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Thailand 2003

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  • Thailand 2003

    Well, I am not really a story teller, so I keep the impressions rather short and weigh on airline quality and recommendability. Had a nice vacation in Thailand in Jan/Feb 2003, and that were the flights:

    26/27 Jan: MH 009, B.777-2H6ER 9M-MRK, ZRH-KUL
    Nice flight leaving Zurich around noon and arriving Kuala Lumpur early the next morning. Malaysian's 777 is a very convenient plane to fly in, and the flight was probably half full. That means that after doors close you got to be quick to capture an empty 5-seat-row in the centre of the plane, and then it is just a matter of putting up all arm-rests and have a comfortable nap. Seating in 9M-MRK was 2-5-2, BTW. Service was very attentive, with friendly and helpful cabin crew. Food was okay, came from the Zurich kitchen, so nothing special for me. MAS have a very pleasant IFE system in their 777s, offering over 20 music channels, 17 individual TV channels (several movies in different languages also) and a wealth of games. So instead of sleeping you can also game yourself through the night! The flight was quiet and comfortable and lasted for 12 hrs 10 mins. Landing was on 32L.

    Two hours at the new Sepang airport were spent walking along the many windows of the satellite terminal and trying to photograph what was there. Not much, but at least a few goodies in early morning sun. The airport is most modern and spacious. Had no time to use the Aerotrain to the main terminal as all too soon my onward flight was leaving, also from the satellite terminal.

    27 Jan: MH 784, A.330-322 9M-MKA, KUL-BKK
    Nice two-hour morning flight on a full A.330-300, booked to the last seat. Take-off was from 32R. Had a nice window seat and was watching the fantastic landscape was we were passing the Malaysian peninsula and over the Gulf of Thailand into Bangkok. We were flying directly overhead Samui Island, my final destination! Service was okay, a small meal Malaysian style, with chicken and rice. And wine for something that was meant to be a breakfast. Seat was okay, however, no IFE or movie or headseat and music. Landing at BKK was on 21L. Since sitting at the right hand side of the aircraft, I did not realize the interesting military side of this airport until later.

    A four hour stay at Don Muang airport was spent in exploring terminals 1 and 2, but only one really usable window was found on 4th floor of terminal 1, from where some decent shots could be made of planes taxiing for departure on 21R. Not much to shoot, and a long lens is needed. Then transferred to the domestic terminal via the air-con tube that links the buildings. There are a couple of windows in this tube, from which some decent shots of parked planes can be made. The domestic terminal offers no views from landside, so I went through to airside, and made some shots through the windows. Same problem as in terminal 1, too distant, and dirty windows. Then it was off for my final flight of the day.

    27 Jan: PG 165, B.717-23S HS-PGP 'Samui', BKK-USM
    Colourful 'Samui' was waiting for me on the apron, and I got seat 1F, which is the first window seat at the right hand side. Bangkok's 717s offer 120 seats, and again the plane was full to the last seat. The seat was okay, and Bangkok offered a small Thai-style meal on the 47 min hop to Samui island. Take-off was from 21R, and landing at Samui was on 17. The flight was convenient and cabin crew was very friendly and helpful. Also their uniforms are nice.

    Colourful open buses brougth us over to the terminal buildings, which are also all open, just wooden shacks. Since the airport was re-constructed a couple of years ago, aircraft parking is now well down the runway and can't be overseen from the terminal. Photography, however, is no problem as all planes taxi past the buildings and can be shot with a small lens. Sun is best in the morning.

    My friend was already waiting for me, having arranged transport and accommodation. This was just great as after some 24 hours of travelling you are not really in the mood to do a lot, especially not since the temperature difference was around 30 degrees between winterly Zurich and sunny Samui.

    Then followed a lot of nice days we spent in Southern Thailand, using ground transport between Samui and Phuket. My next flight was therefore originating in Phuket. If you are interested in some impression shots from these travels, please visit my website and use the 'Thailand impressions' link on the title page. Address in my signature.

