My end of the year vacation including a trip to Beijing, Bangkok + Phuket, Thailand. This is the 7th straight year to Thailand as the end of the year holidays.
29 December 2007
Melbourne to Bangkok
288 pax out of 292
FL 390 Mach 0.829
My 74th B777 flight
I flown in earlier from Sydney (my hometown) on Virgin Blue B737-800 VH
-VUF to connect with TG
midnight departure to Bangkok. (overnight flight) The check in podium was packed with Economy but no Business Class queue, I was given Express immigration card and jumped ahead of the 100+ queue at security and passport control
Thai Airways use Air New Zealand lounge in Melbourne, which is located on the ground floor of Int'l terminal building.
The flight itself is a typical overnight flight and nothing much to write about. TG
serve you a good dinner before you go to sleep and wake up in time for a breakfast before landing in Bangkok. I didn't take picture of the new seat since most of the time the cabin is dark. TG
serve a good dinner with Qantas Catering from MEL
. I have an empty seat next to me thanks to the check in crew blocked off for me.
The seats are not the most comfortable ones, not because of the angle or slope. It is the foot rest, one must hold on to the food rest and push it down to keep it like that for extension. As soon as you let go, the foot rest retracts and you receive no leg/foot support.
Here is a picture of the large PTV screen in Business Class. Note the landing scene from landing gear camera in BKK
Next flight to Beijing is at 11am so I headed out to the city to visit a friend and get back to airport around 10am and visited Royal Orchid Spa for a complimentary Head/Shoulder massage which it was superb and the lounge have no other visitor in the morning hours. I highly recommend a visit to this lounge and utilize the privilege of flying Premium classes.
29 December 2007
Bangkok to Beijing
355 pax out of 375
Seat 16A upper deck exit
My 195th B747 (all series) flight
As I walk past security and approaching departure gate in Concourse C, after checking the rego of the plane from the window, I have a big smile on my face, it is a new configurated B747-400. Bangkok to Beijing sector is scheduled to operate by the old configuration. I consider myself lucky to score "an upgrade! " and later I find out Row16 is an exit row too (which I didn't request!) This seat is easily the best seat of all Business Class.
View from Seat 16A upper deck.
Appetizer, Thai Fish Cake with Champagne Demilly De Baere (I rate it 6/10)
First Course. I like the catering out of Bangkok.
Main Course, Grilled Beef Fillet.
I took a nap after the extensive full lunch service and some delicious Fruit Cheese. Woke up just before landing in a very cold Beijing in the evening. We landed long on Rwy36L and took a while to taxi to Gate 13 in PEK
. Outside the street, I was greeted by a -2 degrees C with wind chill.
I spend next few days in Beijing leisurely include a visit to the Air Traffic Control tower.
Terminal 2 overhead view.
New Terminal 3 ready 29 Feb this year. Another runway is built and behind T3
. I think the future PEK
looks like CDG
3 January 2008
Beijing to Bangkok
Seat 16K upper deck exit
My 196th B747 (all series) flight
At check-in of this flight I was hoping another "7443" new config operating and of course, my greedy dream didn't happen! It is back to reality on an old HS
-TGB (was built in late 2001, but with very old /dark looking inside)
I scored another exit row upper deck and no one else sitting next to me in 16H, quite rare these days.
I didn't take any picture on this flight as I was battling with the cold flu I got in Beijing. The catering from Beijing was truely awful. I had the worst airline meal (in any class) I ever have on this flight. The food are dry, tasteless and the Liver Pate is off ! I have flown on TG
615 a few times before, and this time is the worst. A quick 4hr 40 minutes and ontime pushback in Beijing with no departing traffic ensure our 30 minutes early arrival in Survanabhumi Int'l in BKK
. I got out of the airport fast and on a taxi to Westin Sukhumvit Hotel, home for the next 3 days. I have stayed in this hotel more than 15 times alltogether, this is a very comfortable hotel features new refurbished room with Heavenly Bed that Westin is famous for. Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit is just opposite it, and a Department Store name Robinson is adjacent to Westin, there is a Macdonalds, and a supermarket/phamarcy below it makes the location very convenient.
I spent the next 2 days resting, going to massage and spa and spend a good evening dining in Mezzaluna, 64th floor of Lebua State Building (The Dome), the restaurant is one of the finest indoor of Bangkok, specialize in Italian, Med fair. The hotel concierge tried to book Sirocco, the outdoor restaurant for me, but it was booked out 1 month in advance due to its appealing outdoor dining. Equally amazing to the food, is the bill when it arrive!
A staggering 35000 Baht dinner in Thailand ! (You can work out how much in USD it is!)
Sirocco Restaurant and Moon Bar, looking over the skyline of Bangkok in evening.
