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Skiing in Austria and Norway via TG J and LX J

Skiing in Austria and Norway via TG J and LX J

Old Nov 26, 18, 8:12 am
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Skiing in Austria and Norway via TG J and LX J

It has been a while since I posted my ski trip reports here and since it is getting close to skiing season, I figured I would post one of my past ski trips. It was a ski trip in the last winter so the flights are still recent enough. During my research on where to go, I decided to pick Austria since I liked the skiing in St. Anton but decided to spend a week in Solden this time. Fans of James Bond movies will remember Solden as the venue where part of Spectre was filmed at, and James Bond movies are also known to feature ski resorts into their movies!

However I had a return flight from Jakarta to Milan on Thai Airways, thus I would arrive in Milan. Since I would need to navigate my way to Solden from Milan, I plotted the best way on Google Maps and discovered I could hit the road and stop by Bolzano, Italy which is a gateway to the Dolomites. In the end, I chose to spend a day skiing in Val Gardena. After that, I set about finding another return flight as I would make the trip to Europe again in the summer time. Finally, I managed to find a return flight from Oslo, Norway. Since I have neven been to the Nordic countries, I figured out a way to spend another few days in Trysil, Norway. To get me from Solden to Trysil, I purchased a ticket from Innsbruck to Oslo, spending a few days in the capital of Norway to rest before proceeding to another ski trip.

On this TR, the focus is mainly on the flights, but I would do a short write-up on the hotels and ski areas as well. To start the report rolling, below are some photos I took during the trip to whet your appetite as I repost the trip report from my blog. All the reports can be read on my blog, and the link is below if you are interested in all the minute details.


Lake Lugano sunset


Venison ragout in Bolzano, Italy


Sella Ronda


Maria-Theresien Straße in Innsbruck


From the peak at Hochgurgl


Sunrise from the Skihotel Edelweiss in Solden


Oslo winter morning


Full moon night in Trysil
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Old Nov 26, 18, 8:19 am
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Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Class on the 777-300ER from CGK to BKK

I was actually nearly late for the flight due to a traffic jam that the airport staff called my Dad as I had added his number for my emergency contact. They did try to call me but for some reason I did not receive the call due to spotty cell signal. On reaching the airport, I was the last passenger to be checked in. During check-in the agent asked about my travel insurance and asked to see my return tickets since they were bought separately but after that I got my boarding pass fast though I noticed a change in my seat assignment. As it turns out the flight was operated by a 777 instead of a 787. And it was Thai's newer 777-300ER too! While the seat was an upgrade, I had wanted to try the seats on the 787 so it was not really what I wanted.


Boarding pass and lounge invite

Thai Airways does not use the Premium check-in counters thus Business class passengers do not get fast track. However as I had an e-Passport, I was able to use the automated gates which means no queues today.


Entrance to the Pura Indah lounge in Jakarta

With that it left me some time to visit the Pura Indah lounge which was packed during lunch hour. I would not review the lounge as it was too crowded and I did not have any food. It is just a basic lounge in my view but it does have some useful magazines and newspapers that I grabbed to read on the plane. After spending some time in the lounge, I head to the gates for the security clearance, which had short queues. As such, I arrived at the gate as boarding started. The gates at Terminal 2 does not provide a nice view for taking photos of my ride today so the nose is all I got but I still managed to spot the plane name and registration.


Nose cone of Thai Airways 777-300ER

TG434 Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta CGK - Bangkok Suvarnabhumi BKK
STD-STA: 1305-1635
Actual: 1336-1627
Boeing 777-300ER HS-TKY Yubhaphaka
Gate D2 Seat 11A changed to 15K

Entering the plane, the cabin is fitted in a staggered 1-2-1 configuration similar to Thai's Airbus A350. Thai Airways decided to not install a 'First Class' cabin even on the larger 777-300ER and this meant guests looking to fly with Thai First are limited to routes operated by the A380s and 747s.


