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I was excited about this flight. Probably the most excited flight of the trip. It would be the only flight in this trek where I would be experiencing a new airline. I had flown EVA and Austrian before and of course have heard amazing things about Singapore from so many friends. Singapore SQ 972 is a short, 2.5 hour flight from Changi to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport but would give me a taste of the world class service offered by Singapore’s flag carrier.
We boarded about 45 minutes before scheduled departure. When I arrived at the boarding area, there were already at least 200 people waiting. Plus probably 20 children running around, Lord of the Flies style. Like my last flight, there were a couple of people already lined up in the Business Class queue, despite near constant announcements to remain seated.
Changi is unique in that each gate area has its own separate security screenings – you don’t get screened until you enter your specific gate area. Passports and boarding passes were checked four different times from the point I got to the gate until in was seated in 14F. The Business Class of this A330-300 consists of five rows of six seats in a 2-2-2 configuration. I chose the middle section so I could have direct aisle access and not worry about someone crawling over me.
Upon boarding, I presented my boarding pass and was escorted to my seat. Daisy, the flight attendant, helped me put my bag in the overhead bin. Then properly welcomed me aboard, telling me of the flight time to Bangkok and letting me know that I wouldn’t have a seat mate. Score!
Before I sat down, I start snapping photos of the empty cabin and one of Daisy’s colleagues came up with a tray of beverages. His tray included orange juice, apple juice, sparkling and still water and champagne. He asks if I’d like a drink, “perhaps some refreshing bubbles?” How did he know? Yes please.
On board we were served the same champagne that was on offer in the KrisFlyer Business Class Lounge, which was a perfectly nice option. After champagne, he quickly returned with a warm, moist towel. I love these refreshing little treats. This flight wasn’t as empty as the EVA flight to Singapore, but it wasn’t full – 23 of the 30 seats were occupied.
This plane is an older model, but does have seats that lie fully flat. There is ample storage and several charging options including a UK/Singapore/US Outlet plus two USB ports.
Boarding was quite quick as well. The last passengers boarded and we still had about 25 minutes until departure. I perused the in-flight entertainment selection, which was perfectly fine for our short hop to Thailand.
A short taxi and roll to take off found us airborne right on schedule. Just as we crossed 10,000 feet the flight crew sprung into action. Taking drink orders and distributing another warm moist towel. This morning flight served a selection of western and Chinese breakfast food.
You all know by now that I’m not big on breakfast, so I chose the Thai Pineapple Fried Rice option. It was surprisingly great.
After breakfast, I converted the seat into a bed and rested. I wasn’t ready for sleep, but I wanted to try the seat out. I watched reruns of Big Bang Theory, which always puts me to sleep on a plane.
Before I knew it, Daisy offered me another glass of champagne as the crew began final preparations for landing. A nice surprise.
We landed in Bangkok at 10h48. We deplaned through door 2L and the flight crew held the deplaning economy passengers while Business Class left. This practice is so elitist, but I do love it, don’t you?
The flight was very lovely. My biggest complaint was the length. The flight was just too short to really enjoy all the amenities. Two and a half hours isn’t enough.
Have you flown Singapore Airlines Business Class on a short regional route before? What was your favorite part? What is your favorite Asian Airline for short regional trips?
Each year, we travel somewhere for Thanksgiving. We find it a great time to leave the country as no one is traveling for business that week and most Americans are traveling domestically. We’ve traveled to Ireland, Mexico City, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Colorado, and Oregon for Thanksgiving. This year, we are heading south to Argentina. This will be my first visit to the country, while it will be Mike’s second.
So far, we’ve book airfare down to and back from Argentina as well as flights inside the country. We’ve chosen our cities to visit and the hotels in which to stay. We’ll be staying in Cordoba, Mendoza and finally a few days in Buenos Aires. I’ve only made reservations for one meal while we are there too – our final night in Buenos Aires, we are hitting a lovely fine dining restaurant as we celebrate Thanksgiving.
I need your help though. I’m looking for advice from travelers and locals who can tell us great places to eat and wineries to visit. Frequent readers know that I love a good bike tour, so any recommendations on who to ride while while in Argentina, let me know.
What is the one thing you wish you had done while you were in Argentina? What about the one thing you wish you hadn’t done?
Casual dining in Singapore is truly defined by the Hawker Stall. These Singapore equivalent of a food court in the mall are found throughout the city. You can get everything from grilled meats, noodle dishes, seafood and more. Singapore is also home to two Michelin Starred Hawker Stalls.
These stalls offer the cheapest Michelin starred meals on the planet. Generally, Singapore is a pretty expensive city, but you can easily eat some amazing food for less than $5USD each meal.
Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle
We visited both Michelin Starred Hawker Stalls on my 68 hours on the ground. The first was immediately after the great bike tour. I swung by Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle, in Chinatown. These guys are known for the ubiquitous dish of Chicken and Rice. You are probably thinking how can a simple chicken and rice dish be 1) the national dish of Singapore and 2) earn a Michelin Star. Well, it isn’t because of the service or the ambiance, that’s for sure.
