Nevertheless, to make things more interesting for you guys, I shall share with you my holiday in Bangkok, Thailand in August and September 2012. This holiday blog report will consist of three parts.
Bangkok is the capital and largest city of the Kingdom of Thailand. It is a city which I have known for many years, since I was just a small lad. Notable carriers that I have flown on include Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, and Thai Airways International.
Part 1 ~ The Opening
On Thursday (30 August), I woke up at 6.15 a.m. to attend the normal school day's lessons. According to my principal, this was to be a half-day, with all lessons ending at 10.15 a.m.. This was due to my school's 150th Founder's Day Tea Ceremony, as well as the Parent-Teacher Meetings for selected Secondary 1 to Secondary 3 students.
As I knew, Teacher's Day was around the corner. As I would not be in school for the special celebrations on Friday (31 August), I had until the morning of my departure to deliver the gifts. Over the past weekend until the Wednesday (29 August), I was glad to have settled all the Teacher's Day presents for my teachers.
Once I reached school, I took the time to deliver my gifts before morning assembly and attended my usual morning lessons. According to my parents, as our flight would be on Cathay Pacific flight CX 712, departing at 1.35 p.m. later that afternoon, I had to be home before 11 o' clock that morning, to leave for the airport by 11.15 a.m.. With that, I decided to make a run for it once the 10.15 a.m. school bell rang.
After I delivered all the Teachers' Day presents, I went to attend my usual morning lessons. Once the 10.15 a.m. school bell rang, I immediately made a run along the corridors, being careful not to bump into any of my recipients of the Teacher's Day presents. I then left school at around 10.20 a.m., eventually reaching home by 10.35 a.m..
As soon as I arrived safely at home, I immediately took a quick shower and packed up some last minute items for my baggage to Bangkok. We then left home by 11 o' clock that morning, for a journey in the car to Singapore Changi Airport for approximately 25 minutes.
We managed to arrive at Singapore Changi Airport just before 11.30 a.m.. As we always knew, we decided to park in Terminal 3, as it was the safest place to park at. After parking our car, I went to get two baggage trolleys to put our baggage. We then took the elevator up to the departure and check-in area of Terminal 3.
Terminal 3 is currently, as of 1 September 2012, is the newest Terminal at Singapore Changi Airport. It opened on 9 January 2008 to help cater to more tourist arrivals into Singapore. Between its opening on 9 January 2008 and 24 March 2008, Singapore Airlines was the sole airline operating from this terminal.
China Eastern Airlines, Jet Airways, Qatar Airways, and United Airlines shifted their operations to Terminal 3 from Terminal 1 on 25 March 2008. Garuda Indonesia, Saudi Arabian Airlines, SriLankan Airlines, and Vietnam Airlines also moved here in February 2011. Transaero Airlines also uses this terminal when it resumed operations to Singapore; it previously used Terminal 1.
Kingfisher Airlines used this terminal when it commenced services to Singapore in 2009, but later shifted its operations to Terminal 1 in 2010. However, following the airline's severe financial crisis, it terminated all international flights in mid-2012. As of now, the possibility of the airline fully recovering seems to be very unlikely.
If Singapore Airlines operates all of its flights (even regional flights) from Terminal 3, this would be a special privilege for the flag carrier of the Republic of Singapore. Just like the Terminal 3 at Dubai International Airport in the United Arab Emirates (which is constructed exclusively for Emirates), Singapore Changi Airport's Terminal 3 could be used exclusively for Singapore Airlines, and be known as "The Singapore Airlines Terminal".
However, there could be an exception. Virgin Australia, an airline group based in the United Kingdom, is partially owned by Singapore Airlines. Should Virgin Australia commence operations to Singapore, it can share Terminal 3 with Singapore Airlines, due to its strong partnership with the airline.
