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A hasty decision based on the unknown.

A hasty decision based on the unknown.

Old Mar 22, 11, 4:29 am
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Trip Report: A hasty decision based on the unknown. AUH/KUL/HKT/JKT/ BKK/AUH

Hello All ...

This is my first trip report so go easy on me ...

I have no pics as to be honest, I was not planning on writing a trip report, however after the events transpired, I decided that maybe you lovely FT'ers may like to hear about it ... So here goes ...

As it was coming up to our two year anniversary, the better half and I decided to take a trip. As a note, I work in the travel industry, so all of the booking/deciding on both flights and hotels is left to me, and he just pays ... Result!

Better half had never been to Thailand, so I chose this as our primary destination from Abu Dhabi. Looking into flights, I could not get decent fares into and out of BKK from AUH, so decided in my infinate wisdom (in hindsight a error? I shall leave that for you to decide) to throw in a couple of side trips, thats always interesting right? Little did i know what was in store for us

So with fingers of fire, and added excitement in my tummy, I proceeded to book us AUH-KUL on EY Pearl Business Class, a couple of days in KUL then onto HKT with AirAsia (J to LCC aaargh). Back from HKT-JKT with AirAsia (can you see whats coming yet?!) a couple of days there, then back to AUH with EY J once again ... Let the games commence!

Last edited by Cazzi B; Mar 22, 11 at 5:02 am
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Old Mar 22, 11, 5:56 am
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Flight EY 418
AUH-KUL
A330-200

Ok, so off we go to KUL … the EY flight in J was mostly uneventful, the seats in J are a little narrow, but on the whole no complaints. I like the configuration of Etihad J, as out of 22 J seats roughly 6 have limited privacy, however the rest are very private. Also the ‘Honeymoon Seats’ (6 seats middle section, no divider) make it good for couples flying together. 23’ screens are more than ample for the seat area.

The Entertainment system is very good, with a lot of the latest releases, and the cabin crew were attentive and very helpful. I am now going to commit what some would term a FT’s faux pas … I didn’t eat! However Etihad have a good alcohol selection which the better half took full advantage of. It was his only holiday this year, so good on him I said.

We arrived in KUL unscathed, and proceeded to shun the usual taxi option, and opted to take the train from KLIA to KL Sentral. This gives you a very good view of the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, and is a lovely introduction to the city. The trains are clean, and on time. We then once again opted for the LCT Light Rail as apposed to a taxi. We arrived at Ampang Park Station very promptly. Now by this time I have to say, I had one grumpy other half, just wanting a shower and some sleep, and here was I parading around a city I knew nothing about, but absolutely loving the new experiences, sights and sounds.

We walked for approx 10 minutes in the KUL humidity, and after checking with the amazing Intercontinental hotel as to the location of our hotel, we turned a corner …

Now in my defence; I booked the hotel online, and had done lots of research before booking. Both the website I booked with and the hotel website showed this hotel to be 4 star, and looked more than appropriate for what we needed.

So, we turned the corner, and encountered what can only be termed as the worst hotel in KUL. I quipped with the better half ‘haha wouldn’t it be funny if this was ours’ … Yep! You guessed it, it was. I cannot go into to much detail, as I am still traumatised by the whole experience, however the room was circa 1970’s, and worn out did not even begin to cover it. The carpet had more stains than I can convey, and the shower had approx 1 and a half minutes of ‘hot’ water. We checked out.

