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DansDeals Forum => Trip Reports => Topic started by: AJK on July 16, 2013, 10:30:17 PM

Title: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK 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):
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Moishebatchy on July 16, 2013, 10:43:11 PM
Nu? Eagerly awaiting... :)
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK 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.

(http://i.imgur.com/ZcGi1FN.jpg)

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

(http://i.imgur.com/aGOnRuI.jpg)

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.

(http://i.imgur.com/m8i3JE6.jpg)

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.

(http://i.imgur.com/HwA4LHX.jpg)

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

(http://i.imgur.com/czlRe1d.jpg)

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.

(http://i.imgur.com/QfresNu.jpg)

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.]
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK on July 16, 2013, 11:25:27 PM
The FIRST room:

(http://i.imgur.com/M8MP1fh.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/gVuM4GD.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/HGfmPm7.jpg)

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.

(http://i.imgur.com/pOKxYQ6.jpg)

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.

(http://i.imgur.com/IwM5yGu.jpg)

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.

(http://i.imgur.com/i7IbNrQ.jpg)

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.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: chff on July 16, 2013, 11:38:22 PM
W & Ritz are in the SAME building?
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK on July 16, 2013, 11:40:07 PM
Nope. 3 minute walk apart.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: businessmachine on July 17, 2013, 12:45:24 AM
Great start to the trip report! Please continue ;)
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: daganster 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 ;)
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK on July 17, 2013, 08:00:41 AM
Absolutely!
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: jaywhy on July 17, 2013, 08:18:49 AM
Awesome TR AJK+1 :)
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: PlatinumGuy on July 17, 2013, 08:31:08 AM
Was 1.5 hours really worth the $25-100 you saved by using a local SIM?
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK 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.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Marco Polo 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.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Racer7400 on July 17, 2013, 10:13:00 AM
Awesome TR so far thanx.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: PlatinumGuy 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.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Marco Polo on July 17, 2013, 10:18:31 AM
LH F is much nicer than BA F. Business is vice versa.
Is this based on actual BA metal, or would CX F be better/worse than LH F?
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: PlatinumGuy on July 17, 2013, 10:19:56 AM
Is this based on actual BA metal, or would CX F be better/worse than LH F?
If you're going to Asia CX F is probably better.

LH F is very nice.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Marco Polo on July 17, 2013, 10:55:40 AM
If you're going to Asia CX F is probably better.

LH F is very nice.
I think i am going to use by BA miles to fly CX to Thailand and use UA for LH  the way back. Aside from being a little easier to get UA, i want to see the LH F lounge.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK on July 17, 2013, 10:57:21 AM
Keep in mind there will be YQ using BA to BKK.

LH F is definitely nice (the new F), though, I do find CX more... warm. Perhaps its the LH aesthetics, perhaps its the efficiency of the LH staff, but I'd probably give the nod to CX.

(Though, in fairness, CX's F cabin is beginning to look dated. Also, the crew we had from MUC-BOS was indeed very, very good. Could be because we had the cabin to ourselves.)
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Marco Polo on July 17, 2013, 10:59:12 AM
Keep in mind there will be YQ using BA to BKK.
I saw that. Will probably sell some miles to cover that in addition to the flights within Thailand and make the trip "free."
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK on July 18, 2013, 12:45:46 AM
The weather, while overcast was extremely humid and warm. We were quite glad to climb on to the second floor of the double-decker tour bus and catch a breeze on our way.

(http://i.imgur.com/ckNPRNL.jpg)

Equipped with headsets that plug into the seats and offer tour commentary in eight different languages, we headed off in the direction of the large downtown. We passed countless soaring skyscrapers and remarkable buildings.

(http://i.imgur.com/AmnmUkn.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/cRzVuab.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/OVuulGf.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/Q93VmlO.jpg)

And our favorite:

(http://i.imgur.com/LoMt91u.jpg)

Downtown Hong Kong is an interesting area in the sense that it is comprised of gorgeous, modern buildings and fancy upscale shopping areas which are juxtaposed with decrepit tenement buildings with laundry lines and clothes flapping in the wind on every floor. These run-down and, frankly, ugly buildings can be right next door to a stunning glass masterpiece of a building and it gives the city an interesting look.

The city definitely has more people than space, and the streets are filled with double-decker buses, taxis, the city’s distinct narrow, two-story trams and more people, noise, smells and action than anywhere I have seen.

(http://i.imgur.com/Gepv9Tz.jpg)

After passing by a few interesting sights, we arrived at Victoria Peak and the tram terminal where we disembarked.

(http://i.imgur.com/YXzMJSf.jpg)

Victoria Peak has to be seen to be believed. Apparently, in the 1800’s wealthy British locals used to have summer homes and vacation places at the top of this mountain soaring 2,000 feet above Hong Kong harbor.  In those days, they were carried up this steep, almost vertical mountain in little boxes by locals. However, in the late 1800’s a bright Scotsman decided there had to be a better way and he came up with the idea of running a tram up the side of the mountain. This tram now carries visitors up to a viewing platform that gives one a panoramic view of the entire downtown and Hong Kong harbor.

(http://i.imgur.com/yBp1J0x.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/iVCzYSy.jpg)

We boarded the tram which runs for about five minute ride literally almost straight up the side of this mountain. One passes apartment buildings on the way up which are basically perpendicular to the tram car.

(http://i.imgur.com/GcJD7Wm.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/J5dbmWJ.jpg)

After arriving at the top, you can then go five more stories up to the rooftop viewing platform where you can have unparalleled views of the city.

(http://i.imgur.com/olNdcH4.jpg)

[Note: Don’t pay extra to go to the rooftop if you ride the hop-on, hop-off bus – it’s included in the price of the ticket. We found out JUST in time.]

Even in the fog, the view was breathtaking (not to mention the sheer height which you are at). 

Click here for a large panoramic from atop the peak. (http://bit.ly/12WKTGA)

Heading back down, we jumped on another passing tour bus and proceeded into the part of downtown called Central, filled with more shopping centers, banks, skyscrapers and street vendors. We decided to take a chance and jump off the bus at this point to see if we could find the famous mid-Level escalators that run up the one of the steep inclines of the city. The mid-level escalators start on one street of the city and basically provide locals and visitors a way to avoid the steep hike up to the streets above. We got on these escalators, and passed numerous restaurants and businesses on each side of the open air escalator. 

(http://i.imgur.com/np8ygxZ.jpg)

At the end of the mid-levels we realized that we could make it to the JCC for lunch but only if we ran there in the ten minutes before it closed. Unfortunately for us, Hong Kong Island is basically a city built on the side of a sheer cliff and so our ten minute run was pretty much a ten minute hike up steep streets that deposited us outside the JCC sweating, breathless and hot. We were questioned in detail by the security guard outside who did not seem sympathetic to our obvious recent athleticism and the fact that our restaurant was closing in minutes. After determining that we were in fact Jewish and not terrorists who looked extremely Jewish, we were let in and we raced to the third floor Sabra restaurant.

They let us in even though the place seemed pretty much closed and we quickly ordered Cantonese beef and some Sweet & Sour chicken. 

(http://i.imgur.com/eDKm8O8.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/ZWQFGs5.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/6a2fTT5.jpg)

The beef was delicious, while the chicken was good but quite sour. [Fries were awesome!] We marveled at the ability of being in a foreign, exotic place like Hong Kong while still being able to eat delicious, hot kosher food in a proper restaurant. We made our way down the steep streets at a much slower pace than our previous dash. Our timing proved perfect as another tour bus was passing the pick-up spot at that exact moment. We finished our journey on the Red line of the tour and arrived back at the ferry terminal where we were able to pick up a Green line of the Big Bus tours.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: PlatinumGuy on July 18, 2013, 07:17:45 AM
A wise man once said that there is more economic activity on a HK street corner than the country of Canada.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: damaxer91 on July 18, 2013, 09:41:34 AM


And our favorite:

(http://i.imgur.com/LoMt91u.jpg)

Anyone know what the design on those buildings is supposed to represent? (Hint is that the guy who built it was Aussie)
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Marco Polo on July 18, 2013, 09:53:42 AM
Anyone know what the design on those buildings is supposed to represent? (Hint is that the guy who built it was Aussie)
Does it count if i googled it?
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Dan on July 18, 2013, 08:22:39 PM
Great report, keep it up :)
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: daganster on July 21, 2013, 01:38:48 AM
Is it worth spending 20k SPG points for the W in HK? Are there better values e.g. HH or Hyatt in HK?
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: moish on July 21, 2013, 03:25:51 AM
Anyone know what the design on those buildings is supposed to represent? (Hint is that the guy who built it was Aussie)
nu, how long do you plan on keeping us hanging?
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Marco Polo on July 21, 2013, 08:11:19 AM
nu, how long do you plan on keeping us hanging?
Koala bears...
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: daganster on July 21, 2013, 08:54:35 AM
Is it worth spending 20k SPG points for the W in HK? Are there better values e.g. HH or Hyatt in HK?
Is it worth spending 20k SPG staying at the W, spending a free night certificate at the Conrad or one of the Hyatt hotels? In short can you please tell me why you chose the W if it clearly isn't such a bargain.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK on July 21, 2013, 11:55:19 AM
Is it worth spending 20k SPG staying at the W, spending a free night certificate at the Conrad or one of the Hyatt hotels? In short can you please tell me why you chose the W if it clearly isn't such a bargain.

Didn't use points. Sold a HGP Suite night and used it to stay at W.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK on July 21, 2013, 12:52:43 PM
The trip through Aberdeen and Stanley is exquisitely breathtaking. The roads are high up on a cliff with unmatched views of turquoise waters and lush, jungle covered cliff faces. We both sat there alternating between marveling at the sheer beauty of the area and jerking our heads up from dozing off in a jet-lagged stupor. Stanley is a suburb of Hong Kong that has a resort-town vibe with ridiculous views. Aberdeen seems to be another seaside area that has a slightly less affluent feel. The rest of the tour afforded views of a harbor where a certain group of people live on their boats anchored a little offshore, the famous Hong Kong shipping areas and other small towns.

(http://i.imgur.com/Of7L5hE.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/0DZwDky.jpg)

Pulling back up at the ferry dock we dragged our exhausted selves back on a packed Star Ferry boat bound for Kowloon.

Arriving at the Kowloon terminal we grabbed a cab and went back to our hotel where we found our luggage ensconced in a new, larger home on a different floor. However, apparently AJK had worked some pretty strong magic on the staff and within minutes a bellboy knocked on our door to bring us to our third room of the day, a suite aptly named “Fantastic suite” on the 28th floor. [What I do to review all these rooms for you guys, huh? =)]

(http://i.imgur.com/thh9Sv3.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/IsLanPi.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/wzauxaK.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/nyXdfdw.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/W8tg7NR.jpg)

We quickly settled in and then raced down to catch a shuttle to the Avenue of the Stars for the nightly Symphony of the Lights. Avenue of the Stars is a pretty promenade that affords stunning views of downtown Hong Kong across the harbor with its myriad of towering skyscrapers and bright billboards that give Hong Kong its reputation for a brilliant skyline that rivals (and in my opinion), completely outshines New York.

(http://i.imgur.com/FORDoas.jpg)

The nightly light show is a laser and spotlight show that is supposedly coordinated with music. The lasers and spotlights are shone off of the tops of the skyscrapers and some skyscrapers themselves light up while loud music is pumped out of speakers on Avenue of the Stars. 

Click here for a large panoramic of the skyline. (http://bit.ly/134PTZT)

While we found the skyline absolutely beautiful, the music and the lights were underwhelming, and after appreciating it for a little bit we walked towards the Shangri-La hotel and the Mul Hayam restaurant next door. Again, for people who usually spend their vacations eating PB & J with a side of microwavable meals, the opportunity to see a city like Hong Kong and then eat in a genuine restaurant with delicious food is absolutely incredible.

(http://i.imgur.com/iBzoom1.jpg)

The restaurant is on the top floor of a shopping area and next door to the Kehillat Zion shul, which has minyanim three times a day packed with visiting businessmen. The restaurant has a fancier feel with comfortable, large sofa-type chairs and intimate lighting. We ordered a delicious beef, ghoulash soup, a steak and Citrus chicken along with Vietnamese rice. The food is absolutely delicious, though the portions are smaller than New York standards, but the taste is on par with or even better than some of New York’s nicest restaurants.

(http://i.imgur.com/NYMlZuG.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/VhUjk3g.jpg)

We finished up dinner with a wonderful chocolate cake and then got out of there before our faces fell in our Vietnamese rice. We both managed to fall asleep in the eight minute cab ride back to our hotel. However, upon arriving in our room we decided to take full advantage of our time in Hong Kong and run upstairs for a dip in the Jacuzzi and a view of the skyline at night from the 74th floor. We quickly jumped in, appreciated the view and jumped right out and headed down for a much-needed night’s rest.

The next morning dawned too quickly and again completely fog covered. AJK left to daven at KZ and we made plans for me to meet him there for the breakfast that they serve after davening. I joined him at about 8:15 at the restaurant next door to the shul (where we had eaten the night before) and they had put out a spread of made to order omelets, shakshuka, French toast, Israeli salad and coffee, all which were extremely delicious.