However, if this were to happen, all the foreign airlines operating from Terminal 3 will have to either move back to Terminal 1 or move to Terminal 2. Since Oneworld has its Singapore co-location in Terminal 1, all future Oneworld carriers in Terminal 3 should shift back to Terminal 1 as part of an "Under One Roof" programme. However, Malaysia Airlines may retain its operations in Terminal 2. If I run Singapore Changi Airport, examples could be as follows:
1) China Eastern Airlines (SkyTeam carrier) - To shift its operations to Terminal 2
2) Garuda Indonesia (future SkyTeam carrier) - To shift its operations to Terminal 2
3) Jet Airways - To shift its operations back to Terminal 1
4) Qatar Airways (future Oneworld carrier) - To shift its operations back to Terminal 1
5) Saudi Arabian Airlines (SkyTeam carrier) - To shift its operations back to Terminal 1
6) SriLankan Airlines (future Oneworld carrier) - To shift its operations back to Terminal 1
7) Transaero Airlines - To shift its operations to Terminal 2
8) United Airlines (Star Alliance carrier) - To shift its operations to Terminal 2
9) Vietnam Airlines (SkyTeam carrier) - To shift its operations to Terminal 2
There are also certain airlines which may or choose to begin or resume their service to Singapore. Some suggestions may include:
1) Swiss International Air Lines (Star Alliance carrier) - To use Terminal 2 when it reopens its service to Singapore with direct non-stop flights between Singapore and Zurich on 12 May 2013
2) TonleSap Airlines - To use Terminal 1 when it commences services between Singapore and Siem Reap on 27 December 2012
As soon as we stepped into the departure and check-in area of Terminal 3, we headed to the Skytrain station. As Cathay Pacific flight CX 712 would be operating from Terminal 1, we had to take the Skytrain, which whisked us to Terminal 1 within just a minute. We were then in Terminal 1 by 11.45 a.m..
|The 2nd basement floor of Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3
|The departure information screen showing the departure timings for the various flights operating from Terminal 3
|The departure and check-in hall of Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3
|The giant turning fan in Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3
|The Singapore Changi Airport Skytrain platforms in Terminal 3
|Inside the Singapore Changi Airport Skytrain while still at Terminal 3
Singapore Changi Airport Skytrain ~ Panoramic View from Terminal 1 to Terminal 3
As soon as we were in Terminal 1, we immediately proceeded over to the Cathay Pacific Business Class check-in counter to check in for Cathay Pacific flight CX 712 bound for Bangkok via Hong Kong. We received our boarding passes after we checked in our bulky baggage. According to the check-in agent, our flight would depart from Gate No. D44 at 1.35 p.m., and that, boarding would commence half an hour before departure.
Cathay Pacific is the flag carrier and the largest airline of Hong Kong. Founded in 1946, it operates to at least 100 destinations in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania. It uses purely wide-body aircraft which mainly consists of the Airbus A330, Airbus A340, Boeing 747, and Boeing 777.
The airline is also a founding member of Oneworld, the world's second airline alliance formed in 1999, with its subsidiary, Dragonair, as an affiliate member. The airline, along with American Airlines, British Airways, and Qantas banded together to form the alliance.
Singapore is an important destination for the airline. Unlike certain carriers operating from Terminal 1, Cathay Pacific does not use the special SATS Premier Check-in Lounge and the SATS Premier Lounge. Instead, it has its own check-in counters for its passengers (even for First and Business Class), and uses the Skyview Lounge in Terminal 1.
|The Cathay Pacific check-in counters in Row 1 in Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1
|The departure and check-in areas of Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1
|My boarding pass for Cathay Pacific flight CX 712 between Singapore and Bangkok
After we received our boarding passes for Cathay Pacific flight CX 712 bound for Bangkok and Hong Kong, we decided to head to the passport control area, before heading to the Skyview Lounge. Based on my observation, Terminal 1 had completed its renovation process a few months earlier. There was a glass roof on the top, and even the SATS Premier Check-in Lounge was renovated.
