Author Topic: Bangkok, Koh Samui, Singapore and Maldives TR  (Read 11651 times)

Offline israshot

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Re: Bangkok, Koh Samui, Singapore and Maldives TR
« Reply #45 on: March 23, 2020, 03:09:02 PM »
can we please get the rest of the trip report!
My head is not there, I'm sorry but it's hard for me to write about it when no one can travel, when everyone (including me) has to cancel their trips etc. Although, time is not an issue. Maybe next week I'll be in a better mood to write it.

Offline tavster

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Re: Bangkok, Koh Samui, Singapore and Maldives TR
« Reply #46 on: April 02, 2020, 04:25:02 PM »
Amazing TR.

I'm sorry but it's hard for me to write about it when no one can travel, when everyone (including me) has to cancel their trips etc.
I hear you. I look at it the other way.. it's dafka when I can't fly that I enjoy reading TRs.
Keep safe

Offline CRACKERJACK

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Re: Bangkok, Koh Samui, Singapore and Maldives TR
« Reply #47 on: April 23, 2020, 12:35:19 PM »
Really enjoyable read!
Canít wait for you to continue!

Offline israshot

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Re: Bangkok, Koh Samui, Singapore and Maldives TR
« Reply #48 on: April 24, 2020, 12:19:25 AM »
I would like to get quickly to The Maldives so Iíll make the in-between a bit shorter.
We chilled Friday in the Villa and at the pool, and went for a tour in the resort. We visited Botanikka that day, it's at the top of the cliff between our villa and the reception, and itís a very interesting place. It's the same size of our villa with the same structure all redesigned as a garden. The pool looks like a small lake with ducks, they have a garden where they grow vegetables and some restaurants in the hotel use them. As everywhere in the resort, they were very nice to us and played with our daughter there.















Hotel lobby:




Then we went again to the Turtle Club, our daughter had some arts & crafts and we went to the beach to relax for a bit and to the bar for our free cocktails.




(Note the masks...)





Fitness center with a view:




The previous day I placed my order for Friday-Shabbos-Sunday through the concierge and added some shabbos items through the Chabad house itself and asked them to hand it to the hotel together with the other items. Everything came Friday afternoon and we realized that we have too much to eatÖ
I spoke to our Buttler before Shabbos that they shouldn't touch the electricity in our villa the whole shabbos and I asked her to bring us a platter of fresh-cut fruits for breakfast (I canít find it on the receipt so I believe we werenít charged for it). I also asked her to bring us some board games but she was able to find only a Jenga and a Scrabble game. She also brought us a lovely teddy bear dressed with a monogrammed bathrobe and my daughterís name on it, how lovely!





Warming the food before Shabbos.









Shabbos was in around 6 pm, with a Kabolas shabbos in the garden and the beautiful view of the sunset and then our Shabbos meal with a sad Barkan wine that didnít justify its price tag but they explained to me that in Thailande itís hard to get Kosher wine. Though, in that Villa in this part of the world who am I to complainÖ



We had a nice Shabbos, Shacharis was in the garden (porch) but without a minyanÖ ;)
We read the newspaper that was brought to us on Wednesday, especially the section with the Covid19 numbers. We got worried that in Thailand there were 19 casesÖ looking back I can just laugh at these low numbers but at that time it was one of the highest after China.
After Shabbos, I had to take care of the accounting aspect of the hotel stayÖ I prepaid before arriving at the hotel a big amount with Aspire credit that I got for less than half their face value towards my room folio, knowing that I will use the money for the activity, upgrade, and kosher food. I planned accordingly but I still had 2 full Aspire credits from me and my DW from the Amex glitch on the FYF Aspire card, so on Friday and Saturday night I went to the front desk to ask them for cash and they charged a 5% fee for it (used to be without a fee but that was before there was an ATM at the hotel). Even with the 5%, it was well worth it obviously.