We then decided to head over to the Ritz Carlton, which is a two minute walk from our hotel to see a friend of AJK’s who was actually in town at the same time and staying there. The Ritz Carlton is located on the 103rd floor of the third tallest building in the world (by number of floors) and holds the esteemed title of the world’s tallest hotel. Indeed, the hotel is basically in the clouds and, with the fog of the day, you could see nothing from the lobby windows but white.

AJK’s friend met us in the lobby and we went up to see his room which was opulent and luxurious even by Ritz standards. His room, which earns its price tag for the breathtaking views it is supposed to afford of Hong Kong harbor and Hong Kong itself, basically gave you the impression that you were floating amongst the clouds. One could see not a thing out of the windows and it actually made me kind of claustrophobic. The room has floor to ceiling windows, which I am sure is a crazy experience should it be sunny out but with the thick, white, puffy, clouds surrounding you on all sides it felt a little weird. [Luckily for him, the weather cleared up the next day and the hotel earned its price tag.]

(http://i.imgur.com/R6TBgix.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/0z3p950.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/MpVpZoD.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/xpVCyBg.jpg?1)

We headed back to our hotel to pack up with plans to meet up shortly after and head out together to the glass bottomed cable cars at Ngong Ping which is quite near the airport.
 
We left the W and took the elevator to the station under the hotel where there are actually airport ticket counters where you can not only check-in for your flight but also check your luggage in as well which is absolutely fabulous.  This is inestimably convenient as we were able to take care of checking in as well as get rid of our luggage. The ride to the airport took about 15 minutes and upon arriving, we left the terminal and caught a ten-minute cab ride to the cable cars.

We waited in line and were finally shown to a glass-bottomed cable car for the twenty-minute ride up the side of the mountain. The ride in a glass-bottomed car gives you incredible views of the South China sea, surrounding mountains, villages and the airport where you could see huge A380s on arrival and departure. Even on this foggy day, the view was pretty astounding. I am certain that with the best of weather the ride must be a little nerve-wracking for even the bravest of souls, but with 20-30 mph winds buffeting our little car, I have to admit that I may have felt that I was dishonoring my promise to AJK’s father not to do anything stupid.

(http://i.imgur.com/gI3aRo3.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/DUgwC9A.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/q3NY5uw.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/xA4MDZw.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/Q5BIja8.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/dFpxQ6d.jpg)
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Marco Polo on July 21, 2013, 01:54:23 PM
Now I am thinking of stopping in HKG on my way to Thailand. Can't wait for the Thailand part of thr TR.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: SavingsBigtime on July 21, 2013, 02:18:12 PM
Thanks , unbelievable tr can't wait for the thailand part
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: damaxer91 on July 21, 2013, 07:56:37 PM
The restaurant is on the top floor of a shopping area and next door to the Kehillat Zion shul, which has minyanim three times a day packed with visiting businessmen. The restaurant has a fancier feel with comfortable, large sofa-type chairs and intimate lighting. We ordered a delicious beef, ghoulash soup, a steak and Citrus chicken along with Vietnamese rice. The food is absolutely delicious, though the portions are smaller than New York standards, but the taste is on par with or even better than some of New York’s nicest restaurants.


This is what I miss about Hong Kong :(

Particularly the Vietnamese Rice

Fantastic TR BTW
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: moish on July 22, 2013, 04:46:27 AM
This is what I miss about Hong Kong :(

Particularly the Vietnamese Rice

really? i dont remember it being that wonderful. maybe because i was zonked...
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: damaxer91 on July 22, 2013, 07:46:27 AM
really? i dont remember it being that wonderful. maybe because i was zonked...

My favorite!

I've had some of the most expensive meals of my life that basically consisted of that one dish (taxi's back and forth from the airport)
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK on July 22, 2013, 11:40:45 AM
Yes, the Vietnamese rice is ahhhmazing.

I sometimes find myself waking up in the middle of the night in cold sweat just thinking about it.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Dan on July 22, 2013, 11:56:20 AM
How did I not hear about this rice 3 years ago?
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: moish on July 22, 2013, 02:28:55 PM
where does the ferrari dealership come into the tr?
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: rots5 on July 29, 2013, 03:55:47 PM
great stuff so far!
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK on July 30, 2013, 11:26:29 PM
When we arrived at the top of the mountain after a ten minute, steeply perilous ride, we disembarked into a quaint little village. Well, it may have seemed quainter had there not been a Subway, a McDonalds, and a Starbucks.  But, that aside, there were little stores selling fancy decorated chopsticks, opera masks, and tea. A ten minute walk away, passing statues and gorgeous arches, was the big Buddha. What can I say, it was big, but other than that we were not too impressed.

(http://i.imgur.com/jQDf0eR.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/MJBy9Wo.jpg)

We took a few pictures and walked back through the village for the ride down the mountain. The ride down was even windier than the ride up and I must say that I was quite relieved to find ourselves back at the bottom. We hopped in a cab back to the airport and went to check in for our flight on Dragon Air to Chaing Mai.

[The plane departed from a remote stand, and on our way, we saw a couple of the 'big heavies':

(http://i.imgur.com/xI1wjD8.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/hVCJYt5.jpg)

Ahh, one day, one day...]

Anyway, we boarded onto the KA flight.

(http://i.imgur.com/RSOOfV0.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/VGZ2qOw.jpg)

The flight was a short hour and a half and we were served a Kosher meal within ten minutes of take-off.

(http://i.imgur.com/pea46t1.jpg)

We landed in a more developed airport than expected. It seemed small but completely functional and we went through customs and found our luggage with no problems. After exchanging some money, we went to a little taxi kiosk to arrange for a taxi to take us to the La Meridian Chaing Mai. The girl behind the counter handed us a slip of paper with our taxi’s number on it and we went outside to wait for it. Many older, run-down taxis slipped by us, but none with our number on it. Finally, a sleek, new, white SUV pulled up, and a gentleman hopped out and started loading our luggage. We had won the taxi lottery.

The ride to the hotel was short, and along the way we noticed that everyone without exception rides mopeds in Thailand. We passed 100 –year-old grannies, five year old kids and everyone in between racing around on little mopeds, sans helmet of course. The area consists of busy, narrow, crowded streets with people sitting on the curbs cooking their dinners outdoors, mopeds racing around, lots of hotels, tourist companies, shops and massage parlors every two feet.  Pulling up to the La Meridian was a relief, because it was surrounded by plenty of other hotels, motels and hostels that did not look quite like somewhere you would want to stay. AJK took advantage of our luck in landing this car and inquired with the driver if we could book him for the entire day to take us touring. The fact that the driver spoke zero English aside, AJK was successful in conveying that we wanted him to drive us around the next day. We agreed to meet at 8:30 the next morning at the hotel and we hoped that he had agreed as well, but there was no way to tell. [Originally, he asked for 1000 baht, but when I didn’t answer quickly enough, though just because I didn’t really understand him, he lowered it to 800 baht!]

The Le Meridian is a large, glistening and clean building with a beautiful elephant fountain outside.

(http://i.imgur.com/gDgNqlF.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/IkJ6OGV.jpg)

We walked into the blessedly air-conditioned lobby and checked in. They had upgraded us to an Executive Corner Suite and we quickly went upstairs to check it out. The room was very large with a separate living room, rain shower, Jacuzzi tub and stunning views of Dio Suthep Mountain.

(http://i.imgur.com/BQxTMzG.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/2Mb9lrO.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/DWHEJ7m.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/w6ioYVt.jpg)

After checking out the room we went downstairs to be picked up by a spa van. The number one reason, possibly the only reason AJK wanted to go to Thailand is due to the fact that you cannot walk more than a foot in Thailand without tripping over somebody offering you a massage for the US dollar equivalent of about five bucks an hour. Even before landing in Chaing Mai, AJK had booked us each a two hour massage at the Cheeva Spa. The spa sends a van to pick you up at your hotel included in the price of your dirt cheap massage. After waiting a little, while we had the concierge call the spa to ensure that they were on their way.  A few minutes later we were picked up by a guy originally from Florida who had moved to Chaing Mai to study Thai massage and now ran the Cheeva spa with his Thai partner.

We were driven back to the hotel where we changed and headed out to try and find the Chabad of Chaing Mai to have some dinner. Thailand is completely unique in the sense that you can be traveling in what feels like the most remote corners of the world and then get back from crocodile wrestling or elephant riding and have a schnitzel for dinner. We set out walking down one of the busy roads of Chaing Mai where a night market was set up.

It seems that each city has a night market that pops up as soon as the sun goes down where locals sell hand crafted arts, jewelry, purses, wallets, belts, t-shirts and more. The main night market in Chaing Mai is inside the city gates on Sunday night, but each night vendors pop open their stalls on crowded sidewalks and try and convince you to part with a few dollars for some souvenirs. If you ask them if they have a different color, version or type of good they will respond with a saying you will get sick of hearing after even a few hours in Thailand, “same, same.”

We walked about fifteen minutes down this street and suddenly saw what every hungry, weary traveler wants to see, Hebrew letters proclaiming Beth Chabad! We entered a square shaped room with tables set up and were quickly greeted by a young thai boy who handed us menus in both Hebrew and English. While I was not so hungry, having just woken up from my massage nap, I chose not to order anything while AJK ordered a plate of Chicken Szeshuan. The chicken was absolutely delicious. (Just because I chose not to order anything, doesn’t mean I wasn’t going to eat what AJK ordered.)

(http://i.imgur.com/6TbEUgl.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/W05GsQU.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/UFRNVI6.jpg)

We met a young shaliach from Israel who was staying at the Chabad for a few months helping the Chabad rabbi. Apparently, he has been traveling the world in this way, going from Chabad to Chabad and volunteering for a few months. He gave us a few good tips about things not to miss seeing. Then we started our walk back to the hotel.

We passed a very sad sight of a mother sitting on the sidewalk with her young four or five year old child stretched out on a towel sleeping on the ground. The kid was dressed in just shorts and a t-shirt and was fast asleep on the concrete. Giving the mother a few baht didn’t seem like enough, but her overjoyed face showed how much she appreciated it. When we arrived back at the hotel, I promptly continued my sleep from the massage parlor and AJK began working on his obsession, arranging our flights back in a way that would ensure we were guaranteed a ride in Lufthansa’s NEW first class.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK on July 30, 2013, 11:46:06 PM
The next morning I proceeded to make us lunch to take with us on the day’s adventures. After not finding any plastic cutlery with which to spread the PB & J we had brought with us, I substituted with using a pair of chopsticks and made two delicious PB & J sandwiches. Somehow, our one-sided conversation with the driver from the night before had worked and he showed up promptly at 8:30. He waited about half an hour while AJK spoke on the phone with some United representatives and somehow convinced them to switch our flights onto the plane of his dreams.

We then jumped in the car and after a brief stop at an ATM, a tourist office, and a phone store for a Thai sim card, we were on our way. We decided to start our day at the Tiger Kingdom, a touristy, yet amazing experience.

(http://i.imgur.com/HZaTvTR.jpg)

The Tiger Kingdom offers people the opportunity to pose and take photographs with tigers ranging from newborn baby cubs, to fully grown, lethal tigers.

(http://i.imgur.com/0Uh62us.jpg)

After arriving, AJK used every trick in his book to convince me to agree to get into a cage with a tiger whose head was bigger than my entire body. We started off with the small cubs and played with them while a photographer took some adorable shots. We both agreed that if we could bring back one souvenir from Thailand it would be a little cub. (The cub decision was later supplanted with the decision to bring back AJK’s favorite masseuse.)

(http://i.imgur.com/YVOJez4.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/Fh9JQ11.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/YXP1sJe.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/riSKxKd.jpg)

We then moved onto the medium sized cubs. I was quite happy to stop there, as these 16 month old tigers were about my size but with much sharper teeth. The photographers and keepers have been with these tigers since they were born and obviously were amused by the fact that these stupid tourists seemed frightened of these massive, man-eating creatures.
 
Up next were the biggest tigers. These ones seemed a little more active than the rest of the tigers who were mostly lying down and napping. It’s unfortunate that the one group of tigers who could eat me as a before dinner snack were the ones moving around, fighting and playing with each other and basically making me extremely nervous. We got some incredible pictures with these tigers and then I was quite relieved to leave the cage. While we waited for our pictures to be developed we walked around the park checking out some gorgeous creatures that I was able to appreciate much more from the other side of the fence. 

(http://i.imgur.com/buw0kpo.jpg)

[I didn't know it at the time, but apparently this one was stalking me, and a few seconds later, one of the trainers bulldozes/tackles me out of the way saying "no, look at him directly in the eye. he "play with you, and you no want that."]

After checking out some of our pictures on the computers that they offer for that purpose at Tiger kingdom, we then hopped back in the car and decided to go check out the Mae Sa Elephant show, about ten minutes away. The area where all the animal shows and tourist attractions are located is called Mae-Rim and it is about twenty minutes from the main part of Chaing Mai. It is extremely convenient as you can just hop from attraction to attraction.

In our case we hopped around with Sunekam, our driver in our air-conditioned car. Having the driver was probably the best decision of the day as were able to cram tons of activities in without wasting time waiting for taxis from place to place. Not to mention the air-conditioning as it was about 90 degrees out with unbelievable levels of humidity.

As we headed towards the Mae Sa Elephant, show we passed a sign for the crocodile farm. Seeing that we had 30 minutes to spare before the elephant show started, we decided to veer off to see some crocodiles for a bit. Pulling into the gravel parking area in front of the ticket hut we noticed that we were the only car there. As we walked up and paid our 200 baht ($6) entry fee, a guy strolled up holding a baby crocodile that he proceeded to hand over to AJK.