Aisle Business class seat

As I settled down into my seat on the first section of the Royal Silk cabin, warm towels were distributed to guests. Champagne or orange juice was offered to passengers. Newspapers were offered but it was mainly Indonesian and Thai newspapers. However I had already taken a copy of the 'New York Times' from the lounge.


Champagne as pre-departure drink

On the ground, meal orders were taken by the crew and the crew noted that the Indonesian meal has a last minute change to Nasi Goreng with prawns instead of garoupa. The menu for the flight was:















Three set menus were available along with an extensive drinks option which was more than adequate for a 3 hour regional flight. After the meal orders were taken, I spent some time taking photos of the cabin and just checking out the seat amenities. With the heavy rain outside, there was obviously no rush to take off.


Aisle view in the cabin


Safety Instruction card

Once boarding was completed, the captain announced the flight times and welcomed passengers onboard. I noticed the flight was quite full in the front business class cabin but nearly empty in the second cabin. Perhaps Economy class was full that they had to switch to a larger plane?


Inflight welcome on the video screen


Lion Air 739 and Royal Brunei A320

Luckily for us the heavy tropical rainstorm during boarding subsided once we started pullback. The safety videos were played after the standard welcome. However as usual in Jakarta, the long queue for the runway caused a delay in our departure. It was nearly half an hour before we took off after our pullback.


Seat 15K

With the staggered Business class setup and me having the window seat, it was a private space and as my photos show, it is not easy to spot the other passengers' face from your seat.


Inflight ambience during taxi

Once we reach the cruising altitude, the seat belts sign were switched off and I started browsing through the entertainment selection. Passengers could actually start watching once they are onboard already but I was reading my newspaper and magazines then.


View of Pulau Seribu after take-off

With the seat controls, I settled on a comfortable position and used the headset provided onboard to watch the movie 'Baby Driver'. These staggered seats have cubby holes for the feet that are spacious enough and have a foot rest with under-side storage for smaller bags.


Relaxing on the flight


Watching Baby Driver on the inflight entertainment

Inflight service got underway with a bowl of mixed nuts and dried fruits that was served with my choice of beverage. And onboard Thai, I usually have the butterfly pea drink which is a sweet non-alcoholic drink unique to the airline.


Snack with drinks

As I was taking photos, I dropped my lens cover on the side of the seat during this time. I requested for assistance from the crew but they were unable to retrieve it after several tries. This meant I needed to wait for the maintenance crew to help me at the end of the flight. The crew did mention it is common for items to drop onto the side and due to the gap on the sides of the seat, they fall below the seat mechanism making it tricky to retrieve it.


Engine and wing view

Prior to the meal service, I visited the lavatory to wash my hand and noticed it was equipped with a body mist and L'Occitane body lotion. A foaming hand soap was also provided. Amenities wise, it was respectable in Business class and the lavatories are well maintained. There are a total of 4 lavatories in the cabin with 2 in the front and 2 in the middle galley separating the Business class cabin.


Lavatory interior


Amenities in the lavatory

The meal service started shortly upon returning to my seat. With the Thai meal, everything except the dessert was placed in one tray. It was recommended by the crew and the chicken dish was spicy. My favourite was the omelette which is similar to what one can find in the streets of Thailand.


Samrab Thai cuisine


Steamed duo of Thai Hom Mali rice with Thai Omelet

A fruit bowl was on the tray along with a cheese plate and a pack of crackers. Dried strawberries was added to the cheese plate and the strawberries is a classic snack in the Thai Airways lounge in Bangkok.


Cheese with dried fruits


Crackers

Dessert was served separately and offered to passengers with coffee or tea. For this flight it was a panna cotta that was enjoyable but a bit too rich for my taste.


Dulcey chocolate panna cotta and coffee

A cold towel was placed on the side armrest for guests after the meal service. A bottle of water was also distributed around the cabin and I was able to request for another cup of the butterfly pea drink.


Towel after the meal


Post lunch beverage service

Cabin light was dimmed after the meal service and some passengers took the time to sleep. Meanwhile, I continued watching Baby Driver and found the headphones to be average as they are generic headphones supplied to many Business class cabins. I should have brought along my personal headphones in retrospect.