To summarize my total cost at the Hotel:
I loaded $1500 with Aspire credits (I paid $625 for them) to my room + $500 from our own cards = +$2000
The room upgrade for 3 nights (+2 free nights) was -$950
Kosher food -$190
Limousine transfer RT -$100
Angthong tour -$310
Cash paidout -$380
Other expenses, paidout fees, and adjusting lower exchange rate from early loads -$70
So we spent $625 on our room and got back $380 in cashÖ Not bad!
We also got 20,174 HHonors points for this stay.
(Note that the hotel let me paid only with 6 third party (Aspire) CCís, otherwise I would come out with a positive balanceÖ)
I paid at the front desk the remaining balance with the 2 Aspire cards and went back to the villa to pack our suitcases for our flight the next day to Singapore-MLE.

Offline israshot

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Re: Bangkok, Koh Samui, Singapore and Maldives TR
« Reply #49 on: April 24, 2020, 12:25:29 AM »
BTW, you can also look at my Instagram for my stories for this trip. They are by the highlights, archived by countries.

Offline Dan

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Re: Bangkok, Koh Samui, Singapore and Maldives TR
« Reply #50 on: April 26, 2020, 10:37:30 AM »
Keep it coming please :)
Save your time, I don't answer PM. Post it in the forum and a dedicated DDF'er will get back to you as soon as possible.

Offline Joel

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Re: Bangkok, Koh Samui, Singapore and Maldives TR
« Reply #51 on: April 28, 2020, 01:35:32 PM »
Still kicking myself for not signing up DW as well for the FYF Aspire. Great TR Keep them coming

Offline israshot

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Re: Bangkok, Koh Samui, Singapore and Maldives TR
« Reply #52 on: April 29, 2020, 12:22:48 PM »

Offline israshot

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Re: Bangkok, Koh Samui, Singapore and Maldives TR
« Reply #53 on: May 01, 2020, 05:20:25 PM »
Our flight to Singapore was scheduled at 9:50 AM, with an hour drive we were scheduled to leave the Conrad after 7:30 AM. We heated the breakfast and got juices from the breakfast (Zest). The bellman came to take our luggage and we went to the lobby. Our butler, Natt,  was waiting for us there with a new pair of monogrammed slippers (after housekeeping took them out of the room for cleaningÖ). They gave us again a small star, a lizard and a turtle plush for our daughter. The nice Toyota SUV was waiting for us but we had to wait for them to bring a car seat.

Last morning at the Conrad:


Goodbye:


The stay at the Conrad was really amazing! Besides the fact that they gave us a 2 nights free upgrade to the 2 bedroom villa, they were extremely helpful for everything we needed throughout the stay. Our butler Natt was always here to help us with anything we needed with just a WhatsApp message. She brought us a big case of water bottles at the beginning of the stay and always made sure we have everything we need (I tipped her nicely that day). The staff were always very nice to us and especially with our daughter, sometimes going out of their way to bend and smile at her. The staff at the Turtle (kids) club were really amazing and so kind, although we didnít take much advantage of their free service.
I also forgot to mention that on the 2nd of our stay I bought Diapers and beers from the Tops App, it was very easy to buy (with a US CC) with free delivery and the hotel staff brought it to the room. I knew about this app before leaving the US and was planning on buying diapers locally instead of schlepping them.
We drove about 50 minutes to the airport. This day (February 2nd) was the first day that Singapore banned all travelers that were in China in the past 14 days and the hotel sent me an email to make sure we werenít in China previously. The terminal is open to the outside (a bit like in Kauai) and they have a nice rest area outside between the baggage drop and security.



I asked the lady at the counter to check through our luggage to our final destination (MLE). We had 2 separate tickets to fly to Singapore and then to MLE with 2 different airlines, SilkAir and Singapore Airlines. Since SilkAir is the regional wing of Singapore Airlines I figured it would be easy to check through and we wonít have to take our luggage for our 8 hours layover. Nevertheless, the lady had to make 2 phone calls and another 15 minutes on her computer to get it done.

On the way to security:




After we finished with our luggage I had to exchange all the Bahts I got from the Hotel to USD. The exchange bureau had a really good rate but they were missing some bills so I had to mix some USD and EUR, then I checked the XE app and realized I got the exact exchange rate, go figure.



