Ethiopian Airlines – Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur

Ethiopian Airlines
Flight ET 618
Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur
Departs: 2:20 PM, Arrives 5:45 PM

img_1264
Check-In

Upon entering the Hong Kong International Airport, I checked and found out that the Ethiopian Airlines check-in counter was in “Row U”.

img_1265
Premium Lane

Upon checking in, I was given a Premium Lane certificate to go through the immigration line.

Security wasn’t too bad, and the Premium Lane certificate wasn’t really needed as immigration lines were pretty short.

img_1299
Departure Gate

After leaving the Thai Royal Silk Lounge, it was a quick walk to the D3 gate, where my flight to Kuala Lumpur was departing. This is a somewhat cool flight, as it is a “Fifth Freedom” route for Ethiopian Airlines.

When booking the Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur flight, all of the options were fairly expensive which I found somewhat odd as intra-Asia flights are generally pretty cheap. I continued to monitor fares for a few weeks but there was no change in rates. I ultimately booked this flight for a couple of reasons, those included not seeing too many reviews of Ethiopian Airlines, along with this being a fairly new 787 as this route has been operating with this plane since approximately May.

img_1302
Ethiopian 787

Shortly after arriving at the airport, it had started to rain intermittently. Ultimately, the flight arrived late at the gate. Although passengers departing from Addis Ababa do not depart the plane if going onto Kuala Lumpur, the plane was delayed arriving and while on the ground.

Upon boarding, the cabin was already ~60% full. The striking green and gold color scheme stood out.

img_1303
Economy Seat

Waiting at my seat was a small pillow.

img_1305
Leg Room

Fortunately, I had the whole row to myself for the short flight. Legroom wasn’t too bad in economy, especially having an empty seat next to me.

img_1315
Foot Rest

Each seat has a footrest, which I hardly ever use.

img_1304
USB Port & IFE

There is an IFE on the back of each seat, as well as a USB port at every seat.

The entertainment choices were rather limited. You would have a hard time finding things to watch on a long haul flight.

I was surprised that a full meal was served on such a short flight.

img_1316
Chicken Entree

There was a salad with Italian dressing. The entrée was chicken with mushroom, potato au grating, and vegetables. The chicken wasn’t too bad, but could have used some salt. Dessert was an Asian style mocha cake with raspberry sauce.

Alcohol was served in economy during meal service.

The service was professional but not too friendly.

Due to the weather and late departure, we were placed in a hold pattern for nearly an hour.  Once the plane landed in Kuala Lumpur, the flight was nearly two hours late in relation to the estimated arrival time.  Since I had the first flight out the following morning, I didn’t have as much time in the city as I would have like.

Although Ethiopian wasn’t too bad on this short flight, I’m not sure I would want to fly them long haul given the limited entertainment choices.

The Erawan Museum – Bangkok

img_0977
Erawan Museum

The distinguishing feature of the Erawan Museum stands above its surroundings in imposing fashion. The 3-headed elephant can be seen from far away.

Unfortunately, getting there from the Courtyard by Marriott Bangkok turned out to be quite the challenge. When looking at Google Maps, Uber, or Grab Car it seemed to be an easy 30-minute drive at a cost of ~$10.

It was slightly drizzling, so the normal horrible Bangkok traffic was that much worse. Taxi drivers did not want to drive that far, and the couple that were willing to drive there were charging three times the normal fare. Of course I declined. I ended up taking the BTS from the Chit Lom Station to the end of the line at the Bearing Station. From there, it was easy to catch a taxi or Uber to the Erawan station. This option cost $5 and dealing with traffic was mostly non-existent due to using the BTS.

erawan-museum-online-discount
Online Booking

While doing my planning, I found out that tickets can be purchased online and at a discount of ฿100, so instead of paying ฿400, tickets were ฿300. The date is set to the current date, and is somewhat small.

Once entering the date and number of tickets, you will be taken to a couple of confirmation pages.

img_1077
Map

Once I arrived at the museum, I arrived at a side entrance. I showed them the confirmation email, and after some discussion between the employees, I was escorted to the customer service desk. For some reason it took a long time before I was admitted. I had to show the confirmation email again, then they had to check my name against a list of advanced purchased tickets that had been made online. After 10 minutes or so, I was finally admitted.

The grounds have a nice little garden that surrounds most of the main structure. Due to the weather and early arrival, there were not many people visiting.

img_1073
Prayer Area

There is also a small prayer area in front.