Inflight entertainment system

With an afternoon flight and this being the first flight, I wanted to reserve sleep for the long haul journey tonight. Thus I walked around the second Business class cabin for a seat. I did this to allow the cabin supervisor to try to retrieve my lens cap from below my seat as well.


Staggered configuration

Bulkhead seats here does not have any difference to the standard seats as there is still a covered footwell with the top of this footwell acting as extra storage space for pillows and blankets.


Storage area at the bulkhead

Both the cabin on the new 777-300ER and A350 have similar colour scheme and the seats seems to be similar. Although I believe the seat on the 777 is somewhat more spacious, the difference is not that obvious. Thus I would not pick to fly the 777 over the A350.


Business class cabin


Business class seats

On our descent to Bangkok, there was a nice sunset streaming into the cabin and it made for some nice photos as we entered Bangkok via the east before turning back out towards the gulf and making for a direct approach from there into Suvarnabhumi airport.


Thana City Golf & Country Club on descent into BKK

However upon a successful landing, we were parked at a remote stand. I had expected that being on one of Thai's newer planes, it would be assigned a jet bridge. Furthermore I had to wait until most of the passengers disembarked before the maintenance crew came to help me retrieve my lens cover. In the end I did manage to get the lens cover back but that meant I was the amongst the last passenger though the bus ride was not full and with a long transit, I had planned to go out into the city.


Disembarking from the 777


Thai Airways 777-200 parked beside

Passengers flying Business and First class on Thai gets to use the fast track immigration counters so that helped to hasten my entry into town as I deposited my hand carry luggage at the airport for a fee and board the train into the city.


On the bus to the terminal

Flying on the new 777-300ERs is certainly nice as the Business class seat is the standard for long haul flights. With full lie-flat seats and aisle access for all seats in Business Class, it would add extra comfort and practicality. Service onboard this particular flight was very good with the crew all eager to assist me in getting my lens cover. In addition the meal was paced at a suitable speed that was suitable for an afternoon day flight. I even enjoyed the Thai cuisine onboard as I liked spicy food so all in all, this was a great flight with Thai Airways and I certainly consider them to be a premium airline and would gladly choose to fly with them again in the future.

Last edited by quirrow; Nov 26, 18 at 8:33 am
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Old Nov 26, 18, 8:31 am
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Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Class lounge at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Concourse C


Thai Airways premium area at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

Returning to the airport after dinner I dropped by the premium check-in counters located on the A & B rows at the end of airport. Thai has plenty of counters for Royal Silk (Business Class) and a separate area for Royal First passengers. In addition, there is a priority security lane located here as well. After getting the latest gate information for my flight, I sat down by the sofas across from the Royal Silk check-in counters to finish my guava snack I had purchased in town. The long layover in Bangkok allowed me to sneak out to the city to indulge in some of my favourite Thai snacks before proceeding for my night flight to Europe.


Royal Silk Business class check-in


Boarding pass

It was here that I realized there was a special tie-up for chauffeur service provided to First & Business Class passengers with Lexus. Apparently this service is only until 28 Feb 2018 and offered within Bangkok. Whatever it is I do hope it gets extended in the future to be a permanent fixture as that would be really a great service to have.


Lexus limousine service for Thai First and Business Class

After finishing my snack, I went past security which has virtually no queue since it is only for Business class passengers. At the end of the security check are escalators leading into the main Royal Silk Lounge, which is well reviewed. It was then time to indulge in some massage as I exited the Royal Silk Lounge to get to the Royal Orchid Spa located across.


Entrance to the spa


Spa christmas decor

First Class passengers get a 1 hour full body massage or they could have both the 30-minute foot massage and a 30-minute head and shoulder massage. Business class passengers get to choose one of the 30-minute massage treatment. These massage treatments are definitely one of the reason to stopover in Bangkok or to fly with Thai Airways premium cabins. I made an appointment for the 30-minute foot massage which was nice after walking in the streets of Bangkok earlier this afternoon.


