So, it has been 2 weeks now since we left the comfortable streets of Auckland and ventured in to the unknown depths of SE Asia. From the city we found the best way to get to the airport would be via the Sky Bus. It’s convenient and cheap, departs every 10 minutes or so and only take on average 45 minutes. There are numerous stops across the city and there’s the main hub at 396 Queen Street.
To be honest Auckland Airport is kinda dull. The food options are great if you like Burger King and overpriced sushi and the duty free is pretty run of the mill. You can load up on snacks and drinks, but I’ll be damned if you can smuggle them aboard 😉
With slightly empty, but very fluttery bellies, Kerry and I boarded our Air Asia flight, bound for the unfamiliar, towards a life of limitless possibilities, both sensory and culinary. Neither of us had been to Asia before (a brief stop-over in Manilla on our way to Sydney doesn’t count!) so we were more than a little bit thrilled to be embarking on this adventure. And to be honest, I’ve been craving both sunshine and noodles for a very long time so I was certian my needs would be fulfilled.
I’ll begin with our Air Asia flight from Auckland Airport to Kuala Lumpur. It was cheap, so my expectations weren’t too high. The flight was very cramped, the service wasn’t quick or efficient and unfortunately there was a delay prior to take-off. Our 30 minute stop over in the Gold Coast was terribly managed, not controlled and upon re-entry resembled a mob, not a queue. It was hot, late and head ache inducing. Far from what you want when you are about to endure an 8 hour overnight flight.
Also, you are not allowed to bring your own food aboard the air craft as it may offend other passengers religious sensibilities. However, there is food available to buy at a reasonable price, that is providing you have notes and not coins. The vegetarian options were pretty limited, but there was one dish that contained veggies rather than the obligatory chicken or beef. But as I didn’t have any notes left, just a brimming purse full of NZ 1 and 2 dollar coins, I was shit outta luck. I even had to beg for a cup of water as they refused to sell me a bottle unless I paid with a note! I honestly don’t understand this logic! If I had paid with a note I would have received coins as change….
Anyway, we arrived at KL airport at 4.40am, once we left the aircraft and walked for miles to immigration/customs/baggage claim it was swiftly approaching 5.30am. I have no idea what took so long, the airport was practically empty, there were zero queues, but it still took almost an hour to get to the luggage belts, so just be warned. We sailed through immigration and customs, retrieved our luggage and made our way to the exit. Immigration was easy; as a British citizen you get a 90 day visa exemption which is great. They stamp your passport, scan your finger prints and whoop! Away you go. Customs is also easy as we had nothing to declare. You just put your luggage through a huge scanner before you exit and providing you don’t have any ‘prohibited’ items away, it’s a breeze!
The airport does have WiFi so that’s a huge bonus, however, this is a VERY IMPORTANT DETAIL, TAKE HEED… toilets in Malaysia rarely provide loo roll!!!! I suggest you always assume there won’t be any and constantly bring your own supply unless you are comfortable using a bidet. I am not.. Grab some from the plane or just buy a pack of tissues from duty free, either way, make sure you are equipped 🙂
KL Airport is great, there are a myriad of shops, restaurants (including a vegetarian one!) and travel booths to keep you entertained. We took a wonder and got ourselves a couple of sim cards, we opted for the U network as this offered a free sim on presentation of your passport and for about 50 Ringgit (about £10) we had unlimited internet, calls and texts for 30 days. Perfect!
From the airport we decided to get a bus to Sentral Station. You can purchase your ticket from one of booths, either side of the airport, don’t worry about leaving the arrivals lounge, there are booths in the main section too. Or you can book online if you are super organised! You just keep heading down the escalators until you reach the ground floor and that’s were the buses depart from. There are a few other options to get you in to the city, a high speed train, taxis ect, but our budget was limited, and the bus won out! And you know what, it was fine. Air conditioned, reclining seats, a good view and a smooth 50 minute ride all for 11 Ringgit (about £2!) As it was rush hour, we got caught in a little bit of morning traffic, but it was quite relaxing to sit and watch the world go by. Bottle of water in hand, seat back, Kerry beside me. Happy days!
Sentral Station is a little bit manic. Again, it was about 8.30 on a monday morning so it was to be 100% expected. We thought we’d let it cool a little and headed to a little cafe to grab some well deserved breakfast. Our last meal was at about 6pm the night before and we were famished. We ordered a breakfast deal which consisted of a huge plate of noodles and veg, a little cake and a tea (soya milk was an option! I was quickly falling in love with KL) from there we re- grouped and planned our route to the hotel.
The trains were quite straight forward, everything is clearly sign posted and there are lots of staff to help you out. The trains were frequent, clean and busy! (Monday morning…) Oh and cheap, I can’t remember the exact price but less than £1 each.
We got off at Bank Negara, it was already 30° we were hot, sweaty and knackered, we staggered to our hotel, The Grand Campbell. Unfortunately we had a 4 hour wait before we could check in. In my next post I’ll give you a breakdown of our hotel experience, getting to grips with KL and where we found the best veggie food in the city!! Hope you found this post helpful. Please check out my Instagram for more on Malaysia ✌❤