This place looked like a fast food joint in a mall. I arrived around 13h45 after the lunch rush and still waited in line for 30 minutes. I ordered the Chicken and Rice and a beer. The beer blew the budget as I spent S$10 on this meal. The dish was perfectly fine. Nicely cooked and mildly seasoned. I was lost as to how this was so highly rated. Then I saw the condiments. Simple sauces and peppers. Adding these to the meal was phenomenal. Loads of flavor, a little spice really kicked up the dish. I loved it.
Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle
The second Michelin Starred Restaurant we visited was Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle. It was right near the bike tour shop too. Arriving around 14h00, we didn’t miss the line today. We waited for nearly an hour in the very hot Hawker area. Most of the fans were not working either.
Pork noodle was the famous dish here, so of course that was our selection. We grabbed a beer while we waited in line and another once we had our food. We loaded the dish with all the recommended condiments and paid S$7 per person.
The tables were pretty full, but we lucked out and snagged a four-top the second we had our food in hand.
The pork noodle was just the perfect dish. Spicy, salty and savory flavors made me want to order a second dish, but I couldn’t handle the line.
So, we managed to knock a couple of things off our Singapore must-do list. Enjoying street food and hitting Michelin Rated Restaurant. Have you visited either of these Michelin Starred Hawker Stalls? Did you think the food was worth the wait? What other places would you recommend who want great food, but can’t handle the 30-60+ minute wait for it?
When people talk of Singapore, you’ll often hear of the Singapore Hawker Stalls. These casual dining shops are all over the city. While I wouldn’t call this street food, per se, it’s pretty damn close. When I think of street food, I often think of less permanent establishments. These Hawker Stalls are home to some of the best food I’ve had while traveling. These are really the best place to eat if you are traveling on a tight budget too, as most of the meals cost me less than S$10 ($7USD) and that often included a beer too.
After my bike tour with Let’s Go Singapore, I stopped off and had Singapore’s national dish – Chicken and Rice. This simple dish, was pretty bland at first, then I added the various condiments and it really kicked the flavor up. At first, it seemed like something you’d get while in hospital, but then it was so flavorful. I really wished I had a chance to grab another portion later on.
Immediately next to the SO Sofitel Singapore was the Lau Pa Sat Market (a/k/a Telok Ayer Market). This world famous market is home to more than two dozen stalls with a ton of seating. The street closes at 19h00 and fills with tables. We ate here our second night in Singapore – dining outside and getting satay from Stall 7 & 8 “Best Satay Stand”. It really was great satay. We had both chicken with peanut sauce and prawns. Utterly delectable.
When visiting Singapore, be sure to visit the Lau Pa Sat Market (Telok Ayer Market), the sights, sounds and smells alone are worth the visit. The food is amazing and the prices cannot be beat.
What are your favorite places to grab a bite when in Singapore? Do you steer clear of Hawker Stalls?
I love Airline Amenity Kits. A Lufthansa First Class Amenity Kit made it’s way to me – after some issues on Austrian Airlines forced a flight change. Amenity Kits are really hit or miss nowadays. You’ve got airlines like EVA and Thai who still offer the beautiful Rimowa kits and then you’ve got United who will sometimes provide a tin. The sign of a good amenity kit for me is two fold: 1) The design itself and it’s reusability and 2) The contents and their immediate usefulness.
I love to reuse an amenity kit. Currently, I’m using a simple Lufthansa Business Class kit to house my various cables while traveling. It’s compact, sturdy and strong. The current First Class Amenity Kit is quite a bit larger and is in a strange quasi-heart shape. The two-toned color looks good at day one, but I’m sure with regular use, the light suede will really start to show the wear.
As you can see there is a folding snap in addition to the proper zip closure. The flap appears to be just decorative, which I don’t care for. It is just another piece to get in my way or get damaged. It does add a nice aesthetic though.
Like any good amenity kit – either in First Class or Business Class, I think you’ve got to have an eye mask, ear plugs and socks. Those are the absolute bare minimums, otherwise it’s just a complete waste. This kit included those items, of course, and they were quite nice. The eye mask included a velcro adjustable strap and the mask itself was quite broad, easily covering the area around my eyes. The earplugs were pretty standard, but they came in a great little carrying case. I think this case was pretty useless, but I thought it really upped the presentation. The socks were traditional thin airline socks, but they were much longer than normal – traditional sock size.
In addition to the minimum requirements, this kit also included a plastic shoe horn, a compact brush and la prairie moisturizing creams. The brush isn’t at all useful for me (have you see a recent picture??), but I love the shoe horn – I keep one in each of my suitcases, backpacks and briefcases. They are strong, compact and lightweight – you can always use a shoe horn. The moisturizing creams were pretty creamy and smelled fresh, but they took a while to properly absorb into your skin. I felt a little greasy. Nice effort – use these before you pull down your eye mask and take a nap.
The contents were spot on for in-flight use, but the kit itself missed the mark for reuse. It was a bit too big for what I would use it for, plus that extra flap just frustrated me. After a few weeks of traveling, I am confident that the light brown suede would look a bit dingy. So unbecoming of a lovely First Class Amenity Kit.
What do you think of this kit? Do you like to reuse the Amenity Kits you get whilst traveling or do you leave them behind? What other purposes do you task you kits with?