, our hotel for the next 2 nights.
Adelphi Grande Bangkok
As our limousine pulled in at Adelphi Grande Bangkok, I was amazed by the lobby. It was beautiful and it gave me an impression that we will have a very nice stay here. Besides that, the price here is reasonable too. Despite booking just around 3 weeks in advance, we got a price of S$233 for 2 nights. We were warmly greeted at the reception desk, handed our keys and luggage taken care of.
Stepping into our 40 sqm apartment, the only word that managed to come out of my mouth was “Wow!” It is truly a wonderful and spacious room and I would not mind staying longer in this room. To add icing to the cake, they actually bothered to help us fold the clothes we threw on our beds just before leaving the room and left them neatly on the bed. Since both of us did not have enough sleep the previous night and feeling sorta tired after flying, we decided to order room service for lunch. It came in 20 minutes and tasted quite good. After eating, it was finally time for shopping!
Shopping in Bangkok
As a tourist, I can say you are at least 90% sure to get ripped off if you do not bargain. Maintaining a good attitude when bargaining is crucial. Don’t act like you are their boss or a demanding customer. Instead, treat them like a friend and they are more likely to give you bigger discounts. Another tip is to shop around for prices first before deciding on where to buy your stuff. Try using phrases like “I’ve seen it cheaper somewhere else” or “I saw somewhere else selling it for only xxx baht”. This tactic is almost fool proof! However, be aware of some “clingy” shopkeepers that don’t want to let you go when you don’t like the price. That happened twice to Adrian and twice I had to pull him away as they did not want to let him go. To make things interesting, it happened twice in a row and the shops were just a stone’s throw away from each other.
BTS Skytrain station and train view
Our usual stop, Phrom Phong
On our first night, we decided to head to Pratunam Night Market for shopping and have A&W for dinner. Getting to eat A&W is a luxury for Singaporeans as the well known brand has ceased their operations here several years ago. After dinner, we headed to MBK Shopping Centre for traditional Thai foot massage. It was cheap and good, 300 baht for 60 minutes and we feel refreshed and all the tiredness from the shopping gone. We also had a good night’s sleep after that.
A&W for dinner
We continued our adventure on the second day to MBK once again to look for a shop we saw on the first day but failed to find it so we decided to head to Chatuchak Weekend Market. Even though it was on a Friday, it is open for suppliers but not much things were up for grab. I just bought a wallet here for 220 baht.
Time flies by. After Chatuchak, we headed to Patphong Night Market via the Bangkok BTS Skytrain and upon descending from the stairs, I spotted this shop selling airline stuffs from shirts to laptop casings. I managed to get 5 t-shirts namely SQ, EK, KA, LH and NZ for 210 baht each, sorta high but I think it’s worth it. There is one thing I hate about Patphong. Surrounding the night market were countless night clubs offering “Thai Girl Shows” for “100”. That’s what they tell you in English and you’d think that it is 100 baht which in fact was 100 USD! Ridiculous! Another thing was that there were also lots of people holding DVDs that shows restricted materials on the streets. I am someone who stays away from those at all costs (believe it or not!) and definitely felt quite angry seeing all those people selling the stuffs. Can’t they just sell it discreetly?
TG’s headquarters in Bangkok
Time flies by when you are enjoying yourself. Sure enough, it was soon time for us to head back to our hotels for our second night of sleep and prepare for the journey home. At this point in time, I was definitely missing home but also sad that the trip is ending. After getting back to the hotel, both of us had a nice and long chat like what we would usually do over a bottle of Barcadi Breezer, a great way to end the trip. I was deadly tired from all the travelling around so I passed out like a light. Next morning, we woke up and prepared for our journey back home.
initious From Singapore, joined Dec 2008, 1067 posts, RR: 6
Reply 1, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 12735 times:
Home Sweet Home
Our flight was scheduled to be an Airbus A340-500 but it got subbed by an Airbus A340-600 last minute. I was looking forward to my second A345 flight as I did not realize I was on an A345 until years later when I checked flightstats. Ironically, it was also a TG BKK-SIN flight. Since the reality is fixed now, I was just hoping HS-TNC don’t appear before me again as I have been on that bird twice and twice in the same seat.
As we dropped by Suvarnabhumi row 1 where TG has their premium check in, I resigned to the fate that I am finally going back to Singapore after 15 days of nonstop travelling. 7 flights in 15 days, an average of 1 flight every 2 days. It should be the most intensive travelling I’ve ever done in my life.
