Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Combined Mini-Shopping Vacation in Bangkok, Thailand & Hong Kong in March 2014 ~ Section 2

Welcome to the second segment of my combined mini-shopping vacation to Bangkok, Thailand, and Hong Kong in March 2014. There will be a total of three main focus topics that will be covered in this second segment of the trip report. They shall mainly be the hotel limousine trip to Suvarnabhumi Airport, the early afternoon flight to Hong Kong and the hotel limousine trip to the Hotel Novotel Citygate Hong Kong.

Part 1 ~ The Trip Back To Suvarnabhumi Airport

After spending one entire night at the Hotel Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport on transit, it was finally time to continue our trip to Hong Kong for the remainder of the vacation. Early the next morning, we all woke up at around seven o' clock after having a well-earned good night's rest. The first thing we did was to have a hot shower and change into our attire. We then spent a few minutes packing up the remainder of our baggage for the trip to Hong Kong.

For the continuing early afternoon trip to Hong Kong, we would be flying with Thai Airways International on flight TG 628 bound for Seoul (Incheon) via Hong Kong, which would depart from Suvarnabhumi Airport at 10.30 a.m., and arrive at Hong Kong International Airport at 2.20 p.m. later that afternoon. The flight would then continue on to Seoul (Incheon) in South Korea after making a brief stopover in Hong Kong International Airport.

My mum had informed us the previous day in advance that since our flight to Hong Kong would be scheduled to depart at 10.30 a.m., our check-out timing would be scheduled for eight o' clock, meaning that we had to leave the hotel for Suvarnabhumi Airport via a free hotel airport shuttle bus by 8.15 a.m.. As we spent the remainder of the morning packing our baggage for the trip, we checked around our rooms to see that there was nothing left unpacked before checking out of the hotel.

The view of my Room No. 2442 at the Hotel Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport shortly after everyone woke up

The view of my parents' Room No. 2440 at the Hotel Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport while preparing our baggage for the continuing trip to Hong Kong

The view of the swimming pool area from my Room No. 2442 at the Hotel Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

After spending the remainder of the early morning preparing our baggage for the continuing trip to Hong Kong, we were finally ready to go at eight o' clock. Despite my dad attempting to contact the main hotel reception for a baggage porter to assist us with our baggage, no one replied, signalling another major drawback of the hotel. Due to this hassle, we had no other alternative but to push and haul our own baggage down to the main hotel lobby.

Taking the nearby elevator down, we were finally the main hotel lobby at 8.10 a.m.. While my mum headed to the main hotel reception counter to check us out and return our room keys, I helped both my dad and younger brother with our baggage by dragging them to the main hotel entrance. With our baggage hauled out safely, a Hotel Novotel shuttle bus arrived at the main entrance to the Hotel Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport at 8.15 a.m..

The bus driver alighted and helped us load our baggage in the bus boot, while we boarded the bus for the early morning trip to Suvarnabhumi Airport. There was a female British passenger heading back home to the United Kingdom in the bus. Once everything was safely loaded into the shuttle bus with everyone safely on board, we finally departed the Hotel Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport at 8.15 a.m. for a short early morning hotel limousine bus ride of five minutes to the main passenger terminal building at Suvarnabhumi Airport.

In conclusion, the Hotel Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport was not that great, except for brief overnight stays during transit. Generally, the service of the hotel was disappointing due to the reluctance of the hotel staff to offer a hand to travellers with baggage, even during check-out before heading to the airport. The Wi-Fi Internet connection service was poor since it was quite slow, with the hotel rooms not offering much of a good view either.

Walking across the main hotel lobby at the Hotel Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport in the early morning

One last view of the main hotel lobby at the Hotel Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport just before we left for Suvarnabhumi Airport

The free Hotel Novotel shuttle bus finally arriving at the main entrance to the Hotel Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

Finally departing the Hotel Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

Finally driving along the roadway leading to the Main Terminal building at Suvarnabhumi Airport

About to turn towards the road flyover leading to the Main Terminal building at Suvarnabhumi Airport

Travelling along the flyover road leading to the Main Terminal building at Suvarnabhumi Airport

Several Thai Airways International aircraft parked near the Main Terminal building as we approach the departures and drop-off area at Suvarnabhumi Airport

Finally arriving at the departures and drop-off area outside the Main Terminal building at Suvarnabhumi Airport

After a short early morning airport hotel limousine bus ride of five minutes from the Hotel Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport located close by, we finally arrived outside the Thai Airways International departures and drop-off point at Suvarnabhumi Airport at 8.20 a.m.. Checking to see that there was nothing left behind on board, my younger brother and I went to claim two baggage trolleys while the driver helped my parents to unload all our baggage from the rear boot of the bus.

Thanking the bus driver for his selfless services, we proceeded into the Main Terminal building before heading to the Thai Airways International Royal Silk Class check-in desks, eventually arriving there at 8.25 a.m.. Heading to the nearest open check-in counter, we quickly went to check ourselves in for Thai Airways International flight TG 628 bound for Seoul (Incheon) via Hong Kong. The entire check-in process for the flight took approximately five minutes.

The departures and drop-off area outside the Main Terminal building at Suvarnabhumi Airport shortly after we had arrived

The interior of the departures and check-in hall in the Main Terminal building of Suvarnabhumi Airport during the early morning rush hour

The posters advertising Thai Airways International's Airbus A380 located near the Thai Airways International Royal First Class and Royal Silk Class check-in counters in the Main Terminal building at Suvarnabhumi Airport

The Thai Airways International Royal Silk Class check-in desks in the Main Terminal building at Suvarnabhumi Airport during the early morning rush hour

The entrance to the Thai Airways International fast track security checkpoint reserved exclusively for Thai Airways International's Royal First Class and Royal Silk Class passengers in the Main Terminal building at Suvarnabhumi Airport

Shortly after completing the check-in process for Thai Airways International flight TG 628 bound for Seoul (Incheon) via Hong Kong at the Thai Airways International check-in counters, we finally received our boarding passes and lounge invitation passes at 8.30 a.m.. The check-in agent informed us that today, Thai Airways International flight TG 628 bound for Seoul (Incheon) via Hong Kong would depart at 10.30 a.m. from Gate No. D1A. This would mean that we would be taken to the aircraft at a remote stand from Gate No. D1A with a free airport terminal shuttle bus.

