quantas business class SYD-MEL, quantas business domestic lounge

quantas flight syd-mel business class:

cost: booked with avios, ? cheaper than paying economy. Lots of availability Avios is great for booking flight inside Australia, as the cost cash is always much higher than the points award redemptions.

quantas business class lounge is actually hidden at the back of their normal “CLUB” lounge, accessible ONLY for business and high tier frequent flyers. The “club” lounge is accessible for anyone holding a quantas club paid card.

view from lounge:

20150128_08552820150128_08553420150128_085542

 

 

quantas flight and meal for a short 1 hour flight:

20150128_123936 20150128_124549

Flight TG first BKK-SYD 747, PRIVATE flight

once again, we were the ONLY ones booked for first class flight from bkk-syd, on the tg 747 airplane.

We had the whole first class cabin to play with, eat at one seat, sleep on another one. The thai crew always seemed to love serving us when we are the only ones in the first class cabin. I think maybe because we are not fuzzy or demanding: no alcohol (even with all the free dom perignom), no caviar for my travel partner. They always had to make sure to ask many times that we do not want caviar or champagne… Sometimes, we wish we can just randomly ask someone in the economy cabin to come and dine with us to enjoy the dom perignom and caviar (send me a PM next time !)

cost: part of the 140000 points usairways round the world australia trip

food: 8/10 surprisingly good. we normally do not expect much when flying on an older 747 airplane. Maybe the food was good because it depart from bkk airport, their main airport?

we also PRE-ORDER the lobster. You have the option of pre-ordering special food at least 48 hours prior the flight to get meals like lobster, thai set meals etc. ONLY for thai first class passengers. When the flight is not full, if you do not like the meal you pre-order, the crew have no problem cooking you the pre set meal in the menu.

20150127_175310 20150127_175314 20150127_190115 20150127_190848 20150127_190912 20150127_191016 20150127_152209 20150127_192737 20150127_192133 20150127_152213 20150127_193846 20150127_195208 20150127_193852 20150128_020516 20150127_152155 20150127_152158

service: 10/10 exceptional crew this time. Before, the past few year, TG thai first was very variable, sometimes good, sometimes blah. So far this year (2015), the service on the first class thai was quite consistent across the airplane (747 to a380 flagship)

seat: even if older than their new a380 mini suites, I really like this seat (when it is private flight with no one else), as this seat is quite roomy width wise when you sleep. The IFE entertainment is older. There are 2 bathroom just for us.

20150204_102847

 

 

 

Bangkok massages : THAI airways royal orchid spa, and health land spa

One of the reasons why we always prefer to transit though BKK when flying somewhere in Asia: the free one hour massages for first class TG thai passengers.

As F TG passenger: you area allowed to get 1 hour either full body aromatherapy massages, or neck and shoulder 30 min + 30 min of legs massages for free, at their dedicated royal thai spa located right in front of the first class lounge.

as a business class passenger, you are allowed 1x 30 min massages, either legs, or shoulder.

It is ONLY for thai airways passengers. So if you are flying first with Lufthansa, or business class with singapore airlines or any other airlines, you do NOT have access to the thai spa in bkk airport. If flying with other airlines, you do have access to the lounge, but not the spa.

It always surprised me how many people did not know that rule, and every few minutes, the staff had to turn people away as they are not flying thai.

That is why we always try to book with thai airways when we fly through BKK.

If you have some time to go into the Bangkok town, our usual favorite and cheap spa is: health land spa

450thb for 2 hour of thai massage ! or 4000 thb ($122usd) for 2 hour of 4 (yes four !) hand synchronized massage. If you have not experienced 4 hand massage, you need to try it in Thailand (cheaper, better).

Remember to tip accordingly to better represent your country: they are not very well paid relatively (the only reason why those ladies ask you where you are from, before starting the massage, is to see how generous you may be !! They do not speak English very well, and they really prefer not to talk to you !!). The thai massage therapist are the best in the world: their hands are so small, but yet so powerful.

The weird thing with health land spa is if you call them directly to book, they are always fully booked. BUT if you ask the hotel concierge to call for you, it is almost always available.

 

W hotel Bangkok, wow one bedroom suite upgrades

We booked a one night stay at w Bangkok, for around $70 usd. jan 2015

location: near the silom area, party area. VERY close to the health land Bangkok sathorn spa. That was the main reason why we booked W this time: to be able to go for thai massage at night time, AND a full body 4 hand massage the morning (we usually stay at st regis bkk: as it is closer to the NARA thai restaurants and the shopping centre)

It is amazing to see how many pretty people this W hotel attract as clientele. The sexy ladies kept on taking selfies pictures in the lobby and bar of W hotel. It must be a hot spot that we were not aware off?

we were upgraded to the Wow suite, as we were both spg platinum

BED: 9/10 very comfy

ROOM: 9/10 while nice, the air inside was stuffy

mini bar: 10/10 as it is NOT on a scale. I hate fridges that are on an automatic scale: useless, we cannot put anything of ours in there.

