After a fantastic week in Bangkok with sunny blue skies, fantastic food and relaxation by the hotel pool, it was time for the journey home. On this route, I would be flying from Bangkok (BKK) to Taipei (TPE), then to San Francisco (SFO), and finally to Toronto (YYZ). This will be a three-part review covering the three segments.
You’re probably wondering why I did such an insane flight path? This was a redemption ticket on Aeroplan with most of the route (including my Toronto to Taipei and Taipei to Bangkok legs) being in business class. Seat availability tends to be an issue so I was happy to take the longer route as most of the flights and dates worked to my advantage.
If you want to see a review and photos of my hotel stays in Thailand or Southeast Asia, just let me know. I split the nights between The St. Regis Bangkok and the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Bangkok. It was my first time staying at any St. Regis and I wanted to try and experience the luxury the brand is known for. The Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit is my favourite hotel in the world and I’ve been coming here since 2008. All of my hotel stays were free since I was able to use Marriott Bonvoy points accumulated through my Marriott Bonvoy American Express.
From Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) I flew with EVA Air economy class. At the time when I made this Aeroplan award redemption, there were two flights with EVA Air available. One had a departure time in the morning and was in business class and the other had a departure time late in the afternoon in economy class. No doubt, business class would’ve been more comfortable but I opted to spend more time in Bangkok on my last day. The flight from Bangkok to Taipei is about 4 hours and with having advance seat selection I didn’t feel too bad about going economy.
I arrived at Suvarnabhumi (pronounced “su-wa-na-poom”) about 4 hours before my departure flight. My past experience here told me that it’s usually a good hour to clear security, immigration and customs. With EVA Air you can use the self check-in machines and that’s what I did.
Here’s the view of the airport from a level up. This was in the early afternoon during the peak flight departures period yet the airport was strangely nowhere nearly as busy as usual. Maybe not so strange as this being late February, China had already banned outgoing flights as the COVID-19 outbreak happened a month earlier. Tourists to Asian countries had already started to decrease and here it really shows.
Heading towards security I saw an observation deck on the upper level. Even though the Bangkok airport is relatively new having been complete in 2006. you can see the new satellite terminal under construction in the distance. BKK is one of the busiest airports in the world so I guess it’s not a huge surprise.
Once past immigration and customs you’re in the main terminal central hallway. This art sculpture is known as Samudra manthan (churning of the ocean) which is a legend in the Hindu philosophy. This is easily one of the most photographed points in the airport.
Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport is in the shape of a horizontally wide stretched H shape. From the art sculpture which is located right in the middle, going either left or right down the hallways brings you to many of the same shops and restaurants. Don’t feel that you may be missing out on anything if you choose to go one direction. If you head in the direction of your gate, you’ll likely come across the same stores as going the opposite way.
I always see people browsing in the duty free shops but the cashier was never busy. Even thought you’re technically getting a deal at duty free, since you often have to buy bigger sizes, I get put off. Besides alcohol and cigarettes, I often wonder if you’re actually saving any money at duty free.
This is one of my favourite views at this airport. You can see this from each of the four corners of the terminal. I take a picture in this exact same spot every time I fly through BKK.
Airline lounges at Bangkok airport are on the 3rd floor which is one floor down from departures on the 4th floor. Bangkok Suvarnabhumi has a lot of lounges. I counted 22 on the map though it could be less assuming some airlines were sharing lounges. My gate was in Concourse G so I headed towards that direction to the Oman Air Lounge which is in the nearby Concourse E.
Since my departure flight was in economy class I didn’t have access to the EVA Air lounge. However, my Priority Pass membership, through my American Express Platinum Card, gave me access to 14 different lounges here at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi. It was a random choice of whichever one happened to be close to my gate.
The Oman Air Lounge has two main rooms. Once past the entrance, to the left are the food and drinks, business centre, washrooms, shower and seating area. The blue lighting has a nice look to it, but it make taking good pictures difficult.
