Friday, August 8, 2014

Spending Hari Raya Adilfitri in Bangkok, Thailand, in July 2014 ~ Section 1

Welcome to this blog report about my recent brief Hari Raya Adilfitri weekend trip to Bangkok, Thailand, in July 2014. This blog report will be split into a total of three sections. This will be the first segment of the report, where there will be a total of two focus topics, which will mainly be the in-bound flight to Bangkok and the journey to the InterContinental Hotel Bangkok.

As always, all the vacation videos posted on this blog report may also be found on my YouTube channel. However, for safety concerns, it is forbidden to publish any comments on both my YouTube channel and all of my uploaded videos, as is the displaying of advertisements. Such violations of this policy may result in the deletion of the published comments by the users.


Part 1 ~ The Opening Sequences


Not long after returning from my special mid-term summer birthday vacation in Japan in June 2014 and mid-way through the third term of my second year in pre-university college, my parents decided to bring us to Bangkok, Thailand, for the Hari Raya weekend. I was excited since we would celebrate Hari Raya Puasa (Eid al-Fitr) overseas and also relieved that the curfew in Bangkok had eased in June.


But I was slightly nervous after what had happened to Malaysia Airlines flight MH 017, which was operated by a Boeing 777-2H6/ER, registered 9M-MRD and powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 892 engines. The aircraft was attacked and shot down by a Ukrainian homing missile over Ukrainian airspace while flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on 17 July 2014, killing all 298 passengers and crew on board and marking the deadliest accident involving a Boeing 777, and the worst accident in the entire history of Malaysia Airlines.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH 017 was the second major incident to strike Malaysia Airlines in less than ½ a year after the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370, which unknowingly disappeared from radar screens while on route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew on board. This particular flight was also operated by a Boeing 777-2H6/ER and powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 892 engines, but was registered as 9M-MRO.

As of 1 July 2014, many international rescue teams have been combing the southern part of the Indian Ocean to search for any signs of wreckage and a possible crash site, although efforts to find the missing aircraft have been proven to be fruitless. If preliminary investigations confirm that the aircraft had indeed crashed, Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370 would have been the worst incident for Malaysia Airlines and a Boeing 777.

On the morning of Thursday (24 July), we woke up at around 8.30 a.m. after having a good night's rest. The first thing we did was to have a nice, hot shower and changed into our attire before packing up our remaining baggage for the long weekend festive trip. I was relieved that I had written a letter of permission to my school teacher to be excused from regular school lessons for the next two days in celebration of this important festive season with family and friends.

As the in-bound trip to Bangkok, we would be flying with Cathay Pacific on flight CX 712 bound for Hong Kong via Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi), which would depart Singapore Changi Airport at 1.30 p.m., and arrive at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport at three o' clock. Upon completing our baggage-packing, we laid our baggage in the living room to be checked once more before loading them into the boot of our car, as we had plans to drive our car to Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3 and leave it there for the next upcoming five days.

Loading our baggage into the boot of our car, we finally departed the compound of our home at 10.35 a.m. for a short 25-minute road drive to Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3. Arriving at the second basement car parking area located at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3 at eleven o' clock, both my younger brother and I went to get two baggage trolleys while my parents unloaded everything from the car before my dad went to park our car.

Once our baggage had been loaded onto the baggage trolleys, we immediately took the elevator all the way up to the departures and check-in hall on the third floor and walked to the Singapore Changi Airport Skytrain station, eventually arriving there by 11.15 a.m., where a Skytrain linking to Terminal 1 arrived just a few minutes later. Boarding the train, we finally departed Terminal 3 for a short and quick ride towards Terminal 1.

Terminal 3 is the third airport passenger terminal operating at Singapore Changi Airport. It is currently the newest passenger terminal at the airport, and was opened on 9 January 2008. With the opening of Terminal 3, Singapore Airlines shifted all of its long-haul operations to Oceania, Far East, the Americas and the European Union, with all other operations continuing to operate from Terminal 2.

China Eastern Airlines, Jet Airways, Qatar Airways and United Airlines moved to Terminal 3 from Terminal 1 on 25 March 2008. Kingfisher Airlines initially began service to Singapore using Terminal 3 on 17 September 2009, though it later shifted to Terminal 1 in mid-2011. However, owing to the airline's financial crisis, Kingfisher Airlines terminated all international flights on 25 March 2012.

Four more airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Saudi Arabian Airlines, SriLankan Airlines and Vietnam Airlines moved their operations from Terminal 1 to Terminal 3 on 22 February 2011. Asiana Airlines and Lion Air re-located their operations from Terminals 1 and 2 to Terminal 3 on 30 September 2013 and 18 October 2013. Ethiopian Airlines also commenced service to Singapore using Terminal 3 on 3 December 2013, with Spring Airlines also using this terminal with its new route to Singapore from 25 April 2014.