Boarding would also be expected commence at 9.55 a.m., approximately 35 minutes before the scheduled departure time. Thanking the Royal Silk Class check-in agent for her effective services, we grabbed all our belongings and headed over to the Fast Check security checkpoint located at the rear of the Thai Airways International check-in counters. Once we had passed through the Fast Track security checkpoint without much problem, we were finally in the main airside of Suvarnabhumi Airport at 8.35 a.m..

Since was still relatively early before our regional early afternoon flight to Hong Kong, we decided to head to the Royal Silk Lounge near Concourse D for some light morning refreshments. Taking the escalator down, we finally arrived at the Royal Silk Lounge near Concourse D at 8.40 a.m.. Taking our electronic devices for our own entertainment, my parents decided to buy some duty-free items in preparation for the trip, thus leaving my younger brother and I to our personal electronics in the lounge itself.

My boarding pass for the segment between Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) and Hong Kong

The passageway linking between the security checkpoint and the airside in the Main Terminal building at Suvarnabhumi Airport

Climbing down the escalator down to the Royal Silk Lounge near Concourse D in the airside of the Main Terminal building of Suvarnabhumi Airport

The first view of the interior of the Royal Silk Lounge near Concourse D in the airside of the Main Terminal building at Suvarnabhumi Airport

An Etihad Airways Boeing 777-3FX/ER, registered A6-ETP, taxiing to her assigned runway in preparation for her morning return flight back home to the United Arab Emirates as Etihad Airways flight EY 403 bound for Abu Dhabi

A Singapore Airlines Airbus A330-343X, registered 9V-STZ, resting at Gate No. D2 in Concourse D at Suvarnabhumi Airport after arriving from her early morning regional flight from the Republic of Singapore as Singapore Airlines flight SQ 970 from Singapore

A Qatar Airways Boeing 777-3DZ/ER, registered A7-BAH, shortly after being pushed back from Gate No. D4 in Concourse D at Suvarnabhumi Airport in preparation for her early morning return flight back home to the State of Qatar as Qatar Airways flight QR 823 bound for Doha

An Oman Air Airbus A330-243, registered A4O-DF, being serviced at Gate No. D3 in Concourse D at Suvarnabhumi Airport in preparation for her early morning return flight back home to the Sultanate of Oman as Oman Air flight WY 818 bound for Muscat

An Aeroflot ー Russian Airlines Boeing 777-3M0/ER, registered VQ-BQC, taxiing to the Main Terminal at Suvarnabhumi Airport after arriving from her long overnight trans-Siberian flight from the Russian Federation as Aeroflot ー Russian Airlines flight SU 270 from Moscow (Sheremetyevo)

The entire view of Concourse D in the airside of the Main Terminal building at Suvarnabhumi Airport

The main entrance to the Royal Silk Lounge located near Concourse D in the airside of the Main Terminal building at Suvarnabhumi Airport

Walking past the self-service food and beverage corner in the Royal Silk Lounge located near Concourse D in the airside of the Main Terminal building at Suvarnabhumi Airport

The view of the interior of the Royal Silk Lounge located near Concourse D in the main airside of the Main Terminal building of Suvarnabhumi Airport from our seating area

One last view of the Royal Silk Lounge located near Concourse D just before we left for Gate No. D1A for Thai Airways International flight TG 628 bound for Seoul (Incheon) via Hong Kong

Part 2 ~ The Flight To Hong Kong

Airline: Thai Airways International
Flight No.: TG 628 (Flight continues on to Seoul-Incheon)
From: Bangkok, Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK / VTBS), Bangkok, Thailand
To: Hong Kong International Airport (HKG / VHHH), Hong Kong
Aircraft: Boeing 777-2D7/ER
Registration No.: HS-TJV (Named "Nakhon Pathom")
Class: Royal Silk Class (Business Class)   
Seat No.: 16A
Date: Monday, 17 March 2014

After spending approximately 55 minutes of relaxations and charging our own electronics in the Royal Silk Lounge located near Concourse D, the clock was finally showing 9.35 a.m.. Given that boarding for Thai Airways International flight TG 628 bound for Seoul (Incheon) via Hong Kong would commence in 20 minutes' time, we packed up our belongings and left the Royal Silk Lounge for Gate No. D1A. The entire walk linking from the Royal Silk Lounge to Gate No. D1A took approximately 10 minutes.

Soon enough, we finally arrived at the passenger waiting area at Gate No. D1A by 9.45 a.m., which was just in time for boarding for Thai Airways International flight TG 628 bound for Seoul (Incheon) via Hong Kong to begin in 10 minutes' time. Looking at the number of passengers inside the passenger waiting area at Gate No. D1A, I could see that Thai Airways International flight TG 628 bound for Seoul (Incheon) via Hong Kong would be filled to the brim today, with some passengers continuing on to Seoul (Incheon).

