Etihad Airways

Mmmm... comfy to fly in

Sweaty palms already, folks. I’ve booked my (return) flight to Bangkok and have pencilled in my other destinations in this little 2-month jaunt. I’ll be away for almost the entire of July and August, and hitting a few new places predominantly within countries I have already visited.

As ever, details are on the calendar (link always on the left of the main page)  and will be updated as and when I confirm flights and so forth. My main new destination, if I can figure out how to get there and away easily, will be East Timor. I’ve heard the diving’s amazing.

The basic plot is:

  • Go to Graspop with Marina and company
  • Return to London and set off to Bangkok the next morning
  • Work my way down to Kuala Lumpur, perhaps stopping off for some diving on the way
  • Meet up with the delectable Leah for a night before she flies to Oz
  • Somehow get to East Timor for a week or so
  • Meet up with Leah again in Bali and island-hope for 2 weeks until she has to head home
  • Work my way back to Bangkok to an eye operation (1 week stay in Bangkok)
  • A week or so in Vietnam to see somewhere new and to visit the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation
  • Back to London, back to Scotland

I’m happy to say I’m flying Etihad again on the same schedule I booked at the start of the year. No, they’re not paying me. I’m just happy to recommend them as currently the cheapest deal going for the route I’m flying, and as the best carrier I’ve yet had long-distance. That’s personal experience speaking, not bribery!

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Almost there

Just have to check a few dates before I book the actual flights, but I already have some destinations down on my Google Calendar. Those dates are as good as permanent.

With luck, I should be booking things and forking out actual cash (*sob*) tonight or tomorrow. Please feel free to take pity on me and send large cheques or PayPal donations. As ever, donations are rewarded with a postcard from wherever I’m going!

Those last few things

Beans on Toast!

Mmmm... beans

I’ve managed to locate the Myanmar embassy in Phnom Penh which I’ll need to get a visa (or find out it’s too much bureacuracy to bother). For those interested, it’s on Norodom Boulevard – the same road as the Singaporean Embassy which is listed in the Lonely Planet. The Myanmar one is further north at number 181.

On the downside, I can’t get on to the Cambodian e-visa website as it appears to have vanished. Awkward as I need to update them as to my arrival time.

Checking on wikitravel. org I found there’s a bus direct to Trat from Suvarnabhumi Airport, which saves me 150 baht and an hour’s ride into the city. Handy. I also think I’ll stay on the Thai side of the border for a night or so and perhaps visit Ko Chang – by all accounts a beautiful little island.

In the meantime, I’ve been about as English as possible while staying with Andy. Watching football news on TV; roast beef and Yorkshires for dinner last night, beans on toast for lunch today; pub quiz and barmaid-learing at The Goldhawk until closing time… yeah, get it all out of the system before I head back out to Asia tomorrow!

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More bookings

Airbus A330-200

Will be using a few of these

OK, after mulling and plotting and planning, I’ve booked some flights. And sorted a visa. My current schedule is to fly out to Bangkok on the 27th of January on Etihad airlines via Abu Dhabi. Their return flight was only £402 – less than £50 more expensive than the cheapest single flight I could find!

Yes, you read that right – return. I have to hit France again for work in late May so it made financial sense to book the flight back at the same time.

In addition, I’ve sorted out a flight on Air Asia X from Kuala Lumpur to Perth on February 26th which cost a smidgen over £70. The usual going rate for this journey is nearer £250 – I checked Tiger Airways as well. They’ve dumped the old Singapore / Darwin route that I used so many times, but Perth works well for me as far as circling Oz is concerned.

Good news is that for those who qualify, Australian eVisitor visas are now free of charge. I applied for mine and according to their online system have qualified for it and now have 12 months of multi-entry (subject to a maximum 3-months at one time). I’ve not received the email yet, but that doesn’t matter.

So. I land in Bangkok and have a month to kill before my Australian flight. I’m applying for a Cambodian e-visa to save time and will travel there via a different route to last time, aiming to get to Sihanoukville for some diving. Then a bit more exploring and down to KL for the flight. I may go via Bangkok for my eye operation, or I may leave that until the end of my trip just before I fly home.

I’m not sure if I’ll have the time I was hoping for to do Japan, South Korea and China. Flying to Japan isn’t going to be cheap, especially if I do it from Melbourne which is looking most likely, but that’s how it goes. I can’t not visit Vietnam, so I may find myself skipping one of the other countries so that I can visit Blue Dragon once more.

That’s all still to be decided yet!

Task for tomorrow is to send off my e-visa application complete with dodgy passport photo. Hopefully the one I took tonight will be good enough. It certainly looks nothing like me so I guess that’s acceptable.

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