The interior of the second basement level in Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3

The departure information board for airlines departing from Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3 in the second basement level

The departures and check-in hall at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3 during the early afternoon hours

The Singapore Changi Airport Skytrain station linking to Terminals 1 and 2 in Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3

The interior of the Singapore Changi Airport Skytrain linking between Terminal 1 and Terminal 3

Singapore Changi Airport Skytrain ~ Terminal 3 to Terminal 1

After a short and quick Singapore Changi Airport Skytrain ride from Terminal 3, we finally arrived at Terminal 1 at 11.20 a.m.. Being sure to check that we had all our baggage with us, we alighted the train and walked along the departures & check-in hall to the Cathay Pacific check-in counter. Arriving at the Cathay Pacific check-in counters at check-in Row No. 12, we went to the Business Class check-in counter to check in for Cathay Pacific flight CX 712 bound for Hong Kong via Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi). The whole check-in process took no more than five minutes.

Cathay Pacific (Traditional Chinese: 國泰航空公司; Simplified Chinese: 国泰航空公司) is the national flag carrier of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). Headquartered and having its main hub at Hong Kong International Airport, the airline offers a variety of destinations in Asia, Africa, Oceania, North America and the European Union, using a purely wide-body fleet consisting of Airbus A330s, Airbus A340s, Boeing 747s and Boeing 777s, though the Boeing 747s are expected to be retired by 1 September 2014.

Cathay Pacific owns a subsidiary, Dragonair (Traditional Chinese: 港龍航空公司; Simplified Chinese: 港龙航空公司), which mainly offers destinations in Mainland China and regional ones in Asia. The airline is a founding member of Oneworld, which is the world's second-largest airline alliance formed on 1 February 1999, with American Airlines, British Airways and Qantas. The airline is also one of the seven airlines to receive five-star rating from Skytrax and notable for clinging Skytrax's Airline of the Year award in 2003, 2005, 2009 and 2014.


Terminal 1 is one of the major airport passenger terminals in revenue service at Singapore Changi Airport. It is the oldest airport passenger terminal operating at Singapore Changi Airport, and is divided into Concourses C and D, housing 29 boarding gates. Concourse C houses 14 boarding gates, with another 15 gates being housed by Concourse D. A majority of foreign airlines serving Singapore currently use this terminal.

The terminal was opened for revenue service on 1 July 1981, with the opening of Singapore Changi Airport, though Singapore Airlines and SilkAir, along with several Southeast Asian carriers and some foreign carriers, moved to Terminal 2 following its opening on 22 November 1990. Philippine Airlines re-located its operations back to Terminal 1 from Terminal 2 on 28 October 2013.

However, between the late 2000s and mid-2010s, some foreign airlines moved to either Terminal 2 or Terminal 3 due to improved facilities. Kingfisher Airlines commenced service to Singapore on 17 September 2009 initially using Terminal 3, but later moved to Terminal 1 in mid-2011. However, the airline terminated all international operations on 25 March 2012 due to its financial crisis.

As of 1 August 2014, the following airlines previously operated out of Terminal 1, but have since moved to either Terminals 2 or 3:

1) Air India (Star Alliance carrier - Moved to Terminal 2 on 29 March 2009)

2) Air India Express (Moved to Terminal 2 on 29 March 2009)

3) All Nippon Airways (Star Alliance carrier - Moved to Terminal 2 on 1 October 2008)

4) Asiana Airlines (Star Alliance carrier - Moved to Terminal 2 on 29 March 2009; later to Terminal 3 on 30 September 2013)

5) China Eastern Airlines (SkyTeam carrier - Moved to Terminal 3 on 25 March 2008)

6) Garuda Indonesia (SkyTeam carrier - Moved to Terminal 3 on 22 February 2011)

7) Jet Airways (Moved to Terminal 3 on 25 March 2008)

8) Korean Air (SkyTeam carrier - Moved to Terminal 2 on 25 March 2008)

9) Lion Air (Moved to Terminal 3 on 18 October 2013)

10) Qatar Airways (Oneworld carrier - Moved to Terminal 3 on 25 March 2008)

11) Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) (SkyTeam carrier - Moved to Terminal 3 on 22 February 2011)

12) SriLankan Airlines (Oneworld carrier - Moved to Terminal 3 on 22 February 2011)

13) United Airlines (Star Alliance carrier - Moved to Terminal 3 on 25 March 2008)

14) Vietnam Airlines (SkyTeam carrier - Moved to Terminal 3 on 22 February 2011)

The Singapore Changi Airport Skytrain station linking to Terminal 3 in Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1

Finally entering the departures and check-in hall of Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1

The departures and check-in hall at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1 during the early afternoon hours

The Cathay Pacific check-in counters in the departures and check-in hall at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1 during the early afternoon hours

After completing our check-in for Cathay Pacific flight CX 712 bound for Hong Kong via Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi), we finally received our boarding passes and lounge invitation passes at 11.30 a.m.. The check-in agent then informed us that today, Cathay Pacific flight CX 712 bound for Hong Kong via Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) would be scheduled to depart at 1.30 p.m. from Gate No. D46. Boarding would also commence at one o' clock, approximately ½ an hour prior to the scheduled departure time.