As I was in Business and Adrian in Economy, I decided to pull him along for the premium check in and see if he could check in together with me. We approached the premium check in area and were directed to an empty desk by the usher. The lady looked like she was not in a very good mood that day as her attitude was not the best. As I had to wrap my heavily damaged baggage, I let the agent know and she was like, “Go wrap now!” Wow, I feel like a little child getting reprimanded by my teacher, in the TG premium check in area! While I was away, she checked my friend in which I found it a nice gesture and we do not have to go through the hassle of queuing at the Economy counters.
Adrian’s boarding pass
My boarding pass
I also enquired if I could bring my friend into the lounge, expecting the answer to be a no as I am neither a First Class nor Star Gold member. Therefore, we were discussing what to do when we were handed both our boarding passes. Guess what? My friend got a lounge invitation, flying in TG Economy for the first time! Definitely a good agent I can say, maybe she just had a bad day. We chilled out in the lounge and I decided to head to the Royal Orchid Spa for a massage. As usual, I entered and greeted the receptionist with a warm “Sawasdeekrup” to which I was replied with Thai which I don’t understand.
“I’m sorry sir. Would you like a foot or shoulder massage?”
“Yes sir. Have I seen you here before? You look familiar”
“Yeah, around a week ago?”
“Oh yes! You spoke like a Thai and that’s why I had a deep impression of you. When you said “Sawasdeekrup” you look so like Thai!”
“Really? Thanks for the comment. I am flattered”
“You are welcome sir. Your masseur is here; please follow her for the massage”
I definitely felt a sense of recognition even though I am one of the few hundred that pass by the spa each day. After a short and sweet 30 minute massage, I proceeded back to the lounge to look for Adrian which was using my laptop for the duration I was gone. More chilling out later, it was time to head for the boarding gate for our flight, TG 413 back to Singapore.
Food and drinks in the lounge
Thai Airways International Flight TG 413 – 26MAR11 Origin: Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK/VTBS) Destination: Singapore Changi Airport (SIN/WSSS) Registration: HS-TNC (DEL 5OCT05) Aircraft: Airbus A340-600 Time of Departure (Scheduled): 11.30am (11.30am) Time of Arrival (Scheduled): 2.57pm (2.50pm) Class of Travel: Business Seat: 12A
Earlier on in the lounge, I was trying to make out the approximate location of our gate and I saw an Airbus A340-600 parked there. As I tried to make out the registration from more than 100 meters away, I made it out to be HS-TNC, which means it will be my third time on this bird, on the same seat again! However, I was hoping I made it out wrongly and it will be HS-TNE instead. It was confirmed to be HS-TNC after getting to our boarding gate. Here I come, my old friend HS-TNC.
Boarding for Business Class has begun once we reached so I decided to go on first since Adrian was insisting that I do so. As I stepped onboard, I noticed most of the Business Class passengers were already onboard and my seatmate looked to be a very arrogant man. Sure he was, I can say. As welcome drinks were served, I took the last glass of iced tea and without looking up from his phone; he simply said “iced tea”. We get this kind of people from time to time I guess. Thankfully he did not try to interfere with my phototaking.
View from my seat
My third flight in this very seat!
We finally got pushed back on time and HS-TNC fired up all 4 of her engines to bring us back to Singapore. At this juncture, I was reflecting on the trip. It was too good of a trip and I did not want it to end. However, we have to move on in life so I turned to the thought that I will be seeing my girlfriend in just 3 hours. That certainly made me excited. =D
Leaving gate C6, Singapore bound
TG jumbo beside us
Nose camera when taxiing
Traffic ahead of us
Meal service commenced shortly after takeoff and I ordered a Zurich Lamb with Spaghetti. It still tasted great as usual. Dessert shortly came after with a nice cup of tea. Right after meal service, I decided to head to the back to look for Adrian. On the way, I noticed the back Business Class cabin was curtained off so I enquired with the head steward if the cabin was sold as Economy and sure enough, it was. Would be a real treat to be enjoying the Business Class seats on an Economy fare for this short 2 hour hop. Sadly, the First Class was not opened for booking or I would have chosen a seat there.
Shortly after takeoff
Can’t get enough of this view
On relax mode
Preparing for meal service
Dessert and tea
Back to reality…
We are nearly there!
