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#4: PVG-KUL-BLR On Malaysia Airlines 772, 738

Fri Aug 01, 2014 6:45 pm








Introduction



Hello A.netters, and welcome to the fourth installment in my China and India trip series! Links to the other reports in this series can be found at the bottom of this page.

This report is dedicated to the victims of MH370, MH17, GE222, and AH5017. These flights carried families just like mine, departing for their summer vacations or heading home to meet relatives.  



After eight exciting yet exhausting days, we’ve reached the last city on the last day of the tour! Shanghai sets itself apart from the north’s ancient history and the south’s natural beauty. It’s exactly what I think of modern China: a modern metropolis, with crowds of people, flashing neon signs, and skyscrapers.

On Friday, we say goodbye to China and hello to India, where we’ll be spending another ten days with relatives. Malaysia Airlines flies us to Bangalore via Kuala Lumpur, but we have to endure a 6.5 hour layover. Surprisingly, it goes by really quickly, and before we know it, we’re stuck in an Indian traffic jam!





Maps generated by the Great Circle Mapper -copyright © Karl L. Swartz.



 
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RE: #4: PVG-KUL-BLR On Malaysia Airlines 772, 738

Fri Aug 01, 2014 6:48 pm




Sightseeing in Shanghai



We wake up early this morning and walk down to breakfast. It’s a grand breakfast buffet with the same selections as the other hotels, like fried rice and baked beans. Not that I’m complaining, of course. Anyways, I better eat good this morning, since today’s going to be full of activity. We’re covering all of Shanghai in just one day!

This is the largest city in the People’s Republic of China, even surpassing the population of Beijing. It’s a blend of ancient Chinese gardens, French and Chinese architecture, and the skyscrapers of modern China. Our first stop on the tour gives us a good idea of how all this came together.




Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center



The name of this place sounds pretty vague, doesn’t it? It seems like a museum, in which we learn about where Shanghai’s been, where the city’s headed, and everything in between. Some of the exhibits here are really amazing, especially the gigantic model of Shanghai. When the ceiling lights are dimmed, the buildings even light up!

In the beginning, Shanghai served as a major trading port in ancient China. This attracted the British and the French to the city, but they didn’t stay for very long. The Japanese occupied Shanghai for several years during World War II, but at the end of the war, the Communists gained control of the land. They opened up the city’s economy just enough to create the Shanghai we know today: the center of China’s booming economy.

Alright, the history lesson’s over. Here’s some pictures of the exhibits at the museum.




















French Quarter



No, we’re not talking about the one in New Orleans! As I mentioned above, the French settled in Shanghai for a while, and they left their mark on the city through their architecture. We spend a few minutes strolling around in this cool, calm little section of bustling Shanghai. So this sure is different from the other French Quarter.










Yu Garden



Our next stop is the Old Town, where a shopping complex has been created right inside the ancient Chinese structures. So it’s really weird to see a Starbucks coffee shop under the spiked roofs and intricate carvings! Narrow paths wind through the town, making the place feel really crowded.








Eventually we reach the Yu Garden, another serene spot amid the hustle and bustle of modern Shanghai. The son of a Ming-era official constructed this beautiful garden for his father, so he could enjoy his retirement. There are lots of bright green trees, lotus plants with their pink flowers, small lakes populated by fat orange fish, and large rock formations.














After spending some time in the garden, we exit the Old Town for the Yuyuan Market just outside. We take a look at some teas and fine china, but we don’t decide to purchase anything. My parents plan on doing all their shopping on Nanjing Road, the final stop of the tour. Still, it’s very nice to walk down this red lantern lined road.








Tianhou Silk Factory



So now we’re going to visit a silk factory, but I’m not that excited. That’s because we’re actually going to observe the entire silk production process, from the silk worm to the soft bed sheet. While it isn’t fun to see how the pupa are removed so silk can be strung from their cocoons, it’s amazing how far that silk can stretch.












The Bund, by day



This is the greatest icon of Shanghai, the place I’ve wanted to visit all day! The Bund is a long stretch of land that runs along the Huangpu River. On one side, you see the Customs House and other old pieces of British architecture. On the other side, the modern Shanghai skyline towers above you. What a difference, just in looking from one side of a river to the other!

