The Traveling Steve's

Super Bowl Monday, Happy Chinese New Year, and Back to Hanoi

It’s Super Bowl Monday, 9:26am, and I’m starting this post while on a taxi ride to the Bangkok International Airport (there are two airports in Bangkok).IMG_0609

Denver is playing Carolina in the Super Bowl, which started at 6:35am here in Bangkok. I was surprised I couldn’t find this on TV as they had quite a few US channels, but could check on the score via Internet. It was 12 – 6 when we checked out, with Denver leading.

The Conrad Hotel where we stayed was setting up festivities for the Chinese New Year out front of the hotel as we were getting in our cab. We are flying today back to Hanoi, where we will meet our AMA Waterways group tomorrow. After touring two wonderful, yet full-filled (i.e. tiring ) days, it’s nice to have a relaxing travel day.


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So far the traffic is moving fast, a stark contrast from the gridlock we experienced Friday night upon arrival. Somehow our luggage has grown too – I guess to many elephant souvenirs! DOS is sitting in the front seat of the taxi, as there is no room In the back seat with me and my luggage. DOS’s luggage is in the trunk.IMG_0622

We’ve had beautiful weather so far, but today seems rather hazy. It’s been hit in Bangkok, but quite pleasant with low humidity this time of year. I’m sure in summer that’s a different story though.

We are flying Qatar Airways on a Boeing 777 again back to Hanoi. Our flight is scheduled to leave at 12:50pm and arrive around 3pm. We will be staying at the Metrapole Hotel in Hanoi this time, which is supposed to be the nicest hotel on Hanoi. Now almost to the airport . . .

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Later . . .   well Carolina lost to Denver in the Super Bowl Fifty 10 – 24.  I grew up in Virginia, next state north of North Carolina, so I was hoping they’d win.  Maybe next year.

So our checkin at the Bangkok airport at Qatar Airways was so quick and efficient, no doubt helped by having a Business Class ticket.  We were issued a Fast Pass for security and Passport Control, as well as a pass to the Thai Airlines Lounge.  Security and Passport Control were both very quick, and we had about 900 Thai Baht left to spend, so we browsed the multitude of stores throughout the airport.  While most were Duty Free (wow, as on our Korean Airline’s flight – the Asian’s really buy up Duty Free items!), we did find a shop that had some small souvenirs.




Once our shopping was done, we headed to the airport lounges.  Although we had free access to the Royal Silk Thai Lounge, we decided instead to go to the One World Cathay Pacific Lounge, as I have Executive Platinum with American, and we were flying Qatar, a One World partner.  It was not very busy, and DOS loved it as they had a made to order Noodle Bar.  I had a couple small sandwiches and a Coke Zero.

We had a couple hours before the flight, and on the way to our E5 gate, IMG_0662we saw a Royal Silk Lounge, so we popped our head in for two minutes to take a couple photos and moved on.  Compared to the One World Lounge, the Royal Silk Lounge was virtually empty, but they didn’t have a Noodle Bar.


IMG_0664We boarded our Qatar Airways flight, and were surprised there were only 3 passengers in the entire Business/First Cabin, which is configured for 24 passengers.  The young Flight Attendants were really fun and exciting to talk with, and we asked them about their trip, knowing they originated in DOA.  They have a five day ‘vacation’ they said; basically the flight from DOA to BKG and then a day layover, followed by a short flight from BKG to Hanoi and back, another day layover, and then flight back to DOA.  So the Flight Attendants on this short two hour segment just fly from Bangkok to Hanoi and back, and then have a full day rest before flying home.  Very nice!  Very Nice!




We had a quick hour and a half flight to Hanoi, getting in early at 2:35pm.  We were met at the gate by the VIP service we had arranged, and were quickly thru immigration and customs, with quick luggage delivery as well.  Our arrival agent directed us to our private van, and the drive to our hotel was a quick 45 minutes.

Once at our hotel, the 5 star Sofitel Metropole Legend Hotel, we were quite impressed.  Instead of the usual check in line, you are asked to sit in the lobby and a Host or Hostess checks you in from there!  The hotel has a noticeable French flair, due to its history, and you are greeted with a warm Bonjour when you walk in.


We had a standard room booked thru AMA Waterways for the tour portion, and had paid for an extra day since we arrived early, but inquired about a paid upgrade which we were glad to get for an extra $120.  The upgrade included Executive Lounge privileges, breakfast and a larger deluxe 5th flor room – one of ‘the best’ they told us.  The 5th floor room was indeed very classy, and overlooked the pool down below. Our desk agent personally escorted us to our room, providing us with a brief history of the hotel along the way.

IMG_0721 (6)  Shortly later our luggage arrived, with a Bellman wearing a fancy uniform with cap.  I had to chuckle to myself, but the Metropole Cap and uniform he was wearing reminded me of the Hollywood Tower of Terror Hotel ride at Disneyworld!

IMG_0727 IMG_0729IMG_0739Anyway, we quickly got settled into our room, complete with every toiletry item you can imagine (although I thought the class soap was super tiny), and even provided four bottles of water encased in a fancy cloth-wrapped sleeve.  Nice touch, but don’t take them with you, as a sign lets you know they cost $16 a piece!IMG_0745IMG_0754

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A nice plus was the large luggage closet to store our belongings and not clutter the room.


We had a quick tea in the Lounge in late afternoon during ‘Tea Hour’, along with scones and cookies.  IMG_0763 Later showered up, and a quick nap, and it was time for the 5:30pm Lounge Happy Hour, although we didn’t get there until 6pm.  We met a nice Australian couple and their friend, and had a nice chat with them until 7:30pm when we headed for dinner.

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Since it was the Chinese New Year, virtually all of the stores and restaurants in town were closed, and fortunately we could get in one of the hotel’s four restaurants: French, Viennese, Italian, Bamboo Cafe.  We chose the Italian restaurant and had a simple meal of pizza and red wine.

A quick check of emails, and update of the blog, and it was time for a bubble bath and then bed.

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Nightie, Night!

Welcome back to Hanoi!





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