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While I wished to stay longer in Thailand and celebrate new year in Thailand, I found the ticket charges way too expensive for what it was worth and so my time in Thailand unfortunately came to an end as I had to return to the Netherlands, but I'm absolutely sure I will return sooner than later and I'd share some of my things I've been visiting as a tourist bonus in this trip too of Bangkok, which is yet a very enjoyable city with many sights yet to discover (while I've been there so often).
The trips I took listed below during this trip to Southeast Asia.
My flight was planned to depart at 12.15 and I decided to leave my hotel at Silom at about 9.30 am. After several taxis declining our ride or simply giving us a total price, we finally found a taxi that was willing to bring us by taximeter. While driving he asked us if we wanted the quickest or cheapest option due to traffic congestion. We told him to use the quickest way, which meant a ride towards south Bangkok before making an easterly turn to the airport. In total our taxi price was about 300 THB from down town, which is about 50THB more than it usually costs. The taxi driver itself was very friendly, though having to stop several times to add water to his radiator as it just broke that morning and he was going to repair it after our ride as his garage was near the airport.
He dropped us in front of the terminal and I made our way to KLM's check-in counter in a rather packed departure hall. While Thailand's tourist rate dropped by 14% in 2019 compared to 2018, it is apparent that Suvarnabhumi is increasingly becoming too small for the flights it is currently handling and it's screaming for the opening of that other terminal, which is close to it's final stages.
By the time I reached the ''P'' section, the check-in counter for KLM and Air France (who depart around the same time) were very quiet and it took no more than a few minutes to clear. Kinda shocking to see it so quiet, though the flight was about 95% full.
Once my luggage was dropped and I had about two hours to spare to my departure, I went down a level with my fiancee to grab a bite. While food at Suvarnabhumi tends to be expensive and not good, It was my last chance to grab some nice Thai food before heading back to my country (which obviously offers Thai restaurants, though different). Captured a photo of this beautiful statue decorated by flowers.
With about an hour to departure, I said my byes to my fiancee and went up to pass security and immigration. Security was done within minutes before I had to line up after a very long line of waiting passengers for immigration. Immigration introduced fingerprints this year and it definitely increasing waiting times for immigration. Luckily the moment I passed the children/elderly line, one of the ladies opened it for other persons too making me skip about 100 people in front of me and performing my immigration check in less than fifteen minutes.
So it took about twenty minutes in general and I had about fourty minutes to spare for departure and about twenty minutes to boarding. My flight would leave from the F gates, which meant that I had to make a right turn with the famous statue after immigration with some maintenance work behind it.
Bought myself a cold coffee with one of the coffee shops at Suvarnabhumi and a Mangosteen Fruit Wine from Black Knight Horse, which is a pretty enjoyable fruit wine. Upon finishing I moved to my gate, which was already on the final call and I was one of the last to board the aircraft. I still love these views you get when you go down the elevator to your gate.
And we meet again. PH-BVC, who performed my flight to Bangkok 12 days ago was going to perform my flight back home too. PH-BVC is a 10.6 year old Boeing 777-300ER named Sian Ka'an National Park and is in the livery of KLM Asia.
The reason KLM created the KLM Asia brand has solely to do with a legal construction to keep a friendly relationship with the Chinese authorities by claiming that KLM itself does not fly to Taiwan. While KLM flies directly to Taiwan, officially it requires only two aircraft to be in KLM Asia livery, however due to flexibility reasons they currently have 9 777s in this livery (7 -200ers & 2 300ers), so there is always a KLM Asia aircraft flying to Taiwan.
Something has drastically changed at Suvarnabhumi compared to my previous reports? Have you noticed it too by now? They actually cleaned their windows for once and it definitely returns with some excellent views of the aircraft.
While eventually walked into the jetbridge, I decided to return and sit on one of these seats as the jetbridge was hot and there was yet a long line waiting to board the aircraft. After ten minutes, the ground staff told us to really start boarding the aircraft now and I was the last passenger to board the aircraft.
Doors were closed immediately after I stepped on board and the flight crew checked in with us that we're ready for pushback in approximately five minutes. I moved to my seat and literally five minutes later we pushed back about 20 minutes ahead of schedule with these beautiful engines starting to road.
Shortly after we were taxiing to the runway 01R for our departure, while this Airbus A330 of China Southern was readying itself too for a flight to Guangzhou.
The new terminal of Suvarnabhumi is really nearing completion with all gates being ready and a few works left on the terminal building itself. After many hickups I really hope it can open it's doors soon.
And about twelve minutes prior to our scheduled departure, we were already airborne for our 12.15 hour flight back to the Netherlands .
As the sun was shining heavily on my side, I closed my blind and took a photo of my chair. While legroom is less than you'll get on Asian carriers, the legroom is definitely better than many European carriers with a IFE screen. The IFE contained quite a large database of entertainment, however it didn't really suit my taste, so I was about done watching it after like two or three movies with many hours to spare.
The literature in the seat pocket in front of me.