While the skyline is shrouded in haze and the river appears brownish, the weather is nice and cool. Since our hotel is just a 20 minute walk away, perhaps we could return at night? I’m sure the views will be better. Well anyways, we still have another place to visit on the tour.












Nanjing Road, by day



Now we’re walking along Nanjing Road, a shopper’s heaven in Shanghai. My parents had planned on doing most of their souvenir shopping in Shanghai, so we wouldn’t have to carry extra bags around during the tour. What better place to do that shopping than here?

It’s actually not what we imagined. My parents were expecting more of a bargainer’s heaven, like the one we’d encountered in a mall in Beijing. I was expecting crowds of people and glitzy, neon signs. But wait, it’s only daytime! Nanjing Road is even closer to our hotel, so maybe we can return later in the evening.








Then our guide drops us back off at our hotel, and confirms our flight’s departure time tomorrow so she can pick us up early enough. Wow, this is the most flying I’ve ever done in such a short period! We flew last Thursday, Monday, Wednesday, and we’re flying again on Friday.

We take the elevator back up to our room and finish some packing. Meanwhile, I check our flight’s status and realize the aircraft has been changed from an A330 to a B777. Luckily our seats appear to be the same. I was kind of hoping to fly on the A330 because of the bigger PTVs, but a 777 is good enough!








Nanjing Road, by night



Since it’s still pretty early, we head back onto the streets. My dad is able to calculate directions to Nanjing Road on his phone, since he’d purchased a SIM card earlier. Then we happen upon a Pizza Hut, and we order the same veggie pizza and mango milkshake we’d had on our first night in China!

We stroll around under bright, flashing neon signs as dusk falls upon Shanghai. Street sellers chase after us and the other foreigners, trying to sell us light-up roller skates or flying fairies. Then we find a clothing store that my parents fall in love with, where we buy some $5 shirts and dresses. Cheaper than Wal-Mart!










The Bund, by night



Since we’ve come this far, why don’t we visit the Bund again? We jump into the crowds of people headed in the same direction, and cross a busy Zhongshan Road. Finally I catch sight of the glittering Shanghai skyline, which is casting a colorful reflection on the river below. I marvel in awe at this scene: it’s exactly what I’d imagined of Shanghai!

Now we have a long walk back to the hotel, but I don’t mind. As we walk, I reminisce on the wonderful experiences we’ve had during the past week. It wasn’t just the sightseeing that was amazing, but the guides and drivers we had along the way, as well. Tonight was the perfect way to bring an end to our China tour.












 
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RE: #4: PVG-KUL-BLR On Malaysia Airlines 772, 738

Fri Aug 01, 2014 6:49 pm




Flying to Kuala Lumpur with Malaysia Airlines







Flight information



Airline and Flt. no.: Malaysia Airlines (MH / MAS) #387
Airport of departure: Shanghai Pudong Int’l, China (PVG / ZSPD)
Gate of departure: Terminal 2, D77
Date of departure: 07-04-2014
Time of departure: 10:45 am
Airport of arrival: Kuala Lumpur Int’l, Malaysia (KUL / WMKK)
Gate of arrival: Terminal S, C35
Date of arrival: 07-04-2014
Time of arrival: 3:21 pm
Aircraft: Boeing 777-200ER
Registration: 9M-MRB
Flight distance: 2,361 miles / 3,800 kilometers
Flight time: 4hr 36min
Cabin class: Economy
Seat: 14C




At the airport



We had to wake up pretty early this morning, then walk down to breakfast almost 15 minutes early. At least the chefs and waiters don’t seem to mind! I take extra helpings of fried rice and noodles, since I’ll probably never find such items again at an American hotel.

Then we speed down the expressway to Pudong Int’l Airport, pulling up to the drop-off zone at Terminal 2. The terminal was opened only six years ago, and it serves the majority of airlines flying into the airport. I really like the architecture.






We proceed to check-in, and the line for economy class is pretty long. As we wait, there’s a nice overview of some domestic flights parked at the gate. But I’ve never heard of Juneyao Airlines before! There are actually tons of airlines based in China, catering to the country’s enormous population: Chengdu Airlines, Chongqing Airlines, Spring Airlines, etc.

Our guide has stuck with us in line, and once we finally reach the end, she handles everything. How nice! We’re probably better off this way, in case the representative’s English is hard to understand.








