Where to Travel?

In this post, I will explain how I decide where to travel.

I have very specific criteria for planning the destination and the duration of the trip.

<Destinations>

I usually decide destinations first. Destinations I pick are usually,

  • Places have public transportation
  • Or affordable taxi/Uber available
  • Big cities

The first 2 criteria are simply because I don’t have a drivers license and even if I had, I’m too scared to drive oversea. I like New York and Singapore so much, and one of the reasons is that I can go pretty much anywhere by taking public transit.

In addition, I love big cities where there are a lot of people and be the centre of culture. I like seeing big buildings and beautiful night view. Big cities also tend to have landmark places to visit within walking distances and I like all of those factors to form big cities.

<Duration>

Duration is very important to decide where to travel. If I’m going to Europe, I prefer to go longer than a week. If I only have few days, I prefer to go somewhere within the North America, such as Seattle or New York. Another important factor is the convenience of flights/transportations to get the destination. If the flight to the destination is not flying every single day, it’s hard to make a travel vacation plan. In the case of 3 Nights 8 Days Trip, I had one week break in school and I planned to visit as many places as possible in a week. In addition, I had never been to Abu Dhabi and Singapore, so I definitely wanted to travel to those destinations.

Duration is quite significant to consider where I can travel and how long I have to each destination. So, I’ve experienced 3 Nights 8 Days Trip and also A Weekend in New York.

<Purpose>

“Why I travel?” is the most important question I usually ask to myself. I love New York and I always get a lot of inspiration by walking in Manhattan. There are a lot of arts, amusements, shops, restaurants, and places I love to visit and all of these give me the great impression of New York.  Right now, my dream place to visit is Europe, especially London and Paris. The reason is that I’ve never traveled in Europe and it’s completely new world for me. I heard from a lot of friends that the North America and Europe are very different and I should visit as many cities as possible in Europe if I have opportunities.  So, discovering the new world is my primary purpose of my travel in recent days.

Destination, duration, and purpose, all of these sound very basic factor in deciding where to travel and it’s good to consider why you want to travel to the destination before making a plan. You may find better place to travel to by discovering your own criteria for travel plan making.

Airport Lounge review: New Cathay Pacific Business Class Lounge at YVR

Unimaginable before and after. That’s what I thought when I first saw the press release photos of Cathay Pacific’s new lounge at YVR airport. Cathay Pacific Airways, the largest airline in Asia recently opened a lounge for business class passengers in YVR airport. I’ll reviewing and comparing this lounge and their old lounge in this post.

They used to own a lounge at YVR airport near the international departure security check, right above Air Canada’s Maple Leaf lounge (which is currently under renovation). It was somewhat nice lounge as I didn’t have to walk a long distance from the security check and was very easy to access. However, I also had some points that I didn’t like about their lounge. Overall, I can see a lot of improvements in the new lounge and it’s fair to say that the new lounge is much more travelers friendly environment.

Here are some photos of the lounge.

It had contemporary simple design with their old lounge concept design, the large white bar-style table with orange and red sofas. It still looked nice but as you may feel the design is a bit outdated. In addition, it wasn’t large enough if all business class passenger enter in the lounge, especially right before the night flight to New York depart. I also didn’t like that it didn’t have shower facilities in it. So even though, I wanted to take a shower before the long flight to Hong Kong, I had to go to Plaza Premium Lounge or took shower in advance before heading to the airport.

So, it’s time to see the new one. Here are some photos of the new lounge.



Wow!

It’s large, gorgeous, and relaxing environment. I can see a lot of improvements from the old lounge.

The design follows Cathay Pacific’s most recent lounge design, designed by Studioilse led by Ilse Crawford. Very contemporary design with warm wooden wall gives more relaxing atmosphere to passengers who are about to enjoy their journeys.

