Thursday, August 06, 2009

Southeast Asia - Thousands Miles Trip on Small Budget - Malaysia Edition

Beautifully made by the hands of God, Southeast Asia has become one of most favorite tourist destinations in the world. With its white sandy beach, warmth of the sun all days, priceless value culture and the people inside it, you’ll feel like in the world of dream.

The last stoppages of my trip were Singapore, Malaysia and Phuket in Thailand. At that point in time, I promised myself to continue this journey to other parts of SE Asia. Made to be the house for world’s backpackers, Bangkok is the first priority of my trip. From the visits of sacred temples to wild nightlife, the city promises extra value for your budget trip. Guarantee! Covered by the nightlife and queer community, Pattaya is more than worthy to visit. Vietnam with its ex-French colonial city of Hanoi and UNESCO World Heritage site of Halong Bay rise as one of destinations in that region. Everybody, backpackers particularly, are curious to explore this new country of destination.

Getaway from busy life to relaxing vacation in Thailand and Vietnam is not just a dream. It is a reality and a must-do-off-time for you. Thousands miles trip on small budgets.


Memorial Trip of Pekanbaru

A Talk and Laugh for Mic and Yang
May 15, 2007. It’s been two months I moved to Jakarta with all of its crowded and complex life. Originally the route was Pekanbaru-KL-Bangkok-Hanoi-KL-Pekanbaru ( Rp. 1,4 Million, Air Asia free ticket promotion, booked on January 07 ), but then I had to change the last flight from KL-Pekanbaru to directly KL-Jakarta. Tuesday, May 15, I woke up at 3.00 AM to catch Air Asia flight from Jakarta to Pekanbaru at 6.30 AM ( QZ 7430, 1.5 hour, Airfare Rp. 212.650, Airport Tax Rp. 30.000 ). The time was moving slowly, just like my body, my mind and my soul. They synchronized the move of the time. Arriving at Sutan Syarif Kasim Pekanbaru airport, Mic and Yang picked me up and took me around. Excitement sharing, laughing and life updating inside Mic’s car, we really had the great times. That time I could hardly stop my mouth having a talk and a laugh and it was the first time within two months I wanted to spend more time having conversation with others. Busy and hectic life in Jakarta had made me anti-social-person – “the faster I stop talking to the people, the more productive I am” principle which I realize lately was wrong - in the contrary with what I want to be.


Two Portions of Chinese Noodle
Not having a breakfast at all, we visited Pasar Bawah, the oldest traditional market in Pekanbaru town, in where most of Chinese people spent their time to shop daily needs. We stopped at a small Chinese restaurant and ordered Chinese noodle. It is a mix of noodle and Cukyuk soup ( pork leg soup ), making it so special and a very good food to eat in the morning. Excellent! I ordered one more portion of it.

AK 972 Pekanbaru-Kuala Lumpur 12.05-13.50
Taking the flight to Kuala Lumpur ( AK 972, 45 minutes, Airfare Rp. 265.000, Airport Tax Rp. 60.000 ), I did not need to pay fiscal tax as I had been having Pekanbaru passport since 2005. You don’t need to pay any fiscal tax to visit SE Asia countries if you have one of Sumatra provinces passports ( except North Sumatra and NAD provinces ). After checking into the counter, I needed only to pay airport tax RP. 60.000 for international flight. In the plane, I started reading ‘Southeast Asia on a shoestring’ book of Lonely Planet. Reading in the Air Asia flight was simply fun. The cheap price and high value are the best combination for all travelers. Comfortable seat with synthetic leather, new aircraft and beautiful flight attendants made this airway my best flight for personal trip. They have expanded its territory from only in Malaysia to many countries in SE Asia and beyond, making it one of the biggest flight services in SE Asia, in only 5 years! And to run 4,500 flights in a week, most of them from Kuala Lumpur, they have built their own airport, Low Cost Carrier Terminal ( LCCT ), just 15 minutes from main airport of Kuala Lumpur International Airport ( KLIA ). Amazing! No private flight service company ever did that! The idea, marketing strategy, close-to-people-heart flight and new routes for sure will bring this airway to value leadership in next 5 years. Superb Air Asia!


