So, our Christmas trip is over and were safe at home after about 27 hours of traveling.
Georgia and Frazer are currently in Koh Tao and having a great time, been snorkelling and despite my warnings they’ve hired scooters and explored the Island .
I thought it might be useful to share our travel experience on the home journey, at least it may help some one making the same journey in the future.
First Off, The Thai House Beach Resort, Lamai, Koh Samui.
This is our second visit here and it’s a great Venue.
Its not the cheapest Hotel, its not state of the art, its not even (if I’m brutally honest) very modern. The pictures of rooms on the web site are very flattering when you compare them to the real thing. But it has a charm.
But, Its functional, everything works, well almost.
The Hot water needed fixing twice and the TV picture was awful.
Wi-Fi is sporadic and works best at the Beach, in reception and early in the morning.
Some of the Sun Loungers have seen better days and the furniture around the pool is in need of an update.
But its right on the beach, has a nice pool, great restaurant, good food and the best staff team I’ve come across in ages. This is its selling point. The staff are exceptional.
If only we could come to an agreement about Happy Hour and the two for one offer, it would be perfect.
There was a complimentary Taxi provided to take us to the airport and when we checked out we had a small bill to pay but they off set the 1500 BHT voucher against that. Still don’t know why we got the Voucher but hey.
I collected my 3/4 length coat from the Tailors where i had it made for 6000 BHT and left a tip for the cleaners in the room. Gave left over whiskey to Frank and we were off.
I was surprised to see the queues at Samui airport and checking in Baggage was a long and hot process which didn’t seem any quicker given we had checked in on line.
I was surprised to learn that our bags would go all the way to Heathrow from here as Bangkok airways has an agreement with Qatar. Why then didn’t they do the same on the outbound flight?
Check in classified us as International travellers even though we were going to Bangkok (still love that place) and we were sent to Gate 7 (or was it 6 ) which was quite a long walk through parts of the Airport id not seen before.
There were some restaurants/Bars on route which advertised free Wifi and they may well be worth using rather than going all the way to departure lounge where there isn’t much to do.
Bangkok Air do offer Free Refreshments, which consisted of some fairly bland sandwiches, Tea, Coffee, soft drinks and some pastries which is a nice touch, though if you wanted anything substantial, use one of the Cafes en route.
The flight to Bangkok is only a short one (about 40 minutes, maybe less) but they do feed you and we were offered the first of many Pasties as well as a drink.
Once at Bangkok we followed the signs for QIA or some thing similar (we were given a sticker to wear) though we couldn’t find our departure on the board and had to ask at one of the numerous Information desks. They sent us to gate C8 though its a long way from the shops and restaurants of the terminal and although theres a walking escalator to help you get out to the gate, if you want to come back (to buy a drink or pass some time) you have to do it under your own steam, and its miles.
Unfortunately we arrived at the gate a bit prematurely and had to sit around but i had a blog to write and the Terminal Wifi was free so the time went quickly.
Our flights were with Qatar airways and in general we had no complaints.
All our flights on the home leg were delayed but all connections worked fine.
The flight from Bangkok to Doha was 6.5 hrs The seating was a bit cramped and the in flight entertainment was spoilt by poor sound quality which meant i couldn’t watch any of the films as i couldn’t follow the dialogue. Sleep came in Dribs and Drabs so it felt like a much longer flight.
They did feed us and we were offered yet another Pastie ( was catering supplied by Gregg’s) which became a bit tedious and Jaki declined hers and was offered a wrap (with unknown contents) instead.
Once at Doha, which is a pretty impressive airport we embarked on one of the longest walks I have ever experienced in side a building. It was literally from one side of the complex to the other.
By now i was starting to get problems walking (the Knees are fine but arthritic in my feet make it uncomfortable). Then we were exposed to yet more queueing to go through security.
This was concerning.
They had the usual tray to put your items in and the body scanning doorway to walk through but:-
They didn’t ask us to take items like laptops, toiletries etc out of our bags and put them in separate trays.
When my artificial Knee set off the alarm, i wasn’t subject to a more detailed scan, I wasn’t searched. I was asked if i had ‘keys in my pocket’ and when i said ‘no’ the guy shrugged and waved me through.
So, a Tip.
Unless the cost of a connecting flight is significantly cheaper, i will in future book direct flights and avoid what is in practice a far more complicated connection than it appeared on paper.
The flight to London ( 7 + hrs) was a bit more bearable. I had reserved seats on line when i checked in and they were as hoped, bulkhead seats, which meant we had far more leg room. So we did get some sleep but i was aware that my feet and ankles were swelling up & would be a problem.
At Heathrow we were subject to a 40 minute wait for bags but despite our fears they arrived safely and we changed clothes before setting off to find the car.
The Meet and Greet car parking service was excellent and i would recommend it. Our car was just outside arrivals and we loaded up and set off without any delays which was lucky because the roads were jammed and the sign posting to the M4 is very poor and we lost our way a few times.
Once on the M4 it was nose to tail till Reading where things eased off and we were home safe and sound by 10 am.
Tea and Toast were required and then i put myself to bed and had to force myself to get up at 1300 hrs.
Its now 1600hrs and its pitch black and cold.
WE had a great time, no mistake, but it is a long journey and I’m not sure i would do it again for only two weeks but well see.
Thanks for reading.
Hope it made you laugh, but more so, i hope it inspired you to go to Thailand cause its a great place full of great people and its worth all the hard work.