To the right of the entrance is another open seating area. At the rear behind the curtains are lounge chairs where you can lie down and take a nap. The staff at this lounge were really diligent about keeping the lounge clean and organized. The food was constantly being refilled even though there wasn’t that many people here.
There’s a self-serve bar with a good selection of premium alcohol. I appreciate that all the garnishes were perfectly cut and they had the appropriate glasses available depending on your drink.
Below the open bar was mini-fridges full of bottled water, soft drinks, juices, beer and yogurt. I love it when they have individual servings as opposed to fountain drinks at lounges as I’m able to grab a few to go. Foreign drinks make great last-minute gifts.
A variety of Middle Eastern and Asian small bites including duck breast salad, tabbouleh, spring rolls, hummus and olives were available. I like the individual servings where you can just grab and go. Most lounges would just have a giant plate with everything on top or one big platter for the dops.
Smoked duck sandwiches, tuna sandwiches and cheese and crackers were also on hand. The smoked duck was a welcome change from ham and cheese which every other lounge seems to have.
I don’t know why, but I find individually wrapped rolls and slices of bread to be hilarious. I understand it’s to keep things clean, but it feels like such a waste.
Stir-fried noodles with vegetables and stir-fried mixed vegetables. This was clearly aimed at the Asian clientele.
Plain rice and Thai chicken green curry. You can’t be at a lounge in Thailand without Thai curry right?
Thai fish cakes and chicken teriyaki skewers made up the rest of the hot food buffet. Overall, this was an excellent selection of food at the lounge. It’s definitely better than any lounge in Canada that I’ve been to.
There’s a single shower room here which you can request access to from the staff. It’s just a shower room as the washrooms with toilet and sink are separate. I still had another hour before boarding so I decided to eat first and then take a shower so I would be refreshed for the flight.
The Oman Air Lounge at Bangkok Airport was definitely nice, but it’s no Emirates First Class Lounge. I enjoyed my time, but now it was time for me to board. Here’s the EVA Air Boeing 777-300ER that would be taking me to Taipei.
EVA Air’s Boeing 777-300ER in economy class is in a 3-4-3 configuration. The in-flight entertainment options are the same as in business class. I wonder if any airlines have different movies and shows for different seat classes. The touch screen appeared to use a different LCD technology as the touch interaction was less responsive.
At my seat was a pillow waiting for me. I always choose the aisle seat as I don’t like crossing over people to go to the washroom.
In EVA Air Economy Class the washrooms have Payot toiletries. This is different from EVA Air Royal Laurel Business Class which provides Acqua Colonia toiletries. Is Acqua Colonia a lot better?
At cruising altitude, the dinner service started. I wasn’t hungry after having eaten at the Oman Air Lounge. Really though, I’m not a fan of airline food and I either try to eat right before a flight or bring my own meal(s) and snacks. Out of curiosity, I wanted to try the fish as I’ve never seen the option for a fish meal in economy class before.
The fish and noodles were quite good. The fish was battered through soggy from the sauce and being reheated. The noodles were springy and worked well with the sweet sauce. Also notice that EVA Air continues to provide steel utensils instead of plastic. A trick to defrost the butter is to let it sit on top of the main entrée’s foil cover for a bit before you unwrap the plate and eat.
Just three hours later, I landed at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE). I would have about two hours here before my next flight which would be with EVA Air Royal Laurel Business Class Boeing 777-300ER to take me to San Francisco International Airport (SFO).
What I like about EVA Air Economy Class is that I can rely on their food to taste good. There are extra little amenities here and there which make the flight experience better like dental floss picks as part of the utensils with meals, earplugs and toothbrushes and toothpaste. I never have any regrets choosing their economy class.
This flight would have normally cost CAD $4,000+, but I practically got it for free thanks to the best travel credit cards in Canada. Some people prefer the best cash back credit cards or no fee credit cards, but you’ll never be able to get as much value out of them compared to travel rewards.