The view of Concourse D at Suvarnabhumi Airport as we head over to Gate No. D1A for Thai Airways International flight TG 628 bound for Seoul (Incheon) via Hong Kong

The departure information screen located just beside the entrance to Gate No. D1A in Concourse D at Suvarnabhumi Airport detailing important information for Thai Airways International flight TG 628 bound for Seoul (Incheon) via Hong Kong

The interior of the passenger waiting room at Gate No. D1A in Concourse D at Suvarnabhumi Airport filled with waiting passengers for Thai Airways International flight TG 628 bound for Seoul (Incheon) via Hong Kong

A Singapore Airlines Airbus A330-343X, registered 9V-STZ, about to taxi away from Gate No. D2 in Concourse D at Suvarnabhumi Airport in preparation for her regional morning flight back home to the Republic of Singapore as Singapore Airlines flight SQ 973 bound for Singapore

A Thai Airways International Boeing 777-3D7, registered HS-TKE, resting on the tarmac near Concourse D at Suvarnabhumi Airport. She will have a early afternoon regional flight to the Republic of Singapore as Thai Airways International flight TG 413 bound for Singapore

A Thai Airways International Airbus A330-343X, registered HS-TBC, resting on the tarmac near Concourse D at Suvarnabhumi Airport. She will soon have a long early afternoon flight to western Japan as Thai Airways International flight TG 672 bound for Osaka (Kansai)

A Thai Airways International Boeing 777-2D7, registered HS-TJD, being serviced at Gate No. C6 in Concourse C at Suvarnabhumi Airport in preparation for her regional morning flight to the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal as Thai Airways International flight TG 319 bound for Kathmandu

A Thai Airways International Airbus A330-323X, registered HS-TEM, after being pushed back from Gate No. C2 in Concourse C at Suvarnabhumi Airport in preparation for her regional morning flight to the People's Republic of China (Mainland China) as Thai Airways International flight TG 668 bound for Guangzhou

The interior of the passenger waiting room at Gate No. D1A in Concourse D at Suvarnabhumi Airport shortly before the first boarding calls for Thai Airways International flight TG 628 bound for Seoul (Incheon) via Hong Kong were made

After spending 10 minutes of anticipated waiting at the passenger waiting area at Gate No. D1A, the first boarding calls for Thai Airways International flight TG 628 bound for Seoul (Incheon) via Hong Kong were finally made at 9.55 a.m.. The Royal Silk Class (Business Class) passengers, along with the Royal Orchid Plus club members and special needs passengers, were called to be bused over to the aircraft stand, which would be parked at a remote boarding stand away from the Main Terminal building.

Because we were among the first passengers to be called out to board the bus to our aircraft, we rolled up with all our belongings for the boarding process to progess smoothly. With our boarding passes checked, we took the escalator to the free airport terminal shuttle bus platform to board the bus. Once we were safely on board, we finally departed the Main Terminal building before ten o' clock, arriving at our aircraft parked at Stand No. 123 located away from the Main Terminal at 10.05 a.m..

Today, Thai Airways International flight TG 628 bound for Seoul (Incheon) via Hong Kong would be flown using a Boeing 777-200/ER, registered HS-TJV and powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 892 engines, also being named "Nakhon Pathom". HS-TJV was delivered to Thai Airways International on 25 September 2007 as the fifth Boeing 777-200/ER and the 19th Boeing 777 for the airline company. The overall delivery would make the aircraft approximately years old today.

Alighting from the airport terminal shuttle bus with our belongings at Stand No. 123, we walked up the movable staircase to the front door, stepping on board HS-TJV at 10.10 a.m., which was just in good time for a 10.30 a.m. departure. At the front door, two flight attendants welcomed us on board, and showed us the direction to our seats in the Royal Silk Class cabin. Storing our belongings into their storage areas, we settled into our assigned Seats No. 15A, 15B, 16A and 16B for the regional afternoon flight of 2 hours 50 minutes to Hong Kong.

The Royal Silk Class seats we would be using for the regional afternoon flight to Hong Kong would be the newer generation of shell-shaped seats for long-haul flights. The seats are capable of reclining up to 170º to allow almost lie-flat rest for passengers during long-haul flights. These seats were introduced with the delivery of the airline's fleet of Boeing 777-200/ERs, and have been re-fitted on the Boeing 777-300s, certain Boeing 747-400s and newer generation of Airbus A330-300s.

The flight attendants then went about their pre-flight routines distributing the pre-departure beverages, free newspapers and dining menus to the Royal Silk Class passengers. I then opted to have a pre-departure glass of orange juice and champagne to begin the regional afternoon flight to Hong Kong. With the boarding process still underway, the flight gradually began to be filled to the brim, with some passengers expected to continue on to Seoul (Incheon).
 
Climbing down the escalator at Gate No. D1A in Concourse D at Suvarnabhumi Airport to the airport terminal shuttle buses that would soon transport us to Thai Airways International flight TG 628 bound for Seoul (Incheon) via Hong Kong

The airport terminal shuttle bus that would soon transport us from Gate No. D1A in Concourse D at Suvarnabhumi Airport to Thai Airways International flight TG 628 bound for Seoul (Incheon) via Hong Kong

The view of the airport tarmac of Suvarnabhumi Airport just before we left for Thai Airways International flight TG 628 bound for Seoul (Incheon) via Hong Kong

A Thai Airways International Airbus A340-642, registered HS-TNB, resting on the tarmac near the main airport terminal building at Suvarnabhumi Airport

A Thai Airways International Boeing 777-2D7, registered HS-TJB, resting at Gate No. C3 in Concourse C at Suvarnabhumi Airport after arriving from her regional early morning return flight from the Republic of Singapore as Thai Airways International flight TG 402 from Singapore

A Korean Air Airbus A330-323X, registered HL7720, taxiing to her assigned runway in preparation for her long early afternoon return flight back home to the Republic of Korea (South Korea) as Korean Air flight KE 660 bound for Seoul (Incheon)

A Thai Airways International Airbus A330-321, registered HS-TEG, resting at Gate No. B5 in Concourse B of the Main Terminal building at Suvarnabhumi Airport

A Thai Airways International Airbus A330-343X, registered HS-TER, resting at a remote stand located near Concourse A at Suvarnabhumi Airport

A Thai Airways International Boeing 747-4D7, registered HS-TGX, resting at a remote stand located near Concourse A at Suvarnabhumi Airport

A Thai Airways International Boeing 747-4D7, registered HS-TGM, resting at a remote stand located near Concourse A at Suvarnabhumi Airport