Spa menu

With the conclusion of the massage, I helped myself to some snacks while the staff in the spa offered me beverages. I went with the ginger tea which would be great to prep my body for the winter in Europe and had a couple of my favourite snack in the Spa.


Beverages at the spa


Special beverages

Below are some photos of the lounge for guests after the spa as well as the packaged snacks that they could enjoy inside the spa.


Royal Orchid Spa lounge


Packaged snacks

After that I went to the Royal Silk lounge in Concourse C (East Wing) as the departure gate for my flight is in the C area. Thai Airways also operates 2 more lounges in Concourse E on the West Wing with a Royal First lounge there too. There is also a Royal Silk lounge in the Domestic side of the terminal. There are 2 lounges in the Concourse C and they are directly across of each other. While both lounges are mirror images of each other in terms of layout, the one on the west side (left side when walking towards the C gates) has 6 semi-private napping cubicles. Otherwise the lounges generally have the same food, workstation and shower amenities, and I was able to enter both lounges from the Royal Orchid spa just by providing them my boarding pass.


Lounge entrance


Daybed at the lounge

Upon entering the lounge, there are plenty of seating spaces along with some workspace cubicles by the window. At the end of the wall is a large magazine shelf stocked with magazines and newspapers. While the magazines might have English covers, the contents were mainly in Thai, meaning they are quite useless for the foreign traveller who do not read Thai.


Reading lounge and workstations


Magazine shelf

Since I wanted to have a shower after the massage, that was where I went to first. There was no wait for a private shower room since both lounges in this concourse is equipped with them, and there are several shower rooms in each lounge. While the interior of the shower room is pretty basic, it was functional with a clean countertop. Along the countertop was a wall mounted hand wash and a hair dryer.


Private bathroom

Beside the countertop was a neat toilet with an interesting design, giving the bathroom a touch of style. A glass partition creates a simple shower cubicle with only a handheld shower.


Shower area and toilet

Across from the countertop, guests would find a bench/stool where they could place their clothes bag with a cabinet by the side where fresh towels are placed. Thann amenities was provided in the bright shower room which I enjoyed as their scents were nice and representative of Thailand. However the water heater needs some work as the water was no longer warm towards the end.


Thann amenities in the shower

Feeling refreshed, I head back to the lounge to check out the food served here. It was already past dinner time here and I was not hungry at all after munching on Thai food for the evening. After all the food in the Business class lounges are really nothing to look forward to. There was buns and cream filled roll cakes around the buffet counter, along with a hot counter serving sausages, deep-fried chicken rolls, pies, quiches and spring rolls.


Buns and roll cakes


Hot snacks in the lounge

For dessert, there was colourful Thai puddings with coconut milk, and choices of cut fruits that was kept in the cooler with assorted vegetables for the salad.


Thai pudding with coconut milk


Salad bar and fruits

While the lounge serves a variety of drinks like soft drinks, coffee, tea, beer and wine, they did not have some of the drinks served onboard Thai Airways flights like the butterfly pea drink which I enjoy. In addition, they did not have the specialty drinks available in the Royal Orchid spa. It would be really nice if Thai Airways would standardize their offering in the lounges, and for guests who prefer tea and specialty drinks, they should certainly head to the spa lounge instead.


Relaxing inside the lounge

For travellers looking for a space to rest, relax and have a shower, the Royal Silk lounges were adequate as they provide many of the amenities in a clean and functional space. However if you are looking for nice food and drinks, perhaps the restaurants around the airport would better serve your needs. Since most premium passengers gets food onboard as well, they rarely have full meals on the ground. The dilemma is for Star Alliance Gold members which gets access to these lounges but who might not be travelling upfront. In this case, I would recommend them to eat in the city or at the numerous food outlets in the airport first before heading to the lounge if they are picky about food as I doubt you can be satisfied with the food here.