A great improvement for such a terminal like this. As we looked through some shops, we managed to find the Skyview Lounge at 12.05 p.m.. We then went up to the lounge and had some refreshments before our flight bound for Bangkok. At the same time, I did my usual plane-spotting activity from the lounge. Also, I went to the money changer to change some Singapore dollars into Thai baht.
|The screen outside the SATS Premier Check-in Lounge in Terminal 1 showing the list of airlines using this special check-in lounge for their First and Business Class passengers
|The entrance to the SATS Premier Check-in Lounge in Terminal 1
|The newly-renovated areas in Terminal 1
|The main transit mall in the airside of Terminal 1
|A lineup of duty-free shops in the airside of Terminal 1
|The departure information screen in the airside of Terminal 1 showing the timings of the various flight departures
|A lineup of money changers and shops in the airside of Terminal 1
|A Lion Air Boeing 737-9GP/ER, registered PK-LJI, being prepared for pushback from Gate No. D32 as Lion Air flight JT 105 for Surabaya
|The staircase in the Skyview Lounge leading to a swimming pool above
|The beverage corner of the Skyview Lounge
|The interior of the Skyview Lounge
|A list of airlines using the Skyview Lounge
|On the escalator to the Skyview Lounge
|A Thai Airways International Boeing 777-3D7, registered HS-TKC, taxiing on the tarmac for her departure back home to the Kingdom of Thailand as Thai Airways International flight TG 404 bound for Bangkok
Part 2 ~ The Flight to Bangkok
Airline: Cathay Pacific
Flight No.: CX 712 (Flight continues on to Hong Kong)
From: Singapore Changi Airport (SIN / WSSS), Singapore
To: Bangkok, Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK / VTBS), Bangkok, Thailand
Aircraft: Boeing 777-367
Registration No.: B-HNN
Class: Business Class
Seat No.: 17K
Date: Thursday, 30 August 2012
After having a break in the Skyview Lounge for approximately 45 minutes, we knew that boarding for Cathay Pacific flight CX 712 bound for Bangkok and Hong Kong would be boarding soon. With that, we packed up all our baggage and headed to Gate No. D44.
The security check was quite poorly organised, as the security personnel thought that I had lost my security tag, though I actually passed it to another security officer. My mum then put up a statement to the security officers, saying that a person with Asperger Syndrome (like me), should not be messed around with. From this, I can tell that the security personnel need to think twice before dealing with such people like this.
Nevertheless, we managed to get into the waiting room just before one o' clock. When I looked out of the window, the aircraft that would soon take us to Bangkok was a Boeing 777-300, registered B-HNN. The Boeing 777-300 is quite a good-looking aircraft, but personally, I prefer the Boeing 777-300/ER more than the normal Boeing 777-300.
|Near the moving passageways towards Gates No. D30 to D49
|Our aircraft for today, B-HNN, being serviced at Gate No. D44 for her flight back to HKG as Cathay Pacific flight CX 712 via BKK
|The holding room in Gate No. D44
At 1.05 p.m., the first boarding calls for Cathay Pacific flight CX 712 bound for Hong Kong via Bangkok were made. The Business Class passengers, along with Asia Miles & Marco Polo Club members, and needy passengers were called to board the aircraft first. However, we were too busy sorting out our baggage to board the aircraft first.
It wasn't until the final boarding calls for Cathay Pacific flight CX 712 bound for Bangkok and Hong Kong were made, that we lined up for boarding. We were then on board B-HNN at 1.15 p.m., just in good time for a 1.35 p.m. departure.
We were then offered our usual pre-departure beverages after stowing all our bags. I had my usual glass of orange juice to help settle in for the flight. Here are some pictures taken before pushback from Gate No. D44.
|A view of my seat, 17K, during the boarding process in Singapore
|The Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300 New Regional Business Class during the boarding process in Singapore
|A China Airlines Airbus A340-313X, registered B-18805, parked at Gate No. D46, after arriving from Taipei, Taiwan as China Airlines flight CI 753
|My usual pre-departure glass of orange juice
|The Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300 New Regional Business Class shortly before the aircraft doors were closed
At 1.25 p.m., all the aircraft doors were closed and we finally pushed back from Gate No. D44, just 10 minutes ahead of schedule. The safety briefing demonstration was then shown on the video screens, and we made a 13-minute taxi to the runway. We finally took off from Singapore Changi Airport at 1.38 p.m., heading for a journey time of 1 hour 55 minutes to Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport.
