RTW to Bali: Thai Airways Royal First Lounge in Bangkok

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During our approach to Suvarnabhumi Airport, I started to think of what other travel bloggers had mentioned regarding the Thai Airways Royal First Lounge in Bangkok. I had heard it was one of the best First Class lounges in the world. Needless to say, I was excited.

We landed and deplaned first. With eager eyes, we stepped into the artificial light of BKK and this was the first thing we saw:

Our chariot awaits!

Our chariot awaits!

The Thai Airways buggy that shuttles First Class passengers through the airport! Hilarious yet totally awesome. Our ride was at MOST 60 seconds, but it was still nice being driven past the onlookers and escorted to the front of whatever line we came to. Joann and I just laughed at how funny we must have looked in that little golf cart.

Our driver and another F passenger

Our driver and another F passenger

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RTW to Bali: Thai Airways Business Class DPS-BKK

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After cooling off long enough in the Premier Lounge, Joann and I made the humid walk to our gate where there was a queue for checking. Although there was no separate line for Business, we were through in a short few minutes.

DPS (Denpasar) – BKK (Bangkok)
TG432
2 SEP 2012
Airbus A330-300
Business Class

Seats 14A,14B

Thai’s A330 only features two classes – Business and Economy. I booked us into Business on this flight and First on the next three so the one-way United award from South Asia to USA cost 70,000 miles per person. It was a 10k mile premium over Business Class all the way and it was easily worth it.

The 2-2-2 configuration was perfectly suitable for a four hour flight. The seats were of the angled lie-flat variety. They were shell seats which was great because no one reclined into our personal area. Nothing out of this world but comfortable enough for catching a midday nap after eating.

Thai Airways A330 Angled Lie Flat

Thai Airways A330 Angled Lie Flat

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The rest of the cabin

Upon settling in our seats, we found a very thick Thai Airways-branded blanket and a Crabtree & Evelyn amenity kit. The amenity kit was unisex and nothing special. The blanket was awesome; wish I could have taken one home for a couch throw!

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Crabtree & Evelyn amenity kit

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Thai Airways blanket

Shortly after that, the FA stopped by with hot scented towels and a choice of pre-departure beverages. We chose some Laurent-Perrier champagne over the orange and apple juices.

Laurent-Perrier Brut Champagne

Laurent-Perrier Brut Champagne

A few minutes after takeoff, the seat belt sign was turned off and the meal service began. The food was pretty good, but nothing to write home about.

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Shrimp Shumai & more champagne

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Salad

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Grilled dory fish with citrus honey sauce

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Grilled prawn with ginger sauce

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Fruit & Cheese Plate

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Creme brulee & Coffee

After dinner, I perused the In-Flight Entertainment but found the selection to be pretty poor. I just kept the noise cancelling headphones on (which worked well to eliminate the engine drone) and put my seat flat to nap for a little.

When I woke up, we were already on approach to Suvarnabhumi Airport, the city of Bangkok well lit early in the evening.

Overall, this short-haul Thai flight in Business Class was a great experience – much better than any US flight in domestic First, that’s for sure.

RTW to Bali: DPS Premier Lounge

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After making the long, humid walk to the terminal, I was eager to get through security, check in, and head to the air conditioned lounge… but we hit a snag.

To pass through security at DPS, you must show a paper ticket. I felt like a bonehead not knowing this ahead of time. I didn’t exactly have our e-ticket printed out, but I think I had a TripIt printout of our itinerary so I showed it to the guard and he let us through. Whew, problem solved.

There was a bit of a queue at the Thai Airways counters, but at least Business Class was less busy than Economy.

Thai Airways Royal Silk & Star Alliance Gold Counters

Thai Airways Royal Silk & Star Alliance Gold Counters

After getting our boarding passes, Joann and I followed the signs to the lounge that Thai Airways uses. The Premier Lounge is actually an independent lounge contracted by, what looks like, every airline that flies in and out of Bali.

We didn’t take many photos inside as it was very packed, but this site has a good review of the lounge. It was a far cry from the Cathay Pacific lounges we experienced in Hong Kong, but it would suffice for a comfortable seat and some grub.

