Sunday, September 30, 2012

Trip Summary

Note: This is a continuation of our Bali trip.  you can find the full trip itinerary here.

We had a great time in Asia -- family time is always nice especially since I live so far away from them. Our Hong Kong trip ended up being very short due to Typhoon Vicente at the beginning of our trip. But we were thankful to be safe and able to make it on time to my sister's wedding.

We loved our time in Bali and hope to be back again and stay longer next time around.

Highlights from our trip:

  • Our first trip ever in first class on Cathay Pacific airlines. Definitely such a memorable experience and we hope to be able to do it again in the future! :)
  • Being a part of my sister's beautiful wedding and meeting friends and family in Indonesia and Singapore
  • Breathtaking view from the Intercontinental Hong Kong

Until next time!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Hong Kong - San Francisco on Cathay Pacific

Note: This is a continuation of our Bali trip.  you can find the full trip itinerary here.

We have been anticipating this flight for a LONG time since it was our very first first class flight ever (thanks to redeeming miles). After spending time at the lounge, we went to the gate around the time the boarding announcement was made. There was already a long line for business class/marco polo card holder; there were probably around 30 people in front of us. The gate agents started checking everyone's boarding pass and passport, and upon seeing our first class ticket, he escorted us directly to the front of the line. Sweet! We felt like VIPs! 

There were 9 seats total in the first class cabin. Each seat was humungous! I sat in 1A while Dan sat in 2A. Looking back, it would have been better for couples traveling together to take the two first row's seats (1A & 1B).

I still can't get over how much space we had. Since we were in the nose of the plane, we could really see the curvature of the plane and the nose directly in front of me.

There's also storage space inside the faux wood cabinet, which was handy to store our carry on items as well as clothes if we wanted to change into pajamas later.

The Shanghai Tang pajamas as well as the amenity kit was later distributed. The amenity kit was really, really nice. The comb for example is made of faux wood and not of plastics that we usually get. We decided to wait until it was time to sleep to change into our pajamas.

The first class cabin was actually full; most of the clientele were older Chinese/Hong Kong residents from what I could tell. There was one seat occupied by a pilot.

The cabin attendants introduced themselves, and they were amazing. Service was definitely the best we've had hands down. We inquired about dining together since I read previously that it was an option. They said certainly, and asked whether we wanted to dine in my suite or in Dan's. Dan came over and sat on the stool/foot rest in front of me. The flight attendant came and brought a table extension and then setup the table coth with the silverware.

I didn't know this before, but apparently Cathay's first class passenger can order anything off the menu, in no particular order. So if you want 5 appetizers and 3 desserts and skip the mains, you can do so!

When browsing the menu, I noticed that they serve "Hong kong style milk tea" - which I really enjoyed while in Hong Kong. I was really torn between the Hong Kong milk tea or the Cathay Delight - but ended up ordering the Hong Kong milk tea.

Caviar and Balk

We started off with the caviar and the "Tsar Nicolaj" salmon which was really, really good. The caviar serving was generous and I quite enjoyed it. Dan didn't like it as much (pretty salty for his taste), so I ended up finishing his.

Tomato, orange, and basil soup
Dan ordered the tomato soup which he said was very tomato-ey and not creamy. He said I probably wouldn't like since I typically prefer bisque-style tomato soup.

Pork and Chestnut soup

I ordered the Chinese meal and it was a clear broth with pork, chestnut, and carrot. It was pretty good.

Pan fried king prawns

Dan debated between ordering the meat or the prawns, and ended up ordering the prawns. The portion size was surprisingly small, although it's probably good so he didn't overeat. :)

Hot pot rice

I wasn't actually too hungry at the time, so instead of ordering the main meal, I chose a dish from the "snack" selection which was the hot pot rice. The hot pot rice was served in a clay pot and had chicken, Chinese sausage, and mushrooms. The rice was a bit dry and I didn't truly enjoy this dish as much as I thought I would.

Black forest pudding with vanilla ice cream and raspberry coulis

We skipped the cheese course as we were too full, but we always have room for dessert! :) I ordered the black forest pudding with vanilla ice cream. The pudding was very "spongey" - the texture was a bit different from what I expected.

Fresh berries with ginger syrup

Dan was being good and only ordered the fruit plate for dessert. :)


Each of us then were served various pralines. Yum!

Turndown service

The flight attendant asked whether I wanted to have my bed made while I change to my pajamas, and I said sure! I went in to change and it was actually really nice to wear something comfortable to sleep in. Service was definitely exceptional - upon returning from the bathroom, the flight attendant asked for my regular clothes so she can hang them for me. I slept for a good 6-7 hours and woke up really thirsty. I asked for the Hong Kong milk tea and the egg tarts to enjoy while I'm watching some movies. :)

Snack  time

And then it was time for breakfast. We decided to eat separately this time so we could continue watching movies. :)

Assorted pastries

Instead of serving a choice of pastries, I was actually given a whole basket filled with muffins and croissants. They were also served warm which made the pastries tasted even better.