Next we walk through the spacious terminal towards security. Now it’s time to bid our last guide farewell! She was another one of the amazing guides that accompanied us during this tour, even if we were with her for just one day. But now’s not the time to be sad: we have a flight to catch!








After getting our passports stamped and passing through security, we take a quick bathroom break and walk to the gate. We walk for a while before realizing gate D77’s behind us, probably the first gate after security. Outside, there’s a great view of our aircraft. While Malaysia Airlines’ livery on the 777 is pretty simple, I like it.












Getting on the plane



Boarding begins on-time and we make our way down the jetway. We take our seats near the front of the aircraft, where unfortunately the wing and engine are blocking most of our view outside the window. But I guess that means it’s alright I’m not sitting at the window on this flight!

I immediately notice the generous legroom, which is probably the best legroom I’ve experienced in economy class! The seats are in an interesting 2 x 5 x 2 configuration, and each column of seats is a different color. But the PTVs are quite small. Still, the cabin feels nice and comfy.










After a long taxi to the runway, we take-off and climb through the notorious smog. Goodbye, China, what an amazing week it’s been. But it still feels so nice to get above the cloud layer and into some blue skies! Once we’ve reached cruising altitude, the entertainment system still seems to be switched off: I’ll ask about when the lunch service begins.


















Lunch



Soon the announcement comes that the flight attendants will be serving lunch now. I ask for the chicken and noodles, then inquire about the entertainment system. The flight attendant grabs my remote in the armrest, fiddles with it for a few seconds, and voila! Now I feel embarrassed for thinking it was off the whole time!

After removing the cover of my tray, I realize it’s fish. I don’t want to bother the flight attendant again! Oh well, I hand it back to the flight attendant, who’s by now visibly frustrated. The chicken tastes nice, but the sauce has made the noodles soggy. The meal comes along with some fruits, a bread roll with butter, and a pistachio cake.








Cruise



Once our trays are collected, I begin to explore the entertainment system. I watch parts of a few movies, play some in-flight trivia, then settle on the moving map. The views outside are pretty boring, but of course I can’t really see anything with the wing and engine in the way. Overall, it’s a rather uneventful flight.
















Approach and landing



There are some nice cloud formations outside as we commence the approach. Once we’ve returned below the clouds, the spoilers are partially deployed and the city of Kuala Lumpur becomes visible. It looks like a beautiful city, with some forests and lakes here and there among the urban sprawl. Then we smoothly touchdown and taxi to the satellite terminal.


















 
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RE: #4: PVG-KUL-BLR On Malaysia Airlines 772, 738

Fri Aug 01, 2014 6:50 pm




Layover in Kuala Lumpur



Well now we have 6.5 hours to wile away until our next flight! We stroll around and explore the terminal, searching for a good place to have dinner. I really like the appearance of the wooden ceiling supported by metallic white bars, with small lights scattered about like stars. In the atrium, there’s a nice little botanical garden: I didn’t expect that! Overall, the airport has a very open, natural feel.










We spend the next few hours walking about, doing some window shopping, and relaxing in the comfy chairs. When dinnertime comes around, we settle on this one Malaysian restaurant, where I order roti canai and prawn biryani. I especially enjoy the Malaysian paratha. It’s a delicious, hearty meal!






Eventually our flight appears on the departure screens, and it looks like we need to take the Aerotrain over to the main terminal. Once we reach the gate, we have to sit outside until boarding is announced. To pass the time, my sister sits on the trolley cart playing some cellphone games, while I push her up and down the concourse.












Then we pass through a mini security checkpoint and remain seated for another few minutes. I can see our aircraft outside, but it’s masked by reflections on the window. Still, it’s the best view I can get, although I’ll have to rely on Flightradar24.com for the registration.








 
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RE: #4: PVG-KUL-BLR On Malaysia Airlines 772, 738

Fri Aug 01, 2014 6:51 pm




Bangalore-bound on Malaysia Airlines







Flight information



Airline and Flt. no.: Malaysia Airlines (MH / MAS) #192
Airport of departure: Kuala Lumpur Int’l, Malaysia (KUL / WMKK)
Gate of departure: Terminal M, H2
Date of departure: 07-04-2014
Time of departure: 10:13 pm
Airport of arrival: Bengaluru Kempegowda Int’l, India (BLR / VOBL)
Gate of arrival: Terminal 1, 7
Date of arrival: 07-04-2014
Time of arrival: 11:35 pm
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800
Registration: 9M-MLM
Flight distance: 1,790 miles / 2,881 kilometers
Flight time: 3hr 52min
Cabin class: Economy
Seat: 8F




Getting on the plane



We’re sitting near the front again. I’m at the window this time, even if it’ll be pitch dark outside for pretty much the entire flight. Once I take my seat, however, I can’t believe my eyes: there isn’t a window, just a blank wall! Thankfully, the window seat across the aisle is empty and actually has a window. Boy am I relieved!

