As I had almost 3 hours to wait in Tan Son Nhat International Airport between arriving from Seoul and departing to Singapore, I decided to spend my transit time in a lounge instead of walking around the airport (which would take just 5 minutes end to end). Using my Priority Pass app, I found that there was only one lounge available in the international terminal of Tan Son Nhat International Airport, which was the SASCO Orchid Lounge.
The entrance to the Orchid Lounge is a bit hidden. The sliding door wasn’t that obvious too, despite the signs near it. They could have done better with putting an arrow on the signs.
Heading down the stairs to the Orchid Lounge.
The overall view of the Orchid Lounge from the stairs.
Queuing up to check-in to the Orchid Lounge. After a quick scan of my Priority Pass digital card, I was in.
How the Orchid Lounge looks like when walking in. Not too big of an area.
The main buffet line is just by the front deck. I’m surprised there is a microwave on the buffet line.
The western breads section had bread rolls and sliced white bread, along with sausages and cheese. There is also a very very small Japanese selection of sushi.
Perhaps the most popular part of the buffet line is the Vietnamese section. There was Phở Bò or beef noodle soup, which I didn’t try. Some people around did mumble that it wasn’t very good anyway. There are also fried spring rolls which, despite not being very nice and hot, could be said to be the best dish in the lounge.
On the front, there is a porridge and rice section with preserved dishes. A fried generic oriental noodle was also available, comparable to a good Tekong breakfast, and some Teriyaki Chicken.
A variety of fresh cut fruits with chilli and salt.
The buffet meal options was just alright, enough to fill me up. The food were lukewarm at best, some cold. Perhaps that was what the microwave was there for?
I didn’t take any pictures of my food, but I think it’s better if it stays this way than for you to see the food.
The drinks selection did make the visit a bit more worthwhile though. Canned drinks including beer are available in the fridges on the side.
On the main counter, there is a Nescafe machine (it’s hard to go wrong with it), a Vietnamese coffee, a variety of tea bags, and thankfully some wine too. On top of bottled water, they also have lemon-and-lemongrass infused water which was very refreshing.
After the lounge started to get less crowded with all the Singapore flights departing except for mine, I picked myself a window seat for some planespotting to while away the time while having a wine and some desserts.
The view from the lounge offered a nice view of the runway though the airport tinted windows weren’t much of a help for photography.
Oh, hello VN-A890. Where are you going? To a gate?
The VASCO logo looks suspiciously like half of a Singapore Airlines keris.
A Jetstar Asia Airbus A320 coming in to the gate.
A Vietnam Airlines Airbus A321 touching down.
A VietJet Air Airbus A320 touching down.
A Scoot Airbus A320 taking off.
A Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-200 taxiing.
Uh… This is getting boring.
A quick non-reliable check on Wikipedia shows that Singapore is the number one international destination out of Tan Son Nhat International Airport in terms of frequency. 🤦 *facepalm*
A Vietnam Airlines Airbus A321 taking off.
A Vietnam Airlines Airbus A321neo touching down. Ah, at least this is a little bit special with the “1st A321neo” livery.
A Jetstar Pacific Airbus A320 taxiing.
Asian Jetstar siblings at Tan Son Nhat International Airport.
Malindo? Ok this is getting really boring now.
A Vietnam Airlines Airbus A350 in SkyTeam Livery taxiing.
Not a really fruitful overall planespotting session here.
About 40 minutes to departure, I left the Orchid Lounge to head to my gate for boarding.
Overall, considering that I didn’t pay using real money but using my Priority Pass allowance, it was a reasonable stay in the SASCO Orchid Lounge to while away my transit time and to get some complimentary food and drinks.
However, if I were to have paid with money for the lounge, which I think costs US$30 at the counter, I don’t think it would be worth it at all as the lounging chairs and tables were rather simple at the dining area, and the lounging sofas were pretty crammed with minimal power sockets and no private area. Furthermore, the food quality was meh at best. Showers were also not available, and the toilet was rather basic too.
I would say that if you have a lounge pass with a quota to clear, or have a long layover, use it. If you choose not to visit the SASCO Orchid Lounge, you won’t be losing anything anyway.