After security, we went to the Blue Ribbon lounge (Bangkok airways) with our PP card. Since we were a bit late because of the car seat, check through process, and the exchange bureau procedure, we had only 10 minutes to grab fruit and juices and to head to the airplane.








Our flight was half empty and we were seated in the first economy row (bassinet) with 3 seats. The crew were really nice and brought us a plush airplane with their logo. On our short 2 hours flight, we were seated next to a German couple with a toddler, they were the previous months in China working for a german company and spent the past few weeks in Thailand for vacation, now they had to go back to Germany because of the virus.



Approaching SIN airport:


It took only 20 minutes from the time we landed till we were in the Taxi. The army was screening everyone for fever at the airport and someone came to check the temperature of the baby in the stroller.



We booked a cab through Grab, and this time I was able to pay with my US CC (unlike Thailande). We drove 20 minutes to the Jacob Ballas center for SGD $17 (USD $12), to meet my young brother and eat lunch at Awafi restaurant. My brother arrived in Singapore 2 weeks earlier, he came for Shlicus for the year. Although we were planning anyway to transit through Singapore, it was another good reason to be there.

On the way:


At the entrance, someone came to take our temperature and we passed security easily because they knew my brother.



We went to the restaurant upstairs and ordered a Falafel plate (comes with a few Pitas), a chicken salad and Fries. The menu is very limited and the chicken is not so fresh usually, but the Falafel and salad were good and affordable prices. Since we also ordered meals for our Maldives trip through the restaurant, I paid all the balance at once, I paid USD $107 for 4 meals and what we ordered that day.











After lunch we were headed to the Gardens by the bay we had to pay by cash only for the Subway so I withdrew money with my SoFi money card and paid about $5 for 2 tickets RT.



Marina Bay:


#futuretogether exhibition: (very nice at night)






Since it was raining a bit (for 5 minutes), they closed temporarily the Supertree grove. We decided to buy tickets for the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest, we paid SGD $58 for both of us for the admission in both places. It was really worth it to visit them. They have beautiful sculptures and flowers but Iíll let the picture speak for themselves.

Flower Dome:


















Cloud Forest:



















We spent about 45 minutes in each place and walked back to the subway.
We went back to the Jewish center to pick up our frozen meals and took a Grab to the airport. We checked in the carry on with our meals and went to shower at the Ambassador Transit Lounge. The lounge is not of the nicest but was enough to be refreshed from the long day.

Sunflower Garden at Terminal 2:


(our original plan was to spend the night at the Four Season in Singapore and fly Monday morning to MLE. Since we had already a short stay in the Maldives, we decided to spend the night also at the Waldorf Astoria in the Maldives and just tour a bit during the layover. We used a free weekend night for that Sunday night at the hotel and arranged the boat transfer to the hotel at 10:30 PM since they do the Yacht transfer for any flight at any time. I changed our flight and got refunded 50% of the miles and also the change fees were refunded).



We boarded the flight, a few months earlier they changed this route to the Dreamliner instead of the A330, we got again bassinet seats. The crew are really the nicest in the air, even in coach, and they brought us a big amenity bag for our daughter (diapers, Lion kingís plush and a baby bib), itís interesting that on the way back, on Business we didnít get this amenity bag.
The flight of 4 hours went very smoothly, they have lots of programs and a rich selection for kids, and again we got an extra seat next to us.
When we landed, I saw a China Southern aircraft (probably CZ3059/3060 to CMB and then CAN). At the immigration, they handed a paper to everyone about the Coronavirus. It had medical questions and also questions about recent travel to China. It seems to me that they began to ask to fill up this form that same day and maybe we were from the first. The next day (2/3) it was announced in the media that Maldives bans all travelers from China. (I donít know if the travelers from Guangzhou, China were allowed in or were sent back, from what the hotel staff told me later, I believed they werenít allowed in).