|The opening to Cathay Pacific's entertainment system, Studio CX
|A closer view of the China Airlines Airbus A340-313X, registered B-18805, parked at Gate No. D46, before heading back to Taipei as China Airlines flight CI 754
|A Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-212/ER, registered 9V-SVK, resting on the tarmac
|Part of the safety briefing demonstration video
|A Jetstar Asia Airbus A320-232, registered 9V-JSG, resting on the tarmac
Cathay Pacific Flight 712 ~ Powerful take-off from Singapore Changi Airport
Suddenly after take-off, the plane started to shake and whirl around. With that, I knew that the plane was experiencing quite rough turbulence. I was scared out of my wits, and my brother felt that his bladder was floating. I tried hard to calm down and not panic. This rough turbulence continued on for about 5 minutes. I was like, "Oh, my goodness! What's happening?!". I had NEVER expected anything like this to occur in my life.
At 1.50 p.m., the captain announced that we were encountering severe storms, which caused the turbulence. He then apologised to those who were left afraid after the sudden rough turbulence. To sum up about this, that was one of the most frightening turbulences I have ever experienced! However, to help yourself and others in such situations like this, here are some tips that are useful:
1) Don't panic. Remain calm.
2) Take deep breaths in and out. Repeat this step at least 5 to 10 times.
3) Say a small prayer (if you have a religion).
|The Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300 New Regional Business Class cabin shortly after take-off from Singapore
|A view of the wing and engine into the clouds
|Flying over Malaysia after encountering the frightening turbulence
After everything about the turbulence was gone, I paid a quick visit to the lavatory, even if the seatbelt sign still remained on, as it appeared to be safe. The flight attendants then sprung into action to commence the meal service. A flight attendant came to our seats and asked my brother and I what we wanted for lunch. Both of us selected the braised beef short rib with Kenya beans and herb mash for our main courses. She then understood our orders and went back to the galley to bring out our meal trays.
|The food and beverage menu for the sector between Singapore and Bangkok resting on my table
|A closer look into the food and beverage menu for the sector between Singapore and Bangkok
|The wine list for the sector between Singapore and Bangkok
|A closer look into the wine list for the sector between Singapore and Bangkok
|The Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300 New Regional Business Class cabin during the meal service
|My meal tray resting on my dining table
A few minutes later, the flight attendant re-appeared at our seats with our main courses. She explained to us that there were were only two dishes of the braised beef short rib with Kenya beans and herb mash left. She then explained to us that my brother and I were the first and last ones to grab this special dish, to the jealousy of my dad.
Feeling a bit full, my mum gave me her braised pork with dark vinegar sauce, steamed rice, choy sum, carrots and capsicum to finish off, of which, I didn't take any pictures of it. When I took the first cut and bite of my braised beef, it was cooked well, and tasted extremely tender.
The Kenya beans and mashed potatoes were nice accompaniments to the beef too. Again, it was one of the BEST beef dishes I have ever had on an airplane. For that, I'd award full marks to Cathay Pacific for this special catering service. Once again, well done, Cathay Pacific! That means a full 20 points over 20 for Cathay Pacific.
By the time I finished my main meal, the seatbelt sign was finally turned off at 2.20 p.m.. The flight attendant then cleared my tray away and asked me whether I wanted anything else. I then requested for a Belgian chocolate Häagen-Dazs ice cream, which was promptly brought to my table. The ice cream was a perfect dessert to round off this wonderful in-flight meal.
After I finished my dessert, I went to the lavatory and did my usual cabin shots. At the same time, I ordered two mugs of hot chocolate for my brother and myself. Pralines were also past around. At one point, my dad and I had a party of pralines. What nice touches Cathay Pacific offers!
