After three days in Hong Kong it’s now time for me to move on to my next destination, which is Bangkok, where I shall be visiting a friend who now lives in the Thai capital. I’ve enjoyed this stay in Hong Kong.
Moreover, I can certainly recommend the Indigo Hotel. The staff are really friendly, the rooms are nice and very clean and I have the fitness centre all to myself whenever I visit.
GETTING TO THE AIRPORT
Wanchai to the Airport Express Terminal
- MTR: Wanchai station
- Tram: Wanchai station, the tram stop is right opposite the exit of the MTR station
- MTR: Hong Kong station
- Tram: The closest stop is the one in front of the HSBC in Central
Frequency: no idea, but there are frequent services
- MTR: about 5 minutes
- Tram about 15 minutes
- MTR: HKD 4.50
- Tram: HKD 2.50
If, like me, you’re travelling with a lot of luggage, then perhaps the tram may not be the most convenient means of transport. There is no storage space for luggage and those stairs to the upper deck are pretty tight. MTR trains have more space in theory, but tend to be rather full no matter what time of day you’re travelling.
Airport Express Terminal to Hong Kong Airport
Departs from: Hong Kong station on the island and Kowloon station on the mainland
Arrives: Terminal 1 (left exit from the train) and Terminal 2 (right exit from the train)
Frequency: Varies on the time of day
Journey time: 24 minutes from Hong Kong
Fare: HKD 180 for a return
I leave the hotel just after 08:30 in the morning. My flight to Bangkok will not be leaving until 12:00 but I figure, if I’m going to kill time, then I think I’d rather be at the airport people and plane watching. I decide to take a taxi to the Airport Express Terminal in Hong Kong for the simple reason that I have too much stuff with me.
CHECK-IN & BAGGAGE DROP
Location: Airport Express Terminal in Hong Kong
- Web check-in available up to 48 hours before departure
- Check-in counters
- Self-service machines
Counters: Dedicated Cathay Pacific counters
I receive an e-mail from Cathay Pacific informing me that check-in is open 48 hours before departure. The web check-in works nicely, but for some reason the website cannot send me my boarding pass by text message. But that doesn’t matter. Instead I type in my e-mail address and a few minutes later I receive a mail from Cathay Pacific with a link to the boarding pass for me to open on my iPhone. I launch the page. Everything is in order. There is a button at the bottom of the page to add the boarding pass to your passbook, which I do.
Passengers travelling on Cathay Pacific and quite a few other carriers out of Hong Kong have the possibility to already drop their bags at the station in Hong Kong, instead of carting it all the way to the airport and dropping it off there. The service is available up to 90 minutes before departure, which is not bad at all.
The check-in agent informs me that the video screen on my assigned seat is not working and that therefore they have moved me one row back to 15A. I’m mightily impressed, I must say.
The lifts taking you down to the platform level are right opposite the check-in counters.
Cathay Pacific calls Terminal 1 home.
Location: The Wing, access to the lounge is opposite of gate 2, the lounge is on the mezzanine level one floor up
Type of Lounge: Cathay Pacific Airways lounge
Facilities: Washrooms, showers, public computers (Apple), Noodle bar, Café
Internet: Free, unlimited WiFi
I like the design of the Cathay Pacific lounges. Black and white marble and what looks like black granite are used extensively and give the lounge a very elegant appearance. Having said that, it also make the place seem rather dark.
My first stop is the infamous noodle bar. I’m not really that hungry to be honest, but I just like the idea of having a Chinese noodle bar in a lounge.
Once I’ve demolished the noodles, I head for the café, order a cappuccino and start writing this trip report.
Priority Boarding: Separate lane for First and Business Class passengers, separate airbridge to the L1 door
Boarding is delayed by about fifteen minutes due to the late arrival of the aircraft on the inbound leg. From what I understand, ATC related delays are quite common in Hong Kong.
The load is very light in both classes on this flight. Only twelve of the 42 seat in Business Class are occupied, which suits me fine as it means I have the seat next to me empty.