Lounge interior

Last edited by quirrow; Nov 26, 18 at 8:33 am Reason: Formatting
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Old Nov 26, 18, 8:50 am
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Great start to your TR!! Glad you managed to get your lens cap back. I once had a rather expensive pen drop into the seat mechanism. It took Maintanance about 20 minutes to retrieve it upon landing. Needless to say, to this day, I only use pens from hotels.......
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Old Nov 26, 18, 9:23 pm
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Amazing photos. Looking forward to this report!
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Old Nov 26, 18, 11:23 pm
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thanks for sharing, excited for the skiing info.
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Old Nov 27, 18, 9:17 am
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Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Class on the A350 from BKK to MXP

Boarding gate was conveniently located beside the lounge which meant there was no need to leave beforehand. However no boarding announcement was made in the lounge and it was only by checking the departure screen that I knew my flight had started boarding. For my departing flight, it would be from a remote stand and that meant passengers were packed on a bus and because I was late to board, there was no special bus for Business class passengers.


Boarding the A350

TG940 Bangkok Suvarnabhumi BKK - Milan Malpensa MXP
STD-STA: 0035-0710
Actual: 0111-0635
Airbus A350-900 HS-THD Uthumphon
Gate C2A Seat 19A

Having flown Thai Airways A350 during the return journey of my last ski trip, I knew what to expect. More than half of the sole Business Class section was filled up by the time I boarded. Seats configuration were similar to the 777-300ER with a purple colour theme with wooden and gold accents.


Royal Silk cabin on the A350

For this flight, I had my seats near the window at the last row, but with all seats having aisle access, it was great for a long haul flight. Onboard the flight, passengers had to request for the coat to be stowed. Though I was welcomed in my seat by Dhun, a very elegant lady serving the cabin today.


Cabin on the last row

A pair of headphones, amenity kit, blanket and pillows were on every seat and there is even a lumbar support bolster for this long haul flight. The bolster was something I have not seen in previous flights.


Seat 19A

Champagne was once again offered after I got seated, and after Dhun placed the hot towel on the space beside me.


Champagne welcome

During this time I checked out the amenity kit which is different as it is supplied by Greyhound, a lifestyle company that operates a famous cafe in Bangkok and several other Asian cities. Another crew came around with offer of newspapers before Dhun came by again to take meal orders.


Orchid and amenity kit

The menu for the flight was as follow:









Beverage menu was similar to my previous Royal Silk Class (Business Class) flight from Jakarta to Bangkok, which I will re-post here:









Inside the amenity kit, the contents was still similar with several small containers of lotion, lip balm, and mouth wash. Inside there was an eye-shade, ear plug, a dental kit, a comb and a pair of slippers. Missing was a pair of socks that I was able to request from Dhun the stewardess.


Contents of the amenity kit

Cabin crew went around to spray some antibacterial stuff around the cabin, which I attribute to regulations after the doors are closed. I never got to know what it was but passengers should probably not leave any open food and drinks around the cabin while they spray these stuff.


Thai Airways 777 beside us

Boarding was completed around 12:40am but due to arrival airport landing restrictions, departure was delayed by around 30 minutes according to the pilot. It seems the winds are on our side with a faster flight time. Eventually, pullback was at around 12:54am, with the pilot giving an estimated flight time of 11 hours and 40 minutes. To prepare the plane for take off, cabin light was dimmed and the take-off roll was very smooth and fast. As a side note the Business class cabin was about 70% full with Economy class most probably filled near capacity.


Take off from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi

On take-off, I was treated to the night lights illuminating the city grid. Departing from a large city is still nice at night as you can see the extent of the street lights even though the buildings and natural landscapes are shrouded in darkness.


City grid at night

During the take-off, I had powered on the inflight entertainment system and Thai Airways has a touch screen controller with high definition monitor that looks sharp. The menu for the system was still a step behind what is offered in Singapore Airlines and Krisflyer but the movie selections was good as it includes classics and some older movies along with films from several Asian cinemas. TV shows was somewhat lacking in that there was only several episodes and the choices are limited. Using the inflight entertainment, I did not experience much lag and it did not crash on me during the flight as I expected it to be for a newer system on a relatively new plane. However I still prefer the button controls to the touch screen as inflight entertainment touch screen controls have not reached the advanced stage of development as our mobile phones and they feel slow and cumbersome.