After holding and taking pictures with the tiny guy, who mind you still had razor sharp teeth and a rubber band around his jaw to protect the Americans, we proceeded in to go catch the show. The thing about this area of Thailand, and most of Thailand, is that tourism is their main source of income. So when two tourists show up and pay a few dollars to come see a show, the show must go on! Never mind that we were the only two people there. Never mind that a teenage Thai boy was going to put his life in danger for a measly crowd of two.

We settled into our wooden bench as the crocodile “trainer,” walked out. I use that term loosely due to the fact that these are basically mean, lean, eating machines and a little man with a stick looks more like a snack to these guys than a trainer.  The stage was basically a large pool with about ten large crocodiles in it, and an area next to the pool with about five more.

(http://i.imgur.com/R8BBJGE.jpg)

 The trainer proceeded to basically annoy the crocodiles by pulling them out of the water by their tails, picking one of them up, dragging them around the stage and then he culminated by sticking various body parts of his into the gaping jaws of the largest crocodile.

(http://i.imgur.com/o53Yj87.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/58uKunx.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/SIuxKOR.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/weqHVtm.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/xxkH6GT.jpg)

He had a little stick that he would tap the crocodile on the mouth with and then when the jaws opened he would tap around the inside of his mouth, desperately trying to look professional and like all this tapping would maybe allow him to see another day. All the tapping is supposedly to make the crocodile less sensitive or something like that…still unclear on that part. After about ten minutes of doing absurdly foolish things with crocodiles, the official part of the show ended.

At this point, he inquired whether either of us would like to come around to the area with all the crocodiles lying around and sit on the back of a crocodile. We both laughed uneasily and began to walk away. He called us back and told us that he was very serious. For the USD equivalent of 2 bucks we could sit on the back of a 12 foot long man-eating crocodile. Somehow, really not sure how, I let AJK agree to this ridiculous suggestion. Sidenote: what I learned in Thailand is, just because it is offered to you doesn’t mean you should agree. And, that they don’t seem all that concerned with your life. Sidebar over.

Here is where anyone who gave birth to either AJK or I should stop reading. While I watched from the other side of the fence, AJK proceeded to walk around into the crocodile enclosure. He gingerly walked past about ten lounging beasts and very carefully approached the largest one that the trainer was gesturing towards. The trainer proceeded to tell AJK to carefully put a leg on either side of the crocodile and then lower himself to a sitting position. I’m not sure why I watched this part; I probably should have looked away just in case. With AJK sitting on the back of a ferocious, violent animal you would think that the trainer would stand at the ready with his ridiculous stick in case the crocodile chose to make a sudden move, such as eating my husband for dinner.

However, that was not the case at all as he lay down his stick and offered to take pictures for AJK. Thankfully, as soon as AJK got a few good pictures he got up off the crocodile (faster than he had gotten on, I might add) and proceeded to get out onto the other side of the enclosure as quickly as he could. I decided at that point it was time to leave, before they offered to allow us to feel what it felt like to have your hand bitten by a crocodile. Who knows, seeing what AJK had just done we might have agreed.

(http://i.imgur.com/UvWXp1o.jpg)
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: rots5 on July 31, 2013, 01:18:23 AM
mrs ajk, i gotta say, your write a great report.

being that i just got back from the same trip, i know exactly everything ur writing about and its written so well! kol hakavode! loving it.

and i know that mother with her kid on sleeping at the corner. so sad looking. not sure where she is all day, but she pops up there at 8 ish every night. a very scary and sad sight to see.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: chuchem on July 31, 2013, 02:08:29 AM
Nice tr
Going to the Tiger kingdom phuket tomorrow. Will report back

Can someone explain me why visiting and taking Pictures of a big buddah is not avoide zore?
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: rots5 on July 31, 2013, 02:09:26 AM
Nice tr
Going to the Tiger kingdom phuket tomorrow. Will report back

Can someone explain me why visiting and taking Pictures of a big buddah is not avoide zore?
i had the same q
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: chuchem on July 31, 2013, 02:19:57 AM
I was in hkg and especially didnt go for this reason. Its not a mosque, its a real avoide zore. They worship these Idols, so whats the heter?!
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Hudi on July 31, 2013, 12:27:28 PM
Amazing TR! Keep it up!
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: damaxer91 on July 31, 2013, 12:34:40 PM
\

Can someone explain me why visiting and taking Pictures of a big buddah is not avoide zore?

#DDFMashgiach
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: rots5 on July 31, 2013, 08:32:01 PM
#DDFMashgiach
#curiosity
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Achas Veachas on August 02, 2013, 03:07:29 PM
#curiosity
Wow! Just read this beginning to end in one sitting. Amazing TR Mrs. AJK.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Dan on August 02, 2013, 03:20:50 PM
Incredible TR.
Mrs. AJK, have you ever considered a career in writing?  I'm ROFLing right now.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK on August 18, 2013, 07:40:34 PM
We hopped back in the car and drove quickly over to the Mae Sa Elephant Camp in time to watch the elephant show.

(http://i.imgur.com/5t5M9Do.jpg)

It was a five minute drive away and we were able to pay our four dollar entrance fee and run in to try and get seats for the show. As we ran down the path that led to the show area, we crossed over a bridge which spanned a small river. Down in the river were five baby elephants being washed by their trainers.

(http://i.imgur.com/Pddzgf5.jpg)

As I stood there transfixed, the skies opened and it began a genuine tropical downpour. Within seconds, we saw our driver sprinting towards us through the rain with two huge umbrellas in his outstretched hands.
 
With our umbrellas in hand, we ran around to the end of the bridge to watch as the elephants walked out of the water and up the path. One of the trainers sitting atop a particularly cute baby elephant motioned for me to come closer. Now I use the term ‘baby’ loosely. These guys are a good six-hundred pounds and they also have about five feet on me. Nonetheless, they are absolutely adorable as they still have the mannerisms of playful kids and they somehow have cute, little faces. As I came closer, one of the elephants reached out his trunk and planted a wet, dirty elephant kiss on my cheek. He then reached up for his trainer’s hat and placed it solidly on my head. What can I say, I was in love.

(http://i.imgur.com/SZ1YLJa.jpg)

We hung around there taking pictures with these adorable creatures and then ran up the hill to grab seats for the show. The show consisted of about twelve elephants of all different sizes doing decidedly un-elephant type things like: playing soccer, using hula hoops on their trunks, bowing, playing darts and most surprising of all-painting extremely detailed and gorgeous pictures.

(http://i.imgur.com/sVCwtPT.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/NSzeIRB.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/b4YmCTj.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/fNb5bbT.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/vP6HgyG.jpg)

Although these pictures were put on sale at the end of the show, and I thought that a picture painted by an elephant would go extremely well in our living room, they were a few hundred baht outside of our price range.

The show was a lot of fun and at the end you can go take pictures up close and personal with the elephants (you can also get more elephant kisses should you wish – I did!)

(http://i.imgur.com/UBV6YjK.jpg)

[Elephant reaching our for a tip after we took a picture with it!]

After the show, we passed an elderly lady hacking at coconuts with a machete. The more surprising thing was that she held the coconuts cavalierly in her hand while she proceeded to thwack them with a huge sharp knife. Like I mentioned, these people just don’t seem to value life (ours or theirs) in the same way that we were accustomed to back at home. We bought a large coconut with straws just stuck in it which was a refreshing snack.

(http://i.imgur.com/LQI7vQi.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/wnLBo14.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/x8Li5vI.jpg)

[Elephant Masterpiece]

We then got back in our car and decided that our next stop would be ATV-ing.

[On the way, though, one always had to be careful, as elephants have the right of way...]

(http://i.imgur.com/F5G5RNj.jpg)

Now, I had never been ATV-ing before, but AJK is a pro [I sure am!] and assured me that I would be OK. We pulled into one of the many areas on the side of the road offering ATV’s and proceeded to sign our lives away. We paid about $100 for a one hour trek up into the jungle. While I initially felt that I would be more comfortable riding on the back of AJK’s ATV, he managed to convince me that it was super easy, and I would enjoy driving my own. I found out later that he regretted that decision the minute I hopped on one and took off. Apparently, I drive very fast and it kind of put a damper on AJK’s ride to watch his wife flying off paths and careening over cliffs. Ooops. We were led by a young Thai guy who rode the ATV in front, I followed and AJK brought up the rear. I ended up loving it even though at times it was a bit scary.

The guy leading would just head straight up a mountainous cliff and then careen down a sheer wall of a drop, and I dutifully followed at a breakneck pace. At the end, we went to a large clearing with little jumps and hills where we just raced around seeing who could get their ATV higher in the air by speeding over mounds and little hills (at least AJK could). At the end, we reluctantly handed in our keys and helmets and found our loyal driver just where we had left him in the ATV parking lot.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Devorah on August 18, 2013, 09:02:50 PM
Awesome TR! 
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Hudi on August 18, 2013, 11:09:41 PM
Love the coconuts!!
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK on August 19, 2013, 12:09:36 AM
Incredible TR.
Mrs. AJK, have you ever considered a career in writing?  I'm ROFLing right now.

Awesome TR! 

Love the coconuts!!

From Mrs. AJK -- thanks all!
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK on August 19, 2013, 12:14:20 AM
We decided we had energy for one more activity and headed over to a snake farm. Now, I am up for anything in the world except things that have to do with snakes or sharks. On our last trip to the Maldives, AJK put that one to the test with scuba diving with sharks and now it was all about the snakes. I am still surprised that I even agreed to walk through the gates of this so-called snake farm (which I found to be exorbitantly expensive at $2 entry fee, and I tried to convince AJK that we should probably spend our money elsewhere, but to no avail).

Anyway, we walked down a little dirt path to a clearing surrounded by benches. In the middle of the clearing were two young Thai boys playing with some of the most deadly snakes on the planet.

Thai people seem to have a fascination with American pop music, and just like at the crocodile show there was a “DJ” sitting next to a radio blaring Britney Spears or whoever. I was supremely uncomfortable with this experience and so I have tried to block it out of my head. I do have vague memories of a guy kissing a cobra on the lips, swinging it around his head and showing us that it still had its venom by having it bite a plastic cup and then showing us the two inches of liquid poison laying within.

(http://i.imgur.com/fHXWTno.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/cMyKGGe.jpg)

These guys obviously did not get how scared I was, as they were pretending to throw snakes at me while I ran around the benches screaming my head off. One of the guys got bit three times during the show by a non-poisonous species, and the other guy narrowly avoided being pierced by a king cobra, who incidentally has venom that can kill a full grown elephant in less than an hour.

(http://i.imgur.com/uv00gUZ.jpg)

After this show, one of the guys walked around with us showing us the other animals that they have. Lots and lots of snakes along with fun creatures such as scorpions the size of your palm, snapping turtles, and strangely enough hedgehogs and a guinea pig.

(http://i.imgur.com/mnnWRQP.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/ESq3C83.jpg)

At one point I leaned over the edge of a tall wall to see what was on the other side. Should not have done that. 

It was a snake pit with about fifty or so King Cobras inside, and one of them was on the wall about five inches below my face.  The guy offered AJK the opportunity of holding a Burmese python that was about ten feet long. Like I said, the lesson learned is just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Unfortunately, at this point in our trip, we hadn’t yet learned that lesson so AJK agreed. The guy wrapped a ten-foot snake that was about as thick as a large salami all around my husband. The lesson I did learn here is that, I either need to learn to tell AJK no, or ask him to get better life insurance.

I took a few quick pictures and mercifully the snake was removed. Somehow, I survived being there, and after being there for fifteen minutes (which by the way was fifteen minutes too many), I was so ready to leave. I wouldn’t suggest this place unless you really! like reptiles.

Our white car had never looked so good to me. We both relaxed in the car and realized that we were completely exhausted—shocking--considering how we had been racing around Mae-Rim nonstop for the past eight hours, running in and out of activities. We decided to head back to the hotel for a refreshing dip in the pool. We managed to catch sunset by the pool, and we watched the sun slowly set over the mountains.

(http://i.imgur.com/ZkK3p4K.jpg)

Afterwards, it was time for our nightly massage. We had decided to try a new massage parlor, because, well, why not? You could go to a different massage parlor every night for a decade there without repeating a place. AJK had read good reviews of a place called the ‘Green Bamboo.’ So, we got ready and headed out. Here is where we found AJK’s second favorite part of Thailand. The Tuk-Tuk.
Tuk-Tuks are Thailand’s answer to taxis. Small, quick, easily accessible and cheap. However, that is where the similarities end. Tuk-Tuks are way better than taxis. They are basically a little seating area that is pulled behind a driver sitting on a motorcycle or little motorized bike. They have a ceiling, but no doors so you get lots of fresh air and excitement, as you may slide out at any time. For about two dollars, one of the tuk-tuk drivers sitting outside the hotel agreed to take us to the spa. It was about ten minutes from the hotel, but the ride was so exhilarating we wished it was further away.

Upon arriving we found a small, peaceful, hut with a stone entryway and beautiful little fountains. Inside, there was a dim, wooden-floored room where we were shown to chairs and offered a foot scrub. This place was less expensive than Cheeva and AJK and I both ended up liking it better.

