Author Topic: CBS Travels  (Read 8646 times)

Offline Cbs

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CBS Travels
« on: June 30, 2013, 04:42:43 AM »
Hi Everyone!

I have decided it's about time for my own thread that talks about my travels (hey why should i be any different and not open threads :P )

B"H ive managed to travel around the world in many diff countries, and lived in a few exotic places for more then a few weeks at time and i have many many Trip reports that are scattered around the forums. I've decided to put everything in one thread and in the wiki i will put links to my TR's that are scattered around, and when someone asks for info on a place ive been in a diff thread i will quote here. -

Enjoy, Ask questions, and if you want some pics - i have plenty so just ask for whichever place it may be and ill be sure to post some.

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Re: CBS Travels
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2013, 04:47:03 AM »
PART 1 - AROUND THE WORLD

3 days before before i flew i decided where I'm gonna go, and started the search on United.com for some mileage tickets. Many hours later and lots of searching i found the trip i wanted all in business class and booked!

LGA-ORD-LHR (1 hour stop in Ord)  - Flew United. The flight to Chicago was uneventful. Lounge in ord was decent. The Flight to London was a night flight with lie Flat seats. Everything was perfect until the meal when they told me they checked every cart 3 times for my Kosher meal but it was no where to be found. This was after i confirmed 3 times with them that they had it. They kept on apologizing and giving me fruits. Anyway, i got a few hour sleep to be refreshed for a full day in London.

London
Landed at 11am. i had to pick up my baggage because i was staying for 24 hours and i dropped it off at the baggage center for 8.50 pounds. Took the Underground Tube to town for 8 pounds - All Day pass - Stayed at a relative and hung out there for most of the day, since i already was in London (see TR for details) i didn't go around much. Towards eve i went to Oxford Circus and walked around the rainy streets and window shopped, then sat at starbucks for a while (Free starbucks :) ) then headed to Golders Green for Dinner. Ate at Whitehouse Express. I can't say it was amazing but it was nice. Later on that night i went back to GG and had some appetizers at a restaurant across Whitehouse (to the left ) and it was amazing! Next morning took the tube back to airport. Star Alliance lounge was ok as well.

Munich
2 hr flight - Business Class was very big and empty. The seats were not much better then Economy seats just more legroom and none sitting in the middle seats (setup was 3-3) i went to the Exit row in Business which had Unlimited leg room! it was like 3 rows missing. i fell asleep right away, the stewardess gave me a pillow and blanket, and didn't wake me for the kosher meal. i needed the sleep more then the food.
There was no arrival lounge. 6 hour Stopover - I waited an hour in starbucks for my friend to land. Headed to the info desk and got Day passes for Public transportation - Companion pass is 20 Eur. -  Took the train into tain, walked around center a bit then took the bus to a kosher small supermarket. We meant to go to Chabad but we went to the store instead then we realized that we didn't have enough time to go to Chabad, so we went straight to the kosher restaurant that is in the same place as a big jewish museum and shul and we had steak and duck there. quite expensive for the quality of the food which wasn't that great. i didn't like the duck steak it was quite tasteless. Although the appetizer, the Chummus with shwarma on top and warm pita hit the spot!
Back to Airport - Sat in Senators Lounge. Took a nice hot shower (really good showers) and a had a cold beer. Then i realized something was wrong with one of my connecting flights and it didn't issue, so i tried calling united over the internet but they put me on hold and i had to run to my flight so i quickly PM'd some members of the forums and they really helped! Big thanx to SGF from the forums for calling and reissuing the ticket.

