Saturday, February 8, 2014

Thanksgiving 2013 in Maldives: Bangkok to Male via Singapore


      A ground staff and a buggy was waiting for us as soon as we got off the plane to take us through security and to the First Class lounge. The lounge was rather packed when we got there which was not surprisingly given most of Thai's European flights arrives around the same time. Thankfully, there was still an empty "living room" available for us.

      While waiting for our spa appointment time, we caught up on email and ordered a light breakfast of pork and fish rice soup. We made our own way to the spa lounge when no one came to escort us when it was our appointment time. I went with the hour long oil massage while Lydia had the shoulder massage since couldn't do the oil massage since she was pregnant. The massage and the shower was relaxing and still one of the best ways to spend a layover.

      Food in the lounge
      We got peckish again after the massage and ordered several more items of the menu when we got back to the lounge while enjoying the San Francisco 49ers demolish the New York Giants on TV. Overall this has to be one of the best lounges in the world but the service this time round was lackluster compared the the last time we were there. The servers just stood around at the bar talking to themselves and I had to step out of the living room and grab their attention every time we needed something.

      There was also no escort or buggy service to our flight to Singapore. We later found out the escort/buggy was only offered for passengers connecting to a first class flight. Worst still, we were provided the wrong gate information by the front desk agent so we had to make a long trek across the terminal to our gate. Things didn't get any better when we found out we had a bus gate. We were sweaty and hot by the time we got onto the plane.

      The plane was not much better as we got an ancient A330 for our flight to Singapore. The seats were dated and there was no AVOD on the plane. Lydia ended up sleeping for most of the flight and only waking up for a couple of bites of the duck rice served for lunch while I ended watching a surprisingly interesting documentary on tea.

      Thankfully the layover/transfer in Singapore was much more relaxing. It was a breeze collecting our luggage in Terminal 1, repacking some of our stuff and heading over to Terminal 2 to re-check in for our flight to Male. We did however encountered an immigration officer that was probably dyslexia that kept re-checking our boarding passes and passports and took more than 5 minutes to clear each passenger. I'm all for giving jobs to folks with disabilities but maybe this guy would have been better in a back office job?

      We spent the rest of the time in Singapore relaxing in the Silverkris lounge in Terminal 3 before heading back to Terminal 2 for our flight to Male. At this point, we so just wanted to get to Male and start the vacation proper. We were so tired after flying for almost two days at this point and thankfully this was our last flight and we had one of the best Singapore Airlines crew. There were energetic and gave us genuine warm service. Christmas decorations were also up and helped with the mood.

      Instead of the "normal" menu, both us had pre-ordered of selection for dinner via the Book-the-Cook service Singapore Airlines offers for its Business and First Class passengers. I had the nasi lemak last time round and had a hard time deciding between that or trying the laksa. The laksa was equally as good and definitely satisfied my craving for good Malaysian/Singaporean food. I'm going to have a hard time deciding next time we fly Singapore Airlines. Lydia had the braised duck and yam rice which was also pretty good.

      After dinner, the cabin lights were dimmed and I took a much needed nap before we arrived on time in Male. We were first off the plane and a couple of minutes later, we already had our luggage and looking forward to return to the Conrad Maldives tomorrow. A Conrad rep was waiting for us as we got out of the terminal to inform us our transfer to the Conrad would only be at 2pm tomorrow causing us to waste almost a day in Male in spite of us requesting earliest possible transfer. This was definitely not the way we imagined starting the holiday!

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