After our visit to the Bakong temple outside Siem Reap, our tour guide Vanna and driver Hour took us to the Siem Reap International Airport to catch our continuing flight to Hanoi, Vietnam. For this leg of the trip, we decided to fly Vietnam Airlines as they were the only airline that flew direct from Siem Reap to Hanoi. Our other options for that day were either flying AirAsia with transit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, or Bangkok Airways with transit in Bangkok, Thailand. Both options would essentially require us to leave early in the morning and travel the whole day, and we would risk getting stranded if for whatever reason we couldn’t make the connecting flight. So we didn’t want to take a chance, and decided to go with the Vietnam Airlines option. For that day, there were two flights we could consider, and we decided to take the earlier flight so we could get to Hanoi earlier in the evening, and also to have a fall back option in case there is anything wrong with the scheduled flight. When we booked the flight, we found out that the only seats available were in business class. We decided to go with those even though obviously they were pricier than the economy class, as the business class price was still within our budget and making the schedule was important to us given what we had planned the next few days in Vietnam.
When we arrived at the Siem Reap International Airport, the check in process was quite smooth and nice as we could go through the business class line. When we got to the counter, however, we found out that our flight was delayed by at least an hour. Not a good news to hear, but since we’re flying business class, we were given vouchers that would allow us access to use the Executive Lounge at the Siem Reap International Airport to wait for our flight.
Another thing we learned at check in time was that there was a USD $25 airport tax per person that we had to pay to depart from Siem Reap. We had that taken care of by the time we reached the security check area, but we had to wait for few minutes as a group of Japanese tourists that were in front of us reached the front of the line and found out about the airport tax there. Since they didn’t know before hand, they tried to argue with the officer at the security checkpoint to no avail. Fortunately we were not in a big hurry as our flight was delayed anyway, so waiting for the argument to finish didn’t have any negative impact to our plan.
We went to the Executive Lounge, and it was pretty nice to relax there and waited for our flight. They had complimentary snacks, hors d’oeuvres, and drinks available for the guests, and the seating area was quite comfortable as well.
We ended up spending more than two hours there until our flight was finally ready to go. Ironically the other Vietnam Airlines flight to Hanoi ended up leaving within ten minutes to our flight’s departure time.
The actual flight to Hanoi was about two hours, and it was quite a pleasant flight. We had a nice light dinner on the way there; it was pretty good but nothing especially memorable; they served westernized dish with some touch of Vietnamese/Asian flavors, clearly considering the typical western travelers who go on this particular route.
The photo below was taken while we were waiting at the Executive Lounge for our flight. You can see the nice ambience inside the Executive Lounge. I guess this was what we ended up paying extra for.