We proceeded to book into the Traders Hotel, which is just across the park from the hell hole, also four star but a world away from what we had just left. So there we are lugging our cases across the park (as I thought it wouldn’t be that far ... surely) and after 30 mins (I swear it looks 5 mins away!) arrived drenched and in need of a strong drink. By this time the better half had taken to grunting at me only ... until he saw the hotel's interior.
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Old Mar 22, 11, 6:47 am
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traders is a fantastic hotel, and the bar at the roof is amazing at night with the towers lit up. i used to fly to kul from dxb every 6-8 weeks for a mini-vacation
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Old Mar 22, 11, 7:52 am
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Originally Posted by nuzbim View Post
traders is a fantastic hotel, and the bar at the roof is amazing at night with the towers lit up. i used to fly to kul from dxb every 6-8 weeks for a mini-vacation
Nuzbim, it is indeed an amazing bar ... Am getting to that, and am definately going back
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Old Mar 22, 11, 10:05 am
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We checked in to Traders, and went to explore the hotel, the sky bar on the roof is truly amazing ... As are the rooms, the staff and generally everything about the hotel. The next day we explored KL and I can happily report that it is one of the best places I have visited in a very long time. I wish I had pictures, but will have to save that for my next TR .

It seemed like in the blink of an eye, our time in KL was up, and off we went to Airport for our flight to HKT on AirAsia.

I can truly say, I was absolutely astounded with AirAsia ... After the better half has become accustomed to 'turning left' I was slightly wary of his reaction to this (what seems like) tiny aircraft. Both him and I were pleasantly surprised and happy with the aircraft, punctuality, and general service provided. The legroom was as you could imagine, knees to your nose, but I expected nothing less, and wasn't disappointed. The hour long flight passed with moderate turbulence, and landed on time, and to be honest very smoothly. We were in Phuket !!
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Old Mar 23, 11, 3:26 am
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We arrived in the evening, late evening, it was already dark, as we exited the aircraft, better half was still raving about the flight, and how he couldn’t wait for the next one! ‘Hold your horses’, I said, ‘we have 5 days yet’ … so off we go, immigration was quick and efficient, and our hotel transfer car was waiting for us outside.
The drive from the airport to Patong is around 30 minutes with minimum traffic, with some of the steepest roads I have ever driven. An experience in itself.

I had chosen Patong knowing of its ‘lively’ nightlife, and famed Bangla Road but had chosen a hotel a little off the beaten track. The Nap Patong hotel is far enough away that if you do not want the hussle and bussle, then you wont have it, but within walking distance for those who do. The hotel itself is very modern, and relatively new, with everything you could need for a relaxing stay. Friendly staff and complimentary mini bar were just some of the things that made our stay better. The hotel is 5 minutes walk from the beach, and 10 minutes walk to the Jung Ceylon shopping centre, and Bangla Road.

Phuket on the other hand … well, having visited both Bangkok and Pattaya previously, I knew what to expect, the better half on the other hand spent the first couple of days walking around with his jaw trailing the floor. (and that wasn’t just at the ‘specials’ on offer) … Patong for want of a better way of putting it, has what I shall term, its own special charm. It’s smelly, dirty, packed to the gunnels with seedy bars and hotels, but also has some lovely scenery and views if you look hard enough. The Thai people on the other hand are some of the friendliest in the world.

We spent the next 5 days exploring Patong, with one of the days being our 2 year anniversary. We are not yet married, but are engaged, and this was both our 2 year together and one year of engagement anniversary. So we celebrated in the evening with a lovely meal out in a fine dining establishment … Burger King. Yes, you did read right …

I must explain that there was a reason for choosing such a classy place to celebrate. The better half has never been the most ‘conventional’ of folk. When he finally decided to ask for my hand a year ago, he had not thought that particular night would be the one, but it came to pass that indeed it was.

After a night out, we were hungry so decided to pass through the BK drive thru on the way home, after doing so we arrived at his brothers place where better half deemed this to be the time and place for a marriage proposal … So sitting in his brothers apartment, I see a light bulb go on above his head. ‘oh oh’ I thought, what’s going on here? Realising that he did not have the ring on him, he goes ‘’I don’t have your ring on me, but you can have my whopper, will you marry me’, and promptly drops to one knee holding the whopper with both hands out to me. How could I refuse ?! and who says romance is dead eh? It truly was one of the funniest moments of my life, and one I shall not forget.

