What makes me busy 2 weeks after I got back from my first backpacking trip?
Nothing but struggling to stay awake at night again. As you all know, I've been working at night for 2 years now and that's my normal routine. Well, after my SEA trip, nasira ang body clock ko.
Tapos kung maka-demand pa kayo na umpisahan ko na yung SEA trip, hirap na hirap nga ako makatulog ngayon.. Wala kayong puso! Chos! (drama lang..)
First, I did research a little about South East Asia. I checked out a map and studied the countries which are side by side and can be traveled overland.
Second, I looked around forums and spotted some future travel buddies. Luckily, I found 2 girls! Yup, we don't know each at all and we'll travel together outside the country! Extreme eh?
Third, waited and booked for a promo fare. And by promo fare I meant PISO fare!
Fourth, I did extensive research in every country, including the map, route, train system, made reservations on cheap accommodations, etc. Everything that's essential.
Fifth, I bought a 15-kg luggage (smallest size). I realized I can't carry a huge bag (for 10days) that's bigger and heavier than I am.
I intentionally put Thailand in the last leg. I found that country most interesting.
A NEWBIE'S BACKPACKING TRIP
First Leg: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
I actually flew via Airasia, a budget airline that's based in Malaysia. My fare from Clark-Kuala Lumpur was P988. From Pasay, I took the Philtranco bus which goes directly to Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA). Fare is P350.
In DMIA, I paid the usual travel tax of P1620 and P600 for the terminal fee. Since I only have forward tickets, the immigration officer asked me a lot of questions regarding my trip. Maybe she thought I would do something illegal?! Good thing I carried my company ID with me, and bragged I have a decent job here in Manila. Then she let me pass. Yey!
I dont care if the airplane is not spacious as long as the flight is smooth. And it was. Aside from hindi maganda ang amoy ng mga katabi ko- I have nothing else to complain.
After 3 hours, I finally reached Kuala Lumpur. Landing is at LCCT.
I lined up in the immigration booth and it went smoothly too. I got my trolley and proceeded to Skybus terminal. This 1hour bus ride took me to KL Sentral.
I learned that in the first stages of planning, its best to download a map. You'll have an idea of everything, plus you'll have more sensible questions in mind. Ü
Upon reaching KL Sentral, my companions Franklyn and Mera (my ex-officemates from Trend Micro) and I walked around and looked for the monorail. It is 400m away from the bus station. Quite reachable by foot. From KL Sentral, we paid a small amount to reach Bukit Bintang, that's the area we planned to stay.
Important reminder: almost all guesthouses / hostels in KL only offer common bathrooms. And since I am not comfortable with that, we ended up no choice but to pay more and stay in a not so good hotel but with a private bathroom.
We got a triple room for MYR125 (around P1,800) per night without breakfast. Location is good but the beds suck!
Aside from the room is small, we personally saw some bed bugs. Omg, totoo palang may bed bugs! And it scared us big time. Too bad we already paid 2 nights and thought it would only hassle us to look around for some decent and cheap hotels nearby. It's raining that night, just so you know. And we've been carrying our luggages since that morning. So we decided to stay there. We just removed the thick sheets (we figured that's where the bugs are coming from) and used only the thin ones. Pero nakakapraning pa din matulog! Luckily, it worked at hindi ako nabiktima ng bed bugs. But not worth the paranoia I experienced.
Hotel Season's View
61 Jalan Alor, Bukit Bintang, 50200 KL
61 Jalan Alor, Bukit Bintang, 50200 KL
Moving on, I badly need to make a phone call to Lee Chua. Yes, she's a fellow blogger from Malaysia and I need to meet her. I emailed her for some assistance and she actually helped me more than I expected. She offered us to buy 3 Genting package tickets in advance. According to her, most of the time only late afternoon trips are available if you purchase the tickets within the day of your trip.
Act of kindness #1
That phone call to Lee was made possible by a vendor along Bukit Bintang who let me use his cellphone for free. Thank you sir!
We had our dinner outside the hotel the famous Jalan Alor street. The best place to eat Malaysia's local favorites.
Only very few vendors speak English but that's no problem. We just pointed some favorite and best seller items in their menu.
Super yummy (and cheap)! Bentang-benta sakin ang combo na yan. Drooling once again.. Ü
After a satisfying meal, we walked towards the very sparkling Twin Towers. And because we thought it's quite near, we decided to walk. Wrong decision. It took me 40mins to reach Suria, KLCC. That's where I need to meet Lee. I lost my companions by the way.
A very fine lady. Lee is very accommodating in our exchange of emails, but she's even nicer in person. She handed me our tickets and I paid her. She even toured me around.
KL at night is really very alive but Petronas Twin Tower simply stands out. May WOW factor. Its beauty is sparkling.
And since I lost my companions, I asked her to take some photographs of me infront of the sparkling twin towers. Lucky me, she's a good photographer!
day 1 behind the famous landmark in KL
And for a change, here's a reflection of the sparkling towers in the lake. Nice!
Lee and her boyfriend Troy even drive me back to our hotel. I really appreciated that.
Thank you Lee. Im lucky I have met you here in blogosphere, and Im luckier I met you in person. Please let me know if you have plans of going here in Manila (and Boracay) and I will help you the way you helped me.
I intentionally wrote every detail I remembered in this backpacking trip. Some may sound personal. Afterall, my blog is more of a personal blog than a travel guide blog. Ü
Click here for Day 2: Genting Highlands