We thanked the check-in agent for her services and proceeded to the passport control area. In order to clear the passport control area, we made use of the thumb fingerprint checkpoint, which is reserved exclusively for local Singapore citizens and permanent residents of Singapore. Entering the airside at 11.35 a.m., the first thing we decided to do before heading to the Skyview Lounge was to change some Singapore dollars into Thai baht.

Walking along the airside linking towards Concourse D, we stopped at a nearby money exchange counter to change some of our Singapore dollars into Thai baht. At the money exchange counter, I changed a total of S$580, which in turn, earned me ฿14,170. After changing some Singapore dollars into Thai baht, my mum and I stopped at a duty-free chocolate shop, known as The Cocoa Trees, to purchase some duty-free chocolates for the trip before heading to the Skyview Lounge.

My boarding pass for the in-bound segment between Singapore and Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi)

Looking up to the restaurant level in the departures and check-in hall at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1

The airside of Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1 during the early afternoon hours

The departure flight information screens in the central airside of Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1

Several branded duty-free shops in the central airside at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1

A lineup of duty-free shops near Concourse D in Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1

Two foreign currency exchange counters near Concourse D in Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1

The departure flight information screens near Concourse D in Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1

Finally arriving at the entrance to the Skyview Lounge

After walking through the airside of Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1 for ¼ of an hour, we finally arrived at the entrance to the Skyview Lounge at 11.50 a.m.. Taking the escalator up towards the lounge reception counter, the lounge receptionist checked our invitation passes and positively identified us before we were allowed to enter the Skyview Lounge itself.

Noticing that the outer seating areas were already occupied, we saw that there were additional enclosed seating areas near the upper level of the lounge. We then went up towards the enclosed seating areas of the lounge and set up our belongings there. While we were in the Skyview Lounge, we had some light bites and beverages before our afternoon flight to Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi).

The outer seating area of the Skyview Lounge in Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1 shortly after we had arrived

The inner seating area of the Skyview Lounge in Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1 shortly after we had arrived

A Jetstar Asia Airways Airbus A320-232, registered 9V-JSN, being serviced at Gate No. D30 in preparation for her regional afternoon journey to Malaysia as Jetstar Asia Airways flight 3K 685 bound for Kuala Lumpur

A Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-367/ER, registered B-KPN, being serviced at Gate No. D34 in preparation for her regional afternoon journey back home to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) as Cathay Pacific flight CX 690 bound for Hong Kong

A bowl of fresh mushroom soup and a glass of red wine for myself near the self-service food and beverage corner in the Skyview Lounge

Crafting out my report for the in-bound flight to Bangkok on my blog in the Skyview Lounge

The inner seating area of the Skyview Lounge in Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1 during the early afternoon hours

Playing LEGO Racers Circuit 5, starting with mirrored Amazon Adventure Alley, with myself playing as Basil the Bat Lord, stalking Achu with three homing missiles from behind

The inner seating area of the Skyview Lounge in Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1 shortly before we left for Gate No. D46

Part 2 ~ The Flight To Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi)

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: Airbus A330-343X
Registration No.: B-HLO
Class: Business Class
Seat No.: 18K
Date: Thursday, 24 July 2014

After spending approximately 40 minutes of relaxations and having some light bites and beverages in the Skyview Lounge, the clock was finally showing 12.30 p.m.. Knowing that boarding for Cathay Pacific flight CX 712 would commence in 
½ an hour's time, we immediately packed away all our belongings and departed the Skyview Lounge by 12.35 p.m. for Gate No. D46.

The entire walk linking between the Skyview Lounge and Gate No. D46 took no more than just five minutes. Soon enough, we finally arrived at the entrance to Gate No. D46 at 12.40 p.m., which was just in good time for boarding to begin in 20 minutes' time. With a relatively hassle-free security check, we were finally in the passenger waiting area of Gate No. D46 at 12.45 p.m..

Judging by the number of waiting passengers in the passenger waiting area at Gate No. D46, I could tell that the load Cathay Pacific flight CX 712 bound for Hong Kong via Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) would be somewhat full. Today, Cathay Pacific flight CX 712 bound for Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) and Hong Kong would be operated by an Airbus A330-300 aircraft, registered B-HLO and powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 772B-60 engines.