(http://i.imgur.com/xRg2zue.jpg)

I chose an hour long foot-massage followed by an hour long facial, and AJK opted for an hour long Thai massage and the facial with me. I, obviously, fell asleep during the massage because it was great. AJK got one of the best massages of his life and promptly made follow-up appointments on the spot for the rest of our time in Chaing-Mai. The facial was amazing, as they make all their own ingredients fresh right before the facial.

I somehow ended up having my face covered in yogurt, seaweed, and sesame paste (think tahini), but aside from smelling delicious it also felt great and left my face smooth and soft. It is not a fancy spa with robes and all that jazz, but it is clean, not crowded, sanitary and all that really matters is that they have great masseurs.

Afterwards, we headed out into the little alley outside the Green Bamboo and we walked up to the main street where we flagged down a Tuk-Tuk like a native. We then went to Chabad for dinner which was delicious. We walked slowly back to the hotel enjoying looking at the little stalls and all that was being sold. We then headed to bed after a crazy, fun-filled, adventure of a day.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: rots5 on August 19, 2013, 01:53:26 AM
AMAZING!!!!!

u def have taught me well....
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Hudi on August 20, 2013, 12:04:37 PM
This has been the most helpful CNX trip report I've read anywhere. Waiting anxiously for the USM part of the trip :)
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Marco Polo on August 20, 2013, 12:15:55 PM
This has been the most helpful CNX trip report I've read anywhere. Waiting anxiously for the USM part of the trip :)
Agreed.

This is pretty much the same trip i am planning and will have to do less of it, now that i have this TR.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK on August 20, 2013, 12:26:41 PM
We're glad you guys like it  :D
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Marco Polo on August 20, 2013, 12:28:54 PM
We're glad you guys like it  :D
Almost takes the effort/fun out of planning activities for during the trip :)

Where did you stay in USM? Don't recall seeing it in the posts (unless it will be a surprise and i need to wait for the next installment?).
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK on August 20, 2013, 12:32:46 PM
:P

Conrad, a truly beautiful hotel.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Marco Polo on August 20, 2013, 12:34:30 PM
:P

Conrad, a truly beautiful hotel.
That is where i plan on staying.
Waiting for the MR-BA promo to come around so i can book flights and actually set dates for my trip.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK on August 20, 2013, 12:38:42 PM
That is where i plan on staying.
Waiting for the MR-BA promo to come around so i can book flights and actually set dates for my trip.

I assume to fly CX?

If you're paying YQ anyway, why not look at SQ?
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Marco Polo on August 20, 2013, 12:44:16 PM
I assume to fly CX?

If you're paying YQ anyway, why not look at SQ?
Yes to CX.

I have 100k BA and was planning on transferring 100k MR with the bonus, for flights there. I have plenty of UR and 100k AA to top off, or get flights from HKG to CNX. Was then planning on using UA for LH back.

Did not look into SQ. What are the redemption/points needed like for a flight to Thailand?
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: MEIR613 on August 20, 2013, 01:57:28 PM
Yes to CX.

I have 100k BA and was planning on transferring 100k MR with the bonus, for flights there. I have plenty of UR and 100k AA to top off, or get flights from HKG to CNX. Was then planning on using UA for LH back.

Did not look into SQ. What are the redemption/points needed like for a flight to Thailand?
Maybe top your AA with SPG.

Use BA for intra Asia or save it.

Not sure if 100K MR will help for SQ for 2 to Asia.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Marco Polo on August 20, 2013, 02:04:48 PM
Maybe top your AA with SPG.

Use BA for intra Asia or save it.

Not sure if 100K MR will help for SQ for 2 to Asia.
Don't have much SPG and can't get the signup for another year...

I will work on getting my wife some AA cards.

Any other possible options i can do with 500K+ UR? Would like to fly in F.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: MEIR613 on August 20, 2013, 02:06:41 PM
Don't have much SPG and can't get the signup for another year...

I will work on getting my wife some AA cards.

Any other possible options i can do with 500K+ UR? Would like to fly in F.
You def can.

Please give all your point balances and expected ones.

Then we can break it down for you.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK on August 20, 2013, 02:08:15 PM
Don't have much SPG and can't get the signup for another year...

I will work on getting my wife some AA cards.

Any other possible options i can do with 500K+ UR? Would like to fly in F.

Plenty. If you can, try to snag the OZ Suites.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Dan on August 20, 2013, 02:08:58 PM
Any other possible options i can do with 500K+ UR? Would like to fly in F.
KE F is the best F availability in the industry.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: MEIR613 on August 20, 2013, 02:11:25 PM
KE F is the best F availability in the industry.
Didn't see that was 500K UR.

Thought 500k Miles.

My bad.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Marco Polo on August 20, 2013, 02:16:11 PM
You def can.

Please give all your point balances and expected ones.

Then we can break it down for you.
500k+ UR (Have access to plenty of GC's in office stores, so i can bump this up very quickly.
100K BA
100K MR
77K AA (+ I have a 35K business app pending)
72K HA (Plan on converting this to HH for stay at the Conrad Koh Samui)
55K LH
22K SPG (Plan on using 16K for (4) nights in CNX)
65K UA (ETA: Planning on going for the 10K bonus after $25K of spend. Figure it will help with a better retention bonus when the time comes. Does this make sense, or should i just put the spend on a UR earning card?)

Wife - Will do an AOR 9/1/13 and go for SPG/BRG from Amex, VA/Alaska from BofA, AA/AA WMC from Citi and SP/UA from Chase.
Not set on opening these exact cards for her, but just the general idea.

Any and all insight is greatly appreciated.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: yoruel on August 20, 2013, 03:51:30 PM
Plenty. If you can, try to snag the OZ Suites.
KE F is the best F availability in the industry.
How many miles pp rt for these flights?
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK on August 20, 2013, 04:11:36 PM
How many miles pp rt for these flights?

140,000 UR/UA for OZ Suites to BKK round trip.

190,000 UR/KE off peak for KE Kosmo Suite to BKK/SIN etc round trip.

Both can be one-ways.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: damaxer91 on August 20, 2013, 04:12:50 PM
KE F is the best F availability in the industry.

Correct, but be careful about "Blackout Dates".
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Marco Polo on August 20, 2013, 04:15:46 PM
140,000 UR/UA for OZ Suites to BKK round trip.

190,000 UR/KE off peak for KE Kosmo Suite to BKK/SIN etc round trip.

Both can be one-ways.
What are the charges, if any for < 6 month old?
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK on August 20, 2013, 04:19:06 PM
Start here:

http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/20391
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Marco Polo on August 20, 2013, 04:25:39 PM
Start here:

http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/20391
Thanks. Will do some research on this.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK on August 20, 2013, 04:35:12 PM
Thanks. Will do some research on this.

Let us know what you find...
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Marco Polo on August 20, 2013, 04:41:17 PM
Let us know what you find...
OZ and KE
" Will I pay for my infant to travel internationally?
Yes, a child under 2 years old (24 months) is charged 10% of an adult fare plus taxes, even if the infant will be on the lap of another passenger for the flight. "

-From SeatGuru
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK on August 20, 2013, 04:43:39 PM
Ouch. Got any grandparents to drop the kid off with?
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Marco Polo on August 20, 2013, 04:45:34 PM
Ouch. Got any grandparents to drop the kid off with?
Possibly can, but not sure about leaving the kid for >7 days.

Maybe i'll rack up some "extra miles" to pay for this.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Dan on August 20, 2013, 04:50:09 PM
1. It goes by the miles you have, not the flight operator.
2. I don't think I'd trust SG on this topic.

Here is the proper thread: http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=12574.0
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: rots5 on August 20, 2013, 05:34:36 PM
Ouch. Got any grandparents to drop the kid off with?
+1
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK on October 01, 2013, 03:51:56 PM
The next morning we woke up early to be ready for an 8:45 am pick up for Flight of the Gibbon-one of the longest zip lining courses in Asia. AJK had gotten a great rate from an Israeli travel agency and we had heard amazing things about this place. There are quite a few places that offer zip line courses, but this was supposed to be the best one.

There were four other travelers in the van when it came to pick us up. After a few seconds of listening to them, we heard lots of Hebrew and gathered that they were backpacking friends traveling after their army service (about as common in Thailand as massage parlors).

The drive up to the course was about 75 minutes through some really unbelievable scenery. We arrived on the peak of a tall mountain to a small little shop where we were able to put our stuff in lockers, and again sign our lives away (AJK and I were getting pretty used to doing that by this point), and receive our ziplining equipment. As we were being handed equipment by a few Thai guys, I heard Hebrew being spoken, which wouldn’t be odd if it hadn’t been coming out of the mouth of the Thai tour guide.

Apparently, they deal with so many Israeli tourists that these guys have picked up pretty passable Hebrew. When I say ‘pretty passable’ I mean better than my Hebrew, which after twelve years of Ivrit class and a year spent in Israel, is pathetic. Our guides were awesome with pretty fluent English and as mentioned, pretty darn fluent Hebrew as well. The course took about two hours but can be longer if you have more people in your group or if there are slower groups in front of you. The course is all zip lines, as opposed to other courses where there are also obstacle courses in the trees etc.

You basically clip your harness on and your feet barely touch the ground for the rest of the time. You also really don’t need to do anything as the guides unclip you, push you off the edge of the platform and clip you in on the other side. The longest zip line was 800 meters of you flying through the air over treetops and giving you a great view of Thai jungle spread around you. There was also a really neat one where they clip you in on your back and you can fly hanging forward instead of sitting back in your harness like the other ones.

(http://i.imgur.com/tA5nHbw.jpg)

It is not something I would recommend for people with a fear of heights, but I would recommend getting over your fear of heights and doing this. You won’t regret it. It was two hours of unadulterated fun and flying. We also had a great time getting to know the girls and joking around with the tour guides.

After the tour we drove back to the Flight of the Gibbon headquarters were we had started from. There, they served up a meal that looked quite scrumptious, and was included in the price of the tickets. AJK and I enjoyed some refreshing sodas while chatting with other tourists. It seems that AJK and I were the only people foolish enough to think that coming to Thailand for two weeks was a vacation.

Every single person we encountered was on some leg of a three month, five month, or longer trek around the world. Or, as in the case of one young lady we met, a year-long odyssey of touring. We were also the only people to come up with the idea of traveling with a friend or at the very least someone you knew. It seemed to be the cool thing to head out on your trek alone, and then meet people in whatever city you find yourself in and then if you want, make plans to head out to the next country together. After asking people how they know each other and hearing, “we don’t, we met at a hostel in Cambodia,” one too many times we just stopped asking. 

For the sake of fitting in we started telling people that the two of us were unacquainted travel buddies and just managed to hit it off really well.

After the meal, the guides drove us to a beautiful waterfall about five minutes away where we had the option of hiking up to the top.

(http://i.imgur.com/VOivono.jpg)

AJK and I chose to head up to the top, but after about twenty minutes of vertical steps and no improvement in the scenery department we chose to head back down. It was very beautiful, but quite as easy to enjoy from the bottom as from the top.

(http://i.imgur.com/0BAyy8o.jpg)

We then headed back to the van where we settled in for the drive back down to the city. As it was erev Shabbos we were relieved to be heading back in plenty of time before sunset. We were guaranteed by the travel agency that we would be back in plenty of time before Shabbos and they were right, so it turned out that it was a great erev Shabbos activity. We got back to the hotel with about two hours to spare and while I swam and enjoyed the view by the pool, AJK got back on the phone with ticketing agents to continue working out our return flight details.

The sun continued slowly setting behind Doi Suthep mountain, casting a warm glow of buttery yellow over the hotel and the entire city. We got dressed for Shabbos and headed out to walk to Chabad. Upon arriving there we found about fifteen guys davening, and about forty young Israeli travelers sitting around schmoozing. During busy season we were told that they host anywhere from 200-500 backpackers usually accommodated in several seatings, but since it was not major tourist season this was the turnout. 

We sat next to a young couple from LA who were on their way to making aliyah. They had decided to backpack through Asia for six months while “on their way.” We had a very entertaining meal with them listening to some of their most recent escapades, while enjoying food that was actually very delicious. After the meal, when most of the young Israelis had left they pulled together all the tables and put out fruit and dessert for a small oneg. A few minutes later we realized that we were the only ones there who couldn’t speak Hebrew. It became apparent that the Thai tour guides from the zip line place would probably understand more of what was going on than us, so we decided to head back to the hotel.

It wasn’t very difficult to explain to the front-desk lady that we couldn’t use the elevator and a few minutes later a security guard came over and walked us around to the stair entrance and unlocked the door for us. Because the doors to the stairs on each floor need to be opened with a security key, we made an appointment for him to come get us at 9:30am the next morning. We fell into bed and slept soundly until the next morning.

At 9:30 on the dot, there was a knock on our door and the security guard from the night before was there to walk us down to the main lobby. Now, we were on the 18th floor so walking up or down the non air-conditioned stairwell was by no means pleasant. We had thought about switching to a lower floor before Shabbos for about a hot minute, before glancing out our window at the expansive view of Doi Suthep mountain that our room afforded and we quickly changed our minds. This security guard insisted on walking down the stairwell with us and I honestly just felt bad for him in his heavy suit and tie. He, however, insisted that he needed the exercise. On our way down we brought with us some books and things for sitting by the pool later. Our plan was to come back from lunch and only hike up four flights and sit by the pool until Shabbos ended and then take the elevator the remaining fourteen flights to our room.