Fruit plate

The fruit plate was served next.

Scrambled eggs

I read that the scrambled eggs are scrambled on board the plane fresh, so I had to try it! It was really good and fluffy!

After breakfast, we changed back to our regular clothes and we really tried to soak in our last hour in first class. This was truly a very memorable flight!!


Definitely the best flight experience of our lives! We've never been on any other first class flight (other than domestic flights which don't really count). Service was amazingly attentive. Food was really, really good for airline food. The ability to dine together was just really cool - and the amount of space that we had was amazing. It really made the flight feel so much shorter, and this was probably the first flight where I wouldn't have minded if the flight was actually longer. :)

Next Post: Trip Summary

Friday, September 21, 2012

Second Hong Kong Layover

Note: This is a continuation of our Bali trip.  you can find the full trip itinerary here.

We had another one night layover in Hong Kong, and I was really hoping that we could at least see a little bit of Hong Kong this time. Instead of taking bus transfer or taxi, we decided to try the MTR this time. Turned out this was probably the best/easiest option. The MTR was very clean, not that expensive, and quite fast. Our stop was the IFC mall, and from there, we took a taxi to the Courtyard Marriott Hotel.

Hong Kong MTR

We were assigned a smaller room this time, which was fine for our one night stay. Everything else looked very similar. The weather was actually clear, but there wasn't really anything to do around the hotel unless we wanted to take the taxi back to IFC Mall and then take the MTR to Kowloon - so we ended up staying in that night.

The following morning we woke up a bit early and decided to just go ahead and take our carry on luggage with us so we wouldn't have to come back. We took the shuttle bus to IFC Mall, and then took the MTR to Jordan to eat breakfast at the Australian Dairy Co.

There was already a long line by the time we got to the restaurant. Thankfully the line moved very fast. Don't get mistaken by the "Australian" name. this restaurant was not very "Australian" at all...he he.

Thank God that they had air conditioning inside. It was a really hot and super humid day in Hong Kong, so the AC really helped. The restaurant was packed and seating area was extremely tight.

We asked for an English menu and ordered one of the breakfast packages which came with macaroni soup, scrambled egg and toast. The reviews said that the eggs are amazing and they were! They were very fluffy and creamy - maybe they put milk or something in it?

I of course also ordered the Hong Kong style milk tea which was so refreshing! We shared the yellow egg custard pudding which I surprisingly didn't enjoy. It was a bit too rich for breakfast.

We also got an order of the thick toast with condensed milk which was good. We didn't try their milk which was displayed outside. Overall we liked this place and were glad we tried it.

After breakfast we walked around to get a feel of the city. Unfortunately, it just rained that morning so the humidity was off the charts. We could only walk for a couple minutes before we rushed back inside to the comfort of AC.

I was trying to find the "Times Square" area but couldn't find it and we had very limited time so ended up just walking randomly... he he.

Before heading back to the airport, I told Dan we should visit the Intercontinental hotel which supposedly has one of the best views of Hong Kong. So we took the MTR, and then walked to the hotel.  Once inside, we went into the lounge area and saw a truly remarkable view. The hotel had really high ceilings with glass panes overlooking Hong Kong island. The picture doesn't do it justice; you have to come yourself to see. I bet this would be really pretty at night. The hotel overlooked the Avenue of the Stars which you can also stroll/walk around if you don't want to pay for drinks at the Intercontinental hotel. However, it was way too hot for us to be walking outside so we really enjoyed our rest and the AC at the Intercontinental bar lounge.

We each ordered a drink which was way overpriced. But I guess we knew we were paying for the view. :)

We took the taxi back to the airport, and went straight through security and passport control to the lounge since we already had our boarding passes. There were a couple choices for the first class lounge and we ended up at the Pier. I was surprised how much smaller the first class lounge was compared to the business class lounge. I somehow imagined it would be more "grand", but it wasn't.

We went straight to the shower area since walking around Hong Kong that morning made us sweat so much and it was definitely time to freshen up.

After our much needed shower we went to the eating area for lunch. The food was served buffet style.

I ordered my new favorite drink, the Cathay Delight. :)

We shared a couple items from the buffet. As you can see, they had dim sum items, fruit, smoked salmon, bread.  A very good selection, much more than the business class lounge.

I also found some pralines that they usually serve on the business class flight and I got a couple since they were really good. :)

After lunch, we wanted to check out the "private room" - where you had to exchange your boarding pass with. Turns out the private room was very small and we felt  a bit claustrophobic so we went immediately outside and waited in the main lounge. :)