B-HLO was delivered new to Cathay Pacific on 30 March 2001 as the 16th Airbus A330-300 and the 16th Airbus A330 for the airline. The overall delivery would make the aircraft approximately 13.4 years old today. However, due to the final-minute preparations and ground technical problems, Cathay Pacific flight CX 712 bound for Hong Kong via Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) was delayed for about five minutes, with the new expected departure time shifted to around 1.35 p.m..

Overlooking the outer seating areas of the Skyview Lounge as we begin to make our way to Gate No. D46

The passageway leading to Gates No. D30 to D49 in Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1

About to walk along the moving passageway along Concourse D in Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1 towards Gate No. D46

Finally arriving at the entrance to Gate No. D46

The departure information screen at Gate No. D46 detailing information for Cathay Pacific flight CX 712 bound for Hong Kong via Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi)

Finally entering the passenger waiting room at Gate No. D46

Our aircraft for today, B-HLO, being serviced at Gate No. D46 in preparation for her regional afternoon journey back home to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) via the Kingdom of Thailand as Cathay Pacific flight CX 712 bound for Hong Kong via Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi)

A closeup of B-HLO being serviced at Gate No. D46

A Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-212/ER, registered 9V-SQM, taxiing to her assigned runway for her afternoon journey to the People's Republic of China (Mainland China) as Singapore Airlines flight SQ 832 bound for Shanghai (Pudong)

The interior of the passenger waiting room at Gate No. D46 during the early afternoon hours

One more look at B-HLO being serviced at Gate No. D46 before her regional afternoon journey back home to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) as Cathay Pacific flight CX 712 bound for Hong Kong via Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi)

A Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-312/ER, registered 9V-SWW, taxiing towards her assigned runway for her long afternoon trans-Indian Ocean journey towards the United Kingdom as Singapore Airlines flight SQ 318 bound for London (Heathrow)

A Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-212/ER, registered 9V-SRO, taxiing towards Terminal 2 after her early morning regional journey from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) as Singapore Airlines flight SQ 857 from Hong Kong

A Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-312, registered 9V-SYI, taxiing towards Terminal 2 after her long morning journey from the Commonwealth of Australia as Singapore Airlines flight SQ 212 from Sydney

The interior of the passenger waiting room at Gate No. D46 shortly before the first boarding calls for Cathay Pacific flight CX 712 bound for Hong Kong via Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) were made

After spending approximately ½ an hour of anticipated waiting in the passenger waiting area, the first boarding calls for Cathay Pacific flight CX 712 bound for Hong Kong via Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) were finally made at 1.15 p.m.. All the Business Class, including the Asia Miles & Marco Polo Club members, and all the passengers requiring special assistance were called out to board the aircraft first.

Since we were among the first passengers being called out for boarding, we held on to our belongings and boarding passes before rolling out for the boarding to take place smoothly. Walking along the jet bridge to Door A, we were finally on board B-HLO at 1.20 p.m., which was in good time for a 1.35 p.m. departure. At the front entrance, three flight attendants warmly welcomed us on board and showed us the direction to our seats in the Business Class cabin.

Entering the Business Class cabin, we stowed away our belongings and settled into our assigned Seats No. 18D, 18G, 18H and 18K respectively for the short regional flight duration of 2½ hours towards Bangkok. The Business Class seats we would be using for this short regional hop towards Bangkok were the new generation of Regional Business Class seats, which can recline up to 165º.

These seats were introduced in mid-2013, starting with the Boeing 777-300s, to enhance passenger comfort on regional flights, with the improvements including the featuring of AC power outlets at each seat and enhanced legroom. The seats are expected to be rolled out on all of Cathay Pacific's regional aircraft fleet by the end of fiscal year 2015.

After settling in, the flight attendants carried out their usual pre-flight routines of distributing the pre-departure beverages and free newspapers to the Business Class passengers. I opted to have a glass of orange juice and champagne to start off the journey with. Cathay Pacific would my the third airline to have wine and champagne on board, after Thai Airways International and Korean Air.

A view of my seat, 18K, during the boarding process at Singapore Changi Airport

The 'no smoking' and 'fasten seatbelt' signs illuminated during the boarding process at Singapore Changi Airport

The view of the Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 New Regional Business Class cabin from my seat during the boarding process at Singapore Changi Airport

My pre-departure glasses of champagne and orange juice

Continuing with my report for the in-bound trip to Bangkok on my blog during the boarding process at Singapore Changi Airport

The view of the Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 New Regional Business Class cabin from my seat shortly before pushing back from Gate No. D46

At 1.35 p.m., all the aircraft doors were closed, and we finally pushed back from Gate No. D46, which was just five minutes behind schedule. The safety briefing information video was then played on our front seat video screens as we made our way to our assigned runway for take-off, taxiing past several aircraft parked near to both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 along the way.

