It was October of last year, I was 6 months pregnant, and with doctor's blessings, we headed off to Hong Kong and Thailand for one last epic getaway before baby. I'd wanted to go to Thailand since I first saw the 1974 James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun. It was somewhat of a last minute trip and with a growing belly and due date approaching, I figured the only way we were going to afford this one was with miles.
|Pregnant Bond Girl|
So the only problem with this dream itinerary was that it was in coach. Did I mention I was pregnant? Actually it turned out to not be that bad. The worst part SFO-HKG was about 14 hours on SQ1, but Singapore is a nice airline and I slept most of the way. My only complaint was that my back hurt a little...and after seeing the ginormous seats in Singapore's Business Class, I really, REALLY wanted to sit there. Unfortunately, trying to use United miles to fly transpacific in a Singapore premium cabin is as easy as going to the moon without a rocket ship. Flying in Singapore Coach is kind of like showing up at the rodeo without a horse- you just get to sit and watch the other people have all the fun. Anyway, I guess we have to save something to look forward to for next time (note to self, must save KrisFlyer miles), and you can bet on it, there will be a next time!
We got to Hong Kong early in the morning and checked into our room at the Intercontinental Hong Kong. With 80,000 Priority Club points from a credit card sign-up, our $400+ room was free for 2 nights. We even got upgraded to Harbour View. Normally getting an upgrade on an award stay doesn't happen, especially at this hotel, but I guess they were extra nice because of my condition and the harbor side of the building is much quieter...and the view was spectacular!
|Room with a View: Intercontinental Hong Kong|
After 2 nights and almost 3 days, we flew HKG to HKT direct on Thai Airways. We had bulkhead seats on an Airbus A-330 and we were very comfortable there, just the two of us next to the window. A nice-looking Australian couple sitting across the plane from us had kids, so I casually observed to try and pick up a few tips. In a few short months I knew that would be me. I was then shocked and horrified as the young mom appeared to be nursing her toddler...in public, on an airplane! I vowed I would never do that. Little did I know. Fast forward 6 months. I let my little guy sneak a meal under a blanket in the privacy of row 6 on a 767 (you know, the seats in the back of first by the closet). Not my proudest moment; I'm kind of not the breastfeeding-in-public type (if you are, that's great), but you'll be amazed at the things that somehow become not that big of a deal once you are a parent.
We spent 3 days/nights in Phuket. Due to my husband's newfound love of racking up Priority Club points we chose the Holiday Inn Resort in Patong for about $100 a night. Because of his Platinum Ambassador status we were guaranteed an upgrade to the Busakorn wing, but they were out of standard rooms, so we got a villa instead. It was an oasis of 5-star resort quality bliss in the middle of a not-so-great neighborhood. Wait, who am I kidding? Patong is fun. If I wasn't pregnant I could totally party there!
|James Bond Island, Phang Nga Bay|
|Sightseeing in Bangkok|
Our trip back to the states was on a United 747 in Economy Plus. Knowing that the plane was virtually empty, I booked a window and an aisle counting on the fact that no one would want that middle seat if others were available. It worked! The row was ours and I got to stretch out. We made friends with a one of the flight attendants and as soon she found out I was pregnant (She said I wasn't showing), she gave me a couple bottles of water to keep with me at my seat. It was really nice except I had to get up every half hour after that. I'm sure all you other moms and moms-to-be out there know exactly what I'm talking about.
Looking back I always think its funny what leaves an impression and what you remember about a trip. One of those things was the high tech magic beer-dispensing machine I encountered in the United Club at Narita airport. I takes your frozen glass, tilts it slightly, and gently fills it with ice cold Asahi beer. I definitely missed out on that during this trip, but watch out NRT, I'm sure we'll meet again...
|NRT-SFO (c) thirtysixthousand.com|
Trip Tab: 130,000 United Miles, 80,000 Priority Club points and less than $1000 spent on hotels, food, tours, and everything else (including nanoblocks).
Beast Meal: Blue Horizon in Patong, Thailand.
Travel Tip: Flying while pregnant? Make sure you stay hydrated and get up and walk as much as possible. Also get a doctors note. Some airlines (Singapore) require it no matter for far along you are.
Another Tip: don't bother buying Duty Free Alcohol in BKK if you're flying on United. You'll have to go through security again at NRT...and we all know what that means- nothing over 3 oz.
|Duty Free heaven at HKG! Did I mention I like toys? and airplanes? and toy airplanes?|
|Getting a "fishy" pedicure in Patong. Note sign on the window.|
|BYOB: Bring Your Own Boat at the Intercontinental in Bangkok|