Saturday, October 26, 2013

‡ 4D3N to Malaysia : 17 - 20 Oct 2013 ‡

It's almost a week late but, well, it's better late than never, right?
Just like what I put on the post title, I will be writing down what I remember from my travel experience last week during my trip for 4 days and 3 night to Malaysia.

Everything started with the desire to take a break together with my best friends at office. We're browsing around for cheap flights anywhere and, gotcha, we found one with Johor Bahru as the destination. All we needed was just IDR 99,000 per person.

Though, unfortunately, the flight back to Indonesia took us RM 117 per person. Sure, it's not too expensive but, comparing to IDR 99,000, it did cost a lot. Oh, and all those costs above didn't include the baggage -- in case you're wondering.

Before I started breaking down my stories per day, I'll list down my expenses I spent before heading the country, meaning I purchased these online.

Bus from Johor Bahru to Kuala Lumpur. Calculating the costs, we decided not to book any hostel for the first night. Instead we took the bus from JB to KL at midnight, arriving there at 4 or 5 in the morning. I ordered the tickets from and it costed us RM 40 per person.

Rainforest Bed & Breakfast. A hostel located in Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur. We took Superior 4 Bed Family Ensuite, adding 1 mattress since there're five of us. RM 460 for 2 nights, 5 persons, including breakfast, private bathroom, encoded key card, and more facilities. We only paid for the 10% after booking it via HostelBookers -- around RM 8 per person.

Sunway Lagoon. It's supposed to be RM 120 per person if we bought the tickets on spot. We ordered the tickets from the official website and they costed us for only RM 102 per person.

Nights of Fright. It's a special festival to celebrate Halloween at Sunway Lagoon. They only held the special festival for five nights so we decided to buy the tickets for RM 48 per person.

Aerobus. Instead of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), we needed to take the departure flight from Low Cost Center Terminal (LCCT) Terminal which is located quite far from the main airport. We bought tickets from KL Sentral to LCCT for RM 10 per person via Aerobus official website.

How many RMs had I spent before departing to Malaysia? RM 208 per person, excluding the rest of RM 84 for the hostel.

[Thursday, 17 October 2013]

(waiting for the shuttle bus at Senai International Airport. The sun was setting down!)

I started my day with dragging my black luggage, went to my office first since my flight would depart from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport at 1:15 PM. However the flight was delayed and the plane left the ground at 2 PM, causing our schedule to be pretty much screwed later on.

So here's one of my most interesting stories in life started.

I sat on the different side from my friends. As always, I tried to let music took me with my Solo Beats featuring iPod Shuffle for the next hour. I didn't start any conversation with the man who sat next to me (he's with his friend who sat next to the window) until the food service started.

He greeted me first before enjoying his lunch when I read the magazine lazily. Things started pretty common like questions about what I would do in Johor, for how many days I would spend my holiday in Malaysia, etc. I also asked him some questions, finding out that he visited Jakarta just for holiday, spending three nights for good with his friend.

He introduced his name as Siwa and, after telling me about some tips and tricks as a traveler, he also told me that his son opened a restaurant called 7Spice in Johor Bahru. Not thinking about throwing random promise, I told him I would try my best to fit my time so I could visit his place. Therefore he gave me his number and said I should call him when I arrived there so he could give me discount for visiting the restaurant.

The plane arrived in Senai International Airport at 4 PM (Malaysia local time). The first thing I did was looking for Celcom, the kiosk to buy a SIM Card so I could access internet from my Android device. I bought the new SIM Card for RM 28 including RM 25 for the credits. I only needed RM 5 per day for unlimited internet access and, well, I must say I'm satisfied with the speed and all!

We were busy thinking about how to reach Legoland -- no, we're not planning to play there since it's afternoon already but we would love to take some pictures there and Hello Kitty Land. We ended up leaving to Johor Premium Outlet with the shuttle bus since the driver told us it would be useless to go there when the sun almost set down. With all disappointment, we headed to take a walk around Johor Premium Outlet (and bought nothing actually. If you like branded stuff, you would love to come here but, since I don't, I'd pass next time I visited there) before taking the shuttle bus to JB Sentral.

(at Johor Premium Outlet. Somewhat reminded me of Paris van Java - Bandung)

So here's the first thing I noticed, Johor Bahru is pretty much new and, gosh, finding public transportation there nearly frustrated me. I don't know if it's just me who didn't pay enough attention around but I only saw some buses and taxis (which pretty expensive from my quick calculation. And, oh, the taxis would only take 4 persons in one car for the sake of the rules).

