Author Topic: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong  (Read 13600 times)

Offline AJK

  • Dansdeals Lifetime 20K Presidential Platinum Elite
  • ********
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Posts: 24251
  • Total likes: 61
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 11
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Programs: United Concierge Key; Delta Global Services; American Chairman; US Airways 1K; Hilton Sapphire; Hyatt Tritium; Marriott Californium; Starwood Kryptonium; Hertz Plutonium; National Adamantium, Avis Executive Proactanium
Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
« on: July 16, 2013, 10:30:17 PM »
Our itinerary:

May 5, Cathay Pacific, CX 889, JFK-YVR-HKG, 22:40-06:55 +2 in Business

-- 32 hours in Hong Kong at the W Hong Kong

May 8, Dragon Air, KA 232, HKG-CNX, 15:35-18:20 in Economy

-- Five days in Chiang Mai at the Le Meridien

May 13, Bangkok Airways, PG 242, CNX-USM, 12:0-0-13:45 in Economy

-- Four days in Koh Samui at the Conrad Koh Samui

May 17, Thai Airways, TG 282, USM-BKK, 09:30-10:35 in Economy

-- 40 hours in Bangkok at the Davis Hotel

May 19:
Thai Airways, TG 930, BKK-CDG, 00:05-07:05 in First (on A388);

Lufthansa, LH 1051, CDG-FRA, 08:00-9:20 in Business;

-- About 3 hours in Lufthansa’s First Class Terminal

Lufthansa, LH 110, FRA-MUC, 13:00-13:55 in Business;

Lufthansa, LH 424, MUC-BOS, 15:45-18:35 in First (on A346);

US Airways, US2143, BOS-LGA, 20:00-21:19 in Business

Cost for Flights:
JFK-YVR-HKG = it's complicated.
HKG-CNX = 7,500 Avios.
CNX-USM = $250.00
USM-BKK(stop)-CDG-FRA-MUC-BOS-LGA = 70,000 UA.




Without further ado, as promised, I (re)introduce Mrs. AJK (with limited explanatory comments from me throughout):
« Last Edit: July 16, 2013, 10:34:15 PM by AJK »
2015: 116K bkd | 1.6M brnd | F: OZ,NH,AA,EK | J: UA,CA,TK,DL,TN,AF,VA | LIH,NRT,ROR,PEK,CNS,BOB,MEL,TLV & Pacific Hopper

Offline Moishebatchy

  • Dansdeals Lifetime Presidential Platinum Elite
  • *********
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Posts: 7108
  • Total likes: 10
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 22
    • View Profile
  • Location: Jerusalem
  • Programs: Arzei Makolet Platinum, Yossi's Makolet Silver, Yesh! Gold, Rav Kav Dirt
Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2013, 10:43:11 PM »
Nu? Eagerly awaiting... :)

Offline AJK

  • Dansdeals Lifetime 20K Presidential Platinum Elite
  • ********
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Posts: 24251
  • Total likes: 61
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 11
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Programs: United Concierge Key; Delta Global Services; American Chairman; US Airways 1K; Hilton Sapphire; Hyatt Tritium; Marriott Californium; Starwood Kryptonium; Hertz Plutonium; National Adamantium, Avis Executive Proactanium
Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2013, 10:56:19 PM »
After arriving at the British Airways Executive Lounge in JFK airport, we settled in to wait for our flight. First class lounges--aside from being a gorgeous place where they bring you drinks and snacks while you relax in wide, comfortable seats with flat screen TVs and WiFi--also helped solve one of our first marital disputes. While AJK had in the past been content to make it to the airport while the flight’s doors were closing, I grew up arriving at the airport a full two hours prior to the flight. However, once experiencing first class lounge service, AJK now has no problem starting our vacation a few hours earlier in the lounge. [Also, it’s a great place from which to call recon. In fact, I successfully reconned three cards (for Mrs. AJK) whilst sippin’ Livit 15.]

Ultimately, our flight was called and we made our way to the boarding area where we were promptly greeted by name and shown onto the plane.



