Thursday, March 31, 2011

My Favourite Makan Place: Usman Thai Muslim Restaurant- Bangkok

"MAKAN" is a malay word which means "eat/eating" .........

Without doubt, this is my favourite restaurant in Bangkok. Located in Sukhumvit area, it serves halal local Thai dishes at an affordable price. The owner and the staffs are fluent in malay language hence order may be made in the same language.

the menu

i ordered the combo meal for 2 persons which consisted of Prawn Tomyam

fried squid

and fried water morning glory in oyster sauce

all were very delicious and tasty. there are also combo meals for 3-4 person consisted of 5 different dishes.

ambiance of the is fully airconditioned.

this restaurant is located at Sukhumvit Soi 22, right beside the Imperial Queen Hotel and opposite the Mercure Hotel. Take note it is closed on Fridays. Do visit this restaurant and taste the wonderful dishes served here..happy eating-Kay2011

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Flight Review-Thai Airways International TG 416 & TG 417

Flight : TG 416
Route : KUL-BKK
Equipment : Airbus A340-600
Load: 90%
Meal Service : Lunch
Service Rating : 3 out of 5
Comfort Rating : 4 out of 5

Another shopping trip to Bangkok means another elaborate searches for the best flight deals. I am literally spoilt for choices when it comes to choosing the best flight for this route, easily due to the varieties of airlines flying the route and my usual choice would always be Malaysia Airlines, due to its best deals, in terms of pricing, frequencies and the frills offered all inclusive.

Regardless, it was time to change the norm and to add in my collections of airlines flown between the 2 cities (note that ive flown all except Thai Airways) hence i forked out some extra hard earned cash to sample the service of the national airline of Thailand. From my searches, i noticed that Thai Airways's fare will always be the most expensive of others and this flight was non-exception.Regardless, from the experiences of other who had flown this airline, the extra cash would be money well spent with the excellent on-board services and the frills offered by this airline...fingers crossed and I excitedly waited for the day of my flight.

Ive checked in online a day earlier and it was stated in their website that the equipment which will be used today is a Boeing 777 (either series 200 or 300), but surprisingly, when i reached the gate i noticed that the plane docking there was a four-engined aircraft..sure enough..there had been an aircraft change and i would be flying on an Airbus A340-600..the world's longest passenger plane todate....i was so excited as this type of aircraft is "rare" as only a handful is being operated throughout the world.

Our aircraft, christened as "Watthana" at the gate ready for boarding process..

passengers boarding..

Blanket, pillow and headset were offered on the ground...these are the frills not offered by Malaysia Airlines (unless requested)

the legroom in this aircraft is quite tight..regardless so far everything looks satisfactory..once entering the aircraft cabin crew standing at the sides of the isles greeted the passengers with "wais" while wishing "sawadikapp"-welcome.

Once we were airborne inflight entertainment was activated and lunch service was started by the cabin crews. Ive earlier requested for seafood meal. Another frill which was not offered if you were flying with Malaysia Airlines. With Thai Airways you may request for various types of special meals to suit your dietary needs such as vegetarian/muslim/kosher/low-fat/low sodium etc. If you did not make any special meal request, you will be served with 2 selections of meals.

The meal tray consisted of Seafood Spaghetti in proper caserole, Salmon and Prawn salad and some local Thai dessert. Metal cutleries were used onboard. The crews served the food first followed by drink rounds of fruit juices, soft drinks, wines and plain water. Thereafter coffee and tea were offered.It was a satisfying lunch and everything tasted nice.

the rest of the flight was spent browsing the extensive inflight entertainment channels.Not many new movies nor songs were available therein though.

Flight : TG 417
Route :BKK-KUL
Equipment : Boeing 777-200ER
Load: 60%
Meal Service :Early Dinner
Service Rating : 3 out of 5
Comfort Rating : 4 out of 5

After a wonderful shopping spree in Bangkok it was time to head home.Today's flight would be operated by a Boeing 777-200ER. It was a very empty flight as passengers scattered all over the cabin with many empty seats available.This aircraft felt more comfortable with more legroom and headroom.