Our aircraft for today, HS-TJV, being serviced at a remote Stand No. 123 in preparation for her early afternoon flight to the Republic of Korea (South Korea) via the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) as Thai Airways International flight TG 628 bound for Seoul (Incheon) via Hong Kong

A view of my seat, 16A, during the boarding process at Stand No. 123 at Suvarnabhumi Airport

The rear view of the Thai Airways International Boeing 777-200/ER Royal Silk Class cabin during the boarding process at the remote aircraft stands located away from the Main Terminal building at Suvarnabhumi Airport

The view of the Thai Airways International Boeing 777-200/ER Royal Silk Class cabin from my seat during the boarding process at Suvarnabhumi Airport

The view of the remote stands near the airport tarmacs at Suvarnabhumi Airport

A Thai Airways International Airbus A300B4-622R, registered HS-TAO, resting on a remote stand near the Main Terminal building at Suvarnabhumi Airport. Sadly, this aircraft had just been withdrawn from active service and is currently awaiting retirement

My usual glasses of orange juice and champagne

The cover page for the wine and beverage list for the segment between Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) and Seoul (Incheon) via Hong Kong

Reviewing the wine and beverage list for the segment between Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) and Seoul (Incheon) via Hong Kong

The cover page for the main dining menu for the segment between Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) and Seoul (Incheon) via Hong Kong

Reviewing the main dining menu for the segment between Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) and Seoul (Incheon) via Hong Kong. Note that the bottom right hand corner of the second page is the menu for passengers who are continuing on to Seoul (Incheon)

The view of the Thai Airways International Boeing 777-200/ER Royal Silk Class cabin from my seat shortly before the cabin doors were closed for departure

After the clock struck exacly 10.30 a.m. sharp, the flight attendants closed the aircraft doors, and we finally pushed back from Stand No. 123, which was just as scheduled. With the safety briefing information videos being shown on our video screens, we began to commence our taxi to our assigned runway for the afternoon departure. The flight attendants also went about the cabin recording the main meal orders for lunch. For the main course, I opted to have the pork served with Zurich-style champignon mushroom, tossed linguine and buttered vegetables.

It was not that long until we finally reached our assigned runway for take-off after just five minutes. Soon enough, the aircraft's two Rolls-Royce Trent 892 engines, and the aircraft finally lifted off from Suvarnabhumi Airport at 10.35 a.m. for its regional early afternoon flight of 2 hours 05 minutes to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). We then climbed into the bright early afternoon sky for a regional early afternoon flight of 2 hours 05 minutes over the South China Sea and Vietnamese Straits to the modern Asian world metropolis of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).
 
The safety briefing information video being shown on my front seat video screen

Finally pushing back from Stand No. 123 at Suvarnabhumi Airport

A Thai Airways International Airbus A330-343X, registered HS-TES, resting at one of the remote stands near Concourse A of the Main Terminal bat Suvarnabhumi Airport

The safety briefing information video detailing the hazards and consequences of on-board smoking

The safety information brochure for Thai Airways International's fleet of Boeing 777-200/ERs

HS-TGM resting at the remote stand we bypassed earlier on our way to HS-TJV

Taxiing along the main airport tarmac to our assigned runway for take-off

Awaiting clearance for take-off at our assigned runway

Thai Airways International Flight 628 ~ Morning Take-Off From Suvarnabhumi Airport

Finally climbing into the bright and clear early afternoon sky for our flight to Hong Kong

The seatbelt signs were switched off at 10.40 a.m., which was just five minutes after taking off from Suvarnabhumi Airport. As the flight attendants sprung into action to commence the in-flight service, I went to the lavatory prior to doing anything else. Amazingly, just like Thai Airways International's fleet of Airbus A340-600s, there were small windows fitted in the lavatories of the Boeing 777-200/ERs to allow passengers to gaze out at the skies while using them.

After paying a mandatory visit towards the lavatories, I got out my laptop to plan out my trip report on my blog, just as the flight attendants went about distributing several small packets of salted cashew nuts. Table cloths were set up before our meal trays containing our first courses were delivered to us. I also requested for a glass of Château Haut Bertinerie 2011 white wine. While waiting for my main course to be delivered, I set back to enjoy the first course of my in-flight lunch
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The view of the Thai Airways International Boeing 777-200/ER Royal Silk Class cabin from my seat shortly after the seatbelt sign was switched off

The window of the Thai Airways International Boeing 777-200/ER aircraft lavatory

A warning placard in the lavatory which reminds passengers that smoking or tampering with lavatory smoke detectors on board is prohibited under Thai Civil Aviation Law

The mirror of the Thai Airways International Boeing 777-200/ER lavatory

The rear view of the Thai Airways International Boeing 777-200/ER Royal Silk Cabin during cruising altitude between Thai airspace and Vietnamese airspace

A view of my seat, 16A, during cruising altitude between Thai airspace and Vietnamese airspace

A packet of salted cashew nuts for myself to commence the in-flight lunch service

A glass of Château Haut Bertinerie 2011 white wine for myself to commence the in-flight lunch service

The first course: Crab meat salad wrapped with smoked salmon with winged bean salad and roast chicken Thai style

The bottle of Château Haut Bertinerie 2011 White Wine held by the flight attendant

My wine glass being topped up with Château Haut Bertinerie 2011 White Wine

After spending approximately 10 minutes of anticipated waiting, the flight attendant finally came by to my seat again. This time, she had our main dishes, which were our orders of pork with champignon mushroom Zurich style with tossed linguine and buttered vegetables, in her hands. With our main courses placed on our in-flight lunch trays, my younger brother and I immediately tucked into our main courses of the in-flight lunch.


With just the first bite out of the pork, I could really feel the tenderness of the meat melting in my mouth, with the linguine and vegetables being the perfect accompaniments for the dish. This can be clearly regarded as one of the best in-flight meals I have ever eaten on board an aircraft. Even my younger brother had to agree that the pork and linguine tasted really tender for his taste buds.


