Among the ASEAN Countries outside the Philippines, I think Malaysia is the one I have frequented most. I remember it being my first passport stamp out of the country when we climbed Mt Kinabalu in Sabah, and since then Kuala Lumpur has become a gateway for my travels in Asia but have never really gone out to explore the city except for climbing one of the nearby mountain peaks of Bukit Tabur before. So when Tourism Malaysia sent an invite for a Familiarization Tour in conjunction to their Merdeka (Independence) Celebration and suddenly my schedule got free on the said dates, I didn’t think twice of course. It’s an opportunity to get to know the country more.
My first ordeal for the trip of course was packing. I’ve always been packing clothes backpack style but now I have to bring in formal clothes in a suitcase. It’s a new challenge but hey I’m not complaining. our flight was at NAIA Terminal 1, which I think needs a major overhaul now since it smells old and looks disorganized already. By 4:30pm, I along with Martin of Tourism Malaysia Philippine Office and fellow international Pinoy travel bloggers Nina and Ivan boarded Malaysia Airline’s Boeing 777-200 plane en route to Kuala Lumpur.
The runway traffic delayed our take off for 30minutes but it gave me time to look around at the the plane’s inflight entertainment and controls. We were at the economy class but the seats were comfortable enough. During flight we had our individual controls for our choice of movies to view which was so cool. Our dinner menu of Ginger Chicken was also good for an airline food. Crews were ok but not as attentive as I like, it took them a while see my attendant light on since I was asking for an earphone. Malaysia Airlines can also boast to be the first carrier in Asia to have Inflight Mobile Phone Service through AeroMobile. Now you can use your mobile phones during inflight but charges of course applies. There’s also inflight internet as well but I wasn’t able to try. Flying Malaysian Airlines made me appreciate flying a non-low cost airline. Good service and great facilities. The only caveat I have is I asked for a window seat at check-in which I got but it has no windows. So avoid row 20 if you want a window seat on the B777-200.
We arrived at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) by 9pm. Another first for me to see KLIA since I’m mostly a patron of the Budget Terminal. It’s a good looking airport with very interesting architecture. The ceiling has these dots of light which makes it looks sparkling and also reflects on the shiny floors. A train service is there to takes us to the main terminals coming from the satellite terminals.
Going through the immigration was smooth and the baggage where retrieved with no hassle. At the exit, we met with Marie, a petite Malaysian who will serve as our Travel Guide during our week long stay here. She led us to the KLIA Express Train. It’s the direct trail link to KLIA to KL Sentral which only takes 28 minutes going at top speed of 160km/h. I’ve only been using the bus from the airport when I go to KL Sentral which usually takes at least an hour. So this was a welcome try.
KLIA Express is a premium service with a price tag of 35 RM. But if you are in a hurry, looking for comfortable and environmental mode of transportation, KLIA Express is running at 15-minute intervals on peak hours and 20-minutes off peak. We were busy getting acquainted with our guide Marie in the train that time quickly passed by and we found ourselves at KL Sentral sooner than we expected.
Our driver Azizi was already waiting with the Van at KL Sentral to take us to Impiana KLCC where we would be staying. Since we arrived rather late, we didn’t catch the buffet dinner, instead we had Malaysian Ala Carte meals at Tonka Bean, the hotel’s restaurant. I had a roast Chicken but was also able to try their Char Kway Teow, Tom Yam and Curry Laksa Mee. All were very good.
Impiana Hotel KLCC served as our home for 5 days and I can certainly say that I highly recommend the place. Aside from liking the room I’m in, it has complete facilities such as internet, cable TV, ref, good bathroom and even your own ironing set for your clothes. Service is excellent, I just call the reception and they’ll send like outlet adapters even laundry service to your room. I tried their dry clean which is cheap and fast. Sent them morning and got it that evening for a regular service. Very good. The buffet breakfast at Tonka Bean is always something to look forward to everyday. And the location is strategic, as it’s only a few minutes walk to KLCC Suriya Mall. For the price, service, facilities and location, it’s definitely recommended.
We got a packed itinerary for the week so the rest here was truly pleasurable.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.