The legroom is nothing special on this aircraft. At least there’s the newer entertainment system and electric outlets under each seat. I don’t really like the Boeing Sky Interior, though. It’s casting a strong blue hue on the cabin, and its reflection on the window can be frustrating when you’re trying to take photos!






The cabin lights aren’t dimmed until the moment we taxi onto the runway, but even then they’re too blue for me! Once we’re airborne, we suddenly begin to pass through the clouds, which are eerily illuminated by the plane’s lights. We’re also experiencing some rather bad turbulence. It stays like this for quite a while, and I actually get a little frightened!












Cruise



Since most of the flight involves crossing the Bay of Bengal, there isn’t anything to see outside. So I turn my attention to the entertainment system, which I don’t need help with this time! Why don’t we watch the Bollywood movie Chennai Express? I watch the whole film without stopping, after all it’s pretty funny.














Dinner, again



I didn’t expect to be served dinner on a flight this late! Even though we just ate a few hours ago, I’m a teenager so my stomach is already asking for more. Indian food on airlines usually means rice with two curries, in this case rajma beans and mixed vegetables. There’s also a roll of bread, some potato salad, and kheer for dessert.








Approach and landing



There are still two hours remaining after dinner, but they pass by pretty quickly. Just before landing, I finally see some speckles of light on the ground below. Then we touchdown in what feels like the middle of nowhere! Well that’s kind of true, since Bangalore’s new airport is located in a village about 20 miles from the city center.












We taxi past a line of domestic flights at the terminal, including an AirAsia India A320. Then we proceed to immigration, where we need to complete an arrival card for each family member, plus some other documents. We actually end up being the last through. So once we reach baggage claim, there’s no one in sight and our bags are waiting on the side!










Finally we’re walking with our two trolley carts to the arrivals area, where my uncle immediately recognizes us and comes to help us with the carts. In a few minutes, we’re speeding down the highway, and it only takes 20 minutes to reach my cousins’ house. Welcome to India!






 
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RE: #4: PVG-KUL-BLR On Malaysia Airlines 772, 738

Fri Aug 01, 2014 6:52 pm




Conclusion



I have never been to a country as interesting and diverse as the People’s Republic of China. In the north, you learn about the country’s rich ancient history, from the Forbidden City to the Terracotta Army. In the south, lush rainforests flourish among peaks of limestone. In the east, you find the center of China’s booming economy, where old British architecture meets glittering skyscrapers.

We can’t forget about the people who actually showed us around on this tour! Each one of our guides was very friendly and more than willing to share their city with us: we had some amazing experiences with them. Meanwhile, our drivers spoke very little English, but they always appeared promptly out of nowhere to drive us to the next stop.

As far as flying with Malaysia Airlines, it was nothing special. The flight attendants treated us decently, and the meals tasted pretty good. One thing that truly shines is the legroom in economy class on the B777. But I guess I was expecting a little more, considering Malaysia Airlines’ 5-star ranking.


While the tour may be over, we still have another ten days to spend in India! The next report will cover our time in the country and the final leg of our journey: flying to Doha and Chicago in Qatar Airways’ business class, including the B787 and the new Hamad Airport!

Thanks for reading!  





Other reports in this series



#1: LAS-YVR-PEK on AC rouge, Air Canada 77W
#2: XIY-KWL on China Eastern A319 + PEK-XIY train
#3: KWL-PVG on China Southern 738
#4: PVG-KUL-BLR on Malaysia Airlines 772, 738
#5: BLR-DOH-ORD on Qatar Airways 787, 77W (in J)


 
B707MT
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RE: #4: PVG-KUL-BLR On Malaysia Airlines 772, 738

Fri Aug 01, 2014 10:37 pm

Another classy effort, Y T, and another excellent read. The Shanghai architectural model panorama is breathtaking. You've given us all an incredible insight into your China travels - on the ground as well as in the air - so thanks again for the effort you've put in to these reports. Looking forward to #5!
 