Upon finishing our main courses, the flight attendant came by to collect our used meal trays and asked us whether there was anything else we wanted. We then requested for two cups of Chocolate Malt 3-in-1, along with another glass of Château Haut Bertinerie 2011 white wine and a small plate of raspberry with vanilla panna cotta for myself. With our two cups of Chocolate Malt 3-in-1 and my glass of white wine, we settled down to enjoy the rest of the journey until the seatbelt sign was illuminated for arrival into Hong Kong
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My main course: Pork with champignon mushroom Zurich style with tossed linguine and buttered vegetables

My used meal tray shortly after I had finished my main course

The view of the Thai Airways International Boeing 777-200/ER Royal Silk Class cabin from my seat during the in-flight lunch service

My dessert: Raspberry with vanilla panna cotta

A nice mug of Chocolate Malt 3-in-1 for myself

Another glass of Château Haut Bertinerie 2011 White Wine for myself

Cruising between Vietnamese airspace and Chinese airspace over the South China Sea

The rear view of the Thai Airways International Boeing 777-200/ER Royal Silk Cabin shortly after the in-flight lunch service was finished

The view of the Thai Airways International Boeing 777-200/ER Royal Silk Class cabin from my seat shortly after the in-flight lunch service was finished

The flight route indication map indicating our cruising altitude over the South China Sea near Hong Kong

Cruising over Hong Kong airspace shortly before the seatbelt sign was illuminated for landing

In accordance with the Hong Kong Standard Timing, the seatbelt signs were turned on again at 1.25 p.m., which was approximately ¼ of an hour before making the descent into Hong Kong International Airport. Since we had less than ½ an hour before our arrival into Hong Kong, we promptly stowed our belongings and fastened our seatbelts before the aircraft could commence its final approach into Hong Kong International Airport. The flight crew then went around the cabin collecting the used in-flight entertainment headsets from the passengers at the same time.

The weather was starting to become cloudy over the South China Sea as the aircraft began to make its final approach into Hong Kong International Airport. After a short regional early afternoon flight of 2 hours 05 minutes across the South China Sea and Vietnamese Straits from the metropolitan capital city of the Kingdom of Thailand, we finally touched down in Hong Kong International Airport at 1.40 p.m., 40 minutes ahead of schedule. We then taxiied over the airport tarmac to our assigned arrival gate at the Main Terminal building.

Hong Kong International Airport (Chek Lap Kok Airport) Traditional Chinese: 香港國際機場; Simplified Chinese: 香港国际机场) is an international airport located on an artificial island in Chek Lap Kok, Lantau Island, Hong Kong. It serves as the main and sole airport in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), and is occasionally referred to as Chek Lap Kok Airport (Traditional Chinese: 赤鱲角機場; Simplified Chinese: 赤鱲角机场) due to its location. The airport is a hub for Air Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific, Dragonair, Hong Kong Airlines, HK Express, Kalitta Air and UPS Airlines.

The airport was opened for service on 6 July 1998, replacing the older Kai Tak Airport (Traditional Chinese: 啟德機場; Simplified Chinese: 启德机场) located in Kowloon Bay, which had been in service since 1925. Following the closure of the former, all flights were moved to the more modern airport on Lantau Island. As one of the four airports in the world to be awarded five-star rating by Skytrax, the airport has won the special 'Airport of the Year' award by Skytrax for many times. Hong Kong International Airport serves as a focus city for China Airlines and China Eastern Airlines, and as a core destination in Asia across many major airline companies.

The airport is easily accessible from downtown Kowloon and Central Hong Kong with the Airport Express MTR line, which provides railway connection to the major city areas, with in-town check-in service provided for certain airlines at Hong Kong and Kowloon Stations. The average timing between downtown Central Hong Kong and the airport takes 24 minutes, and 21 minutes between Kowloon and the airport. Various cabs to all other areas, such as Lantau Island and New Territories are also available, indicated by three different colours.


The view of the Thai Airways International Boeing 777-200/ER Royal Silk Class cabin from my seat shortly after the seatbelt signs were illuminated in preparation for the descent into Hong Kong

Cruising over the South China Sea during descent into Hong Kong International Airport

The view of the Thai Airways International Boeing 777-200/ER Royal Silk Class cabin from my seat during final approach into Hong Kong International Airport

Making our final approach into Hong Kong International Airport

Thai Airways International Flight 628 ~ Cloudy Afternoon Arrival In Hong Kong

A Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-313X, registered B-HXG and painted in the special "Oneworld" livery, being serviced at Gate No. 40 in preparation for her regional afternoon flight to the Federation of Malaysia as Cathay Pacific flight CX 693 bound for Penang

The view of the Thai Airways International Boeing 777-200/ER Royal Silk Class cabin from my seat as we dock on to Gate No. 42 at the Main Terminal building at Hong Kong International Airport

After taxiing through the airport tarmac for approximately five minutes to the Main Terminal building, we finally docked onto our assigned arrival gate, Gate No. 42, at 1.45 p.m.. Once all the seatbelt signs were turned off, we unbuckled our seatbelts and retrieved our belongings from their respective storage spaces, checking to see that there was nothing left behind on board at the same time. Given that we were among the passengers ending their journey in Hong Kong, we rolled up behind some passengers to disembark from the aircraft.

As for the passengers continuing on to Seoul (Incheon), a disembarkation order was sent out during the layover in Hong Kong International Airport. With the flight departing at 3.30 p.m., all the Seoul-bound passengers were ordered to return to Gate No. 42 by 2.45 p.m.. As we disembarked from the aircraft with the other Hong Kong-bound passengers, the flight attendants thanked us for our patronage with Thai Airways International, and wished us a pleasant shopping vacation in Hong Kong.