Inflight controller

Once we passed the lights illuminating Bangkok, the crew started to work. Beverage service started with a ramekin of mixed nuts and dried fruits, and even though it was not served warm, I enjoyed this snack more than just plain mixed nuts.


Mixed nuts and drink

With this being a red-eye flight, the crew seems to be working faster to deliver meals as quickly to passengers to allow them to rest earlier. In fact some passengers would have skipped 'supper' to get to sleep. Thus, a short while later the appetizer for my Thai meal was served. The tray did contain a butter plate, but bread was offered by the crew rather than distributed from the basket, which I declined as I was not that hungry.


Spicy grilled prawn and lemongrass salad

After that, the whole tray was collected before the main course was served on a new tray. On this tray was a bowl of clear sweet and sour broth, the snapper fillet with a sauce that is similar to hoisin flavour and rice with the cabbage on the side. The soup was a bit plain for a pork neck soup though it has a lot of flavour. The cabbage on the side was actually quite spicy but the dish I actually enjoyed as the fish fillet was thick and a bit dry. While the sauce did save the dish, the taste was a bit off for me and I just nibbled on it.


Samrab Thai meal

Both desserts were offered to me since most passengers skip on them for this supper service. Again I just had the Thai dessert and it was a very colourful presentation that was light and tasty, so the ending was a sweet finish. It was past 2:15 am when I finished supper and I requested for water to brush my teeth and head to sleep.


Toddy palm in syrup

Flying with a new aircraft is always nice as you get better designed lavatories and the one onboard the A350 seems to be more spacious as it offers more countertop space which makes it easier to brush your teeth. It also feels more spacious making it more comfortable.


Lavatory interior

Back on the seat, I switched it to a lie-flat mode and began to fall asleep slowly. Cabin temperature was set warm enough that I did not need the blanket, allowing me to create a mini mattress pad using the comforter so that certainly made it more comfortable. However located on the last seat meant the sounds from the galley interrupted my sleep occasionally. In addition, seat 19A is also below the crew overhead compartment and it would result in occasional storage of equipment and amenities overhead by the crew so light sleepers should generally avoid this seat at all costs.


En-route to Europe

I retired to my seat just as we flew into the Indian subcontinent and woke up as we flew past Afghanistan so that was an average of 4 hours or so of interrupted nap. However I felt sufficiently rested that I did not head back to sleep and instead settled on a comfortable position on the seat to enjoy the rest of the flight.


Route map

When Dhun saw me awake, she asked if I wanted coffee or juice and I requested for both as I figured that should help me with the day on arrival. They were both brought to me to refresh me before breakfast would be served.


Coffee and orange juice

At exactly 2 hours before arrival, the cabin lights were turned on to enable the crew to serve breakfast. Hot towels were once again distributed to passengers that were awake and I get the sense that the crew was trying to be as quiet as possible to avoid waking up those who preferred to sleep all the way through.


Coffee service

Thai chooses to illuminate the cabin with hues of purple and orange, both colours of the airline and makes the cabin looks like it is bathed in a tropical sunset.


Ambient lighting

For breakfast, the tray containing fresh fruits and yogurt was laid out on the table. In it there was a ramekin of butter, a small jar of jam while warm croissants are distributed from the basket. The yogurt was a berry flavoured one topped with dried prunes and some nuts.


Breakfast service

At this time, my camera battery ran out and thus the photo of the main course for breakfast is not of optimal quality but it was enjoyable too. For breakfast I do enjoy Asian style porridge or congee especially on long haul flights and onboard Thai, there was boiled rice with pork meatballs. While not thick and creamy like those on Chinese airlines, this sufficed and I enjoyed it with the omelet once again. In fact I do enjoy this breakfast service more so than the dishes served during my dinner/supper.


Boiled rice with pork bah-teng

The conclusion of the breakfast service meant the flight was all but coming to an end. Nearly every time I wished the flight would be longer but at the same time I cannot wait to go down and start exploring more mountains on my skis. It was nice then that the flight actually flew past Austria and the South Tyrol region of Italy where I would be skiing for the week. The direct routing from there forward meant it was a fast approach to the airport as we landed earlier than scheduled before docking in the terminal.