It was not very long before we reached our assigned runway after 10 minutes. Soon enough, the aircraft's two Rolls-Royce Trent 772B-60 engines spooled into action, and we finally lifted off from Singapore Changi Airport at 1.45 p.m.. We then climbed into the bright afternoon sky for a short regional flight time of two hours over the South China Sea to the capital city of the Kingdom of Thailand.

Finally pushing back from Gate No. D46

The opening to StudioCX, Cathay Pacific's in-flight entertainment system

A Philippine Airlines Airbus A319-112, registered RP-C8603, parked at Gate No. D47 after she had arrived from the Republic of the Philippines as Philippine Airlines flight PR 507 from Manila. She will then return to the Philippines later on as Philippine Airlines flight PR 508 bound for Manila

A Singapore Airlines Airbus A380-841, registered 9V-SKF, taxiing towards her assigned runway for her regional afternoon journey to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) as Singapore Airlines flight SQ 866 bound for Hong Kong

A Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-312/ER, registered 9V-SWT, parked at Gate No. D49 at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1

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

Taxiing past several aircraft parked at and near Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2

Taxiing along the tarmac towards our assigned runway for take-off

Cathay Pacific Flight 712 ~ Afternoon Departure From Singapore Changi Airport

Climbing into the bright afternoon sky for a regional flight time of two hours to Bangkok

The seatbelt signs were switched off at 1.55 p.m., which was 10 minutes after taking off from Singapore Changi Airport. While the flight attendants got out to commence the in-flight lunch service, I went to the lavatories and got out my laptop for my entertainment purposes during the flight. The flight attendants also distributed the food and beverage menus and the wine lists to the Business Class passengers at the same time.

Soon enough, a steward came by to my seat with the wine and beverage cart and asked my younger brother and I whether we wanted anything to drink. While my brother had a glass of water, I asked what white wine was on offer. The steward then recommended me the New Zealand Marlborough Sky Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2013. We opted to have the braised beef cheek with Swiss style barley and vegetables as our main courses, which the steward noted.

The view of the Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 New Regional Business Class cabin from my seat shortly after the seatbelt sign was switched off

A warning sign in the lavatory which warns passengers that on-board smoking, including tampering with smoke detectors in the lavatories, is a crime under Hong Kong law

The rear view of the Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 New Regional Business Class cabin during cruising altitude over the Johor Strait

The cover page for the food and beverage menu for the segment between Singapore and Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi)

Reviewing the food and beverage menu for the segment between Singapore and Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi)

The flight route indication map indicating our cruising altitude near Kuala Lumpur

Cruising somewhere over the South China Sea near Kuala Lumpur

The bottle of Spy Valley Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013 white wine held by the steward

A glass of Spy Valley Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013 white wine for myself to begin with

The view of the Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 New Regional Business Class cabin from my seat during the in-flight lunch service, with the crew coming with the beverage cart

Cruising over the South China Sea somewhere over Pahang Province in Malaysia

The flight route indication map indicating our cruising altitude over Pahang Province in Malaysia

After spending the first 45 minutes of surfing our electronic devices, the flight attendants finally re-appeared with the meal cart containing the main lunch courses. Once the flight stewardess came by our seats, she asked my younger brother and I what we wanted for our main lunch courses. We both opted to have the braised beef cheek with Swiss style barley and vegetables. The flight attendant understood us and promptly placed our main courses on our trays.

With our main courses delivered to our meal trays, we immediately tucked into our in-flight lunches. The braised beef cheek tasted quite juicy and tender, with the vegetables, particularly the carrots being the suitable accompaniments, but the Swiss style barley tasted slightly dry. The braised beef cheek was the best part of the main course, which makes it one of the most sumptuous beef dishes I have ever eaten on board a plane while in mid-air.

Once we were finished with our main lunch courses, the flight steward came to collect our meal trays and asked us whether we wanted anything else. Both my younger brother and I opted to have a mug of hot cocoa each, while I requested for a tub of Häagen-Dazs Belgian Chocolate ice cream for myself. With our mugs of hot cocoa and my ice cream delivered, we finished them off in a few minutes and were left with our devices again after our mugs and plates were collected.