Thai Airways International Flight 628 Score Report

Seat: 18 / 20
Food: 14 / 20
Service: 15 / 20
Aircraft cleanliness: 16 / 20
Legroom Space: 17 / 20
Total: 80 / 100

To summarise, Thai Airways International has obtained an overall aggregate score of 82% for the segment between Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) and Hong Kong, which meant that they had earned an 'A' grade. The flight was pretty uneventful, but as for areas for improvement, the catering could have been better if there were slightly wider choices of main courses and desserts, like Häagen-Dazs ice cream, to ensure that passengers have a fair selections of dessert options on board.

Part 3 ~ The Journey To The Hotel Novotel Citygate Hong Kong

Shortly after disembarking from Thai Airways International flight TG 628 bound for Seoul (Incheon) from Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) at Gate No. 42, we walked through the main passageway leading to the arrival immigration checkpoints. Considering the long distance from Gate No. 42 to the main arrival immigration checkpoints, we knew that the only way to access the main arrival immigration checkpoints would be to take the underground Hong Kong International Airport Automated People Mover.

Taking the escalator down to the automated people mover station platform, a Hong Kong International Airport Automated People Mover train arrived at the boarding gates station in less than a minute. Upon boarding the train, we were promptly whisked over to the arrivals and connecting area of the Main Terminal, thereby arriving there at 1.55 p.m.. Alighting from the train itself, we took the escalator up to the main arrival immigration checkpoints before heading over to the foreign visitors section, thus clearing the arrival immigration process in five minutes since it was not that crowded.

Upon clearing the arrival immigration process at 2.05 p.m., I quickly went to check which baggage belt our bulky check-in baggage would be expected to arrive at. According to the baggage information screens, all our bulkier check-in baggage from Thai Airways International flight TG 628 bound for Seoul (Incheon) from Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) would arrive at Belt No. 6. Without wasting anymore time, I went to claim two baggage trolleys and followed my dad over to Belt No. 6 to claim our bulky check-in baggage.
 
Walking through the moving passageways towards the Hong Kong International Airport Automated People Mover station

Riding the escalators down towards the Hong Kong International Airport Automated People Mover station

Finally approaching the Hong Kong International Airport Automated People Mover station platform

The platform screen doors of the Hong Kong International Airport Automated People Mover station platform

A Hong Kong International Airport Automated People Mover train finally arriving at the boarding gates station of the Main Terminal building at Hong Kong International Airport

The interior of the Hong Kong International Airport Automated People Mover bound for the immigrations and arrivals station

Awaiting departure from the boarding gates station of the Main Terminal building at Hong Kong International Airport

Finally departing the boarding gates station of the Main Terminal building at Hong Kong International Airport

Finally arriving at the arrivals and transit area station of the Main Terminal building at Hong Kong International Airport

The immigrations and arrivals area platform of the Hong Kong International Airport Automatic People Mover

Climbing up the escalator towards the immigrations and arrivals area

The immigrations and arrivals area at Hong Kong International Airport

The baggage claiming information screen in the Main Terminal building at Hong Kong International Airport indicating that all check-in baggage from Thai Airways International flight TG 628 from Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) would arrive at Belt No. 6

A view of Belt No. 6 in the baggage claiming hall in the Main Terminal building at Hong Kong International Airport, where all check-in baggage from Thai Airways International flight TG 628 from Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) would arrive at

After claiming all our bulkier check-in baggage and loading them onto the baggage trolleys with our lighter baggage, we were finally in the arrivals and meeting hall of Hong Kong International Airport at 2.10 p.m.. A well-dressed Novotel Hotels & Resorts representative, holding up our names for the Hotel Novotel Citygate Hong Kong, came to assist us with our baggage. We were then escorted down to the airport's passenger limousine waiting area located on the ground level via the elevators.

Upon arriving at the hotel limousine passenger waiting area at 2.15 p.m., we saw that there was a black hotel lumousine waiting to transport us to the Hotel Novotel Citygate Hong Kong. While we boarded the black hotel limousine, the hotel limousine driver offered to assist us in loading all our baggage in the rear boot. Once everything had been safely loaded into the rear limousine boot, we finally departed Hong Kong International Airport at 2.20 p.m. for a short road trip of not more than approximately 10 minutes to the Hotel Novotel Citygate Hong Kong located in the heart of Tung Chung New Town.

The Hotel Novotel Citygate Hong Kong (Traditional Chinese: 諾富特東薈城酒店; Simplified Chinese: 诺富特东荟城酒店) is a 23-storey four-star hotel in 51 Man Tung Road in Tung Chung Town Centre, Hong Kong. Owned by Accor Hotels group, the hotel was opened for business in April 2006, and houses 440 guest rooms, including 14 suites and four restaurants, an open-air swimming pool, an exercise gym and meeting facilities. The hotel is located above Citygate Outlets, and is accessible from Tung Chung Station on the Tung Chung MTR Line via an enclosed footbridge in the mall.

Citygate Outlets (Traditional Chinese: 東薈城; Simplified Chinese: 东会城) is an outlet shopping mall located in the centre of Tung Chung New Town near Hong Kong International Airport in Lantau Island, Hong Kong. The mall is notable for being the first and only outlet mall in Hong Kong, having opened its doors on 8 April 2000. The mall was simply known as Citygate from its opening until April 2006, when it was given its current name. The outlet mall is easily accessible from Tung Chung Station on the Tung Chung MTR Line, and houses the Hotel Novotel Citygate Hong Kong above its complex.