Approaching Milan

However upon coming to a standstill, the connection of the jet bridge took a while with some confusion before Business Class passengers were allowed to disembark first. As we landed after the Singapore Airlines and Air China flight, there was a long queue at immigration and that negated the early disembarkation since I waited for the immigration for about 20 minutes or so. Even after the long wait for passport control, the luggage is not out yet on the baggage claim with the area teeming with noise and crowds. It was only around 7:35am, or about an hour after our landing that my luggage was out on the belt and then I had to go to the odd-baggage claim area to collect my snowboard.


Arrival hall at Malpensa

The flights on Thai Airways was good as usual, and the service by the friendly stewardess Dhun made it a pleasant flight. Lie-flat beds was great to sleep in and there was plenty of amenities to make it comfortable for the long journey. The food was average but I did not go hungry though I did notice they cut down on the inflight snack but it seems to be less of an issue since most passengers were sleeping. While Thai Airways was great all around, Milan was not exactly the premium airport in Europe and I do find arrivals experience in Frankfurt and Zurich to be much better so the arrival airport was perhaps the disappointment here. All in all, I would still take this flight again for access to Milan and its surrounds as it offers decent value and has a schedule that fits me if departing from South-East Asia!
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Old Nov 27, 18, 9:50 am
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Four Points Bolzano and Skiing in Val Gardena

I stayed at the Four Points Bolzano since it is a very affordable hotel to stay on SPG Points and it is easy to find free parking around the hotel which is situated in a newer district beside the convention centre. Having rented a car from MIlan, the drive took me about 3 hours due to some traffic getting out of Milan but after exiting the city, I was able to gain traction on the Autostrada. The nearby train station has direct trains running to Bolzano Central and the old town, meaning it is easy for travellers with light luggage to travel to the hotel from other parts of Europe.


Four Points Bolzano in Italy

As an SPG Platinum, I was upgraded to a very nice suite, even if it is in a Four Points. The extra space came in handy for storing my ski gear. Breakfast was included and it was not bad either for a Four Points. But the best part of the hotel was the rooftop spa area that has a view of the surrounding mountains.


Inside the suite


Indoor swimming pool


View from the spa

For a full review of the hotel, please head to this post in my blog.

Skiing in the Dolomites

For my first time skiing here, I would do a concise review here since I only spent a day here and I arrived during the early Winter season before Christmas. That meant the snow was not optimal yet even though most of the runs were open. Sunny weather during my visit meant the views here were wonderful. Skiers could either buy passes for each individual ski resorts here if they are on a short visit or they could buy the Superski Dolomiti pass. The latter is a must if you want to do the Sella Ronda ski circuit. Most skiers come here to ski for the experience to ski around the Sella Ronda, a massif located in the heart of the Dolomites.


Peak view of Saslonch

I chose to spend my day in Val Gardena starting out from the village of Wolkenstein and the drive took me about an hour from Bolzano. The lack of snow meant the streets were clear of obstruction and the relatively low base of the village compared to other Alps ski resorts meant there was no trouble driving here. Cost of a day pass was around EUR43-54 here and it was on par with other large ski resorts in Europe.


Piz Sella Gondola

Skiing here is all about the scenery and wherever you might ski in the Dolomites, the views of these majestic mountains are amazing. This meant it is easy to enjoy the views while having lunch at the mountaintop.


Outdoor patio at Piz Sella

As a large ski resort, the resort caters to beginner skiers and snowboarders. The area called Plan de Gralba seems to have more blue runs beneath the Piz Sella and are more suited for cruising, which is enjoyable in this kind of weather and with this kind of scenery.


Base at Plan de Gralba

Those with more penchant for speed might want to head to pistes around Sochers-Ciampinoi with mainly tree-less runs at the top and plenty of opportunities for free-riding.


Under the shadow of Saslonch

As an avid skier, I would not rate it as one of my favourite ski resorts to ski in but the lifts system here is nice and without much queues (though this could be due to my visit before the holiday season). However I was still amazed by the view and as a holiday skiing destination, there are few resorts that could beat this in terms of views. As always, for a full skiing review, head over to my post on my blog.

