After receiving a rather generous bonus pay in March, I began to devise a plan for a much needed mini break. We were originally looking at going to Bangkok on one of the two long weekends, but then my girlfriend was told that she had to undergo training in Hong Kong for three days in late May. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise as we could stay in her company-paid hotel room for three nights and save the hotel money for shopping and food!
25 May 2006
I got up at 0500 on the morning of May 25, did some last minute packing and cleaning up, and was finally ready to leave for the airport at 0610. I was very excited, as I haven’t had a real holiday for almost two years now.
The taxi driver dropped me off at T2
Door 4 after the 15-minute taxi ride and I found that SQ
had consolidated all Economy Class check-in at Rows 7 and 8 with the Express Check-in counters at Row 9.
The queue at Row 7 was the shortest so I went there and was called almost immediately after joining the queue. The pleasant check-in lady confirmed that I had already checked-in online asked if I was okay with the seat selection. I asked her if the middle seat beside me would be empty and she said it would be as the flight was not very full. The check-in formalities were completed in just a little over five minutes and it took me another five minutes to clear immigration. It was now around 0645 and I had just over an hour to kill before boarding began.
First stop was the I-Connect Internet stations on level 3 where I spent about 15 minutes sending emails to my boss to remind him that I would be on leave for two days and to the interns to cover for me while I was away.
I-connect Internet station
Next stop was the duty free shop while I bought two cartons of ciggies, which I would smuggle back to Singapore. This set me back SGD
40 as compared to SGD
220 had I bought the same number in the city. A steal!
Then off to the Sunflower Garden to feed my habit (filthy and disgusting, I know!).
sunrise at Changi
nothing but SQ
birds in this part of the terminal
It was about 0720 now and I decided to explore the terminal a little bit.
The new transit lounge structure looked particularly impressive.
Made my way to Gate E25 around 0730, making a quick stop along the way to exchange SGD
53.10 for HKD 250.
E25 is a bus gate, and certainly one of the smallest gates in SIN
. As hundreds of people began filling in the holding room, there simply weren’t enough seats.
Boarding began at 0801 for First, Raffles, and passengers traveling with small children. There was only one bus ferrying passengers to the aircraft, which was simply unacceptable. 0810, it was boarding for passengers on rows 52-57. The rest of us waited and waited and hundreds of impatient passengers began crowding the door leading to the tarmac. 0820 the bus finally returned and boarding turned into a rather chaotic free-for-all affair.
The bus ride was more of a tour of the tarmac as we went quite far, up to the T1 end of the airport.
my aircraft on the right
a great day to fly
We finally reached our aircraft, which was 9V
-SQJ. The exact same aircraft I flew on the last time I went to HKG
almost 4 years ago.
Made my way to 50K. By now it was certain that we would miss our departure time. By 0835 the captain came on the PA. Doors were closed shortly and we pushed back on 0840. Hot towels were distributed and the safety video began playing.
taxiing out to runway 02C
the Budget terminal
We lined up at 0854 after a short wait and began our 3 hours and 20 minutes hop to HKG
leaving the Singapore coast…
…and entering peninsular Malaysia.
Fasten seat belt sign was turned off after 15 minutes and menus and headsets were distributed.
The service started with OJ and brunch followed shortly after. The main course choice was omelette with chicken sausage or seafood noodle. I chose the latter. Accompanying the main course were a fruit dish, a roll with butter and jam, and a dessert of sweet corn pudding with vanilla sauce. My drink of choice was coffee and OJ. I was rather disappointed that they didn’t serve ice cream for dessert.
Didn’t find any movies that interested me so I settled watching Will and Grace and CSI. The meal was cleared 1.5 hours into the flight, which was most welcome as I wanted to take a nap. The stewardesses also asked that the window shades be lowered and dimmed the cabin lights after the meal service.
Woke up after almost an hour nap and found the lovely, ever-smiling stewardess serving my aisle making water round.
We flew mainly above the South China Sea after we left the Eastern coast of peninsular Malaysia, skirting the coast of Vietnam.
10 minutes to 1200 we started our descent to Chek Lap Kok. The sky was gray and the approach was a bit bumpy at times.
Didn’t know the runway we used, as I wasn’t familiar with the airport. But we approached from the East and landed on 1215.
and after a somewhat lengthy taxi, we docked at Gate 21 on 1228.
taxiing to Gate 21
The immigration queue was about a mile too long but the upside was that my bag was already waiting on the baggage carrousel when I had cleared immigration.
Bought a two-way Airport Express ticket to Kowloon and the spotless train arrived just as I reached the station. The ride to Kowloon took around 20 minutes and there was a free shuttle bus, which I took to the Sheraton where the missus was waiting. She had already arrived the day before.
Overall it was another good flight with SQ
and Changi Airport was a joy to use as usual and though the fact that we were using a bus gate was a bit troublesome, it gave me an opportunity to take a tour of the tarmac.
Hong Kong itself is amazing - the striking buildings, the old and decrepit apartment blocks, the gloomy weather, the narrow streets with multicolored neon signboards. Somehow it has a certain underlying energy that Singapore is sorely lacking, and it is dirty enough to make me feel comfortable on the spot. I will be back for sure.
Thanks for reading my trip report. Comments, good or bad, are certainly appreciated.