The arrivals and meeting hall in Hong Kong International Airport Terminal 1 during the mid-afternoon rush hour

The interior of the passenger hotel limousine waiting area at Hong Kong International Airport

The black hotel limousine that would soon transport us to the Hotel Novotel Citygate Hong Kong

Finally departing Hong Kong International Airport

Turning around the roundabout leading to Tung Chung New Town

The view of the Airport Express MTR viaduct near Hong Kong International Airport, which I will be on in a few days' time

Travelling alongside the Airport Express MTR tracks close to Hong Kong International Airport to Tung Chung New Town

Crossing the road bridge leading to Tung Chung New Town above the North Lantau Expressway linking to downtown Kowloon and Central Hong Kong

Travelling in the direction towards Tung Chung New Town

Bypassing the Tung Chung New Development Ferry Pier on the way to the Hotel Novotel Citygate Hong Kong

About to make a U-turn to Tung Chung New Town

Driving along the road located just near the Hotel Novotel Citygate Hong Kong

Finally arriving at the main entrance to the Hotel Novotel Citygate Hong Kong

After a short and quick hotel limousine trip of just 10 minutes from Hong Kong International Airport, we finally arrived outside the main entrance to the Hotel Novotel Citygate Hong Kong at 2.30 p.m.. At the hotel entrance, two baggage porters came over with baggage trolleys to help us unload our baggage. Upon entering the hotel lobby, I could quickly deduce that I did not like the looks of the décor as it looked rather small with no chandeliers evoking senses of a truly welcome hospitality.

My mum then proceeded to the hotel reception counter to check us in for the five-day stay in Hong Kong. However, it took almost 20 minutes for the hotel check-in receptionists to assign us certain guest rooms at the hotel. This was another major drawback I was beginning to notice about the hotel itself, given that a typical hotel check-in process takes not more than five to 10 minutes. Since we were feeling tired after our flight from Bangkok, we could not wait to have a well-earned rest.

Upon receiving our room keys at 2.55 p.m., the hotel check-in receptionist informed us that we would be assigned to Rooms No. 2117 and 2121 on the 21st floor, and that we could assess the hotel's Premier Lounge at our own convenience in the afternoons and late evenings. Our baggage would also be brought up to our Rooms No. 2117 and 2121 at the same time. With our room keys in hand, we took the nearest elevator up to the 21st floor, thus arriving at our Rooms No. 2117 and 2121 located on the 21st floor by three o' clock.

Entering our rooms, we stored our belongings and sorted out our plans for the coming days in Hong Kong. Unlike in most previous downtown five-star luxury hotels located in the Tsim Sha Tsui area of Kowloon, my Room No. 2117 was not connected to my parents' Room No. 2121, thereby making it another major drawback I started to notice. My Room No. 2117 had a small bathroom, two twin beds, a wardrobe and a working desk, though the room felt small for my tastes and preferences.

My parents' Room No. 2121 had a king-sized bed, a large bathroom with a bath tub and a small cubicle. With our baggage brought to our Rooms No. 2117 and 2121, we sorted our attire for our coming days. Resting in our rooms, I went to the Premier Lounge to have some light tea refreshments. Noticing the amount of refreshments, I noticed that the offerings were quite limited and tasted a bit soggy for my tastes. It took a while for me to get adjusted to the surroundings of the Hotel Novotel Citygate Hong Kong, as I am typically accustomed to the surroundings of the luxury five-star hotels in the downtown Kowloon areas.

The first view of the hotel lobby at the Hotel Novotel Citygate Hong Kong in the middle of the afternoon

The entire view of Tung Chung New Town as seen from the 21st floor at the Hotel Novotel Citygate Hong Kong

The view of the Airport Express MTR tracks and the North Lantau Expressway from my Room No. 2117 on the 21st floor at the Hotel Novotel Citygate Hong Kong

The view of my parents' Room No. 2121 on th 21st floor at the Hotel Novotel Citygate Hong Kong in the afternoon

The interior of the Premier Lounge on the 21st floor at the Hotel Novotel Citygate Hong Kong

An Airport Express train bound for AsiaWorld-Expo approaching Hong Kong International Airport, as seen from the Premier Lounge located on the 21st floor at the Hotel Novotel Citygate Hong Kong

Having some chocolates and chocolate pudding at the Premier Lounge on the 21st floor at the Hotel Novotel Citygate Hong Kong

The view of Hong Kong International Airport as seen from the Premier Lounge on the 21st floor at the Hotel Novotel Citygate Hong Kong

The view of Tung Chung New Town as seen from the Premier Lounge on the 21st floor at the Hotel Novotel Citygate Hong Kong

A nice, bottle of Coca-cola Zero for myself at the Premier Lounge

The view of the self-service food and beverage corner at the Premier Lounge at the Hotel Novotel Citygate Hong Kong

The view of the mountains with Ngong Ping Village located somewhere within them as seen from the Premier Lounge on the 21st floor at the Hotel Novotel Citygate Hong Kong

An Airport Express train bound for Central Hong Kong leaving the compound of Hong Kong International Airport, as seen from the Premier Lounge on the 21st floor at the Hotel Novotel Citygate Hong Kong

Another bottle of Coca-cola Zero for myself at the Premier Lounge

The view of my Room No. 2117 on the 21st floor at the Hotel Novotel Citygate Hong Kong, where my younger brother and I would sleep

After having a well-earned rest in our hotel rooms for the rest of the afternoon, the clock was finally showing six o' clock. Feeling very hungry already, we decided to head down towards a restaurant at Citygate Outlets for dinner. Taking our necessary belongings, we finally left our rooms at 6.10 p.m. and took the elevator all the way down towards the main hotel lobby, arriving there at 6.15 p.m..