The main structure, the one with the 3-headed elephant, is a multi-story structure.

img_1023
Basement Level Exhibit

There is a basement level which house a lot of artifacts and is temperature controlled. As the day was kind of muggy, being in a nice air conditioned environment felt great. No pictures were allowed on that floor.

The crowning glory of the Erawan Museum is the 3-headed elephant structure. Rather than try to describe the contents of the museum, I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. I know Bangkok has a lot to see and do, but I do think the Erawan Museum is worth a visit.

The complex also contains an Ancient City, which appears massive when looking at the website, but I did not have time to visit on this trip.

Papaya Salad – Or Tor Kor Market – Bangkok

img_1155
Or Tor Kor Market

Or Tor Kor Market seems to be somewhat overlooked when visiting Bangkok. Sure, Chatuchak Weekend Market is much larger and is the bigger attraction. Or Tor Kor Market is basically across the street from Chatuchak, and is well worth a visit.

Or Tor Kor is divided into several different areas under one roof. There is a wet market with loads of seafood. There are different food stalls serving different types of cuisine, from noodles, roasted meats, Thai food, drinks and desserts. Part of the market is dedicated to vendors selling, clothes, toys, housewares, and fabric. The center part of the market is devoted mostly to upscale fruit vendors, who devote much care and attention to mangoes, durian, mangosteens, and a host of other tropical fruit.

img_1168
Papaya Salad Food Stall

After eating at Din Pao Cuisine, I wasn’t very hungry but wanted to try the papaya salad at Or Tor Kor Market that seemed to be one of the better vendors. Unfortunately the name of the food stall is not written in English.

The papaya salad is made to order right in front of you.

img_1172
Papaya Salad

The salad hit all of the taste sensations one associates with Thai cuisine. The dressing was salty, fishy, sweet, sour and hot. The papaya and green beans were nice and crunchy. The tomatoes added a little bit of a cooling effect from the chiles, while the fried shallots added a little bit of extra texture and sweetness.

The papaya salad was solid here. They also sell chicken, which looked really good, but I was totally stuffed at this point.

Mae Varee – Bangkok

img_1113
Mae Varee

Mae Varee Fruit Shop arguably has the best mango sticky rice in all of Bangkok. They do serve more than mango sticky rice, as they do sell other types of fruit and other fruit based products.

img_1112
Hanging Mango

Mae Varee is just steps away from the Thong Lo BTS station, but is somewhat hard to find unless you can read Thai, as the sign is actually very small. The identifying marker is the large mango hanging from the ceiling.

Although I am not a huge fan of mango sticky rice, I figured that I had to try it since I was in Bangkok and in the neighborhood.

img_1115
Mango Sticky Rice

The Mango Sticky Rice does look like a big portion of mango, but is somewhat misleading. You get a half mango stacked on top of the seed. The portion of rice is on the smaller side, but was more than enough for me. It come with a side of thin coconut sauce that was very plentiful. Also included were some crunchy bits which tasted familiar to me, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

The mango was sweet, but not overly so. Both the rice and coconut sauce were slightly salty, giving a good counterbalance to the mango.

I can see why Mae Varee is popular and highly regarded. The play on the sweet and salty combination of ingredients dances on your palate like a Beethoven symphony.

If you are a lover of mango sticky rice, then this is must on your list. If you happen to be in the area, I would also highly recommend it.

Hokkaido Beef – Isetan – Bangkok

img_1228
Hokkaido Beef

I happened to go to Isetan during my trip to Bangkok. I know, bit mistake going to a Japanese store while in Thailand. However, Isetan is one of the higher end stores in Japan, along with Takashimaya and Mitsukoshi to name a few.

Although department stores in Japan have outrageously good food stalls and vendors, I wasn’t planning on eating here. I then stumbled across this sign that Hokkaido beef was being features. There was actually a whole “Hokkaido Festival” going on.

Hokkaido is known for their seafood, dairy, ramen, and their snow beef, perhaps some of the best Wagyu in the world.

Wagyu from Hokkaido is arguably better than Kobe beef, but most people only know the name “Kobe” when it comes to Japanese wagyu and dismiss the rest.

The Hokkaido Beef sign caught my eye and reeled me in.

img_1229
Chuck Roll Set

The Chuck Roll Set came with a steak that was cooked then sliced, a small side of vegetables, a small bowl of miso soup, rice and a dipping sauce.

Unfortunately, this was one of the worst steaks that I’ve ever had. It was mostly fat and gristle. There was not much edible meat. What there was, actually tasted pretty good and was tender. The miso soup was standard fare, while the portion of vegetables was meager to say the least.

If I run into another “seasonal” or “featured prefecture” festival, I’ll think long and hard before jumping on board again.