The Dome, 64th floor above Bangkok.
6 January 2008
Bangkok to Phuket
Seat 2A in Royal First Section (Business Class ticket)
My 197th B747 (all series) flight
I bought a last minute Business/Silk class domestic ticket to Phuket, and at check in I requested to be seat in the First Class section. I noticed the Business Class was full and there were still some First Class seats open for Business passenger but you need to request this at check in. (Consider it a free upgrade
Here are some photos of the flight.
Enjoying my 5 window view!
Some Fish ball congee. Only TG201 receive a breakfast on BKK
took this picture of me.
Accomadation: Arahmas Resort Phuket
This underrated 5 star property near NaiYang Beach in Phuket have a special of only 4,200 THB per night in Peak end of the year season while other similar hotel are selling 3-4 times the price. I booked the hotel via wotif.com but just checked the rate have increased to nearly 8000 THB, a shame since it was a bargain at 4,200 and worth much much more in value ! The hotel provide free DVD in room, a library, free internet access and free buffet breakfast in this rate. The only downside is, the road access to the resort is poor and it may be slow getting in and out of the resort to the main road. According to the Hotel Staff, the resort was built only 3 years ago.
Welcome to Arahmas Resort and Spa Phuket Nai Yang Beach.
Large balcony with Daybed and sea view.
Beautiful ocean view in the early morning. I like taking a small nap on the daybed in the morning, listen to the seawave to wake you up for the whole day!
Ground level room are pool-accessable room makes it easy to dip in the pool to cool off and get back to the room.
Arahmas Hotel/Resort have very nice and semi-open bathroom. These non-reflective mirror looking titles make you feel you're a star (shines all over) during shower !
A nice mosiac tile bathtub. Open the curtain you can see the ocean during the bath!
Lobby, like a sanctuary.
I spent 3 days in Phuket relaxing and went spotting in the morning from the ATC tower in Phuket.
Very sunny and beautiful.
My rental motorbike. (Honda Click Scooter, Auto)
9 January 2008
Phuket to Bangkok
My 10th A300(all series) flight
After 3 relaxing and fantastic day and night in Phuket. I am ready to return to Bangkok to spend my 3 remaining days of my vacation. Every flight is fully booked going back except TG1214 to Don Muang Airport (the former BKK
) I have no problem of using this flight to re-visit DMK
and flying another A300.
A300-600 docking in Gate 9 in sunny Phuket.
Snack Box, the art, design, style and packaging in Thailand is always First Class !
Landed ontime in DMK
at 4pm, the approach to Rwy21R brought back many good memories of spotting in old Bangkok Int'l and a short taxi to have us disembark at Gate 67 of Pier 6. There were quite a queue of getting a taxi to the city since there are many Nok Air and Orient Thai arriving flight in the late afternoon.
Introducing Grand Millennium Sukhumvit Hotel
This is a brand New hotel in Bangkok by Millennium Copthone. Soft opened 2 months ago and its Grand Opening is due in March 2008. It is on Asok Road and corner of Sukhumvit, near the infamous nightspot Soi Cowboy.
I first found this hotel by looking out of the window from Westin, saw a new hotel glows at night with bright white light and a boat shape (like a small Barj?). The hotel offer stay 2 nights and get 1 free rate. I booked the Club Level floor with 5600++ Introductory Rate
Below are some photos of the Room and Hotel facilities.
Top floor club room 2707 (same size/amenity as Deluixe room though) I estimate a room size of 38Sqm. (Westin is 42Sqm)
The Beautiful Atrium
The Beautiful Atrium. Looking down from 27 floor.
Executive Lounge - empty for the whole 2 happy hours (6pm-8pm)
Large and plenty of seating in the lounge. One side is darker, more hip/hop and the other side is brighter.
I was the only guest up in the lounge on the 24 floor and was immediately offer a list of cocktail/aperitifs/wines. There is a good selection of snacks (next day was even better with seared Tuna, Lamb loin, scallops and cream brulee...) I have informed the staff that the hot water system doesn't run properly in my Club room and the duty manager came to the lounge and apologize for the inconvenience persoanlly. I suggested to upgrade to the Suite for a small fee and she gladly waive the fee to upgrade me to the 12000 THB /night Millennium Suite room.
Suite with 2 LCD
Although the room don't have DVD player, one can borrow cables and plug and play your own Laptop/Ipod...
Bedroom. There are many small feature like the goose neck lamp and mood light from bed side to enhance the experience. The bed itself was the softest and most comfortable bed I have slept on, like a feather bed! It beats the Westin Heavenly Bed by far ! There are 2 bathrooms and 1 ensuite wardrobe. Everything smells brand new in the room and all system worked flawlessly.
