Date: 4th October 2010
We woke up at a reasonable time and since I was done with all my packing yesterday itself, after breakfast I headed to Times Square just to roam about and see if there was anything I could pick up for the last time.
I did go around looking for camera tripods but as mentioned earlier, most shops were closed.
Once all three of us were packed and ready, we checked out of Irsia and hailed a taxi. We initially asked him to take us to KL Sentral, from where we thought of taking the monorail to the airport. Then the taxi driver offered to drive us to the airport for RM60 (Rs. 875/$20/€14). The three of us looked at each other and wondered about all the luggage we had, sighed… and then said “fine” to the taxi driver.
We arrived at the LCCT (Low Cost Carrier Terminal) an hour later, and were among the first to check-in for our 3:30pm flight.
We had pre-booked for 20kg luggage (per person) and fortunately all our luggage came just under 60kgs!
Relieved everything worked out alright, we went through customs and made our way towards the departures lounge. There is a Duty Free at the LCCT but liquor prices weren’t that great (read: cost more than Bangalore Duty Free) but you get good enough selection of international brands and chocolates. I instead went to a store selling traditional Malay sweets and snacks, and picked up tea biscuits, chips, etc. Something different for a change I thought.
We had to sit a bit longer in the boring departures lounge because our Air Asia flight was delayed by 45minutes. By the way, there is a new LCCT set to open by the end of the year.
Once it was time, we made our way in. We pre-selected our seats as myself and Ramesh were keen on window seats.
We began planning for this trip as early as March. Booked our flight tickets in April. Made arrangements for stay in Singapore first, since we were going during F1 weekend. We made most of our booking via Hostels.com and Hostelworld.com, with only our Langkawi booking done via Agoda.com.
We flew Tiger Airways (one way) to Singapore (which cost Rs. 4500 per person) and our Air Asia one way journey from KL to Bangalore (with 20kgs luggage and pre-booked meals) cost us Rs. 3600 per person. All in all, this 9 day trip (10, if you include today) cost us around Rs. 36,000 ($810/€560) — that’s flight, stay, food, commuting fares, and sightseeing expenses! 🙂
I didn’t do a whole lot of shopping, so I spent the least among the three of us.
If we had gone via a packaged tour, it would have easily cost us more than Rs. 50,000 per person and I doubt we would seen all that we saw the past 9 days. Sure, we didn’t check out Sentosa Island (and Universal Studios) but that’s due to lack of time in Singapore. It was either Sentosa or the Zoo — we chose the Zoo. In Malaysia, we skipped Genting Highlands as well because it was another theme park and casino — places subsidized package tours include so that they bring in droves of tourists in hopes the tourists will spend some money.
So would I go back?
To Singapore, that’s a definite ‘yes‘! Mostly because the experience of being in Singapore during F1 weekend is just too good. The whole city really comes alive during the Grand Prix. The main lesson learnt from this Singapore visit is that 3 days isn’t enough, even for such a small city state. You can spend an entire day at the Zoo itself — go see the animals in the morning and then the Night Safari once it gets dark. You can spend an entire day at Sentosa, for which they have activities from daylight to sunset. Next time, I’m definitely going to Universal Studios Singapore.
Also, next time, I’m going to carry a lot more money. SGD$250 is enough to get by for 3 whole days in Singapore (which is what we spent on getting around, eating, some shopping, and the attractions we visited). But next time, I’ll probably triple my budget and stay for minimum 5 days. I want to have fun in Singapore!
Would I go back to Malaysia? Well, depends really. I felt I saw all that I needed to see and do in Langkawi. I also saw quite a bit of what I sought in Kuala Lumpur. The one place I do feel ‘incomplete’ about is Penang. Just one day in Penang was a bit of a stretch, plus I didn’t get to see what was on the other side of the bridge, which apparently has its fair share of attractions.
Funny thing though, until last year, I didn’t even know there are two ‘sides’ that make the nation of Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Langkawi are all on one ‘side’ — but there is more to Malaysia, on the Borneo side.
But because they are far apart, and not as developed, most tourists to Malaysia are often oblivious to Sabah and Sarawak’s existence.
Air Asia has flights to Sabah and Sarawak, so if I do go back to Malaysia, I would probably hop over to ‘the other side’.
As we descended, the nice and sunny outside suddenly turned dark and rainy.
After picking up some stuff at the BIAL Duty Free, we were out in half-an-hours time. We hired a cab who agreed to take us to Srajapur Road (near Total Mall) for Rs. 650. We opted not to take the airport bus due to the luggage we had.
If felt nice to return to the post-rain, fresh air and experience Bangalore’s greatest asset — its weather. But 30 minutes into our journey, and into peak hour traffic, it didn’t take long for all three of us to get frustrated and say the same thing:
“Man, I wanna go back!”
P.S: I also didn’t get to have bread ice cream in Singapore!
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