Introduction: Back and Forth Around Asia

Hello! Thank you so much for continually taking care of us at JakartaPotato! We’re pleased to finally have wrapped up our debut trip report: SkyTeam SakuraTiming in Japan! Next, we are excited to be back with a similarly complicated and convoluted travel itinerary spanning five countries in Asia.


Most of this trip had originally stemmed from my original trip to Japan I had planned for the first half of this year. But life happens, this and that, leading me to take an additional trip to Japan as told by SkyTeam SakuraTiming in Japan. Being my happy-go-lucky self and seeing my expiring SAS Eurobonus points, I also decided to make the most of it and redeem it on a trip to the Philippines (or so it seems).

Planning the Journey

Going (Back) to Japan

When I booked this trip back in February, flights to Japan were priced outrageously (they still are). Seeing no point in taking a flight with a layover for the same price, I finally decided to book JAL since they are tied as my favourite carrier alongside Cathay Pacific. So it was really that simple. Since I also bought a JR Railpass, it wasn’t difficult to plan the rest of the trip.

Boarding a Japan Airlines Boeing 787

The Wrong Way to Hong Kong

After finalising my itinerary to Japan in early March, I noticed that I had expiring miles from the SAS Eurobonus programme that I collected several years ago. Since I had only 49,500 miles, there were only a very limited number of destinations where I could use up those miles for a roundtrip. Departing from Jakarta, I could only afford to fly within maritime South East Asia: Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines. I had my sights set on Manila since it would be the furthest destination within that range.

I tried to decide between an itinerary with Singapore Airlines via Singapore or a more unconventional trip via Taipei on EVA Air. Then I noticed that an itinerary on ANA via Tokyo was also available on certain dates… in Economy Class. Determined, I looked again and again for an ANA Business Class award, and ultimately found a return from Jakarta to Manila via Tokyo! Bingo!!

The three airlines of Hong Kong at Hong Kong International Airport

My absurd ANA itinerary meant I will have five nights in Manila, which I personally think is a bit of a long stay. As such, I decided to next a trip to Hong Kong for several days, since I hadn’t been to the city in over half a decade. For this, I made a simple cash booking in Economy Class on Cathay Pacific. This was a no brainer since I have elite membership with Cathay, and they had similar prices to Philippine Airlines.

The Singapore Sidetrip

Just over a week before I was scheduled to fly to Tokyo, I went on a quick and impromptu side trip to Singapore. I have shared the reviews from that trip before publishing this introduction, although I decided to include them here to simplify things. As the trip happened last minute, I tried finding the most convenient options to and from Singapore. On the outbound, I settled on flying Batik Air Economy Class, since I have never tried their Economy Class.

Batik Air Boeing 737s

Given how sky-high Singapore hotel prices have become, I had trouble finding a reasonably priced place to stay. Despite the high cost, I ended up booking two nights at Yotel Singapore Orchard. This would be my first time at Yotel and I was curious about their unusual accommodation concept.

On the way back, I found a Flying Blue award for KLM World Business Class on their Boeing 777-300ER. As usual, I was very excited about any KLM World Business Class flight due to the signature Delft Blue Houses they distribute.

Back we go!

Overall, this led to a very convoluted and complicated journey I’m not sure I’d be willing to repeat (at least in the short term). Whilst not obvious from the following map, note that I had to overfly Manila first before taking another flight to Manila 😉

Regardless, I am very excited to share each entry to this trip over the next month or so. Please refer to the following list to see what review you can expect to see! The list will be updated with links to the reviews as soon as they are ready.

Singapore Side Trip

May Be-ing in Japan

The Wrong Way to Hong Kong

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