RHK's annual Asia trip

Oct 21st, 2018, 09:23 AM
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RHK's annual Asia trip

After an absence of almost one year I am returning with this trip report about our annual trip to South East Asia. We are a married couple (51 years) who retired to the Seacoast area of NH in 2016 from the Boston area. We are both seasoned international travelers, who for the last 25 years have a love affair with SEA. We will both turn 75 in January. We travel INDEPENDANTLY, only using agents for some local transportation and guides. Over the last 15 years, since my wife introduced me to Fodors.com, we have used it in combo with Trip Advisor as sources for 85% of our travel info.I (Bob) do 95% of the research and planning and make 100% of the reservations. I use frequent flyer miles as often as possible, currently concentrating on United miles, although in the past I have used Northwest, Delta and American as well. For hotels I always start with Marriott (now a combo of Marriott and Sheraton families) where I have just been elevated this year to Lifetime Platinum Premier Elite (huge benefits). We are firm believers in reservations made well in advance (6 months or more), which in the end usually saves $$. After the initial res I check back often, on-line, to review rate changes. Karen, my wife, researches restaurants and tourist sites.We have made many travel friends over the years, mostly through Fodors. We love nothing more than getting together with these folks both at home and overseas. This Fall we will be joined in SEA by our Fodors friends Peter (HawaiianTraveller) and Linda from Honolulu. For the last several years this has been an annual “date”.So here goes:Months and months ago I made our flight arrangements through United for Boston to Singapore via Munich—a routing I really like to SEA. I chose Singapore because I could not get the connections I wanted to Bangkok—I wanted an A-380 plane for the long haul: 160,000 miles for the 2 of us in coach--we always fly coach. BOS-MUC on Lufthansa and MUC to SIN on Singapore. I made a separate paid Singapore flight, the same day, on to Bangkok. We were to leave BOS on Nov 4.Earlier this summer, Karen had an e-mail from her pen-pal of over 60 years who lives outside London informing her that she has written and will produce a play based on her father’s and grandmother’s lives as vaudeville players. It will be staged one day only on Sept. 27. You guessed it: “Oh, I would love to go….”. So, after a bit of more research and calls to Singapore and United I was able to switch our original flight to a Heathrow to Singapore flight on an A-380 for Oct. 30. Strangely, it cost us each 5000 more miles and a penalty of maybe $150 each for the change. Oh, yes how will we get to London? Norwegian Air has been advertising quite heavily in the Boston area for it’s discount fares to Europe. They have 2 class service from Boston to Gatwick which I prefer over Heathrow. I was afraid of the regular seats so chose their premium class seats at $543. each one way. The planes are brand new 787’s. So now our new trip begins on Oct. 23.This will put us down in Singapore on Oct. 31. I had already built a few days in Singapore for the end of the trip so I needed to come up with an alternative site so as to not disturb the paid SIN-BKK flight. I chose Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia, a charming town we had visited a few years ago and really liked. The famed E&O Hotel was my choice for a hotel, if I could find an affordable room. They have a new annex with suites and studio suites which get killer reviews on TA. I have booked a studio suite for $131 per night—I’m thrilled.I booked connecting flights thru Expedia on Air Asia and Scoot also for a reasonable price. Discount airlines in Asia often have flight delays so I have decided to stay the night in Singapore on Nov 5 before our flight to Bangkok. We will stay in town, rather than at the airport, at the new Marriott Courtyard Novena ($145++).Our 1:10PM flight from SIN to BKK on Singapore Air ($600 r.t) has us finally arriving at Bangkok about 2:30PM.As is our custom we will begin our Bangkok stay at our favorite hotel the Anantara Riverside in a junior suite ($130++). Fantastic rate, without breakfast—our choice. This hotel was a Marriott run property for many years, but changed to Minor Hotels a few years ago. It had a 100% overhaul about 2-3 years ago. We feel the air is cleaner there than in the middle of the city and it’s riverside location is fascinating. They have the nicest ground pool in Bangkok, imo. They offer a free shuttle boat to the Skytrain—rapid transit, every 15 minutes. We usually use taxis however, in order to arrive refreshed at our destination. We will stay there for 7 nights.We have no planned or anticipated activities during this week. I did forget to say that this will be our 22nd trip to Bangkok, so as you might guess we have done most all of the sites at least once if not 5 times.On Nov 13 we will leave the river and move across town to the Marriott Renaissance Hotel ($123 ++) on Plenochit in the middle of the shopping mall area. P&L will join us there in a day or two. My Marriott status will automatically elevate us to an enhanced room and club status (breakfast, tea, unlimited drinks at dinner time, heavy hors d’oeuvres and dessert).

