Saturday, July 1, 2017

To Sri Lanka on Thai Airways, Hong Kong and Colombo

This is the link to Part 1 of my trip.

This is part 2 of my trip around the world. The second leg of the journey goes from an overnight at the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong and evening flights to Bangkok and Colombo. Our layover was about 23 hours, so we stayed the night in Hong Kong. We took the airport express train directly from the airport to Hong Kong Central. From there they have free shuttle buses to various hotels. You have to choose the correct line for your hotel. There wasn't much signage to the Hyatt so it was hard to tell where it was amongst all the other buildings. Arriving at night was difficult to tell what our view was from the 30th floor of the Grand Hyatt.

understated sign to the Grand Hyatt

view from the club lounge at the Grand Hyatt

reflective view of Hong Kong harbor
We spent the mid part of the day around Hong Kong island. We took a taxi up to the peak to take pictures and see how things had changed since we had been up there 13 years ago. 

view of Hong Kong and Kowloon from Victoria Peak

Then we went to the IFC mall and walked back to the Grand Hyatt along the water, which was a healthy walk in the heat and humidity. There is a ton of construction right near the Hyatt and finding your way back on foot is tricky. We checked out of the hotel at 4:00p thanks to a complimentary late checkout. We took a taxi back to the Airport Express station and we were back at the airport in less than 30 minutes. Since we were taking Thai Airways, their check in is at Terminal 2 at HKIA, which is just a separate check in and not really a separate terminal where jets park. From there an underground people-mover takes you to the main terminal with all the shopping and restaurants.  

terminal 2 at Hong Kong International Airport

After a little bit of shopping we made our way down the huge building to the fork in the "Y" shaped terminal. The Thai Airways lounge is located on the upper floor with several other lounges. We were there fairly early for our flight (3 hours ahead) and were the only people there. Within an hour it got really crowded and almost full.

view from the Thai Airways Royal Orchid Lounge

our A330 to Bangkok

welcome drink before takeoff

lots of legroom and large monitor

view from seats 2AB

sun setting in Hong Kong

push back

appetizer and roll

main dish

fruit plate before dessert

The flight time was only about 2.5 hours and the service and food were pretty good for this relatively short hop of a flight. I started watching "The Great Wall" and had very low hopes for it and it was so horrible that I only got about 30 minutes into it before I had to turn it off. Our flight landed a little early and we had less than 1.5 hour layover. Our plane ended up parking at a remote stand that required that we get on a bus to the terminal, which ate up a lot of time. This is one of the things I can't stand about the Bangkok airport. I think I've been at a bus gate more often than not and where they drop off in the terminal is so far if you have to transfer because they make you go through security again. So we didn't have time to visit one of the many Royal Orchid Lounges at BKK and we went straight to our gate. Once again we were at a bus gate and we were whisked away to the same exact plane that brought us from Hong Kong and into the very same seats too. They had a dinner service even though the flight left at 10:10pm.

second dinner of the night from Bangkok to Colombo

second main dish of the night

The flight from Bangkok to Colombo was just about 3 hours. It actually went by quickly. I watched Rogue One again because I just love Star Wars. When we arrived at Colombo we actually parked at the terminal, which was nice and it was about midnight. We got our bags and found our Hilton driver. The drive to the Hilton was just under 30 min.

this was put on our bags

view from our room at the Hilton Colombo

old clock tower in the Colombo Fort area

outside of the aging Hilton Colombo

Presidential Secretariat Office down the street from the Hilton

Sri Kaileswaram Hindu temple

floating market with Lotus Tower in the background

Since we were really only had about one full day in Colombo we booked a city tour with Tuk Tuk Safari. We had seen this company on a travel show on NHK World and thought they were worth it. They picked us up from the Hilton and our guide went through a proposed itinerary. It included many sights and local food places. It was scheduled for 4-5 hours. It was a really fun way to see the city. We ate jackfruit roti, which was incredible, at a local farmers market next to a rugby field. We ate hoppers, which are sort of like a crepe bowl filled with just about anything. They can be eaten any time of day and can even be sweet. We stopped at a mango lassi booth and finished with kottu, which is sort of like a noodle stir fry with all kinds of things in it. We also went to a few markets, temples, and famous sights. It was definitely worth the tour.

our tuk tuk for the afternoon and evening

Independence Hall shopping arcade 

cheese kottu dish

Presidential building at night
We finished the tour with the first place we saw, which looks completely different at night. These 5 colors are all over Sri Lanka on small flags. I never asked anyone about it, but it is from the buddhist flag representing 5 auras. The next day we would leave Colombo and go south to Galle for a few days.

No comments:

Post a Comment