20150127_125632

bathroom: 10/10. convenient, big, well designed, water pressure very strong, (which is always important after a flight).

The amenities of W hotel is actually usable and good enough to bring home (expensive full size bliss).

20150126_171841 20150126_171828

Other hotels, like Fairmont, Conrad, park hyatt etc, used weird soap and shampoo that dehydrate your skin, even if they used big names: bulgari,, hermes etc… all brands names but really useless (worst is Fairmont hotels: whenever we stay at a Fairmont hotel, we have to make sure to bring our own cheap ivory and pantene soap)

20150126_171938 20150126_171806 20150126_171810 20150126_171816 20150126_171823 20150126_171901 20150126_171912 20150126_171926

 

w hotel breakfast: well presentation: lot of food, good selection and taste:

20150127_093801 20150127_093844 20150127_093852 20150127_093857 20150127_093901 20150127_094327 20150127_094915 20150127_094917 20150127_093743 20150127_093745 20150127_093747

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TG thai business class MNL to BKK

We had only 40 minutes from the moment we enter the mnl airport to the flight’s departure time. 40 min to clear 1st secutirt for the bags, then check in, then pay the airport fee, then clear customs, then clear security again…

but we managed to catch the flight.

What was the reason why we were late: well the flight from Palawan ENI with ITI airline was delayed, then it took them forever to bring the luggage to the ITI private terminal (they bring it on a cart by hand).

Then we had to drive from the ITI private terminal to the international terminal. Even if on the map it is very close (2-3 kms), it still took us a good 30 minutes by PRIVATE BMW7 series that we prebooked with raffles hotel before.

Before, we were not too happy to learn that ITI had a bus services for only $30 usd, as we paid $100 for the BMW7 service.  (see iti air Palawan post). When we saw the traffic, and the fact that we actually made it to the airport on time, (as the ITI bus had to make many stops before going to the right international terminal), we were so glad we went with the private raffles hotel transfer service !!

It is still amazing that we were able to check in 30 min before departure, clear customs, 2x security etc in any airport. (even if we had 40 min from the time we enter the doors of the airport) we wasted 10 min at the first security check, as they did not know what to do with all our dive gear.

at manila airport, TG waiting and departure area have a DISTINCT separate waiting area and seats for priority customers (first time we saw this anywhere in the world). Normally, the departure area only have a separate line for priority boarding, not a completely separate seating area as well.

The flight TG is 3 hour mnl-bkk, on an business recliner, non lie flat.

seats: 7/10 considering short flight, recliners style. nothing special to take pictures off.

food: 6/10. not as good as SQf Fisrt class sin-mnl, not as good as a380 F TG

entertainment: 5/10 was on an older system

REMEMBER that even if thai FA do not distribute fast track pass anymore for customs, as a Thai aiways business or first class passenger, you have access to the “hidden” premium line to clear customs. There is NO clear signs at the BKK airport, just follow the premium and APEC / diplomatic line. If a staff stop you before, just show them the business boarding pass. ONLY when you made it to the officers, that there is a small sign that say thai business and first class premium customs line.

We saw a lot of business class TG passengers unaware of the premium line…

Thai air menu:

20150126_130747 20150126_130729

Singapore first class SIN to MNL

We took Singapore 77w flight from Sin to mnl. Cost: 37000 points. (cash cost: 37000 x 0.015 usd): flying first class and cheaper than paying directly cash for economy seats.

it depart at terminal2, so no access to the private lounge SQ first. We did have access to the SQ first lounge in the morning. As usual, the food selection in the lounge is very good, fresh noodles, food serves on Givenchy plates etc..

The flights is only 3 hour from sin to manila Philippine. Even on a short flight, we had the full Singapore first class services: hot towels, full meals, even had time for s quick sleep on the bed.

There are only 8 First seats on that flight. SIN-MNL sq first is the easiest way and cheapest way to experience SQ first. The availability of award is wide open, and you still have access to the first class dedicated check in, lounges at Singapore. We booked this flight relatively late, and were still able to get first class seats awards.

FOOD: 9/10 SQ f is usually always very good.

Service: 10/10: Sq F is always quite consistent, service without being too intrusive, fast while being discreet.

Seat: while very wide, the seat is not my favorite when watching a movie: it does not offer good support for the legs when in recline position.

TV: it used to be that sq F tv are the best, but with newer tv with better contrast, the old 77w tv are now look outdated compared to other airlines (even compared to air canada business class).