While we waited for our luggage to come, 2 guys that didnít speak English approached me to offer some help, I asked them if they were from the hotel and they said yes, although I knew they werenít, I let them help me for a $2 tip. After we passed the customs there was a guy waiting for us with the hotel sign and told us that weíll be the only ones on the Yacht so we are not gonna have any wait time.



After going out of the airport to the fresh air, we waited less than 5 minutes and the Yacht approached the dock. Itís a beautiful large Princess Yacht about 55 ft long with 2 rooms downstairs we sat on the couch on the main deck and they served us fruits and juices.









The bedroom downstairs:


They also took our passports to send a picture to the hotel to make it faster for the check-in. The crew (4) onboard was really nice, they put the Baby Shark music for the baby. It was an hour boat ride, a bit longer than usual because of the rough waves during the night. When we approached the deck there were 5 people from the hotel waiting and waiving from the deck, a warm welcome.
The original price for the boat transfer was $700 (+23%) /P RT and free for children (in 2020 they reduced it to $600 RT++ for new reservations). Because there was an old language in their website until February 15th 2019 (the exact date we reserved 2 of our nights) for $370++ RT, they honored this price for us.
We arrived at midnight to the hotel and the only thing we wanted was to get to our room as soon as possible, we were tired from that long day and it was time to have a good sleep. From the dozens of requests I sent the hotel prior to my arrival was to get an overwater villa in the 100ís, for many reasons that Iíll explain later it was important for me to not be in the 700ís in the north but in the 100ís in the south.



Our butler Shiam brought us to the reception which is next to Peacock Alley and told me that we got a Villa in the 700ísÖ Although the hotel upgraded/downgraded us to the Overwater villa from the standard beach villa for the whole stay, I wasnít happy that they didnít allocate us to the south side. We had to wait for another 40 minutes until we got a room in the 100ís and made it ready. Because it wasnít the room they prepared originally, it was missing the crib, amenity kits, the Kosher wine and welcome fruit basket (they brought all of it later on and the next day). We went to sleep around 2 AM in the gorgeous Villa, more of it in the next installment. When we woke up in the morning we already forgot all about it.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2020, 06:32:57 PM by israshot »

Offline mme

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Re: Bangkok, Koh Samui, Singapore and Maldives TR
« Reply #54 on: May 03, 2020, 12:41:55 AM »
Wow what a TR! can,t wait to see the rest!

Offline ual902

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Re: Bangkok, Koh Samui, Singapore and Maldives TR
« Reply #55 on: May 03, 2020, 03:18:01 AM »
Looks amazing, looking forward  to the rest of the trip report especially the WA Maldives

Offline tavster

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Re: Bangkok, Koh Samui, Singapore and Maldives TR
« Reply #56 on: May 04, 2020, 04:49:19 PM »
Thanks for the detailed report. Can't wait for the rest

Offline Mh1

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Re: Bangkok, Koh Samui, Singapore and Maldives TR
« Reply #57 on: May 04, 2020, 08:25:42 PM »
Incredible TR

Checked out your IG amazing pics

Love how u met up with your brother in far of Singapore

Hope to emulate at least some of this someday

Why did you choose WA over say the St Regis?

Offline israshot

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Re: Bangkok, Koh Samui, Singapore and Maldives TR
« Reply #58 on: May 04, 2020, 08:55:11 PM »
Incredible TR

Checked out your IG amazing pics

Love how u met up with your brother in far of Singapore

Hope to emulate at least some of this someday
Thank you!
Why did you choose WA over say the St Regis?
Maybe next time it will be the StR...
The WA being brand new was for us the main factor. (Add to it: avoiding seaplane with a baby, Getting 60% off my bill, and we got an overwater villa without an upgrade fee).

Offline gotthepoint

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Re: Bangkok, Koh Samui, Singapore and Maldives TR
« Reply #59 on: May 05, 2020, 07:08:44 PM »
Thank you!Maybe next time it will be the StR...
The WA being brand new was for us the main factor. (Add to it: avoiding seaplane with a baby, Getting 60% off my bill, and we got an overwater villa without an upgrade fee).
did you email the manager about the overwater villa?