We settled into our two seats in the business class section of the Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong with a stopover in Vancouver.



AJK and I both struggled to resist the temptation to lay our seats flat and sleep on the way to Vancouver in an effort to reserve ourselves for an uninterrupted night’s sleep on the flight to Hong Kong. We struggled valiantly but I gave up pathetically after about an hour of sitting in my comfortable seat with the bed icon glimmering at me enticingly. My self-control shattered, I ripped open the blanket, grabbed an extra pillow from the seat in front of me, threw on my pajamas and pressed that button so fast I must have broken some world record. Apparently, AJK looked over at me a few minutes later, saw me sleeping like an angel and succumbed to peer pressure.

We both slept about two and a half hours of that leg of the flight, awakening only to eat dinner and then to land in Vancouver Int’l Airport.



While some passengers disembarked past our sleepy selves, we waited while they cleaned the airplane and boarded a new set of Hong Kong bound passengers. [Note to everyone considering this flight: Don’t. Take the non-stop from JFK instead. Being woken up at what is for you 3-4 am is no treat, and the stop seems to be endless.] Finally, we took off again for the longer leg of flight. We watched a few shows and then settled in to sleep. The luxury of having a lie flat bed cannot be described. I spent a few moments thinking about the poor souls in coach and how they were undoubtedly wishing for every moment of their miserable flight to be over. Then, I leaned my bed back a little further, took a drink from the outstretched hands of a flight attendant, switched my channel and shrugged off that miserable thought.

After sleeping comfortably for another six hours, I woke up and spent the rest of the flight napping, watching TV, and enjoying my surroundings, and eating breakfast.



We landed in Hong Kong about an hour early and disembarked to a clean and modern airport.



We passed through customs effortlessly and walked out into the baggage terminal. Within minutes, our baggage arrived and we walked toward the train to Kowloon. The Airport Express is the most painless and effortless airport transportation system that I have ever encountered. We bought a group rate ticket (cheaper than two single rates) from the train concierge and boarded the train at the end of the hall. The train travels partially in tunnels and partially in open air on its way from Lantau Airport to Kowloon. The day was overcast and foggy at 6:00 am but we could still make out lush greenery, mountains and Hong Kong harbor.  [The train ride took about 40 minutes, IIRC.]

Upon arrival in Kowloon station we disembarked and rode a few sets of escalators up into a classy luxury shopping area. The stores were all closed but just from walking by the windows we could tell they were a couple hundred Hong Kong dollars out of our price range. The W hotel and the Ritz Carlton hotel are both situated directly above the train station, so within minutes we found ourselves in the lobby of the W.



Although it was only 7:00am at the time, they quickly put us in a room and informed us that they would move our bags to an upgraded room while we were out touring. [Though we were booked on a SPG Platinum account, and would have loved to receive a Marvelous Suite at check-in, being that check-in wasn’t officially slated for another 9 hours, we were quite content to get ANY room just then.]
« Last Edit: July 16, 2013, 11:32:33 PM by AJK »
2015: 116K bkd | 1.6M brnd | F: OZ,NH,AA,EK | J: UA,CA,TK,DL,TN,AF,VA | LIH,NRT,ROR,PEK,CNS,BOB,MEL,TLV & Pacific Hopper

Offline AJK

  • Dansdeals Lifetime 20K Presidential Platinum Elite
  • ********
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Posts: 24251
  • Total likes: 61
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 11
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Programs: United Concierge Key; Delta Global Services; American Chairman; US Airways 1K; Hilton Sapphire; Hyatt Tritium; Marriott Californium; Starwood Kryptonium; Hertz Plutonium; National Adamantium, Avis Executive Proactanium
Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2013, 11:25:27 PM »
The FIRST room:







Being that we arrived earlier than anticipated, we decided to go for quick swim at the pool on the 74th floor before starting our day. However, after arriving on the 74th floor and realizing that it was a little chillier up there than it was at ground level, we instead veered towards the infinity hot tub that spanned almost an entire edge of the roof. The hot tub and pool both afford nice, though not quite earth-shattering views of Hong Kong harbor, and we relaxed for a little before getting a start on our day.