Premier Lounge food options

Premier Lounge food options

About the food… it was mediocre at best, and I suppose I’m being generous. In hindsight, we should have found some food in the airport or asked our driver to stop by somewhere before the airport. The lounge did have plenty of soft drinks and coffee so that helped. I’d make it to lunch service on the flight 😉

There is no free WiFi in the lounge – big time downer. The nice thing about the Premier Lounge is that it has an outdoor smoking area that is spacious and has great views of the tarmac.

Premier Lounge Terrace / Smoking Area

Premier Lounge Terrace / Smoking Area

RTW to Bali: Selamat Tinggal, Komaneka!

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For our last day in Bali, we decided to have breakfast delivered to our room and set up for us on our day bed. Nothing like a fresh cup of Indonesian coffee (my favorite) with a beautiful view.

American breakfast above the valley

American breakfast above the valley

After breakfast and quick dip in our plunge pool, we decided to finally visit the infinity pool. Hard to believe we waited until the day we left to hang out at this gem.

Komaneka at Tanggayuda Infinity Pool

Untouched lounge chairs and pool

Infinity Pool all to ourselves

Infinity Pool all to ourselves

We lounged at the pool for about an hour. It was so peaceful because absolutely no one was there. Presumably, they were out enjoying Ubud, but I wouldn’t blame anyone for just staying at Komaneka all day and relaxing.

After a short while, it was now time to pack up and go 🙁

Most of the staff were at the front desk to see us off. They actually presented us with gifts which was very nice. It’s always the little things!

 

Then, we were off for our 45 minute car ride to busy Denpasar. We arranged the car through the resort which, while an expensive option in Bali at $35, was still a decent price.

As we pulled up to the drop-off section of DPS airport, we felt the humid breeze and saw the long walkway full of people. Paradise no more!

DPS Bali Airport

The hot & humid walk to the terminal

Selamat tinggal (goodbye) and terima kasih (thank you), Komaneka!

RTW to Bali: Things To Do in Bali

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With a week in Bali, we had our hands full with things to do and see. From temples to beaches to city markets to small villages, Bali has a wealth of culture just waiting to be discovered.

Beaches

Bali has several well known beach areas – Kuta, Seminyak, Jimbaran Bay. Those are also the very touristy areas that we decided to stay away from.

We enjoyed the beaches at Sanur during the first part of our stay. It’s a much quieter town and they are just as beautiful.

Cooking Class

This was a fun idea for half a day. Joann and I took a cooking class taught by a local married to an expat. This started with a visit to the food market in the morning to pick up the fresh ingredients.

After that, we went back to the instructor’s ‘resort’ and she taught us how to make some very tasty Balinese favorites in an outdoor kitchen.

It was a fun experience and if you’re into fresh and local food, you’ll enjoy it.

Durian - yum!

Jackfruit – yum!

Ubud 

Ubud is the cultural center of Bali; it’s also the most crowded area because of this.

Ubud Market is a must-hit. It is the heart and soul of what Ubud is about – people trying to make a living. Here you’ll find every little trinket that will remind you of Bali. Prices are ALWAYS negotiable at the market so haggle your butt off. If the price isn’t right, just walk away. Guaranteed they’ll come running after you with a great “final offer”.

Overall, just wandering through Ubud can easily take up the better part of a day. It’s great for people watching, both locals and tourists alike. There are plenty of things to do in Ubud like see traditional dances, art museums, etc. but Joann and I were really content just meandering through Ubud city center and absorbing our surroundings.

Monkey Forest

No trip to Ubud is complete without a visit to the famed Monkey Forest, a nature reserve full of beautiful temples. There are just throngs of monkeys as soon as you step foot into the forest.

Pro Tip: Don’t be that guy who buys bananas from a hawker at the front gate and then gets attacked by the monkeys before he’s 5 steps in. I guess you could be but I didn’t want to give the monkeys an excuse to bite me. Apparently, many people are bitten by monkeys here. Just be smart and you’ll be fine; we were.

The Monkey Whisperer

The Monkey Whisperer

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