The Antidote Spa on 7 Floor
The Spa have 50% off at the moment and 1 hr full massage only cost 1400 THB in a great spa room with tranquil sound/environment.
Private Shower room inside your Spa Suite
The Antidote Spa
After staying 3 nights in this hotel , I believe it has the potential to become one of the upscale trendy hotel in Bangkok with young professional guest frequenting. I will stay in this hotel again next month, and forgetting the Starwoord chain hotel in BKK
from now on !
Some other Bangkok sights:
While partying in-town, I have visited some good night club in Bangkok and can recommend the following:
-Bed Superclub for the "in-bed" experience with your companion/friends
-Spasso at Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel for lively entertainment and disco dancing on weekends. Live Music 22:00-02:00
There are a few good place to hang out such as Q Bar, CM2 at Novotel Siam Sq and some underground bar after 2am......Don't hesitate to ask me if you're heading BKK
This time in town I was foruntately driven by my friend Romancy around town like a VIP. Every place we went were giving us VIP red carpet treatment with eyes wide open.......Gotta love those times with a beautiful girl as your chauffeur.
Her Modified Honda Jazz
Inside of her car.
Romancy with Shisha in Arabic Restaurant (24 hrs)
Roses for Riga, a Nepalese worker in Arabic Restaurant we both admire
The other place I recommend is the Siam Paragon Shopping Centre, and its cinema complex , get a VIP ticket for only 600 THB (18 USD) for some unparallel comfort watching movie in a bed-comforter seat with drinks and lounge included. Also to remember to check out the toilet, one of the best looking ones but sorry I don't have a picture. You have to see it yourself there!
There is also a large Kinokuniya book store which stock good aviation books there!
12 January 2008
Bangkok to Singapore
My 75th B777 flight (all series)
After a slow start of the trip but 3 final great days in Bangkok, it is time to say goodbye to beautiful Thailand and head back home. Routing BKK
with Singapore Airlines to Melbourne via Singapore and Qantas to Sydney.
Singapore Sling. Empty Business Class.
One tray meal. Pan Fried Chicken with pasta. Thai Chicken salad as appetizer.
SQ631 flight is a continuation flight from Tokyo to Singapore with an immediate stop in Bangkok. The Japanese SQ FA
Asako (very good looking but pale) misidentified me as a Japanese passenger and were given Japanese paper...later we have a chat about her perfume she like and she said she just returned from holidays in Laos and got food posioning there so that explain the pale look.
The check-in (TG agent) in BKK
informed me the flight depart to Australia will be using the brand new Terminal 3 in Changi, which opened on 9 January 2008. SQ
631 landed in Changi ontime and captain informed us it will be off loading pax at T3
(and head to HKG
after as SQ870)
Here are some picture I took with my small pocket camera.
One main central security for B1- B4
gates, similar for A gates.
Great thing about T3
is it has ample room for passenger between flights transitting, it has quiet area and chairs for naps.
When compare Changi's T3
's Survarnabhumi, BKK
can learn so much from Changi. I visited T3
the 4th day after its new opening and everything is functioning, there is enough Air-conditioning, enough lighting and signs and no one was lost or panicking. After almost 1.5 years of new BKK
opening, there is still not enough Air Conditioning, large people like myself often sweating like pigs running from the lounge to a very far gate to board the plane.
I visited the new opened duty free shops and found myself bought a set of Batik Kebaya (Singapore girl uniform), scarf and slipper for my girlfriend to play with, the friendly Singaporean shopkeeper think I am a bit too kinky
The new Silver Kris Lounge in T3
My opinion is , the lighting has been enhanced and so as the atmosphere when compared to the old lounge. I particularly love the buffet area, with stone dining table and a dedicated coffee/tea/cake area behind. It will take me a few more times to use the lounge before I can give my opinions, but the new lounge is definity bring Silver Kris back to competitive. I did not get a chance to visit the First Class section since I am only flying Business Class. The toilet construction is not done yet so guest have to visit the common toilet outside the lounge...
12 January 2008
Singapore to Melbourne
374 pax out of 375
My 198th B747 flight (all series)
I knew this flight is loaded. We have 374 pax out of 375 seats capcity. I was luckyily assigned Row17A , one of the best seat in Business Class (Row 11AK and 17AK). I enjoyed a French Movie by Audrey Tautou and used the Book the Cook
Of course, it is Lobster ! (Slipper Lobster for C)
We're 30 minutes late in push back and resulted a 30 minutes delay in arriving Melbourne, I have missed my connecting Qantas domestic flight to Sydney at 8:30 but were allowed to travel on the next flight at 9:00am.
I hope you have enjoyed my year end vacation to Beijing, Bangkok and Phuket and with some views of New Changi Terminal 3.