A smooth touchdown!
I continued relaxing and watching the clouds go by as we near Singapore. At 2.27pm, we touched down in Singapore Changi Airport and that marks the perfect ending of my Great Asia Trip.
Goodbye, seat 12A on HS-TNC! We will meet again!
It was definitely a trip of a lifetime to be experiencing my first turboprop flight, my first First Class flight and my first time to Dubai. New airplane types I logged for this trip are the Airbus A380-800, ATR 72-500 and Boeing 777-200. New airlines are EK and FY. Not a bad result for just 7 flights. There were lots of fun and laughter during the trip and all will be kept in my memory forever. Overall, this has got to be the best trip of my life!
airbusfanyyz From Canada, joined Oct 2002, 1438 posts, RR: 25
Reply 2, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 12226 times:
Loved the report... the photos of Bangkok and Chatuchak brought back fond memories of my trip!
Great stuff at Chatuchak, there is even a cool little shop selling retro airline t-shirts.
I wanted to pick up a bunch as they had some amazing stuff but they only had Medium and Small sizes.
Looks like I have a shot of your A340-600 in my trip report (mistakenly identified as the -500) as I sat in HS-TGB prior to departure.
Love those amenity kits and other memorabilia, thanks for sharing!
luxair747SP From Germany, joined May 2010, 513 posts, RR: 17
Reply 4, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 11079 times:
very nice TR with many good pictures.
The service on Thai looked very nice, but I think the seat is a bit outdated, but that will change when the A380 arrives.
The food quality and quantity looked also very decent.
The pictures of your experience in downtown BKK also were interesting.
Thank you a lot for sharing
Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 11): Look like you enjoyed Bangkok, not difficult being such a lively city, was there for Chinese new year a couple of years back, what a superb time!
Bangkok is certainly one of my favourite cities now. The Thai hospitality is something you cannot forget when you leave Thailand!
Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 11): Catering on TG looks good as always, can't recall a bad looking meal on TG TR's.
That's what they do best.
Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 11): Shame you got the same 346 as twice before, is frustrating at times when you get the same machine, very unlucky!
Since TG has like 6 A346s I'd have the chance to fly on at least 3 of them now but it seems like they just want be to stick to HS-TNC.
Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 11): Good to see you liberating and aquiring airline memrobilia, glad to see it's not just me!
I'm sure lots of other people are collecting airline memorabilia just like you and me. I actually have a drawer dedicated to it!
Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 12): nice report with good pictures! TG's catering looks fine, what else can you ask for on such a relatively short flight?
Thanks for your kind comments.
Quoting lh4116 (Reply 13): A nice finale on your trip around Asia, I must say. Seems like you had a good time in Bangkok, hotel looked very nice!
Thanks for your kind comments. I instantly fell in love with that hotel the minute I stepped in! The hotel was actually introduced to me by our late friend, Sandeep. He also stayed in the hotel before coming by to SIN.
Quoting lh4116 (Reply 13): Interesting that your friend hadn't flown by himelf before, wonder how that comes? Also how comes you got upgraded and not your friend?
He had never flown before until 2008 where we went to CNX for a school trip, followed by to WUH for another school trip. I must say his first flight by himself was pretty interesting. I was in J from the start so I do not get upgraded. However, I was just wishing that they might upgrade him since he is checking in together with me, haha.
Quoting lh4116 (Reply 13): Nice that the ground agent gave you both invitations to the Lounge. Also, was the foot massage a good choice? I could imagine the feet getting pretty tired from walking all day.
Foot massage was definitely a good choice. After a whole day of walking, the best thing to do would be getting a foot massage! I actually had 3 for the 3 days I was in Bangkok. Talk about addiction...
Quoting lh4116 (Reply 13): Service in TG J on short haul flights looked very similar to what you got on your longer trip to DXB. Didn't they use to serve everything one one tray before?
They serve everything on one tray on all flights, including the ULH to LAX. I guess this makes their job easier as they have rather large J cabins.
Quoting lh4116 (Reply 13): Anyway, it was nice reading about your adventures around Asia. Thanks for sharing!
You're welcome, I glad you enjoyed it! =)
Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 14): Another great report. I am surprised by the poor agent in BKK - usually they are exemplary. And the food, simply made me hungry!
Thanks for the compliments. I guess she might be one of those that is not top standard yet, or just had a bad day. Either way, I don't blame TG for this.