We then took the escalators that directly connected the Hotel Novotel Citygate Hong Kong and Citygate Outlets, and crossed the enclosed outlet mall footbridge towards the opposite side of the mall. Along the way to searching for a good restaurant to eat at for dinner, we bypassed several shops selling various items such as footwear, expensive handbags and clothes
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The main hotel lobby of the Hotel Novotel Citygate Hong Kong during the early evening rush hour

About to take the escalators up towards the second level of Citygate Outlets

The view of the Airport Express MTR tracks and the North Lantau Expressway from the enclosed shopping footbridge at Citygate Outlets during the early evening rush hour

A lineup of shops located along the enclosed shopping footbridge at Citygate Outlets

Walking along the second level of Citygate Outlets during the early evening rush hour

Finally stumbling upon Federal Palace (Traditional Chinese: 聯邦皇宮; Simplified Chinese: 联邦皇宫) in the second floor of Citygate Outlets

After walking across the enclosed shopping mall footbridge of Citygate Outlets from the Hotel Novotel Citygate Hong Kong for five minutes, we finally arrived at a local restaurant, known as Federal Palace (Traditional Chinese: 聯邦皇宮; Simplified Chinese: 联邦皇宫), at 6.20 p.m.. This restaurant was familiar to us since we had eaten here several times during our past trips to Hong Kong. It was formerly known as Eastern Gate Seafood Restaurant (Traditional Chinese: 東薈軒海鮮酒家; Simplified Chinese: 东荟轩海鲜酒家) until early 2011.
  Entering the restaurant, we immediately requested a large table for the four of us, with a waitress escorting us to an empty table on the lower level of the restaurant. The restaurant was packed with diners that evening, since Federal Palace was a very popular restaurant to eat for shoppers visiting Citygate Outlets. With the food and beverage menus provided for us, we had a good review through them before placing our main meal orders for dinner.

Upon having a good review through the food and beverage menus, a waitress finally came by to our table to take down our main meal orders for dinner. We ordered several dishes that seemed to suit our tastes and preferences very well, such as roasted pigeon, sautéed sliced beef and deep-fried snapper. That night, we had a very sumptuous and filling dinner at Federal Palace. My younger brother seemed to enjoy the roasted pigeon a lot, which explained us ordering two pieces of roasted pigeon
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The interior view of Federal Palace facing towards the direction towards the main entrance to the restaurant from our table

The cover page for the food and beverage dinner menu at Federal Palace at Citygate Outlets

Reviewing the food and beverage dinner menu at Federal Palace at Citygate Outlets

A large platter containing two roasted pigeons to be shared among us

A bowl of shark's fin soup for myself. Note that we ordered three of these dishes, but I only took a picture of my own soup bowl

A platter of roasted pork and suckling pig slices to be shared among us

A platter of sliced beef and sautéed vegetables to be shared among us

A platter of oriental fried rice for my younger brother

A platter of deep-fried snapper slices with vegetables to be shared among us

A platter of steamed lobster served with noodles in noodle sauce

The view of several apartments of Tung Chung New Town as seen from Federal Palace at Citygate Outlets at night

The interior view of Federal Palace shortly before I left for Tung Chung Station to top up my Octopus Card

After having a nice and sumptuous dinner at Federal Palace, the clock was finally showing 7.40 p.m.. Feeling stuffed to the brim already, my parents decided to explore through some shops while I decided to head over to Tung Chung Station to top up my Octopus Card, as I had plans to go on the Airport Express MTR Line the next day, and that it would be better to top up my Octopus Card in advance. I then informed my parents about this in advance and they told me that they would settle the dinner bill.


With that, I left the restaurant by 7.40 p.m., and took the escalator all the way down towards the ground level of the mall. Exiting the mall, I finally arrived at the entrance to Tung Chung Station at 7.45 p.m.. Entering the station, I headed over to the customer service counter to top up my Octopus Card, with a total amount of HK$400 added into the Octopus Card, so that I would have more than enough money to take the MTR lines in Hong Kong.


After topping up my Octopus Card, I headed back towards Citygate Outlets and went back up towards the second floor, where I met up with my family again. Since there was nothing much left to do late that night, we decided to head back towards the Hotel Novotel Citygate Hong Kong via the same way we came through. Crossing the enclosed shopping bridge, the walk back towards the Hotel Novotel Citygate Hong Kong took just five minutes.


Tung Chung Station (Traditional Chinese: 東涌站; Simplified Chinese: 东涌站) is an MTR station serving Tung Chung New Town, Lantau Island, Hong Kong. The station currently serves as the western terminus for the Tung Chung Line from Central Hong Kong, and is a connecting point for passengers transferring to the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car, which links Ngong Ping located in the mountainous areas where the Giant Tian Tan Buddha is located. As of 15 March 2014, there is one underground island platform serving two tracks
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The view of the second level of Citygate Outlets at night

Riding the escalators down towards the first and ground levels of Citygate Outlets

Approaching Tung Chung Station at night

The interior of the main station concourse of Tung Chung Station at night

The MTR system map in the main station concourse of Tung Chung Station at night

The exterior view of Tung Chung Station at night

The main entrance to Citygate Outlets at night

Riding the escalators back up towards the first and second levels of Citygate Outlets

The view of the Airport Express MTR tracks and the Lantau Expressway from the enclosed shopping footbridge at Citygate Outlets at night

A lineup of shops located along the enclosed shopping footbridge at Citygate Outlets at night

The escalators linking towards the Hotel Novotel Citygate Hong Kong at Citygate Outlets

The main hotel lobby of the Hotel Novotel Citygate Hong Kong at night

The view of the Airport Express MTR tracks and the Lantau Expressway from my Room No. 2117 at night

The view of Hong Kong International Airport as seen from my Room No. 2117 at night

The view of my Room No. 2117 at night

After a very short five-minute walk from Citygate Outlets, we finally arrived back at the Hotel Novotel Citygate Hong Kong at eight o' clock. Taking the elevator back up towards the 21st floor, we arrived back at our rooms by 8.10 p.m.. As there was nothing much left to do for the rest of the entire night, we simply had a nice, hot shower and changed into our pyjamas for the night.


We were then left to our own electronic devices for our entertainment for the night, and I also set my alarm on my mobile phone to wake me up at 6.45 a.m. the next morning so that I could go for rides along the Airport Express MTR line from Central Hong Kong. Upon doing all the necessary preparations, including preparing my attire for the next day, I finally turned in at 11.30 p.m. for a well-earned good night's sleep.


This officially brings the second sector of my combined mini-shopping vacation in Bangkok, Thailand, and Hong Kong in March 2014 to a conclusion. The remainder of the two sections of the entire report will be posted once the highest quality photographs and videos have been selected for them.

1 comment:

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