There are some big changes in the lounge. The lounge is equipped with 2 shower rooms for the passengers who are about to take long flights, the noodle bar with selection of Asian noodles, dim sums and all day breakfast menu. The computers with printers are also new feature, which are very useful for travellers who want to print some important documents, such as travel inquiries and hotel booking confirmations.

I tried Wonton noodle, dim sums and a glass of champagne at the noodle bar in the dining area. It tasted very authentic Chinese wonton noodle and champagne tasted great! There were also enough seats at the dining area and the passengers who want to relax and who want to eat are nicely separated and the lounge provided very relaxing atmosphere at the relaxing seating area. They used to serve champagne only in the first class lounge, however they started providing selection of champagne and wines in business class lounge too. So the services other than seating and spacing also improved a lot.


I’m pretty sure that in this lounge, people would plan to eat and drink before taking flight and sleep in the flight instead of eat in-flight meal, which don’t usually taste better than food on the ground.

The only one negative point about the new lounge is that they removed the first class lounge and made business and first class lounges together. So that, the first class passengers may feel a bit less privileged. However, the new lounge has pretty high standard and you can experience first class lounge service in business class lounge.

Summary

If you’re traveling from YVR airport international terminal with OneWorld airlines and have OneWorld sapphire or emerald status, or flying Cathay Pacific’s business class, you definitely try the new lounge. Relaxing and having good food before flight can make a huge difference in the flight. It changes traveling much better experience and helped to travel well.

Flight Review: CX888 YVR-JFK Premium Economy Class

Welcome to another flight review blog! This time, I’ll be reviewing a flight from Vancouver to New York, JFK airport. An interest thing of this flight is that the flight is operated by Cathay Pacific, the Hong Kong based airline, as a part of flight from Hong Kong to New York via Vancouver. If you love aviation news and follow the aviation industry and know a lot about YVR airport, you can easily guess that this flight spot in at the gate 73 for the security reason.

Check-In & Boarding 

As usual, check in at YVR airport. At the check in counter, I and my friend were told that the flight was completely full and they upgraded us from economy class to premium economy class! It was a great surprise as I and my friend participated a volunteer activity for a whole day and was very tired. 


During the boarding, we got to line up on the premium economy class passengers’ priority queue as a part of premium economy class benefits. Usually, cathay Pacific’s boarding process is as follows, the first group is people who need assistance and with children,  the second group is first class passengers, millage club diamond members, One World emerald members, the third group is business class passengers, millage club gold and silver members, One World Sapphire members, the fourth group is premium economy passengers and millage club green members, and then the fifth one is economy class passengers. 

Seat & Amenities

The aircraft was Boeing 777-300ER with 4 classes, which is called 77H. It has 6 first class seats, 53 business class seats, 38 premium economy class seats and 175 economy class seats. As you can imagine, the first class and business class takes almost the half of the airplane and there are not that many economy class seats comparing to other types of 777 or other airlines’ 777-300ER. So, it’s understandable why economy class was overbooked and we got upgraded to premium economy.

The seat configuration is 2-4-2 in Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, which is a typical configuration for premium economy (and economy class is usually 3-3-3 or 3-4-3).


The seat has extra legroom, width and recline comparing to a regular economy class seat.

On the seat, there were pillow, blanket and amenity pouch, since it was a night flight, which left Vancouver in the night and arrived in New York in the next morning. In this flight, because the flight time was only 5 hours, I had to choose whether I sleep 5 hours to prepare myself for discovering NYC or enjoy food & movies. 

Well, I chose to watch the first half of the movie I picked and being awake until the meal service ends, and then got 3 hours of sleep.

Shortly after we settled down on seats, a flight attendant served a welcome drink from the choice of champagne, orange juice and water. I picked up champagne and cheered with my friend.


In-flight Meal

In-flight meal choices were very similar to economy class meal choice, which are often beef/pork, chicken, or vegetarian. I picked up chicken with mashed potato. It came with shrimp salad, bread and cheesecake.