Configuration: 2 + 2 + 2
Seat: Regional Business Class, angled recline in a traditional configuration
Pitch: 45 inches
Width: 21 inches
Facilities: There are some plugs, but I’m not quite sure what they are for, overhead lamp
Audio and Video: Private screens, video on demand; earphones
The Cathay Pacific regional Business Class cabin is quite nice. There’s certainly something old school about the seats and they are beginning to show some signs of wear and tear. Nonetheless, it’s a very comfortable seat, particularly given that this is a short flight of only two hours and thirty minutes. There is a cushion on every seat.
The cabin crew on this flight are simply excellent, there really is no other way to put it. And instead of taking it easy with such a light load, they appear to be taking this as an opportunity to offer a more personalised service.
As I board the aircraft, I am greeted with a big smile by one of the four young ladies working the Business Class cabin. She looks at my boarding pass and escorts me to my seat. She wishes me a good flight and returns to her station by the door.
In short sequence another flight attendant comes by, first offering a welcome drink and followed by the earphones, a blanket and menu for this flight.
Just before we push back, Alice comes to introduce herself as the Inflight Service Manager and wishes me a good flight.
Hot Towels Before the Meal: Yes, there is also an antiseptic towel on the tray when the meal arrives
Welcome drink: Cathay Delight – made with kiwi, coconut juice and a hind of mint
Pre-meal drinks: Ginger Ale, served with a ramekin of warm almonds
Choice: There are three choices for the main course – shrimps, lamb or chicken
Delivery: Tray service from trolley
Appearance: Metal cutlery, crockery and glassware
Type of Meal: Lunch, hot meal
Menu: Separate menu and wine list
- A seasonal salad with a citrus vinaigrette.
- A selection of breads – I have the garlic bread.
- Spicy Thai green curry with steamed rice and kalian.
- A selection of Hägen-Dazs ice cream – chocolate chip, vanilla or cookies and cream.
- Various teas and coffees, served with a praline. For the coffee there is a choice of either cream or milk. The milk is even warmed.
The Thai green curry is quite spicy and very flavourful. But I leave the kailan, greens on a plane are rarely worth trying I find.
One thing I already noticed on the previous flight is that they seem to have done away completely with those pebble shaped salt and pepper shakers and didn’t even replace them with sachets or anything like that.
The meal ends with the distribution of yet another hotel towel. The crew then quickly remove all the trays and switch off the lights to let the passengers have a rest.
The atmosphere in the cabin becomes very relaxed, quiet and calm. Natural light is seeping in through the windows, casting strange shapes and shadows across the cabin. In the background the Rolls-Royce engines are gently humming their tune, softly lulling me to sleep. And as I slowly slip into a slumber, caressed by the warmth of the sun outside, I am reminded once more of what it is I just love so much about flying. And this, to me, is utter bliss.
Terminal: There is only one international terminal in Bangkok Suvarnabhumi
We make a straight in approach into Bangkok. And indeed, the airport is very quiet when we arrive.
I’m the first to disembark and make my way to immigration. If, like me, you need to obtain a visa on arrival, you cannot use the normal channel. The visa on arrival channel is about seventy metres further on. In order to obtain a visa on arrival you need to have:
- one full empty page in your passport (the stamp they put in it is enormous)
- THB 1000
- a passport photo
- a copy of your ticket to depart Thailand
- a completed immigration form
- a completed application form for a visa on arrival
Should you happen not to have any of the above, don’t worry. With the exception of the empty page in your passport you can obtain everything at the visa on arrivals counter, which also has a photo booth, a teller machine and a bureau de change.
GETTING INTO TOWN
Getting into Bangkok from Suvarnabhumi is a pain. Whatever you do, you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. There is a train, the express, which obviously has the benefit of not getting stuck in traffic. The only problem with the train though, is that it doesn’t really go anywhere useful. And if you’re staying down by the river it’s particularly useless if you’re travelling with luggage as you will be required to change trains and cart your junk up and down a lot of stairs.
Fortunately, I’m being picked up by the hotel. And although my BMW comes with it’s own wifi network, cold water and a refreshingly cool towel, the traffic is still a mess. The things one must endure…
In Bangkok I am staying at the Peninsula. Initially I was going to stay at the Mandarin Oriental, but from the pictures and reviews I found on Tripadvisor, the Peninsula just looked more appealing. I’ll leave it here for the time being, thank God it’s finally the weekend…