Afterwards, we headed down to catch a 10 am hotel shuttle to the Star Ferry terminal to go to Hong Kong Island. While waiting, AJK decided to go down to the shopping mall below the hotel and pick up a SIM card for his phone. However, after realizing the internet was not working on his phone, this small detour took a little longer than anticipated [read: an hour] and we caught the next shuttle arriving at the ferry terminal at around 11:00. [What?! I need to be connected. It’s a problem.]

As we walked towards the docks we saw a large crowd of people taking pictures and pointing at something in the harbor. As we got closer we saw a large, yellow rubber duck bobbing around in the harbor a few meters offshore.



Apparently, this is a piece of modern art that is being hosted by various harbors around the world for few weeks at a time. Fortuitously for us, rubber duck’s stay in Hong Kong coincided with ours. We got to take a few pictures, and then realizing that it was basically an oversized bath toy we moved on.

We had decided that the best way to see Hong Kong in the 34 hours that we had was a hop-on, hop-off bus tour that allows you to travel the entire city and disembark at any points that catch your attention. We found a bus ticket agent (they are SO not hard to find--you basically cannot walk more than three feet without bumping into one of these red-vested agents), purchased a premium package which included the ferry tickets to Hong Kong Island as well as tickets up to Victoria Peak, in addition to a ride on a Sampon boat in Hong Kong harbor.

The bus tours run three lines, the Red line through the business and shopping districts of downtown Hong Kong, the Green line which runs farther out of the city towards places called Aberdeen and Stanley, and the blue line which runs through older Hong Kong across the harbor in Kowloon.

Right ahead of us was the Star Ferry terminal, so we boarded a boat for the ten-minute ride across the harbor.



Upon arrival, AJK was desperate to get the internet working on his phone, so a friendly Australian businessman informed us that a SIM card shop was only a few blocks up from where the bus tours board. We decided to head to the shop first before boarding the bus. Walking briskly through the streets of Hong Kong we definitely felt more like locals than tourists. The streets are packed with businessmen, laborers, young, old and visitors like ourselves. Following a map on AJK’s work phone, we made it to the SIM store. The saleslady took the phone that had caused AJK much frustration and annoyance, typed in a three-letter APN code and handed it back to us with a look that said, “dumb Americans don’t deserve technology,” and we were on our way back onto the bustling sidewalks racing to catch the tour bus.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2013, 11:33:20 PM by AJK »
2015: 116K bkd | 1.6M brnd | F: OZ,NH,AA,EK | J: UA,CA,TK,DL,TN,AF,VA | LIH,NRT,ROR,PEK,CNS,BOB,MEL,TLV & Pacific Hopper

Offline chff

  • Dansdeals Presidential Platinum Elite
  • ********
  • Join Date: Jul 2012
  • Posts: 2945
  • Total likes: 25
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 5
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Location: NYC
  • Programs: All of them...
Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2013, 11:38:22 PM »
W & Ritz are in the SAME building?

Offline AJK

  • Dansdeals Lifetime 20K Presidential Platinum Elite
  • ********
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Posts: 24251
  • Total likes: 61
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 11
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Programs: United Concierge Key; Delta Global Services; American Chairman; US Airways 1K; Hilton Sapphire; Hyatt Tritium; Marriott Californium; Starwood Kryptonium; Hertz Plutonium; National Adamantium, Avis Executive Proactanium
Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2013, 11:40:07 PM »
Nope. 3 minute walk apart.
2015: 116K bkd | 1.6M brnd | F: OZ,NH,AA,EK | J: UA,CA,TK,DL,TN,AF,VA | LIH,NRT,ROR,PEK,CNS,BOB,MEL,TLV & Pacific Hopper

Offline businessmachine

  • Dansdeals Platinum Elite + Lifetime Silver Elite
  • *****
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Posts: 614
  • Total likes: 0
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 0
    • View Profile
  • Location: New York City
Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2013, 12:45:24 AM »
Great start to the trip report! Please continue ;)

