Travel Club Priority Pass Lounge Mumbai Domestic Airport Terminal 2

Monday, September 19, 2016



Some time back I wrote an article about the worst Priority Pass lounge in India which happens to be at the Dabolim Airport in Goa. Not much has changed there since I wrote that article, not that I expected an article in a blog to mean anything to the vast empire that Priority Pass is. But even my direct complaint to Priority Pass people had failed to move them. They merely pointed me to the bank that had issued me my Priority Pass card. I still have the card and it is paid for as part of the annual fee that I pay on my credit card. I keep using Priority Pass and sometimes do feel very good whenever I come across a well managed lounge. I have been to Priority Pass lounges in several airports in the major cities in India and have seen both bad and good lounges. Dabolim Airport's Priority Pass Lounge is no doubt the worst that I have seen but till recently I never thought of declaring one that is the best at least in my experience. Now after having been to the Travel Club Priority Pass Lounge at the Mumbai Domestic Airport Terminal 2, I am ready to make that commitment. Keep reading...

Are Indian Tourists Really Welcome in Thailand?

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

I guess not! My previous trip to Thailand, I landed at Don Mueang Airport Bangkok in the last week of August 2016. Something had changed. The old document check & Visa on Arrival (VOA) counters were deserted and there was a signboard pointing incoming visa seekers to a new area. This new area seemed like an improvement because I immediately noticed a new queue system complete with token numbers appearing on LCD screens. I felt good about that but only for a brief while. I was in a long queue. The only flight that had landed there at that time was the AirAsia flight from Bengaluru and apparently almost everyone in the VOA area at that time was Indian. It must have been a good crowd because the wait time to the first preliminary document check counter itself was 45 minutes. It was hard to wait standing in an almost stationary line after having spent a sleepless night in a flight. If you don't already know, AirAsia's airplanes have seats without any lower back support. AirAsia could have used curved seats without adding anything to the cost but perhaps that would keep them from selling some pillows onboard. Anyway, everyone waiting there along with me appeared tired and wondering what was going on. For the first time visitors to Thailand, it must have been a rather unpleasant experience. For the rest of us, it was just routine. That's what I was thinking but when I finally reached the document check counter, I was in for a new shock. There was a notice on display telling everyone that the Thailand Visa on Arrival fee would be increased to 2000 THB per person from September 27, 2016. Keep reading...

Country Wise Information of Visa Availability to Enter Thailand

Sunday, September 4, 2016

The official policy on the availability of visa to enter Thailand is broadly divided into two categories: (1) Diplomatic / Official Passport and (2) Ordinary Passport. I will cover Ordinary Passport first and then Diplomatic / Official passports later in this article. Please note that this information was ascertained from the official Thai government websites in August 2016 and is subject to changes depending on Thai government's policies and/or their treaties/agreements with other countries at any given point of time. The information is provided here on a best effort basis for the benefit of tourists who wish to visit Thailand. Please double check on your own before making any plans...

Strike Casino at Grand Hyatt Goa

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Strike Casino is good news. With the opening of this casino in July 2016, the casino industry in Goa has finally come of age, well almost. And the most interesting aspect of this development is the fact that Goa's best gaming experience will now be provided by an overland casino as opposed to the so-called "off-shore" casinos that promise "live gaming". Gambling in Strike is as live as it can get in an overland casino in Goa, without inviting some legal objection from the authorities. The people who operate Strike have used both their expertise and imagination in creating a casino that is far better than any other casino in Goa whether floating or overland. Deltin Royale has got itself a first real competitor and casino goers have got their first real alternative to Deltin Royale. The list of positives in Strike is very long and I will cover everything in detail in this article, but first of all I want to get the only negative out of the way - the location. Keep reading...

Deltin Suites Casino and Hotel Goa

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Deltin Suites is a "casino five star" hotel. This is actually a sort of a technical term. A land-based casino in Goa can only be housed inside an officially classified 'five star' hotel. There are quite a few such hotels in Goa, some genuine five stars and some others that are 'five star' only so that they could have a casino on their grounds. One can see the difference by staying in a five star hotel in Goa where there is no casino, and then in a 'casino five star' like La Calypso in Baga or Crown Hotel in Panjim. The differences in the quality will be huge. But to be fair, an exception to this general rule is already there. A genuine five star hotel - Grand Hyatt Goa has got a casino in its premises - Strike Casino. Coming back to Deltin Suites, it is a pure 'casino five star'. Even before it got its own little in-house casino operational, the hotel has existed mainly as a residence for the patrons of the group's main casino - Deltin Royale. Even today it is true. Deltin Group sells "Stay & Play" packages that entitle guests to accommodation in this hotel and some 'One Time Play' casino chips and/or free entry to Deltin Royale. Some airlines flying from Mumbai to Goa also offer "Fly & Stay" packages that include a subsidised stay in Deltin Suites. I think this is how Deltin Suites gets a majority of its guests. Keep reading...