Please join us on this trip, and ask questions if you wish.
rhkkmk is offline  
Oct 21st, 2018, 11:29 AM
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sorry for the closed typing... I will spread out future installments
rhkkmk is offline  
Oct 21st, 2018, 11:56 AM
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I look forward to going along with you on this trip!
Kathie is offline  
Oct 21st, 2018, 01:40 PM
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Bob - I've said it before...I like you're style! I hope to be like you when I grow up.

I stayed at the S'pore Courtyard in January.


Enjoy your trip.
deptrai is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2018, 12:14 AM
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No elephants.....lol.
LancasterLad is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2018, 08:11 AM
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thanks Deptrai

just for the record: LancasterLad never changes

Last edited by moderator8; Oct 22nd, 2018 at 08:52 AM.
rhkkmk is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2018, 09:50 AM
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Looking forward to this new adventure that will also take us to besides Bangkok, Phuo Quoc Vietnam, Luang Prabang, Laos and a return to Hua Hin for elephant rides,,,,, lol not. Sorry RHK I couldn't resist. Counting down the days... see you guys in Bangkok!

hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2018, 04:34 PM
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Have a great time guys,too bad we won’t be able to meet again this year in Bkk, congrats on Marriott lifetime, it make a world of difference in your hotel stay, enjoy all of it
evelyne13 is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2018, 10:34 AM
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Good to see you! We’ve been to Penang twice this year - got back the second time just a few weeks ago. The annex at the E&O is fabulous. If I win that Mega Millions jackpot, we may go live there for a while, lol. I’ll be following along here!
Florida1 is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2018, 11:01 PM
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Florida: I agree about the Victory Annexe which opened in the Spring of 2014. I have stayed in it every year since Jan 2015 and also have a reservation for this upcoming trip. I have them reserve me one of the corner suites. In 2017, they moved the gift shop, from that very dark, small area in the traditional building and put it in the Victory Annexe where there’s lots of sunlight. Plus, the Victory Annexe has the E&O Museum and the great Monica Quen clothing boutique. I really look forward to returning. I’ve watched the transformation over the years.

Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Oct 24th, 2018, 05:11 AM
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Guenmai, we loved that gift shop and have a few souvenirs from it!

Rhkkmk, where did you get that rate for the E & O? (We didn’t win the billion dollar jackpot, so we’ll just have to keep our home here!)
Florida1 is offline  
Oct 24th, 2018, 10:26 AM
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How was the Norwegian Air flight and seats/service to Gatwick?
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Oct 27th, 2018, 03:10 AM
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SO the trip begins... we have wonderful bus service direct from our town to Logan airport in Boston with only 2 stops. It takes just short of 2 hours.

Checkin at Norweigen Air was quick as we were flying their "premium class", a cross between premium economy and business. This class allows you access to their club. Flight was delayed 1 hour because of storms in the area, now 10:20 PM. Seating was 2 X 3 X 2 with comfortable seats with extra

recline and and foot rests. Quite good meals were provided and free drinks, as you would expect. Tons of movies were available for the 5 3/4 hour

flight to London Gatwick. I had a car reserved from Sixt. We ended up with a manual even though I felt that I had ordered automatic--- long story.