My main lunch course: Braised beef cheek with Swiss style barley and vegetables

Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-312/ER Herpa Scale 1:500 (507158)

A small tub of Häagen-Dazs Belgian Chocolate ice cream for myself

A view of my seat, 18K, during cruising altitude between the border of Malaysia and Thailand

A nice, warm mug of hot cocoa for myself

The view of the Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 New Regional Business Class cabin from my seat during cruising altitude over the Gulf of Thailand

The rear view of the Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 New Regional Business Class cabin during cruising altitude over the Gulf of Thailand

Cruising over the Gulf of Thailand near Pattaya

The flight route indication map indicating our cruising altitude somewhere over Pattaya

In accordance with the Thailand Local Time, the seatbelt sign was switched on again at 2.25 p.m., approximately 20 minutes in preparation for descent into Suvarnabhumi Airport. Knowing that we had very little time left before arriving in Bangkok, we immediately stowed away our belongings and buckled up for the landing at Suvarnabhumi Airport.

The weather was quite clear as the aircraft commenced its final approach into Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport. After a short regional afternoon flight time of just two hours over the South China Sea from the Republic of Singapore, we finally touched down in Suvarnabhumi Airport at 2.45 p.m., ¼ of an hour ahead of schedule.

Suvarnabhumi Airport (Thai: ท่าอากาศยานสุวรรณภูมิ) is one of the two international airports serving the Bangkok Metropolitan Area in Thailand. It is the busiest airport in the Kingdom of Thailand, and serves as the central and largest hub for Bangkok Airways, Orient Thai Airlines and Thai Airways International, and an important destinations for many foreign carriers, such as Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways.

The airport was opened on 28 September 2006, taking over a majority of the international flights previously operated by the older Don Mueang International Airport. It was opened for service again on 24 March 2007 for limited domestic flights, with all low-cost international flights shifting their operations back to Don Mueang International Airport on 28 October 2012. The airport is accessible by train via the Suvarnabhumi Airport Rail Link (SARL) since 23 August 2010.

The view of the Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 New Regional Business Class cabin from my seat shortly after the seatbelt sign was switched on again for landing in Suvarnabhumi Airport

Finally cruising into Thai airspace as the aircraft begins to make its descent into Suvarnabhumi Airport

The 'no smoking' and 'fasten seatbelt' signs illuminated in preparation for the descent into Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi)

A long river flowing through several local Thai settlements as the aircraft makes its final approach into Suvarnabhumi Airport

Cruising some local rural farming areas as the aircraft makes its final approach into Suvarnabhumi Airport

Cruising over some local housing settlements while making our final approach into Suvarnabhumi Airport

Cathay Pacific Flight 712 ~ Afternoon Arrival Into Suvarnabhumi Airport

A China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-79P, registered B-5263, being serviced at Gate No. F1 in preparation for her afternoon journey back home to the People's Republic of China (Mainland China) as China Eastern Airlines flight MU 742 bound for Kunming

Finally docking onto Gate No. F5

The view of the Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 New Regional Business Class cabin from my seat shortly after docking onto Gate No. F5

After a short taxi duration of just 10 minutes along the airport tarmac, we finally docked onto our arrival gate, Gate No. F5, at 2.55 p.m.. As a transit security requirement, all passengers continuing on to Hong Kong were ordered to remain on board the aircraft during the short layover in Bangkok. Once the seatbelt signs were switched off, we immediately unbuckled and took all of our baggage from their respective storage spaces.

We also checked our seats to see that none of our belongings had been left on board the aircraft, and initially rolled up behind some other passengers to exit through the front exit door. However, we re-considered once the rear exit door was opened by the cabin crew. As we disembarked from the aircraft, the flight attendants thanked us for our patronage with Cathay Pacific and wished us a pleasant Hari Raya weekend trip in Bangkok.

For every airline I fly on, each will receive a score report on the segments flown, which are divided into five sections, which are the seat, food, service, aircraft cleanliness and legroom space. Each of these sections carry 20 points, totalling up to 100 points. To obtain a pass, a 'D' grade, which means an overall score of 40% or above, is required.

As of 1 July 2014, the grading system is shown below:

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: 40% ~ 49% (Airline has a fair rating and performance)
E: 20% ~ 39% (Airline has a poor rating and performance)
U: Below 20% (Airline has not met the requirement for the minimum grade)

Cathay Pacific Flight 712 Score Report

Seat: 19 / 20
Food: 16 / 20
Service: 17 / 20
Aircraft cleanliness: 17 / 20
Legroom space: 19 / 20
Total: 88 / 100

In a nutshell, Cathay Pacific has managed to obtain a total aggregate score of 88% between Singapore and Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi), which means that they have successfully obtained the highest 'A+' grade. Their new Regional Business Class seats has proven to be a great improvement with increased legroom, with the service still up to standards. With this flight, Cathay Pacific does prove itself worthy of Skytrax's Airline of the Year award, and they should continue to keep up with their high standards.

Part 3 ~ The Journey To The InterContinental Hotel Bangkok

After disembarking from Cathay Pacific flight CX 712 bound for Hong Kong, we walked along the passageway of Concourse F linking to the immigrations area at the airport, eventually arriving there by 3.05 p.m.. To clear the immigrations area, we made use of the Premium Lane, which is an immigration lane used by arriving travellers who possess Premium Lane vouchers, which we had, allowing us to clear the immigrations process in just five minutes.