|My main course: Braised beef short rib with Kenya beans and herb mash
|My meal tray after I had finished my main meal
|A small tub of Belgian chocolate Häagen-Dazs ice cream on my dining table
|The rear view Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300 New Regional Business Class cabin
|A warning sign in the lavatory that warns passengers that smoking or tampering with, disabling, or destroying smoke detectors in the lavatories is a criminal offence under Hong Kong Law and Civil Aviation Regulations
|The Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300 New Regional Business Class cabin view from my seat
|Singapore Airlines Boeing 747-412 Herpa Scale 1:500 (500852) ~ New Generation
|Flying over the South China Sea between Malaysia and Thailand
|The Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300 New Regional Business Class cabin view from my seat just after the seatbelt sign was illuminated before landing
|Flying somewhere near Phuket while getting closer to Bangkok
|Flying over some greenery areas in Thailand
|The safety information card for Cathay Pacific's Boeing 777-300 aircraft
The seatbelt sign was illuminated at 2.15 p.m., 20 minutes before landing in Suvarnabhumi Airport, and in accordance with the Thailand local time. With that, we packed up all our baggage and buckled up for the landing in Bangkok. We flew over some rice paddy fields during our descent. After a flight time of 1 hour 55 minutes from Singapore, we finally landed in Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport at 2.35 p.m..
Suvarnabhumi Airport is one of the two airports serving Bangkok, Thailand. It is the main airport serving the Bangkok metropolitan area, caters to most of the international flights to and from the country, and the busiest airport in the Kingdom of Thailand. Opened on 28 September 2006, it replaced the older Don Mueang International Airport, which will mainly cater to limited domestic flights, and limited low-cost international flights from October 2012.
Suvarnabhumi Airport serves as the main hub for Thai Airways International, the flag carrier and largest airline of the Kingdom of Thailand. Bangkok also serves as a regional gateway and an important destinations for many foreign carriers. Some of the foreign airlines that make Bangkok an important destination include Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways.
|Flying over some wetlands while nearing Suvarnabhumi Airport
|A river coursing through the settlements of Thailand
|Flying over some rice paddy fields while descending into BKK
Cathay Pacific Flight 712 ~ Landing in Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport
|A Hong Kong Airlines Airbus A330-223, registered B-LNE, parked at Gate No. F6
|An Emirates Airbus A380-861 and Thai Airways International Airbus A330-343X taxiing on the tarmac at BKK
|A Thai Airways International Airbus A330-343X, registered HS-TBB, taxiing on the tarmac at BKK
|A China Southern Airlines Boeing 737-83N, registered B-5121, parked at Gate No. G1
After approximately 5 minutes of taxiing on the runway, we finally docked on to Gate No. G2, beside a China Southern Airlines Boeing 737 aircraft. The seatbelt sign was then turned off, and we got up to take our baggage before disembarking the aircraft. The passengers who were continuing onwards to Hong Kong were either permitted to remain on board, or disembark the aircraft before re-boarding.
|The Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300 New Regional Business Class cabin shortly after arrival into BKK
|A view of my seat, 17K, after arrival into BKK
After we took all of our baggage, the flight attendants bade us farewell and wished us a pleasant stay in Bangkok, as we disembarked the aircraft. As with my previous blog reports, the airline grading systems are as follows:
A+: 85% or above (Airline has an excellent rating and performance)
A: 75% ~ 84% (Airline has a good rating and performance)
B: 60% ~ 74% (Airline has a good rating and performance)
C: 50% ~ 59% (Airline has an adequate rating and performance)
D: 35% ~ 49% (Airline has a fair rating and performance)
E: 20% ~ 34% (Airline has a poor rating and performance)
U: Below 20% (Airline has not met the requirement for the minimum grade)
Seat: 19 / 20
Food: 20 / 20
Service: 20 / 20
Aircraft cleanliness: 19 / 20
Legroom space: 20 / 20
Total: 98 / 100
In conclusion, Cathay Pacific scored 98% for the sector between Singapore and Bangkok. This means that they deserve the highest airline grade, an 'A+'. Despite the frightening turbulence after take-off from Singapore, it was indeed another good flight with the airline. Would I choose to fly with CX in future? Definitely, yes!