Dubai
Flight was nice. Angle lie beds - Kosher food was Horrible, Dry Shnitzel and dry rice, horrible side dishes…..
i caught a few hours of sleep and we landed at 6:45am. I was nervous the whole way what would be and how safe it is etc with all my israeli passport stamps and visa. When we got to border control, everything went Extremely smooth. Obviously i wore a cap and tucked in my Tzitzis. The patrol arab didn't say boo. was very nice and smooth. We then walked out to find a place to leave our hand luggage for the day, and find some wifi. Good luck finding wifi. Starbucks doesn't have and everything else is locked. If you walk outside and make a left then theres a luggage place if you want to pay to keep your stuff there. Only Cash and only Dirhems no dollars. its a few dollars per bag.
We got a map and started asking ppl directions to diff places. people were very nice and helpful, i didn't feel nervous for a moment. We took the train from the airport to the Deira City center mall like 2 stops down (4 dirhems each ) and walked across the street to get to the mall. Don't eat or drink on the train or you'll get a 100 Dirhem fine like i almost did!The place is beautiful and clean! I've never seen a cleaner place. It was very hot so we had to drink a lot of water.
At the other end of the mall we found the Big Tour Hop-on Hop-off double decker buses , which were around $70 a person for a full day and it was well worth it. there are 2 lines and we stayed mainly on the Blue line which you see all the main attractions. By every stop you can get off and a bus will come 20 min later. most times we stayed for an hour on the stops we got off of. At a point we thought we were smart and we started walking to the next stop, it was SOOO hot and long, i regretted that decision
Attractions: We went to a famous mosque right in the beginning of the tour, (there are mosques every second corner and beautiful ones.) we took a tour of the mosque which was interesting but we didn't stay for Q&A part. We went to a reply nice park, Jumeira Beach Park and sat for lunch, we saw the Burj Al Arab which they claim to be a 7 star hotel but you can't enter unless you have a reservation. theres a nice unique antique shopping center near there. - In general there are malls everywhere - we went to the mall the had indoor skiing. We went to Palm Island which is very nice and theres a huge Aquarium there which cost around $10 pp but if you go to the mall thats near the tallest building you can see a cool one for free.  - then headed to the Tallest Building in the World called the Burj Khalifa. - the lines were big and we didn't have reservations, so we had to pay the $100 pp to go up to the top and it cuts the lines. But if you reserve early then its only $30. it was really cool! (not worth 100 though) . Afterwards we went to see the Dancing water fountain thats in the mall there every half hour with arab music etc.. then Headed to airport.
Thai airways Lounge was quite small, but nice to sit down with some wifi.  - then we got a ride on the go cart to the gate.

Chiang Mai, Thailand
We flew Thai business to Bangkok and connected on another big jet to CNX. The flight was nice and peaceful. The food wasn't good. they sent a kosher meal from Bangkok Air Catering (fish meal for some reason). The second flight was also nice and short, and the kosher meal was a Green apple with some grapes and water.
Landing in CNX, they offer Sim cards which i didn't take since i needed a micro sim. We took a metered taxi to Chabad for 95 baht and 50 baht airport surcharge.. The Chabad Shliach is very helpful there, told us where we can find a nice cheap hotel that was down the block. we paid 700 baht a night. The food there is pretty good and cheap as well. We then went next door to an israeli Travel agent named Yisrael who helped us a lot with all the trip arrangements.
Day 1: Zip lining. Really cool place called "Flying Squirrel" its the same as Flight of the Gibbon - if you go to CNX this is a must! Cost: 1800 baht
Day 2: Tiger Kingdom in the morning which is a must - and Repelling (or snapling as israelis call it) down some cool water falls with a small hike and climb up white rocks while water rushing down - pretty cool - Cost: around 1000 baht (don't remember exactly) + a few hundred baht at tigers.
Day 3 :Shabbos is really nice at CNX - Free shabbos meals with a suggested donation obviously.
Day 4:  Ordchid farms/Bamboo rafting/elephant riding/long neck tribes/(white) water rafting - IMO it was quite lame. the elephants and long next is cool but thats about it. everything else a waste of time - Cost: 1000 baht
off to USM for pesach!  Taxi pick up truck - 100 baht or so . The next few flights i bought seperatly since i couldn't get it included in the mileage ticket for the same price.

Koa Samui, Thailand
Since we procrastinated, and we wanted to have a full day on sunday in CNX, there weren't too many options to fly to USM and get in before Yom Tov starts Monday night. - With the help of Yisrael the travel agent we found an itin. - Sunday night we flew on Thai air to BKK, slept over night there and left at 4:30am for a 6am flight out of DMK - Taxis were 240 thb + 70 for tolls and to DMK was 200 baht all on meter. We flew Nok Air. Since they're not with Star Alliance and they're very picky on weight allowance, we left some bags by Chabad of BKK with the help of the bochurim there. From DMK flew to Nakhon Si Thammarat (NST), but for some reason i though we were going to Suratthani. (URT) so i got in line for that flight and scanned ticket and they let me board!! - on the way down the sleeve the Attendants Ran after us saying its the wrong flight !! Thank G-d since it was erev YT!
Anyway, at NST - which looks like a backyard - we boarded a bus, duration 1:30 , to the pier and took a high speed big boat for another hour + to USM. On the boat it came time for Biur Chametz, so i gathered all chametz i had and threw it off into the sea :)
Took a tuk tuk to Chabad for 100 baht each but it took forever! and they make a lot of stops (not recommendable)
We stayed at Chabad for the whole week and we helped them make 2 massive sdorim 450ppl each!
Chol Hamoed trips:
Day 1 : took a day trip to Koh Nangyuan and Koh Tao, for some amazing snorkeling and beaches! bring lots of sun tan lotion, water, sunglasses and a cap - its VERY hot. - cost 1500 baht from the tour guy across from chabad.
Day 2: Rented mopeds from the same guy for 250thb a day and went all over the island, saw the nice hotels, W , Four seasons etc (didn't make it to the conrad)
Motzei Shabbos Flew to BKK from USM on Bangkok air for the last days of pesach - Used priority pass for the lounge

Bangkok, Thailand
First night stayed at a guest house for 600 baht a night called Green house. Didn't like it. - Walked around the city a bit. found a nice small hotel called buddy inn for 1200 baht a night. Spent 2 days yom tov there. On isru Chag we went to the floating market - bought tickets by Hamercaz Hametayel near chabad. - then headed to BKK w/ flight to HKT on Thai Air.