Once we were in the baggage claiming hall at 3.10 p.m., I went to check to see which baggage belt our bulky check-in baggage would be arriving at. According to the baggage belt information screen, all check-in baggage from Cathay Pacific flight CX 712 from Singapore would be scheduled to arrive at Belt No. 20. With that, we immediately went to get two baggage trolleys and proceeded to Belt No. 20 to claim the remainder of our check-in baggage.

Walking through Concourse F in the direction to the immigrations and transiting concourse from Gate No. F5

Walking along the moving passageway closer to the immigrations and transiting area

The massive international arrival flight information screen located near the immigrations area at Suvarnabhumi Airport

The entrance to the non-Premium Lane immigrations area at Suvarnabhumi Airport

Walking along the moving passageway to the Premium Lane in the immigrations and transiting concourse at Suvarnabhumi Airport

The interior of the baggage claiming hall at Suvarnabhumi Airport

After claiming all our baggage and loading them onto the baggage trolleys, we finally went into the arrivals and meeting hall of Suvarnabhumi Airport at 3.20 p.m.. Looking out for our names for the InterContinental Hotel Bangkok, a well-dressed gentleman showed up with our names at 3.25 p.m.. He offered to help us with our baggage trolleys and escorted us out to the pick-up area outside the arrivals and meeting hall.

Soon enough, a large black hotel limousine finally showed up at the pick-up area at 3.30 p.m.. While the driver got out and loaded our baggage into the boot of the limousine, we boarded and helped ourselves to the complimentary bottles of water and wet towels. Within just a few seconds, we finally departed the lively compound of Suvarnabhumi Airport for a short road journey of just ½ an hour to the InterContinental Hotel Bangkok.

The interior of the arrivals and meeting hall in Suvarnabhumi Airport during the mid-afternoon hours

The massive international arrival flight information board in the arrivals and meeting hall of Suvarnabhumi Airport

The passenger pick-up area located outside the arrivals and meeting hall at Suvarnabhumi Airport

The black luxury hotel limousine that would soon take us to the InterContinental Hotel Bangkok

Finally departing Suvarnabhumi Airport

Finally travelling along the Suvarnabhumi Expressway from Suvarnabhumi Airport

Travelling along the expressway in the direction towards downtown Bangkok

Travelling adjacent to the Suvarnabhumi Airport Rail Link (SARL) viaduct near downtown Bangkok

Bypassing the Piyavate Hospital

Bypassing Makkasan Station (City Air Terminal)

Travelling along the expressway flyover leading towards downtown Bangkok

Travelling on the busy roads just below Chit Lom BTS Station

Bypassing Central Chidlom

Approaching the InterContinental Hotel Bangkok

Finally arriving at the main entrance to the InterContinental Hotel Bangkok

After a short afternoon road journey duration of ½ an hour from Suvarnabhumi Airport, we finally arrived at the main entrance to the InterContinental Hotel Bangkok at four o' clock. A hotel porter then came out with a baggage trolley to assist us with our baggage while we went into the hotel lobby to check in for the short five-day Hari Raya stay at the InterContinental Hotel Bangkok.

Soon enough, a hotel lady came up to us and took us to the topmost 37th level, where the Club InterContinental Lounge was located. She also assured us that our baggage would be brought up to our rooms once we had received our room keys and arrived at our rooms. Arriving at the 37th level by 4.10 p.m., we were taken to the lounge reception counter, where we were given our room keys.

For the five-day Hari Raya stay in Bangkok, we would be staying in Rooms No. 3101 and 3102 located on the 31st floor. At the Club InterContinental Lounge, we were offered several welcome drinks and had some cakes from the buffet counter at the lounge itself. The lounge receptionist also explained that there would be free breakfast available at the Club InterContinental Lounge between six o' clock to 10.30 a.m. daily.

The main hotel lobby at the InterContinental Hotel Bangkok shortly after we had arrived

The marble staircase in the main hotel lobby at the InterContinental Hotel Bangkok shortly after we had arrived

The interior of the Club InterContinental Lounge on the 37th floor at the InterContinental Hotel Bangkok on a bright afternoon

A small plate of chocolate cake with pralines for myself at the Club InterContinental Lounge

The relaxation area near the lounge reception counter in the Club InterContinental Lounge

Overlooking the many infrastructure of downtown Bangkok from the Club InterContinental Lounge during a bright late afternoon

After having some light welcome in the Club InterContinental Lounge, we took the elevator down to the 31st floor and arrived at Room No. 3102 at 4.20 p.m.. A hotel staff informed us that Room No. 3101 was still being cleaned and offered to open the connecting doors linking both rooms once the cleaning was finished. Within a few seconds, Room No. 3101 was cleaned and the connecting door was opened, with our baggage brought up to us.