We walked to Chabad in the broiling heat and were glad to make it into the air-conditioning. There were only about twenty people for lunch with none of the previous night’s young Israelis making a reappearance. The young traveling couple was there and we enjoyed sitting with them again. After lunch, we walked back with this other couple and parted ways at our hotel with plans to meet up the next night to do the night market together. We spent the whole afternoon sitting by the pool, reading, talking, and relaxing. We even got a few mango and strawberry slushy drinks and enjoyed the ice-y deliciousness. We ended up staying by the pool until Shabbos was over and then we headed back upstairs where we showered, changed and headed out to the Saturday night market. We stopped back at Chabad to grab a delicious dinner of schnitzel and French fries, and also headed next door to 669- an Israeli travel agency to make plans for the next day.

(http://i.imgur.com/WmgQjCH.jpg)

We then walked towards the Saturday night market. While the Sunday night market is where all the action is at, there are smaller markets every night of the week. We enjoyed walking around and even ran into the couple again and shared a Tuk-Tuk back to our hotel which was near where they were staying.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Marco Polo on October 01, 2013, 03:59:28 PM
Was eagerly waiting the rest of the report. Thanks for posting more.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK on October 01, 2013, 04:39:01 PM
Sunday morning dawned humid and hot. While getting dressed for the day’s activities, AJK and I realized that although we had brought two huge suitcases, we were going through our clothing at an alarming rate. This may have been due, in no small part, to the activities we had been partaking in. Hanging around with tigers, ATV-ing and flying through the trees are not exactly ways to keep your clothes in tip-top shape. Luckily, laundry, like most other things in Thailand is dirt cheap. I ran across the street from the hotel with our laundry in hand and entrusted it to a small Thai woman who told me I could come pick it up later that evening.

With that taken care of I headed back to the lobby to wait for the van to come pick us up for that day’s activities. AJK meanwhile, you guessed it, was back upstairs on the phone with United. I was starting to realize that this was desperately important to him. I wasn’t sure at that point what this was, but something to do with the make of the airplane that we would be flying back on. I think it was some model of a plane versus another one but I didn’t quite understand the intricacies. Either way, it was of crucial importance to him so I didn’t mind being the lookout in the lobby for the van. Seeing as most mornings since we got there AJK was upstairs on the phone with United, we had worked out a little system. I would stand watch and then, when I saw the van for our activity pull into the hotel driveway I would dash inside call AJK on the lobby phone and run outside to distract the driver until AJK finished his talk with the United representative and made his way downstairs.

Sunday’s activity was one of the most exciting, wonderful treats ever. AJK, knowing how much I adore elephants and most things animal related (snakes and sharks aside), had arranged for us to spend all day at an elephant farm. Like with all other touristy things in Chaing Mai, there are tens of places you could go to do the same or similar activities. This specific elephant farm had been recommended to us by our new friends who we had met at Chabad and by a few hundred of our closest friends on Trip Advisor.

It seems that at some of the elephant parks the elephants are treated poorly. That would have sapped all my enjoyment of the day, so we chose to head to this one where we were told that the elephants were treated well and it was more of a rescue park for elephants than a tourist trap. The ride there took about forty minutes and we were one of four couples in the van heading to Bong Choi for a day with the elephants. As soon as we got there we were surrounded by about thirty or so elephants being fed bananas and sugar cane by tourists wearing denim jumpsuits. While the fashion choice was a bit lacking in my opinion, the choice of activity was more than awesome.

(http://i.imgur.com/O2uGwHn.jpg)

Pretty soon our guide handed us our own fabulous denim jumpsuits to change into. Understandably, hanging out with elephants all day is not the cleanest of activities so they are kind enough to lend you a genuine “mahout” outfit for your day with the elephants. Mahout is the Thai term for the guys who train the elephants and pretty much sleep, eat, and live with the elephants for their whole lives (both the mahouts and the elephants). This was mahout boot camp.

We quickly changed and headed out to meet the rest of our group. Our guide gathered us into a circle and gave us a quick history of the elephant farm. Due to his heavy accent and extremely limited English, (and let’s be honest, because I was standing twenty feet away from more elephants than I had seen in my life), I caught the word elephant three times and that is all. We then were dispatched to an area with large wicker baskets filled to the brim with bananas and sugar cane. We were instructed to pick up a basket and bring it over to the elephants and begin feeding them. This is just one of the many times that reminded me, I wasn’t in America anymore Toto. No waivers this time, no instructions, no words of wisdom to avoid being stepped on and crushed by these behemoth giants. Nothing, just “go feed the elephants bananas.”

I followed these instructions with unbridled glee, running around to the various elephants and literally handing them a bundle of bananas right into their outstretched trunks. One elephant even let us put the bunch directly into his mouth. There was an adorable little baby elephant who stretched out his trunk to kiss me on the check and at the last second turned it into a mouth-on-mouth experience, that was less fun than it sounds, let’s leave it at that. There were big elephants, small elephants, babies, seventy year olds, cute ones, funny looking ones, males, females, tusks, long, strong trunks…we were surrounded with elephants and I was loving it.

(http://i.imgur.com/InvuLgb.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/M7aBjq4.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/zzsGEf4.jpg)

After feeding them for about twenty minutes, and getting a lot more elephant kisses in the process, we were led over to an area that had a bench and a little clearing in front of it. We all sat down and watched as two large, lumbering elephants with mahouts on their backs made their way over to where we were sitting. It was time for our first elephant riding lesson!

The gist of it is this: get on, and then do not fall off. The elephants somehow lower themselves onto their stomachs with their feet tucked under them and then you can climb up on their knee or just swing yourself onto their back. The key then is to hold onto their ears for dear life as they ungracefully un-tuck their legs and rise back to their full, towering height. I will tell you this, riding an elephant is scarier than it looks and elephants are bigger when you’re sitting on them than they appear from the ground.

(http://i.imgur.com/k3cKyYn.jpg)

We all took turns learning how to get on the elephants, stay on the elephants and practice a few elephant commands that are pretty much useless. When you are an elephant, and you weigh 1,000 pounds, and you have something on your back that at most, weighs as much as your trunk you are so not listening to that person yell at you in their pathetic newly-learned Thai. For future reference however, should you need a Thai elephant to get down on its knees so you can get on its back, you can try saying “nonlong.” If that works, then by all means pull out all the stops and tell it to “byby,” which means go, and “qwei,” which means turn. 

After our brief and not nearly exhaustive enough tutorial session we were each assigned an elephant. AJK and my elephant was medium sized and we both swung up on her back like the professional mahouts we were. I sat up front, basically on her head and AJK sat about a foot behind me. There is almost nothing as scary as being on an elephant’s head when they are standing up from a sitting position. I’m sure many of you can relate.

(http://i.imgur.com/YqWH6J1.jpg)

In the process of standing up they put their heads forward and down, and then they raise their heads back up when they are fully standing. This basically leaves you feeling like you are about to pitch head-forward from the back of a twelve foot elephant and crack your skull open. We were warned to really hold on when they stand up because many a tourist has had their day cut short with a broken arm or wrist incurred while toppling from the back of an elephant. It’s a good story to tell when you get home but it will really ruin your day.

Suffice it say, I held on so tightly to that elephant’s ears that she had handprints on them when I finally let go. It is unfortunate that elephants like to use their ears as a cooling system by swinging them back and forth to send cool air over their backs, because this elephant did not get that opportunity.

What she was able to do however, was another neat elephant trick. When elephants drink water they sometimes store some of that water in a pocket in their mouth which they can then reach into with their trunks and spray over their backs in an effort to cool off. Because I was holding so tightly to her ears cutting off the option of using them fans, she resorted to spraying herself and us with a delightful mixture of warm, half-swallowed elephant water and gooey mucus-y saliva, it was delightful and refreshing.

(http://i.imgur.com/aiiPtvK.jpg)

We started up the steep side of a mountain with both AJK and I hanging on for dear life. While watching my life flash before my eyes, I did pause to realize that I was sitting on the back of an elephant somewhere in the mountaintops of Thailand, and with that thought I decided to just enjoy the trek even if I did end up falling off and getting smushed, like I said, it would make a good story.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Dan on October 01, 2013, 07:43:10 PM
Wow, a lot more intense than Mae-sa!
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK on October 01, 2013, 08:59:05 PM
Much.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Drago on October 02, 2013, 05:39:42 AM
Wow, love the elephant camp stuff.
Any idea if these exist in the south?
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: BrooklynCPA on November 18, 2013, 02:38:19 PM
Mr. and Mrs. AJK:  Absolutely amazing and entertaining TR!!!!!! Its actually better in writing than in person!!! You really should consider a career in Journalism!!

My only issue is that you skipped the first weekend of your vacation!!!!! :P
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: aj26 on January 01, 2014, 07:03:55 AM
Im still waiting for more
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK on January 01, 2014, 07:07:50 AM
Thanks for reminding me.

Will post the next installment this week, Gd willing.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: aj26 on January 01, 2014, 08:52:55 AM
Do you have something on Maldives? Trying to convince my wife to go
These trs go along way
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Yordai Dooma on January 01, 2014, 09:04:24 AM
Do you have something on Maldives? Trying to convince my wife to go
These trs go along way
Search and you shall find. You can even search Google and find it
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: daganster on January 01, 2014, 09:07:53 AM
Do you have something on Maldives? Trying to convince my wife to go
These trs go along way
Search and you shall find. You can even search Google and find it
There are plenty of TR's here on DDF. For heaven sake even I have one ;D
http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=15937.msg266860#msg266860
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: aj26 on January 01, 2014, 09:30:36 AM
Most people don't write as well as Mrs ajk
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: rots5 on January 01, 2014, 03:53:47 PM
Do you have something on Maldives? Trying to convince my wife to go
These trs go along way
most ppl are from.... lemme guess lakewood... :D jk

thats how i got my wife convinced we should go to the maldives. all your wife needs is 20 minutes of mrs ajk's time :D
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: morgs on January 26, 2014, 04:58:53 PM
Hey I'm sitting at the edge of my seat waiting for the rest of this awesome report-what happened!!! I'm holdin my breath.......
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK on January 26, 2014, 05:38:51 PM
After a brief stop at the top of the mountain to “top off the elephants tanks” and ours with water, we rode all the way down the mountain and headed straight for a small lake.

(http://i.imgur.com/l66hWKE.jpg)

Here is the best part and also the grossest part. Who knew elephants loved water so much? They all took off into the water while we slipped off their backs and grabbed some buckets and some elephant sized scrub brushes. We got to wash our elephants off while they played in the water and sprayed us with lake water. Sounds idyllic, right?

Well, it was, but the water was also filled with some other things elephant related which weren’t actually so charming. However terrible it sounds, it was worth it. When the elephants are in the water the prospect of plummeting off their backs is not as scary, so we got to sit on them, stand on them and just have fun with them without any of the worry.

(http://i.imgur.com/ShnbdiH.jpg)

Turns out our elephant was ten months pregnant so she was quite lazy and let us climb all over her. We had a great time; I think she enjoyed it, too. When swim-time was over the mahout--obviously spotting mahout potential in me-- let me ride the elephant out of the lake while everyone else had to leave their elephants behind. After one last kiss, I sorrowfully said good bye to our elephant and went off to shower and change out of our mahout gear. They thankfully had relatively clean, if not luxurious, shower accommodations and we were able to wash off the less cute part of the elephants that were all over us.

The ride back from the elephant farm was relaxing, and once back at the hotel, we decided to go get some ice cream. One of the wonderful things about the Le Meridian is its central location. By central, I mean close to the Haagen Daaz around the corner.

My world basically revolves around food, specifically ice cream, and my wonderful husband indulges this craving no matter the time or place. We got ice cream that was both delicious and overpriced, and in my estimation, well worth it. We then went to relax by the pool. We had invited the young couple from Chabad to come hang out with us and they soon showed up, fresh off a day of Flight of the Gibbon at our recommendation. We all went to the pool where we hung out for a few hours and then made plans to meet up later at the famous Sunday night street market.

(http://i.imgur.com/bGK78ii.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/P9wxnYb.jpg)

First though, we took another of our beloved Tuk-Tuk rides to Chabad for dinner and obviously, straight after that we headed to the Green Bamboo for our final massage.

(http://i.imgur.com/3Ns5Y1q.jpg)

We both got another two hours of massages each. AJK chose a Siam package, which he loved and I had a coconut oil massage and then an hour of hot herbal compress massage. I loved both of my massages; however, as you can probably guess I was mostly asleep for the majority of it; it was lovely.

From there we walked to the night market and met up with our friends. The night market is huge and has lots to see, so you definitely want to give yourself strolling time. The vendors are open to bargaining, but we did not see them being as easy to talk down as we had been told about by other travelers. We ended up snagging a gorgeous mango wood tray, and a ridiculously cool tray that has four elephants carrying it on their backs (yes, I really do love elephants.)

(http://i.imgur.com/Gy3Sbf7.jpg)

One of my favorite buys was some really neat jewelry which was literally 10% of the cost had I bought it in the US. Not buying more funky, one of a kind jewelry is my one “I wish” of the trip. The night market has the most eclectic, oddest collection of things you can buy ranging from week old adorable puppies (AJK--which we almost ended up buying), to paintings, to cricket kebobs (AJK--which we did NOT almost end up buying), to the most intricate hand-crafted designs.