Upon our arrival at JB Sentral, we're stuck to find the way to Larkin Sentral, the terminal to take buses or taxis. Luckily (with fear engulfed me during the whole trip), there's a man who offered us a ride on his car with RM 20 to Larkin from there. When the car stopped, some youngsters surrounded the car, offering us bus tickets to KL (they're the reason of our biggest fears at the night since who knew if they would take our luggage away!).

It's busy and crowded. It's not even 10 PM yet and, truth to be told, I was anxious, thinking about the fact that we should wait there until midnight. It just felt insecure for me. Then I sent a text message to Mr Siwa (my companion from the flight, remember?), telling him that I was sorry that I couldn't visit the restaurant (which I saw on the way to JB Sentral) since we had no idea how to get there.

Here's the surprise started continuously.

Mr Siwa called me, asking whether if I was at Larkin already or not. He said he would pick us there, wondering if it's alright if we waited for him fifteen or twenty minutes. My eyes widened upon his question -- did I just hear him right, I thought to myself. He assured me that he would be on his way there even after I told him that there were five of us.

After I told my friends, one of them didn't feel alright with this random luck. Thoughts like did the person know that we brought luggage or would he drive us back to Larkin later or possibility that he wanted to fool us to pay really expensive later filled mind.

I'll cut it short. He showed up with his nephew who's also a doctor (and graduated from Romania). He drove Toyota Alphard (which awed my friends -- I know nothing about automotive stuffs). When we walked in the restaurant which was pretty much crowded, a waiter greeted us and led us to empty tables with "reserved" board on them.

We searched through the menu, feeling hungry after hours lurking around. I asked for the recommended dishes but Mr Siwa ordered them already for us. All we added were just beverages and, yeah, I started to think about the total price we needed to pay. Let's say that it would sum up to RM 250 (around IDR 800,000 or 900,000).

The surprise didn't end there, people. When we had finished the delicious dinner and asked for the bill, the waiter told us that there's no bill -- it's all on Mr Siwa. He told me he could understand how it felt to be a new traveler in a new country. He said this was the least he could do for us.

Oh, yeah, he drove us back to Larkin later after asking us if we still needed anything else. We thanked him and his family for so many times (oh, for your information, he also texted me on our last night in KL, asking if we had fun there).

(with Mr Siwa, in front of his son's restaurant)

Tell me. Weren't we lucky?

I promise myself I will definitely visit the restaurant again when I come to Johor Bahru for the second time!

[Friday, 18 October 2013]

(at Pudu Sentral, waiting for Go Genting bus)

The bus to KL departed at 12 AM and we tried our best to have a good sleep (but it's pretty difficult for me). We arrived at Pudu Sentral at 4 AM, still in dazed after the short sleep time (and we're greeted with some taxi drivers who kept insisting to drive us anywhere). With the help of Google Maps, we found our way to Rainforest Bed & Breakfast.

Although I had e-mailed the staff before and they would be open at 6:30 AM, we're saved once again with the luck. This time, it's by the security staff. He let us in and used the bathroom and all until the time to check-in. Actually we should check-in at 2 PM but, when I asked if I could store our luggage first because we needed to leave as soon as possible, the staff let us to check-in earlier so we didn't need to worry about storing the luggage later at night.

We looked for quick breakfast at Alor Street before heading to Pudu Sentral, buying the tickets to Genting Highland for RM 10.60 per person. There are schedules for the bus departures so you better check them in their official website for a better planning. With bus transfer and skyway transfer, we arrived in Genting and, yes, it's pretty cold there so I suggest you bring extra clothes to wear there.

My first experience of visiting a casino happened that day. We entered Genting Casino and, after a long discussion, we took RM 20 for the bid. Oh yes, we tried to play a simple game of guessing whether the final number would be 'big' or 'small'. Don't expect me to explain it here or else you will get wrong idea of the game.

Our luck didn't end that moment. We won for four times, meaning we received extra RM 80 (and we didn't lose the RM 20 for sure). We decided to stop since we still needed to look for lunch at the mall and then took a free shuttle bus to Chin Swee Temple (there are schedules for these too).