Once everything had been completed, we set up our attires and pyjamas for the coming days and had a well-earned rest in the hotel room for the rest of the afternoon. During our afternoon rest at the hotel, we also went up to the Club InterContinental Lounge at 4.45 p.m. for some late afternoon tea, together with some alcoholic beverages since there were cocktail hours available between five o' clock and eight o' clock, where I had some white wine to booze off.

The interior of the living room in Room No. 3102 during the late afternoon hours

The view of Room No. 3102, where my parents would sleep, during the late afternoon hours

The view of Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld from my Room No. 3101 during the late afternoon hours

The first view of my Room No. 3101, where my younger brother and I would sleep, during the early evening hours

The interior of the Club InterContinental Lounge during the early evening hours

A platter containing three fish fritters, mushroom ragout and smoked salmon for myself

A glass of white wine for myself

The self-service buffet area in the Club InterContinental Lounge during the early evening hours

The view of my Room No. 3101 at night

After spending the entire afternoon having a very well-earned rest in our hotel rooms, the clock was finally showing eight o' clock. As we were already feeling hungry, we decided to have dinner at a restaurant located in the hotel itself. With that, we grabbed our necessary belongings and took the elevator down to the main hotel lobby, eventually arriving there by 8.10 p.m..

Walking through the passageway down to the lower level of the hotel, we finally stumbled upon a notable steak restaurant, known as Fireplace Grill. Entering the restaurant itself, we promptly requested for a table for the four of us, where we were directed to an empty table near the kitchen area before we were left with the food and beverage menus to make our reviews before placing our orders.

As soon as we were ready to eat, a waiter came by to our table to take down our meal orders. We ordered several appetisers and side dishes that would be suitable for our preferences, along with a large grilled Tomahawk Wagyu steak to be shared among us. That night, we all had a sumptuous and filling family steak dinner at Fireplace Grill, with the grilled Tomahawk Wagyu steak being the highlight of the dinner.

The marble staircase in the main hotel lobby at the InterContinental Hotel Bangkok during the early evening hours

A small lounge by the main hotel lobby at the InterContinental Hotel Bangkok at night

An advertisement about Fireplace Grill near the staircase to the restaurant

The entrance to Fireplace Grill at the InterContinental Hotel Bangkok at night

The interior of Fireplace Grill at the InterContinental Hotel Bangkok shortly after we had entered

The cover page for the food and beverage menu of Fireplace Grill at the InterContinental Hotel Bangkok

Reviewing the food and beverage menu of Fireplace Grill at the InterContinental Hotel Bangkok

A large piece of Tomahawk Wagyu beef steak being grilled in the kitchen at Fireplace Grill

A deep-fried pork ball as the first appetiser for myself

A bowl of fresh mushroom soup for myself

A side plate of french fries to be shared among us

A large chunk of Tomahawk Wagyu steak being grilled for us in the kitchen

The highlight of our first night's dinner: 2 kilograms worth of Tomahawk Wagyu beef steak to be shared among us

A side order of truffle mashed potatoes for myself

The exterior view of the kitchen area at Fireplace Grill at the InterContinental Hotel Bangkok

The interior of Fireplace Grill at the InterContinental Hotel Bangkok during dinner

A plate of cold smoking chocolates to conclude the dinner at Fireplace Grill

The interior of Fireplace Grill at the InterContinental Hotel Bangkok shortly before we went back up to our Rooms No. 3101 and 3102

After having a hearty and filling steak dinner at Fireplace Grill, we were finally stuffed to the brim at 9.15 p.m.. Paying up our dinner bill, the waitress informed us that the meals at any of the hotel restaurants would be included in our hotel bills. With that, we thanked the staff for their services and left the restaurant at 9.20 p.m. for the main hotel lobby, where we took the elevator back up to our Rooms No. 3101 and 3102.

Arriving back at our rooms at 9.25 p.m., we had a nice, hot shower and changed into our attire before settling down for the rest of the night. Throughout the late night, we were left with nothing much other than to our own electronic gadgets to keep us company. We then finally turned it slightly past midnight for a well-earned good night's rest for the upcoming Hari Raya preparation days.

This now brings the first segment of my brief Hari Raya Adilfitri weekend trip to Bangkok, Thailand, in July 2014 to a formal close. Like all other reports, do feel free to drop some questions or comments at your own time. Responses will be replied whenever possible. Do stay tuned in for the upcoming two sections of the report once the highest quality photographs have been selected.

No comments:

Post a Comment