On the way to our friend's house in Bexleyheath we stopped for some flowers and some lunch. We arrived to a warm greeting by mid-afternoon.

We had no plans at all for this 6 day stop in England except to attend the musical that K's pen pal of 60 years has written and is producing. The

Story is about her dad and grandmother who appeared in Vaudeville. That will happen this afternoon.

Yesterday was a quiet day and we just hung-out. In the evening we went to a local Indian restaurant for dinner. Today is another lay about day.

Tomorrow we will go out for a traditional Sunday lunch.

Monday we shall move to an hotel at Heathrow so as to be early for our 11AM flight direct to Singapore on Singapore Air (12+ hours). Cattle class.

The weather is bright and sunny here and alternates between warm and a bit chilly.

Tuesday we arrive, rather Wednesday, in the early AM and transfer to Air Asia for a short flight to Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia arriving mid-after-

noon. We will stay for 5 nights at the famed E and O Hotel in a small suite in their newish Annex overlooking the sea.

To be continued...
rhkkmk is offline  
Oct 27th, 2018, 06:17 PM
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Bright and sunny near Lonfon?! Great! Enjoy the weather, your next several days there, and the rest of your trip!
P.s. There are elephants at Regents Park Zoo 😁
CaliNurse is offline  
Oct 28th, 2018, 11:58 AM
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FLA-- rate originally seen months ago on Expedia, but booked directly with hotel... special rate...

The play yesterday was great fun, and very British.

Today alternated between sun and rain. At 2 we went out for a Sunday lunch at a lovely old mansion nearby.

Tomorrow we head to Heathrow, stopping in Oxted to have lunch with some friends, and then fly off to Singapore.

Nex installment from Penang
rhkkmk is offline  
Oct 28th, 2018, 12:30 PM
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Lucky you to get that rate, then! Breakfast on their patio overlooking the water is one of my all time favorite memories.

Sonething a little different we enjoyed this last trip to Penang was up in the NW corner of the island, called Art & Garden. It’s a garden with sculptures scattered around a tropical garden on the hillside. It was very beautiful. You’d have to take a taxi to get there.

Hope the flight to Penang goes smoothly! I’ll be watching for your reports from there!
Florida1 is offline  
Oct 28th, 2018, 04:39 PM
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Joining you on this adventure.
Treesa is offline  
Oct 29th, 2018, 11:01 AM
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So tomorrow the Asia trip actually begins... Singapore Air to Singapore (12+ hours), A-380..
A few hours at the airport and a change of terminals, and then on to PENANG, Malaysia on Air Asia.

England was a pleasant stop visiting old friends and renewing my mastery of a stick shift. Great little car for 2, the Skoda Rapid.

I want to beat K by telling you first of my already accomplished 2 blunders... When I ordered the car I ordered automatic, but it seems it was recorded as a manual???? My fault for sure. Sixt tried to upsell me at twice the cost..... NO.
Next was worse... my shoes were bothering me--new, so I decided to wear some sandals. Nope... I brought 2 left foot sandals (I own two of the same pairs).. BUT, luckily P and L don't leave till next week so Tabitha Fed-Exed them a right foot sandal today so I will have it on 16th. BT W, K did pack the two wrong ones...
I have been wearing stripped espadrilles... ODD?.

Off to a well known Indian Restaurant shortly-- Simpson Tandoori in West Drayton, a few miles from Heathrow where we are spending the night in the Hilton Garden Inn-- newish and near to terminal 2.... across the road from Sixt, so very convenient for us.

Let's see if we can post some pics.
rhkkmk is offline  
Oct 29th, 2018, 11:24 AM
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Two left sandals? Better than two left feet, I guess. LOL
Kathie is offline  
Oct 29th, 2018, 11:35 AM
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You must look like a ducky in the espadrilles. You know I am following along.
benitakaren is offline  

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