"Phichit" seating idle at the gate waiting for passengers boarding...

Note the hazy atmosphere around the airport. Bangkok at that time recorded a chilly weather of 22 celcius..surprisingly uncommon for me as ive never experienced cold weather in Bangkok before.Usually it was like a killer hot and humid weather especially in Chatuchak market with all the crowds.

Boarding in progress..............

For this flight ive pre-ordered Muslim meal. Thus, i was served with Yellow Rice with Beef Rendang as main and accompanied by the same Salmon & Prawn salad as side. Dessert was an apple crumble. Taste wise i prefer the Seafood Spaghetti over this Yellow Rice and Rendang. It was quite bland in taste. If in the inbound flight i finished all my Salmon salad, this time the salmon tasted too fishy for my liking and i left most of it uneaten.Normal drinks rounds were conducted by the cabin crews promptly and noticeably more frequent than in the inbound flight due to light load in this flight.

The landing at KLIA was quite rough and bumpy.

My first experience with the national carrier of Thailand was a satisfactory one. Maybe due to the short flight duration i could not really give comprehensive review and intrinsic experience  of the service offerings. However compared to other airlines flying on this route i believe Thai Airways has a niche over the rest in terms of hardware and software used and offered to the passengers and by stating this the higher fare imposed is justified. Kay-2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Hotel Review-Holiday Villa Alor Setar

This hotel is touted as the best hotel in Alor Setar, the capital city of Kedah, a state in peninsular Malaysia, located at the north of Kuala Lumpur, about an hour flight journey away from the same.

Surely, in a small and quite town, a hotel which is managed by a well known hotel management (in this instance Holiday Villa Hotels & Resorts which manages hotels & resorts in 10 countries around the world) the said statement should have its merits ..or is it so?

General views of the room...

the Standard Room is spacious with wood flooring dominating the main area of the room. Colour theme is mainly brown-earthy colour which was reflected by the flooring, furniture and furnishes of the room. I was lucky to be allocated a room with  a direct view of the city's main street and overlooking the rows of shop underneath. 

Obviously the bed and furniture are in need of replacement as apparently they were of products of yesteryear and the mattress would creak when sat on.The TV is flat-screen  but not an LCD TV. Each room is provided with personal iron and ironing board. This is very convenient for business travelers as not to share iron with the whole occupant of the hotel to attend tomorrow's meetings or work commitments.
the bathroom view...

the bathroom is similarly spacious and beautifully marbled. Amenities provided are standard. The flushing system in my room had obviously been repaired-not in a proper way obviously as you have to really push the button hard before it flushes.

views outside the window...

my stay came with a complimentary buffet breakfast. it was a minimal affair with limited choices of foods and drinks. The usual offering in most hotels, Nasi Lemak was nonexistence.

My stay in Holiday Villa was comfortable, period. It doesnt offer you any luxury to be shouted out or any outstanding service and offerings to be raved about. The winning point of the hotel is its central location. I must add that the service of the personnel were lackluster and it is the department which needed the most upgrade. One example was that my request for a box of facial tissue was only attended to almost one hour after requests were made. Mind you i have to request 2 times for a box of facial tissue....

Until a new hotel or another hotel can offer better services and facilities is established in Alor Setar, Holiday Villa Alor Setar can sit on its laurel and continue to offer the services at current standard, which is mediocre at best. Needless to say that im  that the same will not be long. Kay 2011.

Monday, March 14, 2011

My Life in Monochrome

..just came back from an outstation trip to Alor Setar, the capital city of Kedah, a state located at the northern part of  Peninsula Malaysia.... i captured my journey in monochrome...never realized how artistic and alive pictures could be in black and is full of colours, so they say....but no other colours in the world can represent the intrinsic part of human nature-good & evil better than black & white.....