After, the meal service, I slept for about 2 and a half hours and woke up 25 minutes before anding announcement. Shortly after that, the plane landed safely to JFK International Airport and spotted in to Terminal 7. I personally like JFK Terminal 7, as it’s very different from other airports’ terminals I usually use. It used to be owned by British Airways (BA) and operated exclusively British Airways flights. It also has Concorde Room for BA First Class passengers, which I dream to enter one day hopefully.

After landing, I went through the US immigration and customs, and then picked up Uber to the hotel in Manhattan.

Summary

It was very comfortable 5 hours flight with the better seats and larger legroom. I could see a lot of differences between regular economy class and premium economy class. Now, I can understand why they call it “premium” economy class, instead of just calling it “economy plus.”

3 Nights 8 Days Trip Part 7 (Last Part)

Welcome aboard!

Day 8: On my way to home.

Finally, it comes to the end of my journey.  Since, there is no direct flight from Singapore to Vancouver, I transited in Hong Kong. So, that means I visited Hong Kong International Airport 4 times in a week.

It took 4 hours from Singapore to Hong Kong and 12 and a half hour from Hong Kong to Vancouver.

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Luckily I got the first low of Premium Economy class on my way back to Vancouver. So, it was comfortable and after the first meal service, I fall into a long sleep and when I woke up was just few hours before the second meal service.

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As always,it was hard to take a good picture of in-flight meals because of the lighting. After a long journey, I safely arrived Vancouver International Airport.

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When I saw it was raining, I felt that I came back to Vancouver. I pretty enjoyed my short one week break with a lot of flights, which I loved.

I had planned this trip because I wanted to let people know trip can be made any styles. It doesn’t have to be a week cruise in Mexico or 5 nights 7 days in Paris. It could be 3 nights 8 days in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Hong Kong and Singapore. Many of my friends told me that I am crazy about making travel plans, but I want to visit as many places as possible in my life with short breaks I get. That’s one of the reasons I plan this trip.

Thank you for reading long series of blog posts!

Have a nice day!

3 Nights 8 Days Trip Part 6

Welcome aboard!

Day 6: Singapore Part 2

As you may expect, the temperature in Singapore is extremely humid., which probably many people in Vancouver are not familiar with. Unlikely the summer in Vancouver, it’s wet and hot. What I mean by wet is that you keep sweating and your T-shirts sticks to your skin. However, the great thing is that everywhere is airconditioned or even over-airconditioned, so I needed to bring jackets to go anywhere in Singapore.

DSC02560 DSC02493 DSC02456 DSC02627 Marina Bay Sands, one of the newest symbolic architecture in Singapore and known as a luxurious hotel which has a rooftop swimming pool on the top of the building (or I should say buildings). Unfortunately, I could not afford to pay $700 for a night, so I decided to visit Gardens By The Bay, which is a huge garden behind Marina Bay Sands.

It has two large domes which are called “Flower Domes” and “Cloud Forest”. I was amazed that there are so many different kinds of plants and flowers from all over the world. Another amazing thing about those gardens is that they have flowers from different seasons at the same place. I would recommend this place if you are visiting Singapore, and also the regular gardens outside of domes are free to enter.

 

At night of day 7, it was almost the end of my one week journey. Since there is no direct flight from Singapore to Vancouver, flew to Hong Kong, and then flew back to Vancouver.

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One thing I was excited about visiting Singapore is that I got a chance to visit Changi International Airport. This airport is always ranked top 3 airports in the world certified by Skytrax. I visited Terminal 1, which were constructed when they build the airport. However, I did not feel that the airport is 25 years old. It is very well maintenance and renovated for modern design and great duty-free shopping and dining facilities.

I took a very early morning flight to Hong Kong, and as soon as I got into the airplane and had a seat, I fall into sleep.

Thank you for reading and have a nice day!

Continued to 3 Nights 8 Days Trip Part 7.