(http://i.imgur.com/TUQwPX2.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/z6zf8lt.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/JVNbmSb.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/3dPqOzt.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/1Jeclxk.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/XrpZOlS.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/7pubyJt.jpg)

It was well worth a stop. By the time we had walked around for a few hours we were pretty exhausted and ready to head back to the hotel for some sleep before our flight the next morning to Koh Samui, an island in the south of Thailand where we would be for Shavuos.

Before leaving our new friends, we found out that they would also be on Koh Samui for Shavuos, but only keeping one day of chag, so we made plans for them to come see us on the second day of Shavuos when it was no longer chag for them. We took our last Tuk-Tuk ride back to the hotel and went to sleep.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK on January 26, 2014, 05:56:48 PM
The next morning, I ran over to the laundry place to pick up our freshly laundered clothing. We did five pounds of laundry which they washed, dried, and folded for.... $7.

...maybe one of the best buys of our trip.

I actually get nostalgic thinking about picking up that pile of laundry that someone else washed, dried and folded. That laundry honestly smelled so good I was reluctant to re-wash any of the clothing when we got home. We quickly packed our things and headed downstairs to catch a taxi to the airport for our flight.

(http://i.imgur.com/cMaFPfv.jpg)

The airport is no more than ten minutes away and we made it there in plenty of time to check in and go sit in the lounge for a bit. The ‘lounge’ is basically a room with couches and some snacks, nothing to write home about, but nonetheless nice. The airport is pretty small and there’s not that much to see. I did walk around to see if I could snag any last minute souvenirs, but the prices were all about one and a half times the price as at the night market, for the exact same objects. We boarded our flight and settled in for the quick one hour jaunt to Koh Samui.

(http://i.imgur.com/VybcrVP.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/BsKjiqh.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/6U3E7fz.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/mgbdAWS.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/vasA6Z2.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/waimQiu.jpg)


The weather got noticeably nicer and the sky cleared into a beautiful, clear, bright blue as we neared the island.

(http://i.imgur.com/d2wMH8r.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/jHUqqj0.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/ySmzy9J.jpg)

We landed on the island’s one runway and embarked down a jetway straight onto the tarmac. We boarded little open-sided shuttle that took us to the baggage carausel.

(http://i.imgur.com/HzmXzIO.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/N5ezcjk.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/sp3wKlv.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/cHrmuWd.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/C5115Av.jpg)
[No, that isn't me on the right!]

The Conrad, where we were staying, was on the opposite end of the island from the airport about a 1 hour drive away. We opted to rent a car instead of taking a taxi, because this gave us the option of leaving the hotel that night or the next day should we want to do some touring.

Now, at this point in the trip we had done some pretty crazy and dangerous things. None of them, I repeat, none of them even rivaled the sheer danger of renting a car and driving from one end of this island to the other… on the left side of the road. AJK was actually scarily good at it, and after a few small hiccups where we turned into the wrong lane and found large trucks barreling down upon us, he got into a good groove and we were able to start enjoying the ride.

While I played navigator to his captain, we made our way first to the stunning Chabad for lunch.

(http://i.imgur.com/BFgZZHP.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/SUYNgM0.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/igYpFJi.jpg)

Then we headed toward the hotel and down and up the twisty and curvy roads surrounded by jungle on one side and some of the most stunning turquoise waters on the other side. We stopped along the way at one lookout point to take some pictures of the gorgeous water and then headed back to the car to continue on our way.

(http://i.imgur.com/iIZTxio.jpg)

With the aid of Google maps we made our way to the bottom of a very steep hill that the hotel, according to Google, was on top of. We started up this hill with some trepidation, as it was literally so steep that it was cut into about seven switchbacks. There was a guard at the bottom of the hill, who coordinated with a guard at the top of the hill to ensure that only one car at a time was on the road because it was just so steep. After going up halfway we realized the car was running out of steam, we had to turn off the air conditioner to allow the car to give everything it had to make it up to the top.

Once we got to the top and pulled into the Conrad driveway we realized that our drive and trip up the side of the cliff was all more than worth it. The ocean lay spread out before us, the sun glinting off the water in a thousand different places sending shimmering sparkles up at us. The Conrad is built literally on a cliff-face, with each room laid out on a separate pair of stilts. This not only affords you great privacy, but each room is afforded truly spectacular views of the water and of the ‘five island’ that stand a few miles offshore. 

(http://i.imgur.com/ZmuutDn.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/yeMntJB.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/Zmn7Sr4.jpg)
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Marco Polo on January 26, 2014, 10:10:35 PM
The wait has been worth it... Waiting for the rest of the Koh Samui report!
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: damaxer91 on January 27, 2014, 12:02:05 AM
Looks like they got themselves a new Chabad House in Koh Samui.

When I was there in '11 it was quite dingy
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Dan on January 27, 2014, 12:12:04 AM
Awesome, keep going!
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: morgs on January 27, 2014, 02:23:31 AM
Nice job!! (Still at the edge of my seat though :))
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: rots5 on January 27, 2014, 01:10:32 PM
amazing! had no idea you went to samui! great stuff
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK on September 28, 2014, 11:41:44 PM
Better late than never!

The lobby and check in desk are situated at the very top of the resort, where the driveway is. We handed our keys over to the valet and were shown to a sofa with breathtaking views of the water. The lobby has no walls, just a little glass fence and it has amazing and panoramic views. We checked in quickly and easily and were shown to a golf cart which would take us down to our room. Before heading down to our room I was introduced to one of the special Conrad touches: Each guest is given a choice of the scent of the soaps and gels in your bathroom. While we were sitting on the couch being checked in, I was given three bottles of lotion from which I could choose my favorite scent to be put in our bathroom. By the time we made it down the steep hill to our room, there was already a gorgeous amenity bag filled with my custom scent.

The room was truly beautiful, one of the nicest hotel rooms that we have stayed in yet.

(http://i.imgur.com/qt74nb1.jpg)

It was very large with about half of it taken up by a bathroom which included a large, glass, rain shower, and a huge, round, stone soak tub.


(http://i.imgur.com/jSjt8sI.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/UhKs8ww.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/evZTgbB.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/9CxTTnr.jpg)


Every room in the villa had wonderful views of the water and it was honestly, breathtaking. The actual bedroom itself had a little sitting area, a work desk and beautiful decorations.

(http://i.imgur.com/IVB1krf.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/jcFYAq2.jpg)


Stepping out onto the porch took your breath away. There was the largest private infinity pool I have ever seen. The water of the pool just cascaded over the edge and appeared to be falling into the ocean, where the waves lapped against the beach only about thirty feet away. Because the villa is on stilts you feel like you are floating above the ocean and you can’t see another room so it feels completely isolated, just you and the ocean.

(http://i.imgur.com/SPjVqD3.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/Jgcxlgh.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/Vl2fyun.jpg)

We got to watch the sun sink between two islands as the sky turned fiery shades of red, orange and finally a deep purple that faded to night.

(http://i.imgur.com/4EQY6aV.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/SCwcggI.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/dhr5bZd.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/lDct814.jpg)

I was exhausted and ready to sink into the fluffy, white bed that was calling my name. AJK thought we should take advantage of the one night where we could go exploring as the rest of the nights we were would be chag.  So off we went in a golf cart to the top of the resort where our rental car waited for us, with the keys already in the ignition and the air conditioner started by the valet to cool off the car for us. We headed back down the steep hill we had come up earlier in the day and began our journey back across the island on the wrong side of the road, this time however, it was pitch black outside.

Somehow, thirty minutes later we found ourselves driving down the main street, Chaweng, lined with bars, restaurants, and tourist shops. When we had passed Chaweng earlier in the day on our way up to the resort, we thought it looked like a fun area with great resort-town vibes. Unfortunately, Chaweng after dark is incredibly seedy, kind of scary and all together just kind of gross. We walked around for a little bit and then found a hookah bar where we got drinks, had some hookah, and observed the general drunkenness of the tourists around us. We decided we had put in our time among the other residents of Koh Samui and that it was time to retreat to the idyllic world of the Conrad.  We made it back up the island safely and headed back to our gorgeous villa for some rest.

The next morning we awoke to stunning views of the sun sparkling over the five islands in front of our villa.

(http://i.imgur.com/hhKiAMN.jpg)

We headed to the breakfast area where we were greeted by the head chef and the food and beverage manager. AJK had arranged for the hotel to obtain Kosher breakfast for us from Chabad in place of the free breakfast offered to Gold members. The hotel obliged and arranged to pick up food for us each morning for breakfast and also to pick up food for us to eat over Shavuot. Although breakfast was not as gourmet as the one that the other guests around us were enjoying, it was still absolutely amazing to sit at a table overlooking an expansive, sun-drenched, and stunning view while eating tuna, egg salad, rolls, Israeli salad, and a variety of dips.

(http://i.gyazo.com/5d2bd763d410e2810ef90161c3701401.png)


After breakfast we explored the resort a bit, stopping at the main pool, which is huge, completely empty of other guests and offers beautiful cabanas for you to have some shade should you wish. There are lounge chairs directly in the pool on a ledge with water about two feet deep. It is quite relaxing to be able to read, nap and just lounge with the option of only having to roll over a few inches to enjoy a refreshing dip in the pool.

(http://i.imgur.com/ut89YEm.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/bLLKfFS.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/eZkb9U3.jpg)

We also walked down onto the jetty that reaches far out into the water off the beach. At the end of the jetty one can look back toward the resort and be afforded an amazing view of the entire architectural wonder that is the Conrad. The entire resort is built entirely on stilts and it just climbs its way up the Cliffside of this beautiful area.

(http://i.imgur.com/YehGFjx.png)

The resort’s beach is very rocky and not somewhere you would want to lay out or spend any time. The resort does offer a free boat ride twice daily to one of the more beautiful and habitable beaches across the water on one of the five islands.

We decided to head out and see if we could find one of the famous, gorgeous beaches lining the edge of Koh Samui. We were told about one beach in particular, Silver Beach, by the food and beverage manager who told us that it was one of the more beautiful and less touristy beaches. Having had our fill of other tourists the night before on Chaweng, this sounded like a good deal to us. The beach was about a twenty-five minute drive away from the Conrad, down the same main island road. We pulled off this road and parked in the parking lot of some random motel. We had heard that parking on the island was kind of a suit yourself situation and that chances are your car was not being towed at any point in the near future. We walked up the road a little bit and found ourselves standing on Silver Beach.

(http://i.imgur.com/fPKiven.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/IzgLHgi.jpg)

The beach is filled with golden white sand and surrounded by lush, green jungle on either side. We ventured into the water to test it out and found it to be the approximate temperature of a hot tub. The water stayed pretty shallow until about forty feet off shore. We kept wading out, waiting for the temperature to begin resembling that of a normal body of water. However, this never really ended up happening. The water merely fluctuated from very hot to mildly hot. Even when we made our way out to areas where the water was over our heads, the water was hot with some patches of cooler water. While not exactly the refreshing dip we expected, it still felt glorious and the surroundings were stunning. The beach, as promised, is not packed and doesn’t feel super touristy.

The thing about Koh Samui is that it probably has one-hundred tourists for every local at any given time of the year, so areas that are relatively less touristy still have tons of tourists, its just slightly less dense than other areas. We had plans to try and make it back to the hotel to catch a boat to one of the islands, so we headed back to the car and began our drive to the Conrad. We stopped to purchase some provisions for the chag ie: some fabulous Singha Thai beer (highly recommend.)

Unfortunately, we missed the boat by a few minutes and consoled ourselves with sitting by the main pool and receiving fifteen minute complementary massages from some of the spa attendants by the pool. We then made our way back to the villa where we got ready for chag.

(http://i.imgur.com/f9R4fRt.jpg)
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: rots5 on September 28, 2014, 11:49:06 PM
AMAZING!
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK on September 28, 2014, 11:55:03 PM
We had spoken with the chef earlier that day and placed an order for his staff to pick up for us from the Chabad in town. We ordered meals for each night of shavuos along with some rolls and wine. We explained that we couldn’t answer our phone for the next two days and so we told them in advance what time to serve us dinner in our room that night. After lighting candles, davening and watching the beautiful sunset there was a knock on our door promptly at our predetermined time. We enjoyed a beautiful dinner of szechuan chicken at a table outside overlooking our pool while listening to the dark water lap at the beach. The next two days of chag were wonderfully relaxing and were only punctuated with davening, eating, sleeping and reading some of the books we had brought along in anticipation of these days.

Although on initial check-in AJK had hoped for a villa higher up on the mountain-side, we ended up being so grateful for one on the lower levels. This meant that our walk up to the breakfast area was only up two little hills, instead of the longer and steeper walk we would have had, had we been where we initially wanted to be. We received the same spread for breakfast that we had the day before and enjoyed it along with some freshly squeezed juice and some iced coffee made with soy milk.

Because the main pool was on our walk back to our villa from breakfast, we stopped off there to enjoy some drinks at the pool-side bar with our complimentary Gold member drink coupons. The pool, again, was devoid of any other guests and we enjoyed the solitary beauty. We then headed back up to our room to nap and relax.

