There comes a time whereby you have to plan a trip out of the ordinary for yourself while also keeping in a set budget. Planning a trip out of the ordinary means a lot of things; flights, hotels, accommodation and most important of all, the destination. Choosing destination(s) for a trip can be based on certain factors like the culture, the food, the people and the scenery. However, in this trip, be amazed at how the destinations are chosen according to the flights that targeted at, mostly fifth freedom flights or with unique aircraft.
Planning the trip was not easy. The first step involved looking through fifth freedom flights throughout Asia and calculating the costs of the destination and whether it will be viable for a visit. In this trip, sit back and relax as I bring you to travel through the wonders of Asia. Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Dubai. These are familiar names in the world of aviation and the world in general. What unusual flights and aircrafts will we find in these parts of Asia?
The flights in general were chosen for a special reason; unique aircrafts, airlines and the adventure spirit in me looking for a whole new experience. After massive searching online on various websites for flights to the various destinations, I finally routed myself through SZB-SIN-BKK-HKG-BKK-DXB-BKK-SIN. The SZB-SIN and SIN-BKK leg will be covered in this report. The only airline that flies between SZB and SIN would be Firefly, who claims to be the first community airline in Malaysia.
By flying out of SZB, it provides their passengers the convenience of having an airport nearer to the city center with only turboprop services. That also means that the airport will be less busy hence security and immigration can be passed in a swift. Flying the Royal Orchid Service into Bangkok should be the best decision I have made as I will get to savour the Boeing 747-400 of Thai Airways International on the upper deck on a reconfigured aircraft, meaning there is PTV and flat bed seats in First Class, lie-flat seats in Business Class while Economy Class still maintains the old seats with no personal entertainment.
Getting to Kuala Lumpur
Residing in Singapore, it is natural that I will have to find some way to get into Kuala Lumpur. Before air travel is being open for competition in the 2008, the market was dominated by Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines, the national carrier of both countries. Fares were not cheap; it will cost you at least S$300 to S$400 to get a return ticket on either airline on this short 40 minute hop across Peninsular Malaysia. Traditionally, people turned to the express coaches that ply between the 2 cities and offering attractive fares of S$40 – S$90 round trip to Kuala Lumpur with a travel time of approximately 5 – 6 hours. Not to mention that passengers get plush recliner seats similar to that of airlines’ regional Business Class seats. The journey typically consisted of a stop at a food centre midway for lunch /supper, depending on the time of the day and around 2 – 3 restroom breaks.
However, one particular coach company decided to go against the tradition, offering a non-stop service (with just 1 toilet break) between the 2 major South East Asian cities with food served onboard, coupled with a 10.2 LCD personal television with a decent selection of AVOD movies and lie-flat seats with wifi and power ports available for each and every seat. They also decided to beat the traditional 1-2 layout of the coach and went for a 1-1 layout to provide more comfort and larger seats for the passengers.
The fares were reasonable at S$72 each way – Around 10-20% more than that of its competitors but the convenience and comfort is good enough the justify the price difference. Introducing the Transtar First Class Solitaire Coach, the most luxurious coach between Singapore and Malaysia.
First Class on the Ground
Check in for the coach was fast by just giving my printed itinerary to the agent and directed to the First Class Lounge for a rest. Although not comparable to airline lounges, the lounge offers comfortable leather sofas and drinks with 2 huge plasma televisions to entertain the passengers waiting to board the bus.
Each passenger gets 20kg of baggage allowance, although that is mostly ignored. Each bus comes with a bus attendant to serve the food and drinks while also providing information about the bus ride and answering queries. The bus arrived on time at the scheduled departure time of 9.30am. Once all passengers got onboard, we set off to the Singapore Customs located at Tuas, also known as Second Link.
Food is served onboard around 1 hour after crossing the customs and 2 drinks are served enroute, although the choices were limited to hot tea and coffee. Let the pictures take you through the journey from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur.
Views of the First Class Lounge
PTV and movie selections
Our bus parked at the restroom stop
Biscuits served as snack
After a 6 hour bus journey, we finally reached Kuala Lumpur and hopped onto a taxi to our hotel, Novotel Kuala Lumpur.
Novotel Kuala Lumpur & Local Pictures
Novotel Kuala Lumpur is situated right at the city center of Kuala Lumpur which makes it convenient to go almost anywhere in the city. Pavillion Shopping Mall is right next to the hotel and that became our usual hangout. Going to landmarks in Kuala Lumpur like the Petronas Twin Towers takes around 15 minutes of walking time. As usual, let the pictures do the talking...
Esprit outlet at Pavillion
Petronas Twin Towers
Getting ready to go up to the Petronas Twin Towers!
View from the top!