Turkey Gulet Cruise…!

The Turkish turquoise coastal cruises were fantastic!

We used Rina at Insight Travel to arrange our cruises and transportation between ports and cities. She was very responsive to all our questions, there were zero problems, and we never felt unsafe anywhere.

We arrived at Bodrum and spent two nights at the most beautiful Ramada Inn in the world (using our Wyndham points). And we toured the city just a bit…

Our driver took us to Fethiye, stopping along the way at Kaunos and some other picturesque spots!

We spent the night in Fethiye and here are some pics of this quaint port city. 

We took two cruises because we wanted to visit different areas and couldn’t find a cruise that fit. The boats are wooden gulets and include all meals. Our first cruise was from Fethiye to Demre and it was my favorite because it was absolutely stunning! The very first day I could understand why they call it the turquoise coast…the water is a turquoise color that’s just unbelievable! None of these photos are filtered in any way. Cruising was slow, with lots of opportunities to swim (in warm water) and explore sights onshore.

Our next cruise was from Fethiye to Marmaris and my favorite thing about this cruise was the ice cream and shops that came to the boat, probably called by the captain, of course! The boat was nicer than our first, with older patrons, some repeat customers.

“I feel good today,” reminiscing (see photo above)! I flew home using my Avios points from British Airways, not first class, but economy!

What a great summer! I won’t be seeing you for a while because summer vacation, 2019 starts soon and I have TWO trips planned. My son is in Peru, so I have to go see him!  (: 

Terrific Thailand!

Flying Thai Airways was extra special and set the tone for Thailand. We arrived in Bangkok, staying at the Grand Hyatt, using our annual free nights. This was a great property and close to the Sky Train.

Since time was limited and I wanted to see as much as possible, I booked a private tour with Tour with Tong. (Some benefits of a local, private guide: photo spots, avoid crowds, and bargains when you shop)! The prices seemed reasonable, but I would skip the private canal tour; it seemed expensive and not worth it.

We started early in the morning and did the flower market, Grand Palace, Wat Arun, Wat Pho, canal tour, and the Chatuchak weekend market. This was fast paced, yet fun! Here’s some photos…

We booked Happy Taxi (that’s the real name) for the two hour ride to a coastal, beachy destination ~ Hua Hin, where we stayed at the IHG, using points. This is a lovely property!

We did some research and booked another local to take us along the coast and to the Mrigadayavan Palace. We also did some shopping and visited the Hua Hin night market. 

And we used Happy Taxi to take us back to Bangkok for our second first class flight to Germany, what a treat! 

Thai people are SO friendly and I’d love to go back some day and see more of the islands and/or coastal areas. 

Next up, turquoise coastal cruise in Turkey…

Thai Airways ~ FIRST!

Thai Airways first class deserves its’ own post! We flew from Sydney to Bangkok and used the sweet spot to book this flight for 40,000 United miles (no longer available). 

Flying from Fiji to Sydney, we were able to just transit the airport for a few hours, and that’s when lounges are really appreciated! We had the option of the Air New Zealand lounge, but chose the Singapore Airlines Kris Flyer first class lounge, which was outstanding, but I didn’t get any photos! ):

After being spoiled in the lounges, we headed to our 747 plane. We had seats in the very front nose of the plane, and it felt completely private with the first four windows to ourselves!

Goodbye Sydney…it was fun (even in the airport)!

Service and food were top notch!

Leaving Bangkok for our second flight, we stopped in Germany, then on to Turkey (more on that later). The ground experience was unbelievable in Bangkok. We were driven via golf cart to the first class lounge, where we got a meal delivered to us in our private room!

To top it off, we made an appointment for our complimentary hour long massage!

We had the same kind of plane and the exact same seats, with excellent service and food once again.

What can I say about all this? Getting and using miles and points is a LOT of work, but it pays off when you get to experience something so over the top and one you could never afford!

Next up, Thailand…

South Pacific summer!

This is part of a trip report to the South Pacific, Thailand and Turkey. We were able to fly Thai Airways first class TWICE, using 155,000 miles, costing $134, but with a value of $11,574! These tickets were booked on United, using transferred Chase Ultimate Reward points

My 2019 “round the world” summer trip was amazing and you won’t see much text because the pictures speak for themselves!

I was able to get a very cheap economy ticket to our first stop, Samoa, on Fiji Airways. Getting to the island of Savaii via ferry was somewhat easy and we mostly just relaxed at the Savaii Lagoon Resort.

We ferried back to the island of Upolo, and stayed at the Sheraton Samoa Beach Resort. One day we hired a guide to explore the island and I will let the pictures do the talking!

Our next island nation was Vanuatu (van ooo ah tu) where 90% of the people fish and consume fish. We stayed at the most wonderful Holiday Inn (15,000 points per night) in the world! This is NOT your typical Holiday Inn…

Tourism is a big part of these islands’ economy; lots of tourists from Australia and New Zealand come here. We were on the island of Efate and one day we went sightseeing.

The people on all the islands were so welcoming and friendly!  (:

Next up, Thai Airways First class!