The second evening of chag we had arranged to eat dinner by the main pool. They light up this area beautifully at night and put out beautiful tables, strings of lights and candles to keep the bugs away. We were shown to a lovely table exactly where AJK had requested, to the side of the pool in a more private area. There they served us our second night’s dinner, stir fry with rice. At each meal they brought along all the appropriate plastic utensils, cups etc., and our meals came double wrapped and heated to perfection. Dinner by the pool was a wonderful experience and provided a nice change from eating in our room.

The final day of chag we had arranged for our Israeli friends from Chaing Mai to come up for a visit. They arrived in the afternoon and we enjoyed hanging out with them and hearing about their experience staying down on Chaweng. We also heard about their harrowing ride up the steep cliff to the Conrad on their rented moped. AJK and I had placed bets earlier about whether their little bike would make it up the cliff, and apparently it hadn’t. they ended up having to get off and push it up themselves and no surprise were quite winded and hot when they arrived on our doorstep.

After some time enjoying each other’s company, the sky darkened and a gorgeous lightening show began. Although it was beautiful, our friends decided to head back before the rain that seemed about to start, turned into a famous Thai tropical downpour. About an hour later we made havdalah and started making plans for our weekend in Bangkok. We emailed the Chabad to let them know we would be there for meals, booked a room at the Davis hotel near the Chabad and hired a driver to take us back to the airport in the morning. Our trusty rental car had been picked up by the rental agency erev chag. It hadn’t made sense to pay to keep it over the chag and so it was quite convenient that they would come pick it up for us. After arranging most of our necessary plans, we turned in for the night in anticipation of an early wake up call the next morning.

Our driver was arriving to take us back to the airport on the far side of the island around 7:45, so we woke up early and headed up for our final breakfast. Even on this last morning, which we hadn’t asked to have breakfast arranged for, we found ourselves being served the same meal from Chabad which was a delicious surprise. The driver arrived right on time and we got into his large, comfortable van for our trip to the airport. We arrived at the little airport right on time and proceeded to wait in line to check in. There aren’t that many flights leaving from this airport, so there doesn’t seem to be that much of a rush for anything. I think the flight basically just leaves when they finish getting through the line of passengers. Although AJK did his best talking the agents into upgrading us for this short one hour flight (hey, it’s a matter of principle for him) they were entirely unhelpful and so we headed over to the waiting area to board. The entire airport has no walls and just thatched roofs for shade. It is incredibly hot and buggy so we were glad when the time came to board. The same little shuttles that had picked us up from the tarmac when we landed made a reappearance and drove us over from the waiting area to where the plane stood ready for boarding.

(http://i.imgur.com/vscfH3p.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/eqM4G6w.jpg)

The flight was short and uneventful and we soon found ourselves in an airport entirely different from the one we had just left. Bangkok airport is huge, modern and did I say that it was huge? We quickly found our luggage and decided to give the airport train into the city a try. Taxis were not prohibitively expensive, but we had quite a lot of time until Shabbos started and we figured why not? First though, AJK needed to reload his phone which took longer than you would think it would in a relatively tech savvy city like Bangkok. For some reason it seemed that everyone in the airport needed help with their cell phone at the same time and so it took us over an hour for this simple procedure. We found the boarding area for the trains below the airport and AJK figured out which tokens we needed to purchase to get to the stop we needed. The airport has these weird walking escalators that are flat but then descend down at a slant that will send you and your wheeled luggage rolling if you don’t hold on tightly. So hold on.

We boarded the train and as it was quite packed we ended up standing for the whole ride. This afforded us some interesting views of what looked like a quite packed, crowded and sprawling city. We disembarked at one of the main stops and switched to a different line to get us closer to our hotel. While it was an interesting experience, it is not one I would recommend doing with large suitcases and the fact that it was about 120 degrees did not make the experience any more pleasant. We finally arrived at our stop and found that this station does not have down escalators or elevators. We ended up having to carry our luggage down all stairs in the vicinity but finally found ourselves in a glamorous luxury mall that most importantly, was air conditioned. 

To get out of the train station it seems that one has to walk through this mall, but we also just may not have really understood where we were going. Either way, it was an excuse to see the mall and cool off. We headed outside on the ground floor and began following AJK’s phone’s direction to the Davis hotel. In retrospect, we should have taken a taxi. Although the walk was only 15 or 20 minutes, like I said, it felt like we were standing on the sun and dragging suitcases through the crowded, smoggy, dirty streets of Bangkok was a less than ideal pre-Shabbos activity.

After stopping at a 7-11 for some necessary hydration we finally stumbled in to the lobby of the hotel. The Davis is spread out among three different buildings that offer three different styles of accommodation. We chose a large suite as the price was pretty much the same as for a smaller room. Our luggage was handed over to a bellboy who walked us and it over to the building we would be staying in. we finished the check-in process in that lobby and were shown upstairs to our room. The deco of this hotel is more eclectic and boutique-y than our usual hotels and I found it quirky but a bit weird. The room was large with a kitchen, dining area, sitting area, a large bedroom and bathroom.

While anything following a stay at the Conrad was a step down, it was perfectly pleasant and would definitely do the job. We checked out the pool on the roof but found it a weird algea-green color and decided swimming wasn’t in the cards for the day. While initially we had planned to go check out the famous MBG mall where you can purchase knock-offs of anything ever created, we were just too exhausted by our trek from the airport and we took some much needed showers to rid ourselves of the Bangkok grime we had accumulated, and then settled in for some erev Shabbos naps.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK on September 28, 2014, 11:57:17 PM
We awoke a little before Shabbos, lit candles, and headed out to Chabad for davening and dinner. While there are a few Chabads to choose from in the Bangkok area, we had chosen to be near the one that attracts the most anglo-speakers; I think we had our fill of the Israeli backpacking scene in Chaing Mai.

The walk to the Chabad was a quick ten minutes, but the streets of Bangkok are hot, overcrowded and inevitably have an amalgamation of gross things all over the sidewalk that you don’t want to step in, so we took the walk slowly and carefully. The Chabad itself is not hard to find. It is a large, white building down a little side street. We headed in and found a sparse attendance of about twenty guys and five or so women. Davening ended and everyone headed downstairs for dinner.

This Chabad house is headed by Rabbi and Rebbetzin Kantor. Rabbi Kantor is the chief rabbi of Thailand and was sent to Bangkok by the Lubavitcher Rebbe over twenty years ago. We were blown away by their warmth and their accepting natures. We really enjoyed our time with them and were extremely impressed by the way they included every single person at the table in the conversation. It was a totally different experience than the Shabbat we had in Chaing Mai, and we loved that here it really felt like a Shabbos meal with conversation, divrei torah and warmth (it also helped that everything was in English).

We enjoyed a delicious dinner with dessert homemade by one of the rabbi’s daughters. We then braced ourselves for our smoggy and dirty walk back to the hotel. The hotel had no problem understanding that we needed access to the stairs and they quickly showed us the way and sent someone up to the room to unlock the door for us.

The next morning AJK arranged for us to have late check-out at 2 pm. We walked over to Chabad for davening and lunch. Lunch was just as enjoyable as the meal we had experienced the night before. The crowd was larger for lunch and included all different types, from a table filled with chassidim in shtreimels, to the completely uninitiated, to American ex-pats living and working in Bangkok.

The rabbi and rebbetzin again succeeded in making everyone feel at home and went out of their way to greet AJK and me. We met an interesting guy who had been living and working as a lawyer in Bangkok for years. He turned out to be from NJ and we enjoyed talking to him and learning about his experiences in Bangkok. He highly recommended the BMG mall and told us that it really deserved a visit. We slightly regretted our naps on Friday and wished that we had taken advantage of our one day for touring in Bangkok. We decided that we would do a quick stopover sometime in the future to see this mall.

It apparently is several stories with entire floors dedicated to just one type of product such as, jewelry, women’s wear, men’s wear, shoes, hats, tech products etc. It sounds like they mostly carry knock offs and prices are expected to be bargained with, the quality isn’t guaranteed but you’re sure to find some unique and interesting things (as AJK likes to say, they’ve already been selling the iPhone 7 in Thailand for years.)

We headed back to the hotel where we moved our suitcases into the lobby and proceeded to read and rest on couches until havdalah time. We then finished checking out and hopped into a cab to Suvarnabhumi int’l airport. We arrived back at the airport we had just come into the day before, but this time the experience was entirely different.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK on September 29, 2014, 12:34:52 AM
We made our way over to the entire half of an airport hangar devoted to Thai first class. This area is situated behind beautiful purple screens that separate this part of the airport from other check-in areas.

(http://i.imgur.com/k3t3KPN.jpg)

You are immediately shown a private little sitting area with cold towels and drinks while your passports and luggage are taken to be checked in. The agent arrived back at our little area with our passports and tickets and we were escorted through the special first class security line. We breezed through and were brought to the business class lounge where we were put on a buggy and driven all the way through the business lounge to the first class lounge.

(http://i.imgur.com/nVfMDHn.jpg)

The first class lounge is beautiful, royal and you cannot breathe too loudly without someone offering to get you whatever you want. We initially put our bags down and settled into some of the comfortable seats in middle of the lounge. We then realized that the entire lounge was lined with private little living rooms with doors where you can relax in your own private space. Each little area has couches, a TV, a computer with internet and plenty of people coming in to check on you every so often.

(http://i.imgur.com/4qgpLJy.jpg)


The lounge menu is provided to you on an iPad complete with pictures of each dish and drink. While everything looked scrumptious, we settled for some fruit platters and watermelon smoothies. The greatest part of the lounge though was yet to come. A few minutes after settling into our little area we were fetched by one of the young women in the lounge for our complimentary one-hour massages (yes, you read that correctly).

We walked out of the lounge and across the hallway into the Thai Royal Silk spa. There we were shown into a waiting area with waterfalls, relaxing music, snacks and drinks. We were each fetched by a masseuse and shown into separate massage rooms. The massage room was definitely the fanciest massage room we had been in on our trip. For one, the room had massage tables whereas traditional Thai massages are done on the floor. The room contained the largest rain shower I had ever seen, a changing room, a sitting area and the massage area. It was massive. The massages were a full hour long and afterward I enjoyed the longest shower of my life and the first shower I had ever taken in an airport. The room was so beautiful I didn’t want to leave and I took my time getting all refreshed and ready for our flight to Paris.

(http://i.imgur.com/Mv52MIT.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/Hu6KueY.jpg)

After the massages we went back to our little sitting area and relaxed until they came to notify us that it was time to board. We were escorted all the way from the lounge directly onto the plane where our seats were on the top deck of the huge airbus A380.

(http://i.imgur.com/FaD31Ql.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/4rXyUMq.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/9M8n48I.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/6CuRtUR.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/4CN6exi.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/J0McQj7.jpg)


Seconds after settling in to the large, plush seat, I was being plied with champagne, pajamas and warm towels.  Thai first class is absolutely beautiful with personal mood lighting at each seat. The seats are wide, comfy and each seat has all the amenities one could wish for.

[Thai's A380 has a large lounge on the right side of the plane (which is where EK puts their showers, and LH has a second large bathroom). While nice, TG could have used this space better, especially since their F is 12 passengers on the A380 for one albeit large bathroom.]

(http://i.imgur.com/UIA2PNV.jpg)

AJK talking: After a restful flight, we arrived in Paris.

(http://i.imgur.com/Dqk4D2N.jpg)

We made a quick transit on LH to the First Class Terminal in Frankfurt.

(http://i.imgur.com/sZpgDte.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/bN86Nvs.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/P0NuIqt.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/eakMf9d.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/NzXo32D.jpg)

A couple days before arriving in FRA, I found out that my 744 on the FRA-EWR leg was slated to be the old product, and I'd be damned if I was going to fly the old F on the LH 744 -- not after what it took to get there! So, first, based on an old blog post I had seen, I simply asked the reps in the FCT if they could switch my flight to the FRA-JFK flight. There wasn't any award availability, but the blog post indicated that under the right circumstances, they could switch it over. No luck.

Then, I booted up my laptop, and found that there was award availability on the new F from MUC-BOS on the A346; so while my wife didn't love making an additional two stops, she understands my obsession and gave me permission to make the change. [We should all have such amazing wives, eh? :)]

I fired up google voice, called UA, and made the switch, which for whatever reason didn't cost me anything...

At that point, because our flight to MUC was leaving in about an hour, I grabbed some Fiddich 21, a cuban, and relaxed my way to oblivion :)

Shortly thereafter, our FCT rep came and escorted us downstairs to our waiting Porsche (you get the car to the plane even if you leave FRA in J, so long as you depart MUC in F). We were joined by another gentleman for the ride to our plane.

(http://i.imgur.com/9pKFfyz.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/25qK63E.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/mGg6hlL.jpg)

I was taking pictures all the while, and on the jet-bridge to the plane, I motioned for the gentleman to go before me, and he said something along the lines of "No, no, why don't you go. This is obviously more important for you :)"

We settled in for the quick hop to MUC and had an uneventful flight.

(http://i.imgur.com/w4qiH4V.jpg)

We arrived in MUC and went to the First Class Lounge to wait for our flight to Boston.

(http://i.imgur.com/PHRti2Q.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/GQGuRyX.jpg)

After about an hour or so, we left the lounge (with no escort of any kind I might add, boo), and went to the gate and--to my sheer horror--I saw this:

(http://i.imgur.com/Ib1H1Ev.jpg)

So, wait, you're saying I subjected myself to this:

(http://www.gcmap.com/map?P=cdg-fra-muc-bos-lga&MS=wls&MR=540&MX=720x360&PM=*)

Instead of this:

(http://www.gcmap.com/map?P=cdg-fra-ewr&MS=wls&MR=540&MX=720x360&PM=*)

And now have the possibility of getting this?