20150121_110752 20150121_082549 20150121_092059 20150121_092103 20150121_092107 20150121_092112 20150121_092119 20150121_093329 20150121_093403 20150121_093549 20150121_093555 20150121_093605 20150121_093619 20150121_103305 20150121_104532

Raffles makati hotel, manila, Philippine, one bedroom executive suite upgrade

Because we had to stay one night in manila before heading out to palawan resort, we choose raffles makati.

We needed to have 5 nights in a calendar year in a fairmont hotel in order to keep FPC fairmont platinum status for one person. Raffles stay count as a valid night, even if it is not fairmont hotel.

Raffles makati is a new all suite hotel.

We arrrived at the hotel by normal taxi. They had 4 security personal inspecting the taxi, wearing assault military type weapons! They even had a dog sniffing the taxi, and our luggage before letting us in the lobby.

cost: $500. benefits: FPC platinum status is sometimes informally recognized. We had  an executive suite one bedroom upgrades (we booked the cheapest, junior suites). The price includes breakfasts, AND 2 x 90 minutes full body massage for 2 at the fairmont spa. ( the massages alone costs$400 normally at any fairmont spa)

The one bedroom executive suite is huge, with formal dining room, formal living room, an entrance foyer, butler, bathroom for guest, and bedroom and full bathroom in the back.

living room and dining room:

20150121_141942 20150121_142059 20150121_142509 20150121_142529 20150121_142547

20150121_141911 20150121_141922 20150121_141942

20150121_142540

FREE fruits: philippine mangoes are the BEST in the world:

20150121_141959

Nice selection of teas and coffee:

20150121_142006

 

more free wine, cheese and nuts:

20150121_165630

a dedicated ipad and cell phone chargers: able to charge old ipads, new lightning ipads, mini usb etc:

20150121_143513

 

entrance foyer:

20150121_141850

 

 

3d underwater photo diving @ conrad maldives, nov 2014

here are some of your 3d photos underwater for divers that went end nov 2014 at conrad maldives

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD 3D PHOTOS UNDERWATER MALDIVES NOV 2014

i always like to take 3d pictures of divers, (as i have so many 3d pictures of fish already), so next time you see me or recognize me, please feel free to pose! (send me PM or email to meet up on the next dive destination). It is always so cool to see yourself in 3d underwater!

how to view 3d? you need to download all the MPO files, put the mpo files in usb stick

then upload to playstation 3 or 4, OR plug the usb stick directly into a 3d blue ray player, OR directly into a 3d tv. It should detect the format MPO file and play 3d accordingly.

for PS3, and other sony blue ray (sony is weird that way, only files put in specific folders name, in order can be read by sony devices) you need to download the free ps3 app from sony: playmemories studio.

Then put the MPO files in the usb stick in this order: (create DCIM folder, Create 123_RAJA subfolder)

If you have a passive 4k 3d tv, and is able to view all the glorious pixel in that tv, let me know if you enjoyed the 3d underwater photos on a 4k tv! The underwater world IS made for 3d pictures.

I have a lot more better 3d underwater pictures, better lightning, better composition and subjects. However, they are private until i can find a way to create a blue ray and sell the disc to raise 100% of the money for a charity devoted to ocean reef conservation. If you are willing to help, let me know.

NARA thai, bangkok restaurant

we always eat a lot of times at nara whenever we are in BKK.

located in basement of erawan shopping, under grand hyatt erawan hotel. you are in bkk? you HAVE to eat at nara, simple as that.

do not go to tourist recommended restaurants by hotels.

even our first class FA TG thai was surprised to have heard and tried nara this month. Thai people do not normally spend a LOT of money (relatively to their currency and income) at a thai restaurant. But this restaurant is the exception: there is always lots of thai people at lunch.

For us, nara is always consistent, good food, good prices compared to NA standards

they used to have only once small location years ago, but now they expanded and it si much bigger, and they have 2 more location in BKK. They opened a franchise in singapore this year 2014 (not as good as bkk)

what to order:

must: tom yum soup

20141205_153338

soft shell crabs:

20141205_153650 20141123_144612

 

lemongrass seabass: eating this dish will awaken all your senses. It will make you feel alive for a reason. All the spices, all the flavors exploding in your mouth:

20141123_144509 20141123_144609

 

Grouper  or seabass with their famous green lime herb fish sauce: (we even bought this sauce to go)

20141122_164843 20141124_182023 20150126_193426

20150126_193650 20150204_175631 20150204_175620 20150204_175601 20150204_181014 20150204_180621 20150204_180616 20150204_175637

 

 

optional but still very good: (if you still have space in your tummy)

20141123_145638 20141123_145635 20141123_144713