The Couch of Ken – Couchsurfing Experience in Kuala Lumpur

Titi in Pyramid of Kuala Lumpur
After 45 minutes in the flight, I arrived at LCCT, phenomenal airport of Air Asia. The airport is not big, dominated by yellow and white color. From the aircraft to the airport, no bus will take you there and you’ll need to walk ( that’s why they call it with LCC Terminal! ). Right after coming into entrance gate, there are passport checking lockets. Baggage claim at the right side of the lockets, exit gate at the opposite side. You can also take some ‘Visit Malaysia 2007’ brochures about some interesting places to visit in Malaysia. Before you exit from LCCT, you can find some taxi and bus services lockets. They provide taxi to Kuala Lumpur ( RM 60-70, 45 minutes ) and efficient bus directly to KL Sentral ( RM 9, 45 minutes ), from where you can find buses and trains to many destinations in KL. The bus is equipped with air conditioner and comfortable seat. No worries about security.

Several days before, I had made appointment with Titi, Rejoice model and Ken, couchsurfer from Kuala Lumpur. From KL Sentral, I took taxi to Pyramid of Sunway Lagoon to meet Titi. It is one of big malls in suburban area of Kuala Lumpur. The mall is signed by big Sphinx at the front of it. Sunway Lagoon is a complex of mall, hotel and entertainment site. After stucked in a traffic jam for a while, I finally met Titi and her friend, Kiki in Coffee Bean. We had fun talk with a cup of cappuccino ice.


Couch of Ken
At 6 pm, I took taxi to Ken’s apartment. This is actually my virgin couchsurfing experience, hosted by Ken Choong, a Chinese Malay who spent most of his time working in USA and traveling in Europe. The warm introduction happened when I searched the people in couch search. Ken responded my request of couch very kindly. Arriving at his apartment, his room is very comfortable with big soft bed and air conditioner. When I was showering, he surprisingly made a dinner for us. That was above my expectation. Even he took me around Kuala Lumpur and we watched Spiderman 3 movie. It was the first impressive couchsurfing experience! If you want to have the same mind-linking, excitement sharing experience and want this world smaller than you think, just visit couchsurfing.com and enjoy the be-hosted and be-surfed experiences with people around the world! Guarantee you it is FUN!

AK 880 Kuala Lumpur-Bangkok 08.25-09.30
May 16, 2007. Woke up at 4 in the morning, I took the taxi ( 5 AM, 45 minutes, RM 60 ) and arrive at LCCT to catch my flight to Bangkok ( AK 880, two hours, Airfare RM 105, No Airport Tax ). Again, it was a fun time in the flight of Air Asia.

Malaysia at a Glance
Malaysia has changed itself into one of main tourist destination in SE Asia nowadays, with the motto ‘Truly Asia’. Many great places to visit here. Recommended for adventurous people are Pulau Perhentian on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia, Kinabalu National Park in Malaysian Borneo, Bario & the Kelabit Highlands in Malaysian Borneo, Cameron Highlands in Peninsular of Malaysia, Pulau Langkawi in the East Cost, Labuan in the north of Kalimantan. Those places can be reached using mix of by air, by bus and by walking/trekking. For city tour and old building sightseeing, visit Kuala Lumpur ( Petronas Tower, Batu Caves, Culinary at Bukit Bintang and Shopping at Bukit Bintang ), Genting Highlands, Penang, Malaka and Negeri Sembilan. All of them can be reached using the flight/bus from Pudu Raye Bus Station.

If you get stuck in Kuala Lumpur and don’t know where to sleep, just visit Bintang Guest House in Golden Triangle area ( 27, Jalan Tong Shin, Off Tengkat Tong Shin, 50200 Kuala Lumpur, phone 03-2144 3398 & 03-2148 9398, website
www.bintangguesthouse.com.my ). Another option is stay at Pudu Raye area and China Town as there are many guesthouse there.


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