(http://i.gyazo.com/dc592fcf748cc05b36a6d2188ccbd9a0.png)

I fell to my knees, screamed to the heavens "WHY ME?!!?!?"

Finally, I gathered up the courage to hear the bad news straight from the horse's mouth, and went up to the gate agent...

To be continued...
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: morgs on September 29, 2014, 09:39:18 AM
Whoa!! nice installments! But There you guys go-you have me at the edge of my seat again!!!!!!!!!!! ::)
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Yaalili on September 29, 2014, 12:09:37 PM
Great report, the conrad KS is a beautiful and unique property. Waiting for what happened!
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: yoruel on September 30, 2014, 07:59:57 PM
Please keep it coming. as Paul Harvey would say" the rest of the story" :)
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Chapshnell on September 30, 2014, 08:31:44 PM
just came across this thread. WOWOW
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: BrooklynCPA on October 01, 2014, 10:16:58 AM
@ Mrs. AJK: Thanks for the incredible trip report!! Waiting for the Capetown report!
@ AJK: You are even crazier than I thought!! :)
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: rediplus on October 01, 2014, 05:15:34 PM
1. can you please explain again how you got the conrad booked ? you sold Hyatt ?
2. what and how many points did you use to book LH F?
3. How did you manage to switch on the fly in Paris to FRA to MUC ? So Because you left via MUC F you got to use FCT and the porsche ?
4. How and Where did you make Havdala ?
5. Would you spend shavuos like that again ?

and of course amazing TR !!!
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK on October 01, 2014, 05:22:41 PM
1. can you please explain again how you got the conrad booked ? you sold Hyatt ?
2. what and how many points did you use to book LH F?
3. How did you manage to switch on the fly in Paris to FRA to MUC ? So Because you left via MUC F you got to use FCT and the porsche ?
4. How and Where did you make Havdala ?
5. Would you spend shavuos like that again ?

and of course amazing TR !!!

1. 4 nights in Conrad using 145K Hilton, using an AXON award booked before the deval. Amazing, amazing value. Retail value of $4k. It'd now cost 300K HH.

2. Used 70K UA before deval to book TG F and LH F, ASIA-USA going west. (Weird that UA charged 80K ASIA-EUROPE, but if you traveled an additional few thousand miles they gave a 10K discount :) )

3. I actually changed in FRA. Just called up UA from FCT. Correct.

4. Made it at the resort.

5. Good question. My gashmius side says absofreakinlutely. My ruchnius side says I probably should stay somewhere within walkable distance to a chabad.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: rediplus on October 01, 2014, 05:40:37 PM
1. 4 nights in Conrad using 145K Hilton, using an AXON award booked before the deval. Amazing, amazing value. Retail value of $4k. It'd now cost 300K HH.

2. Used 70K UA before deval to book TG F and LH F, ASIA-USA going west. (Weird that UA charged 80K USA-EUROPE, but if you traveled an additional few thousand miles they gave a 10K discount :) )

3. I actually changed in FRA. Just called up UA from FCT. Correct.

4. Made it at the resort.

5. Good question. My gashmius side says absofreakinlutely. My ruchnius side says I probably should stay somewhere within walkable distance to a chabad.
Amazing !! Maybe you can start giving DDS as well when Dan cant ?
i have to get better at this. A simple trip to spain in November and i cant find F anywhere. booked everything J. still on waitlist for SQ R to FRA.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK on October 14, 2014, 11:20:27 PM
So, as I approached the gate agent, my knees began to wobble and I thought I'd pass out. Surely this cannot be happening, I said to myself. As I made it up to desk, there were two agents there, one man and one woman.

"So, I noticed that there was a delay due to an aircraft change?"

"Yup," said the male agent, "they changed from A333 to an A346."

[Knowing that all 9 A333's had the new F, and only about 50% of the A346s did, my heart sank.]

"Oh gosh, do you happen to know if this has the new first class or the old?"

"Hmmm... let me check here on the computer," said the female agent. "Ah, yes, I see. Unfortunately, this plane has not yet been upgraded."

(http://media0.giphy.com/media/Pa1dyxZdq70Pu/200.gif)

Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK on October 15, 2014, 12:06:12 AM
...But, wait!






My savior, the male agent says, "Oh, no, betty, you must be talking about business class, because I'm seeing this is in fact the new first class.

"Oh, well, silly me, of course you're right! So, sorry for the confusion Mr. AJK."

(http://media2.giphy.com/media/106CUooZy8cZAQ/200.gif)

So we wait about 25 mins longer, and we finally boarded... onto my first taste of the new LH F:

(http://i.imgur.com/6rq0xl5.jpg)

Well, as it turned out, the reason why were able to snag two seats day of is because, well, we were the only F pax!

(http://i.imgur.com/gvHKTSU.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/r898fsJ.jpg)

However, because we booked it <24 hours in advance there was no kosher food loaded for us, and, as it turned out we were pretty hungry after a full day of travel without any meaningful food. Oh well, I'd have taken the new LH F over kosher airline food 11 out of 10 times.

I have to say, though, that the crew working this flight were simply fantastic. In fact, the service on LH has beaten basically every Asian carrier I've flown. They were attentive, engaging, and courteous. When they found out we had ordered special meals, but that they were not loaded, they were mortified, and offered us every fruit plate they had as well as scoured J and Y to see if there were any extra kosher meals (there weren't).

In any event, I knocked back a few, had a couple pieces of fruit, and changed into PJs.  While in the bathroom, the FA had made our beds in the aisle seats, so we could just hop in. After a quick nap of about 5 hours, we began our descent into BOS.

On the whole, the flight was excellent. Was extremely glad I took the jaunt around Europe to chase the new F.

We arrived around 630PM and our flight from BOS to LGA was at 8PM.  But first we had to pickup our luggage and clear customs.  We were through customs to the baggage claim in a flash thanks to GE (which after the WN CP is probably the best perk in travel. Oh, how many hours it's saved us!).

We got to the baggage claim and waited for our bags to come out.

...and waited.

645PM...

...and waited.

700PM...

Eventually, we grabbed an LH airport worked, explained the situation about our bags and our connecting flight and were told to fill out a missing baggage report at the LH counter outside of customs and LH would be in touch. So we did that and by the time we were done, it was 715PM, and our connecting gate was basically in another city. We jogged and ran through like 13 terminals, underground, in a sky bridge, over the mountains and through rivers.  We made it to the gate as the agent was closing the doors.

While checking us in, though, we mentioned we were coming back from Thailand, and the GA said "Ohhhhh, I loved Thailand... they have the best elfint fahhhhms!"

Mrs. AJK and I looked at each other, hoping the other had caught what the GA had just said.  Alas, neither of us had, and the GA noticed our confusion. She said, "you know, the elfint fahms, where you can feed and ride the elfints?"

Finally, we caught that she was referring to the elephant farms in her thick Bostonian accent, and we all started cracking up.  Anyway, she wished us a pleasant flight, and we boarded the small ERJ-190 and found our seats in business.

We arrived in LGA at about 930PM, and unsurprisingly, our baggage was nowhere to be found...

So we went home.

Well, with no bags, and important upcoming work engagements, I, of course, had to buy the essentials until my bags arrived. And so Mrs. AJK and I went shopping  over the next couple days :D

We spent about $500 on clothes and such other sundry items.

Three days later I bags arrived via UPS.

A couple weeks after that, a check for about $500 arrived with a profuse apology. Nearly $200/day for delayed baggage? Yes, please.

And on that happy note, our trip to Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong has concluded.

The end!
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Yellow on October 15, 2014, 12:09:02 AM
Greatest trip report I've ever read!!

You guys are great writers
Very detailed, informative, and humorous  :)
 
It was a snake pit with about fifty or so King Cobras inside, and one of them was on the wall about five inches below my face.
:o
OMG!
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK on October 15, 2014, 01:57:38 PM
Thanks :)
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: jaywhy on October 15, 2014, 02:10:10 PM
Awesome TR! Really looking forward to the Conrad.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Dan on October 15, 2014, 02:55:59 PM
Awesome TR!
Keep em coming.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: rediplus on October 15, 2014, 03:58:45 PM
Awesome !!
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Yaalili on October 20, 2014, 05:10:21 AM
Nice TR, thanks for finally finishing it up :)
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: morgs on October 20, 2014, 05:36:05 AM
Wow! What a story-just to note-this tr (when it was still half finished) with its amazing pics is what got us really excited for our trip-glad I was able to finish the other half w/ my own pics ;D! Kepp these tr's comin you guys have an awesome and entertaining writing style.....waiting eagerly for the next one!!
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK on October 20, 2014, 08:47:41 PM
Thanks, guys!
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Ergel on October 20, 2014, 09:22:25 PM
Thanks, guys!
Mr. Grammar hall of shame starter, you should do better than that
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK on October 20, 2014, 09:23:01 PM
Mr. Grammar hall of shame starter, you should do better than that

 ???
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Ergel on October 20, 2014, 09:23:54 PM
That comma ain't right
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK on October 20, 2014, 09:32:25 PM
That comma ain't right

That'd be incorrect, sir.

(See what I did there?)

"Vocative" comma. GIYF.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Ergel on October 20, 2014, 10:12:49 PM
I stand corrected
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: yoruel on October 20, 2014, 11:41:12 PM
What other TR do you have?
This was entertaining.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK on October 21, 2014, 12:15:30 AM
If you thought this was entertaining, check our my YVR TR :)
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Achas Veachas on October 21, 2014, 02:14:37 PM
If you thought this was entertaining, check our my YVR TR :)
+1 ;D
A true inspiration...
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: rots5 on October 21, 2014, 03:09:59 PM
If you thought this was entertaining, check our my YVR TR :)
That made the all time greatest
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: BrooklynCPA on October 21, 2014, 05:46:09 PM
GREAT TR!!! Waiting for South Africa!
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: yoruel on October 21, 2014, 05:49:49 PM
If you thought this was entertaining, check our my YVR TR :)
that is from last year. old news ;)
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Marco Polo on October 21, 2014, 08:49:28 PM
that is from last year. old news ;)
May be "old" but still very entertaining.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: solls108 on January 20, 2015, 10:31:52 AM
Awesome TR.

Gotta try this!
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Mocha on January 26, 2015, 12:23:30 AM
Shabbos with 2 toddlers would be more relaxed with easy access to meals in HKG or CNX?
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: morgs on January 26, 2015, 02:22:18 AM
Shabbos with 2 toddlers would be more relaxed with easy access to meals in HKG or CNX?
What time of year?
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Mocha on January 26, 2015, 06:59:25 AM
What time of year?
X-mas
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: morgs on January 26, 2015, 08:37:06 AM
X-mas
In the summer HKG seemed like the better option for toddlers for Shabbos as it was really very quiet in the summer and cnx was a total zoo on Shabbos(500+ people in 2 shifts and no room to move around), but I can not comment on the winter -find out if it is busy season then in HKG-If not it is def. the better option w/ toodlers IMO
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: Mocha on January 26, 2015, 08:44:58 AM
In the summer HKG seemed like the better option for toddlers for Shabbos as it was really very quiet in the summer and cnx was a total zoo on Shabbos(500+ people in 2 shifts and no room to move around), but I can not comment on the winter -find out if it is busy season then in HKG-If not it is def. the better option w/ toodlers IMO
its busy season for touring but perhaps hkg would be quiter as it is a bit of an off weekend for business. Anyone have any experience?
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: LoLo on February 14, 2017, 07:50:03 PM
Just got to this after ajk linked (http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=15937.msg1663264#msg1663264) to it, WHAT.AN.AWESOME.TR. Thanks for taking the time to put it together.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: SRM on February 27, 2017, 03:31:25 PM
Great TR!

Do you remember the name of the elephant camp you went to visit?
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK on February 27, 2017, 05:56:09 PM
Baan chang

http://www.baanchangelephantpark.com/
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: solls108 on September 24, 2019, 02:30:55 PM
Mr. AJK, this TR is amazing and super helpful!

I am looking now to book a Trip for December/January time with a few day stopover in HKK.

Is there anything that you can remember that you would do differently?

Again, amazing TR!
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK on September 24, 2019, 02:50:07 PM
Thanks! If i could do it all over, I'd spend a day or two longer in USM, so I could explore some of the surrounding islands, which are supposed to be beautiful, e.g. Koh Tao, Koh Lanta, Koh Muk.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: solls108 on September 24, 2019, 02:53:38 PM
Thanks! If i could do it all over, I'd spend a day or two longer in USM, so I could explore some of the surrounding islands, which are supposed to be beautiful, e.g. Koh Tao, Koh Lanta, Koh Muk.

Ok great!

Also, you posted "JFK-YVR-HKG = it's complicated"

What was complicated about it? Looking for NYC-HKG now.

Also think I may want to avoid BKK, seems like the city isnt one of the cleanest.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: AJK on September 24, 2019, 03:09:04 PM
BA glitch resulted in free tickets to basically everywhere.
Title: Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
Post by: solls108 on September 24, 2019, 03:13:26 PM
BA glitch resulted in free tickets to basically everywhere.
Thats amazing!

What did you book inter-thailand flights with? Avios?