Leg 3: HKG International, DragonAir A320 Business Class, Arrival in Siem Reap
This is Part 7 of a multi-part series detailing my trip to Hong Kong and Cambodia, flying First Class and staying within a $350 budget for ALL expenses. If you haven’t read the first 6 parts yet, please check them out:
Part Four: Cathay Pacific 777 First Class Review
I woke up early on Saturday morning after a great nights sleep at the Grand Hyatt in Hong Kong and continued my journey to Cambodia. I had purchased a round-trip train ticket on the Hong Kong Airport Express, but I needed to check out and get to the train station. The station was about a 15 minute walk, but it was very early–before 6am, so I decided to spring for a taxi.
Check out went smoothly, and there was a taxi waiting outside the front entrance of the Hyatt. The taxi cost about $4 and dropped me off right at the train station.
At the Airport Express, there was free check in service where you could get a boarding pass and check your bag through to your destination. Since I only had a carry-on, I decided to skip the check-in. However, I did see a Starbucks and suddenly got a craving for a latte–but, alas, the store didn’t open until 6:30am.
The train station was relatively empty since it was so early, but still very easy to navigate and I boarded the train with no problems, and no caffeine.
25 minutes later I was in the International terminal…
I actually already had a DragonAir boarding pass from check-in at JFK, so I just went to customs and security. Security was standard, but very little wait time due to the early hour. As soon as I cleared security, I started to make my way to the Cathay/DragonAir lounge to get some breakfast and coffee.
However, to get through, to the terminal I had to walk through the duty free shop. Unbelievably, I saw a 3 liter bottle of Louis XIII for sale. I have never seen a 3-liter of Louis Tre before, and the price was, well…pricey. 228,000HKD, or $29,400–I ordered two! Of course, that would have severely broken the budget, so I decided against the order. Better get to the lounge!
The lounge was a pretty good walk from security. I ended up checking out the G16 Lounge, which is one of the several business class lounges in the terminal.
It was a relatively standard business class lounge. Decent sitting area and view of the flight line.
Breakfast food selection was ok…
They had a noodle bar where you could order custom noodle dishes.
Drinks were a bit lacking. Very small liquor/wine/beer selection. But, hey it was only 7am and all I wanted was some coffee.
I also ordered some noodles…it wasn’t the greatest, but it was food and I was hungry. And the cost was $0.
I hung out in the lounge for about 30 minutes and ate, then took a walk around the terminal. I saw that Singapore Airlines also had a lounge nearby, so I hoped that I could gain entry with my Star Alliance Gold card–but, since I didn’t have a boarding pass flying a Star Alliance partner I was denied entry. Bummer. I just wanted to make sure I checked it out for my loyal readers! Back to the G-16 Lounge.
I worked on a blog post and made a couple of phone calls until it was time to head to the gate for boarding. The flight departed out of Gate 507, which was located mid-airfield, and required a bus ride to get there. When I arrived, the boarding process had already begun, but there was no line for business class, so I walked right on.
DragonAir Business Class is similar to domestic US First Class. That is to say, recliner chairs in a 2×2 configuration.
The service was attentive, but basic. Newspapers upon boarding, blankets pillows, and drinks.
The food looked ok, so I ordered a second breakfast. The fruit was very fresh, the muffin was not so great. The omelette and sausage pretty mediocre. Luckily it was a short flight!
Soon, we were on approach to Phnom Pehn! I was really looking forward to getting to Cambodia and getting up to Siem Reap! After we landed, I went to immigration, and applied for my Cambodian visa. $30 for the visa plus a $2 surcharge since I didn’t bring my own passport sized photo. The entire process took less than 15 minutes and I exited into the humidity of Cambodia–at least there was a Dairy Queen!
Originally I had planned to take a tuc-tuc into town for a quick tour, but instead I decided to check in for my next flight. When I had booked my award ticket, I had been unable to get a flight all the way to Siem Reap due to scheduling. I had a few different choices–river boat, bus, taxi, or cheap flight. It really came down to a $17 bus for a 5-6 hour ride, or a $101 flight for 40 minutes. I chose the quicker flight due to time constraints. Of course I paid with my Citi Prestige Card. If you recall, I had also paid the taxes and fees of my award tickets (which totaled $179.56) with this same card, using my $250 airline fee credit to offset the cost. The total cost for the Cambodia Angkor Air Flight was $101 including taxes. My remaining airline credit took care of $69.44 of the cost, which meant I was only out of pocket for $30.56.
My flight was a turbo prop, but it was probably a better choice than the bus!
It left on time, and 40 minutes later I was in Siem Reap finally! Certainly not a large airport. I landed, got my luggage that I had to check due to the small cabin and limited storage capacity, and hired a tux-tuc to the hotel for $5. Somewhat surprisingly, Cambodia uses U.S. Dollars as their primary currency, even though they have their own National currency.
I was off to the hotel…and the next day I would finally tour the Angkor temples!
And that brings us to the total trip costs:
Total Leg 3 (HKG-REP) Cost:
- Hong Kong Taxi: $4
- Cambodia Visa: $32
- Cambodia Angkor Air Flight (after Citi Prestige Credit): $30.56
- Tuc-Tuc from Siem Reap International to Hotel: $5
Total Leg 3 Cost:
Total Trip Cost after Legs 1, 2, and 3:
- $329.92 — getting pretty close to going over budget!
Stay tuned for my next post, where I will share my exploration of the Angkor temples–the highlight of this trip!
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