Phuket - Phi phi, Thailand
Found a hotel next door to chabad called Tune Hotel. 700 baht a night. great beds, showers and A/C. Small rooms
Right away we went to a lady that does tours and close with chabad, we booked the 7 islands trip which includes Koh phi phi , maya bay, monkey beach and others. It was very nice and costed about 1000 Baht
Next day flew to Singapore on Tiger air.

Singapore
My second time in SIN so i didn't look for attractions much. Took a taxi to Waterloo st. where the Chabad center is at. Had a decent meal at the restaurant, stayed by a friend. Spent Shabbos there. On Sunday went around to Marina Bay sands, shopping, also went Cable Water skiing with a few friends that live there. Monday off to Istanbul
Flew on SQ business, which i enjoyed. The food was not bad. Had a layover in Dhaka, Bangladesh which was the nastiest airport I've ever been to! it smelled and it looked like a subway station. We didn't have our TK boarding passes so someone took our passports and went to get them for us, at that point i thought to myself i may stay here forever! In any case we got it back and they walked to us to some dingy lounge, where the fruit and food looked old……..2 long hours later, boarded TK business which was nice and empty. i slept most of the way.

Istanbul, Israel, Frankfurt - to Come ....and how i got Moved to first Class LH without cost!
« Last Edit: June 30, 2013, 07:16:02 AM by Chaikel »

Offline rots5

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Re: CBS Travels
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2013, 06:48:25 AM »
Wow. Great write up.
If you have any questions please search and then ask. PM me for detailed help.

Offline Jkhein

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Re: CBS Travels
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2013, 07:01:24 AM »
Wow nice!

Offline mendoul

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Re: CBS Travels
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2013, 07:28:10 AM »
cool start with asia now ;)
mendy

Offline Cbs

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Re: CBS Travels
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2013, 07:57:54 AM »
cool start with asia now ;)
which part of asia?

Offline mendoul

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Re: CBS Travels
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2013, 08:08:30 AM »
china
mendy

Offline chucksterace

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Re: CBS Travels
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2013, 08:14:50 AM »
No Warsaw report? Would have been handy for me in the next few weeks, :(
You may not hold me responsible or liable for any actions taken that was recommended from my account or username.

Offline Cbs

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Re: CBS Travels
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2013, 08:57:59 AM »
china
its gonna be tought to remember all. ill try though.

No Warsaw report? Would have been handy for me in the next few weeks, :(
i wish i was there to help you

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Re: CBS Travels
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2014, 12:52:48 AM »
South Africa

Thanks to Dansdeals, I managed to catch the gitch in November from united and booked to go for a week and a half to South Africa For $480 round trip in March.

Now on my way back on this long flight typing up this TR. - (Wrote this in March on plane ride back)

Cape Town

SUNDAY:
Departed EWR on United to FRA with a 12 hour stop, rented a car, drove around, sat in starbucks went to top of building with a nice veiw of city, did nothing much in FRA then headed to airport, showered in Lufthansa business lounge , which i accessed with my united club card (not the CC, but the card that comes with it )then flew Lufthansa to JNB. Landed tuesday morning .

TUESDAY:
Booked a separate flight from JNB to CPT , so right when we to to JNB we took a Kulula flight to CPT. -before we left for CPT we went to the phone store in airport and got sim cards with data and that was our gps and internet for the trip. I was very lucky because my passport was just about full and they require an empty page in passport, so they almost sent me back but she made an BIG exception and let me in.
After a little delay we made it to CPT at about 3pm. Very sunny and nice weather.


Accommodations - we rented a house on airbnb.com which was really nice, not too expensive and great location. it was in Gardens suburb , not too far from the water and the mountains. great views.
Transportation - we rented a car from Avis which was quite cheap (especially since it was manual). its really nice that you can park anywhere without having to pay meters. the only thing is that theres a “parking committee” and they watch your cars officially and its nice to tip them a few rand before you pull out .
Food - its really nice that there are lots of kosher products in South africa, just look for the beis Din sign . - There isn’t really cholov yisrael though. we ate a meal at the meat restaurant called Avrons. Food was decent , nothing to rave about . but defenitly not expensive -For breakfast we ate at the restaurant thats in the campus of the Gardens shul which is near the holocost museum. I also have relatives in CPT so i got invited there as well for some meals


Attractions:  First day we were knocked out so we just ate and headed to bed.