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RE: #4: PVG-KUL-BLR On Malaysia Airlines 772, 738

Sat Aug 02, 2014 12:22 am

Hi B707MT,


Quoting B707MT (Reply 6):
Another classy effort, Y T, and another excellent read.

Thanks so much!  

Quoting B707MT (Reply 6):
The Shanghai architectural model panorama is breathtaking.

I completely agree. Even the roads were labeled, so it must be pretty accurate!

Quoting B707MT (Reply 6):
You've given us all an incredible insight into your China travels - on the ground as well as in the air - so thanks again for the effort you've put in to these reports. Looking forward to #5!

I’m so glad you’ve been able to and enjoyed reading through all the reports, they’re quite long!


Thanks again for all your kind comments,
- Ytraveller  
 
CaliAtenza
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RE: #4: PVG-KUL-BLR On Malaysia Airlines 772, 738

Sun Aug 03, 2014 12:22 am

Quoting ytraveller (Reply 5):

As far as flying with Malaysia Airlines, it was nothing special. The flight attendants treated us decently, and the meals tasted pretty good. One thing that truly shines is the legroom in economy class on the B777. But I guess I was expecting a little more, considering Malaysia Airlines’ 5-star ranking.

I think after what has happened this year with MH; the whole company seems to be in a down mood. Their service used to be excellent (i used to fly MH to BLR from LAX back in my med school days...untill EK showed up in LAX and CX got a connection to BLR via KA). Hopefully MH can get back to where it was...i have many fond memories travelling with them.
 
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RE: #4: PVG-KUL-BLR On Malaysia Airlines 772, 738

Sun Aug 03, 2014 11:25 pm

Hi CaliAtenza,


Quoting CaliAtenza (Reply 8):
I think after what has happened this year with MH; the whole company seems to be in a down mood. Their service used to be excellent (i used to fly MH to BLR from LAX back in my med school days...untill EK showed up in LAX and CX got a connection to BLR via KA). Hopefully MH can get back to where it was...i have many fond memories travelling with them.

Yeah, I can completely understand that. The flights of course weren’t bad, they just felt like any other int’l flight in Y. But I’m sure MH will be able to move forward from the two tragedies.


Thanks for commenting,
- Ytraveller  
 
buck3y3nut
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RE: #4: PVG-KUL-BLR On Malaysia Airlines 772, 738

Wed Aug 06, 2014 4:33 pm

Another great report. Enjoyed #4 and looking forward to your pictures from India (Hope there are lots   )
Thanks for the share again.
Cheers
 
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RE: #4: PVG-KUL-BLR On Malaysia Airlines 772, 738

Fri Aug 08, 2014 11:08 pm

Hi buck3y3nut,

Quoting buck3y3nut (Reply 10):
Another great report. Enjoyed #4 and looking forward to your pictures from India (Hope there are lots )
Thanks for the share again.
Cheers

Thanks! I didn’t get around much in India this year (I got sick, while my parents had a lot of business to take care of), but I still took a few pictures. I’ll also provide a link to my India trip last year, where I took a lot more pictures.  


Thanks for commenting,
- Ytraveller  
 
joeytaffy93
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RE: #4: PVG-KUL-BLR On Malaysia Airlines 772, 738

Sat Aug 09, 2014 10:20 am

Thanks for the TR, I didn't realise you had posted #4. D'oh!

MH seems a good airline and I'd have no squabbles with flying them.
 
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RE: #4: PVG-KUL-BLR On Malaysia Airlines 772, 738

Sat Aug 09, 2014 11:40 pm

Hi JoeyTaffy93,

Quoting JoeyTaffy93 (Reply 12):
Thanks for the TR, I didn't realise you had posted #4. D'oh!

MH seems a good airline and I'd have no squabbles with flying them.

Thanks for commenting, I’m glad you enjoyed the fourth installment   And yeah, MH is definitely a great airline, regardless of those two horrible tragedies.


Thanks again,
- Ytraveller  
 
joeytaffy93
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RE: #4: PVG-KUL-BLR On Malaysia Airlines 772, 738

Sun Aug 10, 2014 7:03 am

Quoting ytraveller (Reply 13):
Thanks again,
- Ytraveller

You're welcome, looking forward to the fifth installment.

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