During my trip to Taipei I took the opportunity to make a side trip to Bangkok to reconnect with the Salsa dancing scene there. This post will cover briefly some of the flights and lounges as well as dancing in Bangkok.
Flights to Bangkok
I booked my flights to Bangkok on Cathay Pacific (CX) in economy class. CX is a OneWorld alliance partner of American Airlines (AA) and Japan Airlines(JL). I credited my mileage on CX to my AA frequent flier account.
CX flies to Bangkok from Taipei via Hong Kong. Prior to the flight from Taipei I had a chance to visit the CX lounge.
Noodle bar and dinning areas at CX lounge Taipei
The CX lounge has very comfortable seating areas and a business center.
There is a bar at the far end of the lounge. It was a morning flight, so there were some breakfast snacks on the bar.
The flight from TPE to HKG was a short jaunt across the Formosa Straight and the northern portion of the South China Sea.
CX used 777-300s on both legs to Bangkok.
Economy seats have personal video screens with plenty of movies and games. Each seat also has a/c and usb power and adjustable headrests. 3 x 4 x 3 seating on 777s is a little tight, but that was not an issue on these short flights.
CX’s video system is one of the few that offers the Berlitz Word Traveler language learning system that provides words, phrases, dates and numbers in 28 languages. I love this feature. Knowing a few words, phrases and numbers in a local language greatly increases my confidence and impresses locals who expect that Americans will know nothing about their language.
The approach to the Hong Kong airport afforded a nice view from my window seat.
The Wing Lounge Hong Kong
I had a brief stop in Hong Kong. Even though I was flying coach, as a OneWorld Emerald elite by virtue of AA Executive Platinum status, I have access to first-class OneWorld lounges. The CX first-class lounges in Hong Kong are truly spectacular. My favorite is the Pier.
The Pier Lounge
On this occasion I had time only to visit the Wing lounge, which is also a wonderful place to relax between flights. It has a restaurant that offers a la carte and buffet meals.
Another feature of the Wing is a champagne bar.
I didn’t have time on this layover to take advantage of the Cabanas, which are suites where you can take a leisurely, private shower or bath or just relax on the sofa. These are the most luxurious showers of any airport lounge that I’ve been in.
The Cabanas in the Wing Lounge
Dancing in Bangkok
Bangkok has a well developed Salsa/Latin dancing scene. There are several clubs and dancing can be found someplace every night. La rueda, on Soi 18, is a small club but is one of my favorites in spite of the very low ceiling. There is always a good mixture of advanced and beginning dancers. It has dancing on Tuesday and Saturday.
Zaks Wine Bar, on Soi 11, has a classy Latin night in the upper level on Fridays.
Above 11 offers Latin dancing with great views of the Bangkok skyline on Wednesdays.
Above 11 also claims to be the only Peruvian-Japanese restaurant in Southeast Asia.
Bistro 33 has dancing Sunday afternoon/evening. I had never been to this spot. It is a little hard to find off Soi 33.
I missed the party, however, because dancing at Bistro 33 closes at 8pm rather than 9pm as stated on the website. Had I not dallied at the mall near Phrom Phong BTS station to watch a Chinese New Year celebration with music and acrobats flying around between buildings and climbing the walls on tethers, I would have been in time to catch a few dances.
All of these clubs are located in the Suhkumvit area of Bangkok. Suhkumvit is Bangkok’s major tourist and entertainment area. It is very safe in my experience. Getting to and around Suhkumvit is easy and inexpensive using the BTS Skytrain and MTR metro systems.
Saturday night, I went to La rueda for the usual Salsa session and was surprised to find it deserted. Fortunately there was someone inside who told me that there was a dance event at the Sheraton Four Points hotel that night. The event was part of a mini Latin dance festival going on that weekend. The dance was in a room at the back of the hotel behind the restaurant. It was hard to find.
The festival was in full swing. I was fortunate to have stumbled on to it by chance.
The festival was well attended, and the floor was large and easy to dance on. The floor was large enough to accommodate many dancers and still have room for the skilled dancers to show off their fancy moves. The Four Points is really getting into the Latin dance scene. I learned that it now has a Bachata party on Mondays in the Beer Vault on the first floor, and on Wednesdays it hosts a Latin Night in the rooftop AmBar.
Coincidentally, while I was on this Bangkok detour from my Taipei visit, a strong earthquake hit southern Taiwan. Taipei, in the north, was undamaged. So I can’t really say that Salsa dancing in Bangkok saved my life. It sure was fun though.