Family Fun In Macau

Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Venetian Macau is old, it has been there since the year 2007. But even today it is the best known family destination where tourists go to take gondola rides, stroll along and window-shop at hundreds of designer shops by the artificial canal on the top floor. Even today, the artificial sky above the canal succeeds in fooling the first timers. The Venetian is an icon and will continue to be so in the foreseeable future. The reclaimed land in the Taipa Island of Macau on which The Venetian was built later saw more development. The City of Dreams, a casino resort with a cluster of hotels came up in front of The Venetian on its east side, with a road in the middle separating the two. The Las Vegas Sands group, the owner of The Venetian, named this road as "Cotai Strip" dreaming of building a strip here that would be similar to 'The Strip' in Las Vegas. Today, in 2016, their dream is very close to reality. Keep reading...

Hong Kong Flower Market and Yuen Po Street Bird Garden

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

I did not know it first but this little expedition of mine to see the Flower Market on Prince Edward Road and the subsequent Bird Garden on Yuen Po Street gave me both joy and sorrow in a single trip. Both of these are in the same place, well, almost. To get there, just hop on to an MTR train, get down at Prince Edward Station and leave the station from Exit B1. Turn left, walk just a few steps and turn left again on Prince Edward Road. A 15 minute straight walk on this road will bring you to flower shops first, then a left turn into the main flower market, and if you keep walking straight without turning left you will reach the corner of Yuen Po Street from where you can climb a few steps up to enter the Bird Garden. The Flower Market is pure joy but the Bird Garden, at least to me personally, was a disappointment even to extent that I wished I had not gone there. Keep reading...

Saving Money In Hong Kong With Octopus Card

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The underground railway system in Hong Kong, called 'MTR' is a very expensive mode of transport. Unfortunately it is kept artificially expensive by the Hong Kong government. Yes, this is true. In 2015 I stayed in Hong Kong's Fortress Hill area (YesInn @ Fortress Hill) for several days at a stretch and tried to see and feel Hong Kong's local life from up close. I watched a local TV channel called 'Pearl' (TVB Pearl) every evening. There was a show on Pearl on which they invited a politician in-charge of the local transportation and asked him some tough questions - "why were Hong Kong's underground trains so crowded?", "why was the capacity of the MTR system not being increased?", and "why the government wanted to increase the already high passenger fares when the MTR Corporation had earned a profit of 15 Billion HKD during the previous year?" The politician cut a sorry figure in the show. He had no answer to the overcrowding problem. About the fares he said that although the government was the majority owner of the MTR Corporation, it was a public entity listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and hence profitability mattered. He further explained that there was an inflation linked formula that decided the passenger fares and as inflation rose, so did the fares. What he did not say was that when MTR fares increased, inflation increased further as a result and the people of Hong Kong, as also the tourists, were caught in an endless vicious cycle. Keep reading...

Street Markets of Mong Kok - Ladies Market, Sneaker Street, and Goldfish Market

Sunday, July 10, 2016

There is more to Hong Kong than Disneyland. I mean, a tourist on a short vacation in Hong Kong barely gets a glimpse of what all this wonderful city has to offer. Many of the most interesting places to see in Hong Kong are meant for the local residents rather than for the tourists, but a tourist who dares venture out to explore these treasures is no doubt richly rewarded. The street markets of Jordan and Mong Kok figure in most of the tourist literature about Hong Kong but unfortunately all the emphasis is laid on souvenir shopping in some over crowded street shops. If one can get past the Ladies Market and is willing to walk and explore a little, the Goldfish Market offers a close look into the local life. I know tourists do not come to Hong Kong to buy live goldfish, but this street - Tung Choi Street - has a lot of dogs and cats too in addition to the fish. Keep reading...
 

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ABOUT ME

I left my day job in October 2013 and became a full time blogger. I love travel and hence a travel blog was the obvious place to start from. The result is desiyatri.com. I currently live in Bengaluru, India. - Narinder Singh. (Email: desiyatri@gmail.com)

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