So the day comes for us to leave Phuket for Jakarta. We had checked out at noon, and our car was coming around 5pm. We had mooched around for a few hours, and at 4pm we had about an hour to spare, so I decided to check facebook. This is where the fun began! I saw news of the Japan Earthquake. I looked at Better Half, he looked at me, and immediately we knew we had some decisions to make. At that time, there was Tsunami warnings out for Japan, Hawaii, The Philipines, and … Jakarta! So my facebook starts going mad, everyone asking if we were ok etc etc … our families live in the UK, so to them, Jakarta and Japan are not that far from each other, obviously that’s not the case, but try explaining that to frantic family with a non-travel backround! Impossible.

After asking a now very pale better half what he wanted to do, he said ‘do what you think is best’ … way to take charge of a situation! After half an hour of indecision, and with smoke coming from my ipad, I made a decision … Now before I continue, could I ask, what would you have done?
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Old Mar 23, 11, 6:18 am
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Couldn't agree more with KL, got to visit a few times last year through work and loved it. Alas am back to projects in the Magic Kingdom (Saudi) this year but have great memories of KL and of Traders - the window booths in the sky bar are particularly cool - was always a little worried I'd end up in the pool though!

PS. As you asked......I'd have gone to Jakarta, but then again I'm (reasonably) young and impetuous and probably a tad laissez-faire with regard to personal safety.
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Old Mar 23, 11, 12:17 pm
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Nice report. I would go to Jakarta
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Old Mar 24, 11, 8:14 pm
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Originally Posted by Paint Horse View Post
Nice report. I would go to Jakarta
Me too. Great report - keep it coming

Oh, and what was the name of the terrible hotel in KL so we can all avoid it?
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Old Mar 24, 11, 9:31 pm
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Originally Posted by Cazzi B View Post
Now before I continue, could I ask, what would you have done?
Personally, I would have changed my plans to avoid the chaos. But I have seen to many things descend into utter mayham far too quickly. I prefer to negate the risk when it comes to trusting a mob of people.

Weirdly I ate in the very same BK on my honeymoon. At least the view is nice. I wont go into details but needless to day we were advised not to eat Thai food for a few days, and drink only bottle water. By the time we got over it, we were flying to BKK where we got caught up in the riots not so long ago. Still, being confined to your hotel is not always a bad thing on your honeymoon
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Old Mar 26, 11, 11:37 pm
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Thank you for your replies … The hotel in KUL was called The Zon on the park. I have to say again, that the staff were very understanding about the whole thing, but were pretty powerless to help.

So, I made the decision to fly to BKK and go back to AUH from there. Had I been alone, or with a seasoned traveller, I most likely would have continued my journey, however as the better half is not well travelled, I thought it better. To this day I am not convinced about my decision.

Anyway, decision made, I called Air Asia, who informed that seats were available on the evening flight to BKK and for a last minute booking, the fares we very very reasonable! That booked the hotel very kindly changed the pick up time, and an hour or so later than planned we were off to the airport.

The flight from HKT-BKK was packed solid with not a seat to spare, as this was the last flight of the evening. There were obviously a lot of people going into Bangkok for the weekend, and some were even dressed for their night out already. I have to say that seeing a group of ladies dressed for a nightclub trooping on board is very amusing indeed. We had moderate turbulence, but mostly smooth, and landed in Bangkok around 11pm.Yep, these girls must have taken a while to get ready!

The flight to AUH was at 8.30 the next morning, and we were on standby. We decided against a hotel room, sorry I should rephrase that, I decided against a hotel room, we ate, and then tried to sleep on the seats for a few hours. Approx 3 hours later, better half had managed around 1 hour, and I hadn’t. Boy how I regretted my decision not to stay over somewhere, and boy did the better half not let me forget it.