Last edited by quirrow; Nov 27, 18 at 9:52 am Reason: Formatting
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Old Nov 27, 18, 9:57 am
  #9  
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Originally Posted by roadwarrier View Post
Great start to your TR!! Glad you managed to get your lens cap back. I once had a rather expensive pen drop into the seat mechanism. It took Maintanance about 20 minutes to retrieve it upon landing. Needless to say, to this day, I only use pens from hotels.......
Indeed, I have been very careful nowadays on where I place loose items during the flight. As for hotel pens, aren't they useful when on the go?

Originally Posted by 757 View Post
Amazing photos. Looking forward to this report!
Thanks 757, hoping to wrap up the re-post here since all the posts are up on my blog already.

Originally Posted by HLT1904 View Post
thanks for sharing, excited for the skiing info.
The bigger question is how excited are you for the coming ski season
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Old Nov 28, 18, 5:15 am
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Very inspiring TR for skiers like myself!
I also liked one of your previous TRs in Chile!
Please keep them coming
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Old Nov 28, 18, 3:03 pm
  #11  
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Awesome photos - thank you for sharing this great report ^
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Old Nov 28, 18, 3:15 pm
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Originally Posted by quirrow View Post
During this time I checked out the amenity kit which is different as it is supplied by Greyhound, a lifestyle company that operates a famous cafe in Bangkok and several other Asian cities. Another crew came around with offer of newspapers before Dhun came by again to take meal orders.

Glad you explained that a bit more! For I moment I feared that Thai was handing out amenity kits from the US bus company with such great goods as 'Eau de Port Authority Station Cologne' smelling like a perennial drunk homeless or the trailer of Uncle Bob down in Alabama

But in all seriousness, great TR and even more fabulous pictures, looking forward to read the rest!
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Old Nov 28, 18, 11:39 pm
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Thanks for sharing link to your blog for the ski pics. I am stoked for the up coming ski season, in fact it is snowing right now. I have never be skiing outside the US, but you pics make me want to go. Beautiful scenery.
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Old Nov 28, 18, 11:48 pm
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OMG, some amazing photos. Thanks for sharing them
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Old Dec 1, 18, 3:32 am
  #15  
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Originally Posted by flying_blue_white_red View Post
Very inspiring TR for skiers like myself!
I also liked one of your previous TRs in Chile!
Please keep them coming
Thank you for following flying_blue_white_red, I enjoyed Chile for the sightseeing and the cuisine on top of the skiing, so it is definitely a country I hope to return for another visit!

Originally Posted by Madone59 View Post
Awesome photos - thank you for sharing this great report ^
Thank you Madone59, do tune in for more photos I took during the trip!

Originally Posted by Romanianflyer View Post
Glad you explained that a bit more! For I moment I feared that Thai was handing out amenity kits from the US bus company with such great goods as 'Eau de Port Authority Station Cologne' smelling like a perennial drunk homeless or the trailer of Uncle Bob down in Alabama

But in all seriousness, great TR and even more fabulous pictures, looking forward to read the rest!
Haha Romanianflyer, when I first experienced the cafe, I wondered why the owner named it after a bus service in the United States as well....

Originally Posted by HLT1904 View Post
Thanks for sharing link to your blog for the ski pics. I am stoked for the up coming ski season, in fact it is snowing right now. I have never be skiing outside the US, but you pics make me want to go. Beautiful scenery.
HLT1904, if you have the chance to go out skiing elsewhere, I certainly recommend you go for it. The skiing is different in all parts of the world and before I moved back to S.E. Asia, I was restricted to skiing in Whistler. Though my love of travelling prompted me to combine 2 of my passions and I find myself loving skiing more and more as I travel and meet fellow skiers in different places.

Originally Posted by SQTraveller View Post
OMG, some amazing photos. Thanks for sharing them
Thank you SQTraveller! Sadly no photos of any SQ cabin in this report though!
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