Part 3 ~ The Journey to Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld
After disembarking from Cathay Pacific flight CX 712, we proceeded to the immigrations area before heading to the baggage claiming area to claim our check-in bags. According to the arrivals information screen, our bags would arrive at Belt No. 22. As soon as we cleared immigration, we went to the baggage claiming area to get two baggage trolleys. We then proceeded to Belt No. 22 to claim our check-in bags.
|On the moving passageway towards the immigrations area
|The baggage claiming area in Suvarnabhumi Airport
|Our baggage belt, Belt No. 22, where our check-in bags would be arriving
|An overall view of the baggage claiming area in Suvarnabhumi Airport
After we claimed all of our baggage, we went into the arrival hall. However, there was a problem in trying to arrange for a cab to the Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld. My mum then contacted the hotel to arrange for a cab to pick us up from Suvarnabhumi Airport. We then went over to another area to meet the driver.
At around 3.10 p.m., the driver of the cab finally met us in the arrival hall. He then assisted us to our cab, and loaded the baggage. As this cab was from Centara Grand, we were provided complimentary water bottles. We were then on our way to the Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld at 3.15 p.m..
|The main arrival hall in Suvarnabhumi Airport
|The main arrival hall gazing up into the departures and check-in areas of Suvarnabhumi Airport
|Finally on the expressway towards downtown Bangkok
|Passing by CentralWorld
|Nearing the Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld
After a journey of about 45 minutes from Suvarnabhumi Airport, we finally arrived at the Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld at four o' clock. A friendly porter then came with a baggage trolley to assist us with our baggage, while my mum went to the reception to get our room keys. As soon as we received our room keys, we took the elevators up to the 48th floor via the 23rd floor. We were assigned to Rooms No. 4801 and 4802 respectively.
Our baggage was also delivered to us. However, the room where my brother and I were supposed to sleep in was yet to be ready. According to the hotel staff, the previous guest using Room No. 4801 had just checked out of the hotel earlier. After approximately 2 hours 30 minutes, it was finally ready for our use.
|The reception in the ground floor of our hotel
|The hotel lobby on the 23rd floor
|The room where my parents would sleep, Room No. 4802
|Our connecting rooms' living room
|The room where my brother and I would sleep, Room No. 4801
After resting in the hotel room for nearly three hours, we were hungry and decided to go to a restaurant in CentralWorld for dinner. When the clock struck seven, we took the elevators down to CentralWorld, and entered the mall via the seventh floor, where the supermarket was located.
We managed to stumble upon a Japanese restaurant, known as Kuu Japanese Restaurant. Upon arriving at the restaurant, we ordered for a table for the four of us. While were at Kuu, we ordered a variety of Yakitori items and had a huge feast that night.
|The spiral staircase in the hotel lobby
|Looking down towards the lower floors of CentralWorld
|The supermarkets in CentralWorld
|An alley of restaurants and cafeterias in CentralWorld
|The entrance to Kuu Japanese Restaurant in CentralWorld
|The logo of Kuu Japanese Restaurant in CentralWorld
|Inside Kuu Japanese Restaurant in CentralWorld
|The cover page for the menu for Kuu Japanese Restaurant in CentralWorld
|The section for the steaks, fish and tempura in the menu for Kuu Japanese Restaurant in CentralWorld
|The yakitori page for the menu for Kuu Japanese Restaurant in CentralWorld
|A plate of pork katsu
|A plate of ebi tempura for my brother
|A platter of beef tongue yakitori
|A platter of Thai French beef yakitori
|Chicken and scallion yakitori plate
|Cheese-filled squid plate
|A plate of bacon-wrapped sausage yakitori
|A platter of charcoal grilled Tajima Australian Wagyu steak
|A plate of chicken gizzard yakitori
|Chicken wings yakitori plate
|One of the pieces of the chicken wings yakitori
|The chicken wings yakitori sticks on my steak plate
|Another view of my room
After having a sumptuous dinner feast at Kuu Japanese Restaurant, we paid up our bill and went to the supermarket to purchase some light snacks and beverages. We then decided to head back to the Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld.
Once we arrived back at the hotel room, we had a nice, hot shower and changed up into our pyjamas before settling in for the night. As we were quite tired already, we did some personal stuff before heading to bed slightly after 12 midnight.
This now brings the first section of my holiday in Bangkok, Thailand in August and September 2012 to a close. Questions or comments will always be welcome. Be sure to stay tuned for the upcoming parts, once they have been updated.