WEDNESDAY
Waterfront - is a nice place in sea point area which has a nice walk path and some shops
Cape point - its about an hour and half drive from city and its a beautiful drive . When you get down there theres an entrance fee as its a national park. then you can either climb up the path which we did , takes 20 min approx and go to the lighthouse - Gorgeous views. Thats the spot where the atlantic and the indian ocean meet . we then took the cable cart down which cost about 50 rand -
Table top Mountain - Drove back through the a Chapmans Peak scenic route. AMAZING drive - it has a little toll there . and you must pay in cash. Most of SA you can pay with CC. We took the cable cart up to table top, theres a fee for that , and its really nice there. i recommend going when you have time and spend an hour or so up there. - theres a bar and snacks there. and then you can take a walk to the other side of the mountain and see extraordinary views.

THURSDAY
Lions Head - We climbed up the mountain. its not a hard Clim but i can’t say its so easy . -although we did see some kids going with their parents. No fee . It takes about 45-50 mi without stopping. but we stopped and took some pics as its amazing up there. so it took 1:20 hr to climb up and 45 min down  Make sure to put lots of sunscreen and bring  a bottle of water or 2 and preserve it . dont just pound it down , you’ll need it - On top of the mountain is BEAUTIFUL . one of the nicest Places I’ve seen and i love CPT for this .
Paragliding  - we wanted to do but there was no wind so we couldn’t
-skydiving - was over booked so we couldldnt go  -(recommended)
camps bay -its a beautiful beach front with nice mountain views - 12 apostles .
Blouberg - Is a nice 25-30 min drive from Sea point with a nice views of table top from a far. You can also go to the beach there and watch some amazing kite surfing on a nice windy day

We then Took a 10pm flight to JNB which landed 12 midnight , rented an automatic car from Hertz (prepaid weekly rate) and headed to a relative where i stayed for the remainder of my JNB stay .

Johannesburg

Things to Know: JNB isn’t dangerous if you don’t act stupid and are aware of your surroundings. Driving at night is fine. if you get to a red and you see people there (we didn’t ) and no cops around then its recommended to take the red . All houses are gated, with high level security. but when you are there especially in middle of day you don’t feel threatened. There are lots of jewish people living there and many good CHEAP kosher restaurants / bakeries/ butchery / supermarkets there.


FRIDAY
Soweto - we paid about 500 ZAR for a tour of soweto township, which is interesting if you want to see how the africans live and some background history and tour of Nelson Mandelo first house. 
Then we just went to the butchery and some other supermarkets to get some food.

SHABBOS
Friday night at Sydenham Shul , if you like a nice choir thats the place to go, shabbos day had a nice lunch there.
Shabbos day we davened by Chabad Torah Academy which is a 10 minute walk from Sydenham.
Motzei Shabbos we ate at a place called The Deli in sandton .you can practically eat a cow for a few dollars. :) Steaks are $15-20 and appetizers are cheap.

Kruger

SUNDAY - MONDAY - TUESDAY
Things to know: Very important that you get a big car, like a jeep or SUV or pick up truck or van. It must be booked in advance because they don’t have those cars when you land. We made a mistake and had a midsize car. The problem is that a lot of the grass in Kruger is tall and you can’t see above it or in it .
Book accommodation in advance as well. we were lucky and booked thursday and got the last 2 spots in 2 camps .
You can either stay in one camp for your whole stay or stay in different places and drive to the other one throughout the day  . The drives between camps are between 1.5-3 or 4 hours depending how you drive.
Speed limit is max 50 KMH - if you go slow you will see things. BE PATIENT. you may drive an hour or 2 and not see anything but its all about luck
We saw the BIG 5 twice during our 2.5 days there (besides the rhino only once from far)
We stayed in Satara first night and Skukuza the second night. - I recommend both , but skukuza is more central and more popular. - theres also lower sabie which we couldn’t go because was booked and because of the rains some roads were closed there.
 
Tuesday night we flew back to NY (on taanis Esther! )

Pics coming up in next posts

Offline Cbs

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Re: CBS Travels
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2014, 01:02:19 AM »
All pics taken by me with Canon Rebel T5i

1. Lioness

2. Blue Bird

3. Lion

4. Leopord
« Last Edit: July 06, 2014, 01:10:10 AM by Cbs »

Offline joey123

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Re: CBS Travels
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2014, 01:05:33 AM »
Wow! These are amazing pics. I especially like photos #1 and #3
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Re: CBS Travels
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2014, 01:06:58 AM »
What's that lion eating ? 3rd pic

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Re: CBS Travels
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2014, 01:08:58 AM »
What's that lion eating ? 3rd pic

Looks like some sort of raw meat to me.
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Offline Cbs

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Re: CBS Travels
« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2014, 01:11:50 AM »
1. Lion Eating Fresh Kudu

2. Zebra Traffic

3. Cheeta

4. Snake