    08 Feb: TG 630, A.300B4-601 HS-TAC, HKT-BKK
    Got seat 65A in this Airbus, and was wondering how they squeeze 65 rows of seats into an A.300. The explanation was quite simple: seat numbering started at row 30 only! Why? No idea. The nice window seat offered great views of the Thai peninsula and Myanmar. The flight lasted one hour and one minute, with a take-off from 09 and a landing in Bangkok on 21L. Sitting on the left-hand side this time I was surprised by the huge military area and all the nice parked planes. At the very end of the runway, when we turned off I also saw the tail of the famous Caravelle that has been parked at the airport since about 1975. This flight held a very first for me, it was the only of my well over 200 flights that departed exactly on time. It was scheduled to leave Phuket at 12:10 hrs, and exactly at 12:10 hrs we were lined up on 09 and the aircraft started to accelerate. Hard to get that anywhere else, there is always a small delay for something. The flight was pleasant, with another attentive and friendly cabin crew. Despite the age of this Airbus (del'd in 1985) it looked neat inside, what can not really be said of the exterior!

    After a few days in Bangkok (see photos on my website) it was unfortunately time to get back to cold Europe.

    13 Feb: MH 783, A.330-322 9M-MKJ, BKK-KUL
    Another 2-hour hop in a full A.330-300. These regional flights seem to be extremely well-booked all the time. There was another meal, roughly the same as that 'breakfast' on the inbound trip. Again served with wine (remember Malaysia is a muslim country). After a short time it got dark, and all I could see where the huge thunderstorm build-ups that were lit by lightning as we approached Sepang airport. Nevertheless the ride was smooth, and we touched down on 32L right on time. The next three hours were spent with exploring all the restaurants in the satellite terminal. The aprons were lit sparsly, so reading off serials was nearly impossible. Instead a good beer and something to eat helped killing the time.

    13/14 Feb: MH 010, B.777-2H6ER 9M-MRC, KUL-ZRH
    This was supposed to be a very long night for me, as we lifted off from 32R 2 minutes before midnight, and arrived at Zurich early the next morning. The flight lasted for 13 hours and 22 minutes, and for the full time of the flight it was dark outside, the disadvantage of flying against the night. Was quick, however, to grab another empty 5-seat row, so slept for most of the time. Food was excellent this time, Malaysia-style spciy Beef Kurma for dinner and a lovely chicken for breakfast. Service was again very attentive, friendly and helpful. The seats in the 777 allow for comfortable riding, even if you have to sit for most of the time.

    Arriving at Zurich was sort of a shock, at minus 8 degrees and snow. Leaving Bankgkok 20 hours before it was 32 degrees. The trip was fantastic, and I can recommend MAS to the Far East. Besides this they offer very competitive fares (promotiional fares) which can even be booked at short notice. I only booked three weeks before I went. Both, Thai and Swiss wanted to see much more money for a direct flight to Bangkok.

    So to sum it up: A trip much recommended to every-one. Same for flying with Malaysian Airline System.


  • #2
    Re: Thailand 2003

    Originally posted by aerpix
    Well, I am not really a story teller, so I keep the impressions rather short.
    You call that short!

    Good review though took me ages to read


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    • #3
      Thanks, Joe, I am glad you enjoyed it. BTW, it is short. I also have a 65-page long version of my travels .



      • #4
        Originally posted by aerpix
        Thanks, Joe, I am glad you enjoyed it. BTW, it is short. I also have a 65-page long version of my travels .

        | My Photos | My Profile |


        • #5
          Kidding of course!



          • #6
            Great report.
            I've been to Samui in 1997. I love this little airport.
            It's a big contrast to Bangkok.


            • #7
              good work whoever u r, i can never write something half as long.................


              • #8
                Thats a lot of flying, very lucky!!

                How did you get from Koh Samui (USM) to Phuket (HKT) did you travel by boat or by plane?

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