KLM usual service started about 20 minutes after departure by serving us a bottle of water and a refreshing cold towel before coming back to serve us our dinner about a hour in flight. Today's options were pad thai or beef balls with mashed potatoes. I opted for the Pad Thai as you could see below and it was served with a hot bun, a box of crackers and butter and a pasta salad as starter and some cake as dessert which I couldn't track as to what it was with my taste buds.
The pad thai itself was edible, but far from impressive just like the cake itself. The starter was a disgrace, had little taste and the vegetables were soaking wet…. I couldn't even manage to finish a single bite. Disappointing and I'm really not a huge fan of these small trays as there is little to no place to put your trash on when you are completed. Too easy to spoil anything on your neighbour or on the ground.
Also did you notice that Heineken created this bottle for KLM's 100th birthday with a small route map to some of the destinations these beers are served on? Still I wished that KLM celebrated their 100th birthday with a bit more enthusiasm, but I guess it was too much to be asked.
Clean up was done about thirty minutes later and was followed by a coffee/tea/liquor service. I chose a tea and thereafter went to visit the lavatory, which was still very clean and served with no amenities, but a soap to clean your hands.
Water, snacks and other drinks were available throughout the flight in the few galleys of the aircraft and many passengers closed their window blinds, even though cabin crew did not ask us to do it. KLM 777s are in a 3-4-3 configuration (except the very last rows).
Somehow I managed to break that feature to have access to wifi for the entire flight for free, it directly gave me the option to connect to wifi for free for the entirity of the flight (though it really is only sufficient for messaging). Rates are in my opinion not too expensive if I compare it with some other carriers and I definitely prefer the option to have a certain time limit over MB, however be careful when you are nearing India to not buy such package as the Indian government does not yet allow in-flight wifi to be used.
While I was expecting the second meal service to be served to us about 2 hours to landing, it came to a complete surprise to me when cabin crew appeared like five hours to landing to serve us our second meal. I'm not a massive fan of serving us so far ahead of landing, but I'd guess we have no choice for that. Like on the first flight, they had only one single dish as 2nd meal, so no choice was given to us as to what we would like to eat.
Starter: Cubes of Swede served in some sort of Mayonnaisse sauce
Main Meal: Pasta rolls with a filling of mushrooms and some special type of cheese served in a tomato compote with shredded cheese
Dessert: Some fruit (A Slice of Dragon Fruit, Pineapple, Melon, Papaya and an Apple)
Extra: Butter, Hot bun and a cup of water
The starter was a disgrace just like the first meal with little tasting, but the main meal was surprisingly enjoyable and the fruit was fresh and tasty too.
It also came with a beautiful view over some snowy mountains and not much later the usual service continued like described above by cleaning up about 30 minutes after and giving us another coffee/tea round if wanted.
Two hours prior to landing, the sun was setting and it definitely gave us some extraordinary views which one could really appreciate.
About 90 minutes to landing ,we were served another cup of water with a Dutch delicacy; a Stroopwafel, which is basically a wafel with a caramel syrup filling if never tried.
On short final to runway 18C.
With a short taxi ride, we were docked about ten minutes ahead of schedule and the protocol for disembarking was followed soon after with a short walk to immigration, which to me was a very nuisance as it went really slow. Lucklily enough after approximately fifteen minutes, the self service kiosks went open and it was only a matter of minutes from that time to clear it. Luggage took another fifteen minutes to arrive and we were off to home.
Thanks again for reading my report and I'll add a tourism bonus of a few spots of Bangkok in the section below.
While 'Bang Kra Jao' is officially Samut Prakan and not Bangkok, by crossing the river you escape the bustle of the city Bangkok and end up in an oasis of peace and nature with tons of activities like cycling, canoeing or visiting a local market (weekends only).
While Bangkok features a lot of rooftop bars and Baiyoke being one of the stars, the Octave rooftop of the Marriot Hotel near Thong Loh is one to be easily missed by others and definitely worth a visit. Though it is not cheap, between 5 to 8 pm they have a happy hour for a set of cocktails.
A few more shots of the rooftop.
And some very enjoyable food pictures of Northeastern dishes you can find at one of my favourite restaurants in Bangkok ''Jae Koy'' which is very close to the BTS Ratchathewi.
1. Boiled Cockles
2. Chinese Stir-fried Morning glory with Pork
3. Fried Duck Beaks
4. Fried frogs with garlic.
While this you may not witness yourself, I was lucky enough to encounter the Royal Barge during my stay in Thailand, which was an official ceremony for the new king in Thailand.
We also paid a visit to ''Pyongyang Okryu'' in Bangkok to eat some North Korean food, which was absolutely delicious and surprisingly good with a very strong North Korean soju.
And the last recommendation is ''Samsara Meal & Cafe'', which is a very relaxing and small cafe on the river side with a very relaxing atmosphere. It opens from 5 PM to Midnight I believe and is the perfect place to have a drink, even though it is not the cheapest.
A pretty standard KLM flight back to my home. Food was a tad better than on my way to Bangkok, yet far from impressive. Cabin crew did a good job and was engaged, however did not come close to the one I had on my first leg. IFE was sufficient, yet not a lot of entertainment that was tailored to my taste.