Offline daganster

  • Dansdeals Lifetime Platinum Elite
  • *******
  • Join Date: Dec 2009
  • Posts: 1329
  • Total likes: 0
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 1
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Location: CT
  • Programs: AA Lifetime Gold
Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2013, 03:58:14 AM »
Hey AJK, awesome beginning of a trip report. I planned a similar trip, but had to cancel it. In the meantime I'm now planning a very similar trip to yours, and may need some advice ;) Hope you're available for tips ;)

Offline AJK

  • Dansdeals Lifetime 20K Presidential Platinum Elite
  • ********
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Posts: 24251
  • Total likes: 61
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 11
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Programs: United Concierge Key; Delta Global Services; American Chairman; US Airways 1K; Hilton Sapphire; Hyatt Tritium; Marriott Californium; Starwood Kryptonium; Hertz Plutonium; National Adamantium, Avis Executive Proactanium
Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2013, 08:00:41 AM »
Absolutely!
2015: 116K bkd | 1.6M brnd | F: OZ,NH,AA,EK | J: UA,CA,TK,DL,TN,AF,VA | LIH,NRT,ROR,PEK,CNS,BOB,MEL,TLV & Pacific Hopper

Offline jaywhy

  • Dansdeals Presidential Platinum Elite
  • ********
  • Join Date: Sep 2012
  • Posts: 3554
  • Total likes: 3
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 7
    • View Profile
Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2013, 08:18:49 AM »
Awesome TR AJK+1 :)

Offline PlatinumGuy

  • Dansdeals Lifetime Presidential Platinum Elite
  • *********
  • Join Date: Apr 2011
  • Posts: 9348
  • Total likes: 14
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 8
    • View Profile
Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2013, 08:31:08 AM »
Was 1.5 hours really worth the $25-100 you saved by using a local SIM?
Purpose > Pleasure

Offline AJK

  • Dansdeals Lifetime 20K Presidential Platinum Elite
  • ********
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Posts: 24251
  • Total likes: 61
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 11
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Programs: United Concierge Key; Delta Global Services; American Chairman; US Airways 1K; Hilton Sapphire; Hyatt Tritium; Marriott Californium; Starwood Kryptonium; Hertz Plutonium; National Adamantium, Avis Executive Proactanium
Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2013, 08:41:41 AM »
It would have cost me considerably more than $100 had I chosen not to use a local SIM for the duration of my two week trip.
2015: 116K bkd | 1.6M brnd | F: OZ,NH,AA,EK | J: UA,CA,TK,DL,TN,AF,VA | LIH,NRT,ROR,PEK,CNS,BOB,MEL,TLV & Pacific Hopper

Offline Marco Polo

  • Dansdeals Lifetime 10K Presidential Platinum Elite
  • *******
  • Join Date: Jul 2012
  • Posts: 13608
  • Total likes: 2
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 104
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2013, 09:02:20 AM »
Great TR so far. Looking forward to the Thailand portion!


How were the LH flights? I am planning on using my BA for the way there and not sure if should just try and use UA for the way back and save myself the trouble of getting another 250k+ BA miles.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2013, 10:12:35 AM by Marco Polo »
Quaerite et Invenietis.

Offline Racer7400

  • Dansdeals Platinum Elite
  • ****
  • Join Date: Dec 2012
  • Posts: 386
  • Total likes: 0
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 0
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Location: Lakewood NJ
Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2013, 10:13:00 AM »
Awesome TR so far thanx.

Offline PlatinumGuy

  • Dansdeals Lifetime Presidential Platinum Elite
  • *********
  • Join Date: Apr 2011
  • Posts: 9348
  • Total likes: 14
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 8
    • View Profile
Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2013, 10:15:39 AM »
Great TR so far. Looking forward to the Thailand portion!


How were the LH flights? I am planning on using my BA for the way there and not sure if should just try and use UA for the way back and save myself the trouble of getting another 250k+ BA miles.
LH F is much nicer than BA F. Business is vice versa.
Purpose > Pleasure