(at the staircase, located at Chin Swee Caves Temple)

The Chin Swee Caves Temple is a Taoist temple in Genting Highlands. The view is breathtaking. I love the scenery and atmosphere. We left Chin Swee, back to Genting to take the bus to Titiwangsa according to the schedule. That's our next stop before leaving to Batu Caves with KTM Komuter (or is it LRT? I don't remember).

And our luck finally reached the top.

It's raining so heavily that we could only see the gold statue from far. My friend said we're supposed to climb a steep flight of 276 steps to reach the top. We didn't do it due to the weather and decided to head for our next schedule, Petronas Twin Towers.

(taken by Dewi Susanti with her Samsung Galaxy S4. Not edited using photoshop!)

We tried our best to take pictures with the twin skyscrapers as the background before finally looking for our way to Chinatown. It's already so late that we could only have dinner there instead of looking something for us to buy.

Oh, when we're confused about how to reach Chinatown, we asked a strange for direction and the uncommonly kind stranger insisted to walk us there. Well, he asked for money later actually but my friend avoided it with smart reasons so, well, don't drop your guard there perhaps.

We closed our second night by returning to the hostel afterwards.

[Saturday, 19 October 2013]

Sunway Lagoon was our only destination for the day. Our first problem started with the question "how to get there?!".

(Oh, I accidentally left our schedule in Johor and I forgot to put the file in my phone so, yeah, screw me for guessing all the fixed schedules)

We knew we probably could reach Sunway Lagoon by changing KTM, LRT, or whatever transportation we could take but, no, we ended up negotiating with taxi driver since we found out it's quite far from Bukit Bintang. To save our time (it took 20 minutes by taxi and almost 2 hours by other route), we agreed with RM 35 to reach Sunway.

The park opened at 10 AM and, since there's a kind of family day, there were a large crowd already inside. We wasted almost an hour inside because we're confused about what kind of attraction we should play first. We finally rent a big locker for a whole day -- it's RM 40 -- and started to play the dry attractions first before lunchtime.

Did I just say dry? Yes, because we went for the wet ones later. The Water Park. You really must try the 5D and Vuvuzela. It's a must! Oh, and our luck didn't last for the whole day again, because it rained again for one or two hours.

The park would be closed at 6 PM, we washed ourselves at 4:30 PM since we had predicted there would be long queue for the shower rooms. We left to Sunway Pyramid Mall, planning for some groceries stop later and had a quick dinner before walking back to Sunway Lagoon for the special event, Nights of Fright.

Greeted by staffs with scary make-ups, we entered the park again for the second time in the same day. We could see some characters from horror movies (Freddy Kruger, Billy from Saw) and we're free to take pictures with them. There were also some attractions to enjoy there. If you're easily scared with some surprise elements, you would be surprised for multiple times. I'm a so-so person when it comes to surprise elements but I'd say it's pretty cool for the event!

(Frightening! It's Horrorwood behind us!)

We left the park before 9:30 PM, back to Sunway Pyramid and bought some stuffs. Again with taxi negotiating, we finally returned to the hostel with RM 42 for the taxi fare.

Our third night was closed with preparation to return on the next day.

[Sunday, 20 October 2013]

There's basically nothing I could share on this final day.

Why? Because all was in a rush.

We woke up a little bit late that morning. Okay, it's not a little. Our flight was at 1:10 PM and we just woke up at 7:30 AM. Ain't it a problem?

Actually we wanted to go to Sungai Wang Plaza or Berjaya Times Square but the malls are opened at 10 AM and the schedule for Aerobus was 10:15 AM so say goodbye to the malls. We managed to catch the bus from KL Sentral at 10 AM.

Waiting for the flight at LCCT, we bought some stuffs at Duty Free (hello, Chocolate! I'm a chocoholic here so you could expect I bought some chocolate during travelling). For your extra note, we tried to spend the Ringgit coins everywhere, causing us to receive the final call for the boarding at 12:40 PM.

No delay. Nothing big happened. The plane arrived ten minutes earlier than from the schedule at Jakarta.

Well, we're back to Indonesia!

Now, isn't it a long post just now? I didn't expect to write such a long story actually but, thank you, for you who read until this sentence. ;)

I'm still missing so many things about having fun there but I dare to say that it's a lot cheaper in Malaysia than in Singapore but, at the same time, I still prefer to spend some good days in Singapore. Well, maybe it's just me, because Singapore is a smaller country and it's easy to reach any spot in the country with MRT.

That's it for tonight. I'll see you guys on the next post! ;)