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Contiki Big Indochina Adventure: Day 1 – Travel to Bangkok via Hong Kong

Hello from the other side of the world! I arrived at Newark Airport shortly after 9:00 PM for a flight that departed at 1:10 AM for Hong Kong. I decided to use some of my credit card points to spoil myself and fly Business Class – I’m very, very happy with the decision so far!

Upon my arrival at Newark, I decided to check my backpack so I would not have to carry it around Hong Kong airport during my layover – now I can pick it up when I arrive in Thailand! After going through security, I spent a few hours at the British Airways Lounge where I was able to relax before my flight. I kept hydrated and drank a lot of water and orange juice, but there was also a variety of options from wine to beer to liquor. For food, there were a few different types of sandwiches, chips and other snacks.

At around 12:15 AM, I headed down to the gate to board the plane. They actually boarded Business Class at a different gate so we didn’t have to wait in any lines. After getting on the plane, I was able to begin to check out my digs for the next 16 hours. Not only did I have a lie flat seat, but I also had two windows and a few different storage compartments reserved just for me. There was a shoe compartment next to my seat, a small cubby for my iPad and a few items as well as a larger cubby for a pillow and a blanket. Above me, there was an overhead compartment reserved just for my seat number. The seat also has a proper power outlet as well as a USB outlet. It was very, very comfortable!

After takeoff, the flight attendants gave me back my crutches (they stowed them in a coat closet for takeoff) and I was able to lay them next to the window for the duration of my flight. This is a huge advantage for me as it was the first time that I’ve flown alone and been able to move around the plane without asking someone to get my crutches every time. The ability to get up at any moment meant that I didn’t have to restrict myself to one or two restroom breaks and stretch breaks, but I could follow whatever schedule I wanted to.

Shortly after takeoff, our first meal was served. I decided to go for the Western meal – beef tenderloin. It was very good for airplane food!

After dinner, I decided to make use of my lie flat seat and go to bed. It was 3:00 AM my time and I was exhausted!

I slept like a baby & got up at around 11:00 AM New York time. Unfortunately, that will not help me acclimate to the time difference in Southeast Asia as much as it would have if I had slept a few more hours, but I’ll figure it out!

I then proceeded to watch two travel movies about Southeast Asia – the first one was “The Hangover – Part II”. As ridiculous as it is, the movie itself is very entertaining and a great way to get one in the mood for 25 days of traveling around the region!

The second movie I watched was “The Beach” with Leonardo DiCaprio. I had never seen it, but heard it is a must watch for any travel enthusiast. It was about an American backpacker who lands in Bangkok and hears about a mysterious island of the grid. The movie focuses around his voyage to the island, the people he meets along the way and the repercussions of his arrival. It was a great way to pass the time!

While watching the second movie, breakfast was served – fresh fruit, yogurt and eggs.

As the movie was ending, the pilot came on the PA system to tell everyone to get ready for landing. The flight arrived about 40 minutes early and only took about 15 hours. Time literally flew by (pun intended)! Sitting in business class definitely was worth the use of my credit card points – it’s going to be hard to fly long haul flights in economy ever again!

After arriving at Hong Kong, we immediately deplaned and went through security again at the transfer portal. Then, I walked down to the other end of the airport to go to the Cathay Pacific Business Class Lounge that my friends at work recommended.

Cathay Pacific has 4-5 lounges at Hong Kong International Airport, but it was obvious why my friends recommended the one called “The Bridge”. Once I took the escalator down to the lounge, I was greeted by an employee who immediately pointed me in the direction of the showers. I didn’t think I looked that bad!

The showers were better than my shower at home. There were individual stalls – each equipped with a shower, toilet, sink, toiletries & even a toothbrush and toothpaste! The shower was my favorite as it had a shower head that simulated rainfall. After a very refreshing shower, I went off to explore the rest of the lounge.

It had an Internet café with ample room to use one of their computers or your own.

It also had a coffee bar, two buffets, a TV Lounge & even a standard bar! There was also ample seating room scattered around the lounge.

After eating a breakfast consisting of scrambled eggs, a croissant, rice rolls, dumplings and noodles, it was time to head to the gate to board my flight to Bangkok!

I’m now sitting on the plane on my way to Thailand! Even though this flight is only two and a half hours, I have another lie flat seat, so I tried to take a nap so I can hit the ground hopping in Bangkok! While I don’t think I fell asleep, I do think the relaxation will help me stay rejuvenated for the rest of the day!

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