So at 5.30am we trundled to the EY check in desk looking rough as a badgers preverbial backside. The guy behind the counter took one look at our booking, and gave me ‘the face’ … The one that says ‘love, you have no chance’ … Not to be dissuaded, I asked what time we should come back. 7.30 he said … So off we went to wait one again. Better half’s brother and his other half showed up, They had been on a 14 day trip around Thailand separately. So now there were 4 of us waiting. One with a confirmed ticket, and 3 on standby. (can you see my chances dwindling? Because I could!)

7.30 we go back to the desk. 13 people waiting on standby including us. Brilliant. Better half’s brother gets on with his confirmed ticket, and we wait. And wait. And wait. Its getting very late, and I know myself that we are not getting on this flight. Better halfs face is getting darker and darker by the minute, by this time he is tired and hungry and just wants to get home. Me, well I am finding this all quite amusing, much to my two travel companions chargrin.

So after a loooong ... wait, the guy finally tells me what I already know. There is a flight in the evening, try that one, but to be honest it looks worse than this one. Great!. So we all troop to the internet café, and book a hotel for the Day/Night. We went cheap, as we may have only needed it for a few hours we just didn’t know. My run on bad hotels continued.

Faulty Towers had nothing on this place, it even had the Spanish looking waiter (who was actually Thai) … I could see that being an airport hotel, it was never gonna be much cop, and for the price we paid, well I don’t know about value for money, but this place did what it said on the tin as it were. We only had one bed, and no sofa weirdly, (I thought all hotel rooms had a sofa) so it was all very cozy for our afternoon nap!

So the evening comes, and we are all just ready to go home by now. Off we go to the airport once more. Check in, and after around an hour, the guy goes, only one of you can go, the other two must stay. Decision!!!! … so we make a decision that better half will go, and the two ladies will stay. Please don’t judge him, he knows how independent I am, and how capable I am when it comes to travel. He on the other hand isn’t so yet, however I am slowly knocking that into him. Bombshell. It has to be other lady who goes, as she has a higher standby priority. I thought better half may have a small weep at this point, but no, he stoically accepted this, and off we went back to Faulty Towers for another evening of joy.

We slept for a few hours, and after a horrid shower with a spider and a ghekko looking on, we trundled our way back to BKK airport for our 3rd try. Better halfs mood had considerably lightened, and he even cracked a joke or two, I knew then that I had cracked the standby thing with him, and we were all good from here on in.

We got to the check in desk (nice and early, you never know), and the guy takes our passports, looks at his screen and goes “are you seriously on your third try?! I have never seen this before, usually everyone gets out of here on standby flight number two. Lets hope we don’t make it four eh?” Was I ready to commit a crime? Just about, however better half was laughing hysterically at this, and found it oh so amusing, that I couldn’t help but laugh along.

Then, like the angel that he was (and it probably wasn’t this dramatic, but hey!) in slow motion, he produced two golden tickets from behind his check in desk, and with a smile asked if seats 3 E/F were ok for us wooooooooooooo hoooooooooooooo !!!!!! what do you think mate! I don’t think the immigration staff in BKK will ever see two happier souls in all of their days.

We boarded EY407 and I promptly fell into the deepest sleep for pretty much the whole flight, I needed that sleep. Its ok thinking about yourself when something like this happens, but when you have others to think about too, it becomes pretty tiring. Better half ate, drank and was merry, and thoroughly enjoyed his flight back. When I woke up, he just beamed at me, and told me what an amazing holiday he had had, how very sorry he was for being so grumpy towards the end, and how impressed he was at what I had managed to achieve at such short notice.

So in conclusion, was it a hasty decision? I suppose I will never know, but I know one thing, I wouldn’t have changed a single thing, or a single minute of it. Because that’s the diversity of travel, and that’s why I love it so much.

I hope you enjoyed.
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Old Apr 1, 11, 4:31 am
  #12  
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Very nice TR ! I've enjoyed it ^
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Old Apr 1, 11, 8:11 am
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See, you should have gone to Jakarta like we said. You should of asked us at the time, all of use would have been glad to provide an opinion.
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