Sama-Sama Express Lounge KLIA: A basic lounge for a short stay

My Malindo Business Class ticket came with a “meal voucher”. This can be used at food outlets, of course, but using it at a lounge would make better sense.

The two lounges on the voucher are the KLIA Premier Access Lounge and the Sama-Sama Express Lounge. Since the latter had shower facilities, that’s where I opted to spend my time in.

The Sama-Sama Express Lounge is located above Gate C5 of the Satellite Terminal, in the transit area.

The little entrance where the buggy is parked, leading up to the Sama-Sama Express Lounge and Transit Hotel.

The counter of the Sama-Sama Express Lounge. Not much smiles here though. After handing my voucher over, the staff walked away to check on something and then came back to say that I’m allowed to enter. Not sure what the issue was, but whatever works I guess.


Most of the seating area in the lounge are for four to a centre table like a cafe. There is a lack of charging ports though, they seem to be only found on the bar counter on the right of this picture, facing the entrance of the lounge and hotel.

The very sad looking fruits chiller – 3 slices of watermelon can be found inside. Alcoholic drinks in the minibar are not included in the lounge service but can be ordered a la carte.

Luckily they had a coffee machine and some petit fours, in the loose sense of the word. There were love letters and pandan dodol.

The appetiser and dessert section of the buffet. There wasn’t any order in laying out the food here though, the tuna puffs and crackers can be placed beside a sweet dessert tart, and you wouldn’t know which one was the tuna since there weren’t any labels aside from “Appetiser / Dessert”.

Hot food was also available, but I didn’t get any photos of it. There was Fried Rice, Spiced Chicken, Stewed Vegetables, Penne pasta (plain) and Carbonara sauce (which was a cream sauce with no meat but just capsicum).

Cold drinks of Mango (yes, I know it looks like Orange but trust me.) and Lime Juice were available, along with toast on the side.

Kind of a messy buffet put together, but it still kind of worked in the end since I managed to try almost everything. Not the best tasting food though.

Of course, the main highlight and purpose of the lounge visit was a shower.

Each shower cubicle has a separate wet and dry area, which made it really convenient. A towel is laid out for you in the dry area of the cubicle. Soap is provided in the wet area.

If you need additional towels, or other toiletries such as a toothbrush kit, shaving kit or shower cap, you can help yourself to them on the tray here.

A clean sink area with paper towels can be used for brushing your teeth or shaving. Not too pleased with the litter in front of the rubbish bin though.

Overall, since it was a free lounge visit with my RM109.10 Business Class ticket, I guess I don’t really have any grounds to complain. In fact, it’s probably thanks to this lounge visit that I had a shower and some substantial dinner (and coffee, yes.) before I board my flight back to Singapore. Not the best, yes, but it definitely fulfilled its purpose.

If you plan to pay for the usage of this lounge as an economy passenger though, it costs just RM45 nett per person for 3 hours of usage, which actually makes it a very affordable airport lounge to rest and relax in. Just remember to bring along your powerbank.

Advertisements

Malindo Air OD805: Kuala Lumpur to Singapore by Business Class

After all these budget travels, it’s time to spend a little bit more to indulge myself by flying back home on Business Class with Malindo Air. Though by “little bit more”, I meant as a comparison to a normal bus or train ride. Also, this might be my last few times flying with the Malindo brand before it gets officially re-branded as Batik Air Malaysia.

My only experience with Malindo so far was a domestic return flight from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu, which I didn’t blog about as I wanted to keep RailTravel Station purely for trains only at that time. And I’ve probably forgotten about it already anyway. Not sure if the jump straight to Business Class was good for managing my expectations, but at a promotional fare of only RM109.10, why not?


The actual Malindo check-in counter at KLIA is at Row E, in case you didn’t take the KLIA Ekspres here.


I queued again to get a reprint of my boarding pass before heading for immigration and the lounge.

There is an express lane for immigration for First and Business Class passenger of any airline in the middle of the immigration hall, which was great since the queue at KLIA was strangely as long as JB Sentral on a Saturday.

Two lounges are available for Malindo Business Class’ passengers, the KLIA Premier Access Lounge located in the public area of the Main Terminal Building and the Sama-Sama Express Lounge in the transit area of the Satellite Terminal.

Though my flight was departing from the Main Terminal Building, I opted to go for the Sama-Sama Express Lounge as they has showers, something which I needed since I haven’t had any since the bus ride from Singapore.

Gotta look and smell like a Business Class passenger yo.


The Aerotrain ready for departure.

Walking towards the Sama-Sama Express Lounge.

Checking-in at the Sama-Sama Express Lounge with my voucher.

About an hour before departure, I left the lounge and headed back to the Main Terminal Building with the Aerotrain.




When I got to Gate G6, I thought it was still closed despite the screen saying that the gate is opened. So I actually waited outside for a good 10 minutes before sensing that something is amiss.

Yep, you might have guessed, it, Gates G4 and G6 have a combined security clearance due to a lack of staff. I know, because the security guy was telling another passenger exactly that when she complained of the long queue.

9M-LNO ready to take me on my first Business Class ride of my life.

“Smarter way to travel.”

I agree.

Sitting at the front of the gate hold room with priority boarding with Business Class, something which I haven’t got since I’m neither pregnant nor elderly.


A clear walk to the plane with an almost empty aerobridge.



And it’s of course my first time being greeted by all the air stewardesses at once on board at the same time.


On first glance, Malindo’s Business Class product is definitely not of a budget airline standard, as perceived by many, and definitely not of European standard with simply the middle Economy seat blocked out and proclaiming it as “Business”.

And in case you have had a misconception before, though being under the Lion Group, Malindo Air is a full-service airline.

A Malaysia Airlines plane in retro livery pulling in to the Main Terminal Building.

A welcome drink choice of apple juice, orange juice or plain water was served just before pulling away from the gate.


Since the IFE had to be stowed during landing or takeoff, the safety video was played on the centralised TV. And this time, I paid good attention since I had no idea where my lifejacket was.


Bye KLIA.

The brand new Boeing 737 MAX 8 for Batik Air Malaysia.

Before the snack service, the stewardess came round to place a linen cloth on the tray table. A nice touch for a short hop.

The branding of Batik Air seem to have taken flight already. (Ha.)

Two choices of pizza was available on the flight, chicken and vegetarian. Just like an SAF cookhouse.

Drink choices was the same as the pre-departure drink, with the addition of Coke and Sprite. No alcoholic drinks were mentioned to be available, but I didn’t ask for it too.

I opted for chicken pizza with Coke, with my order taken before takeoff. The picture looks more blueish than usual thanks to the Boeing Sky Interior, but the mystery muffin was really greenish in colour. Not sure what it actually was but it was good. The chicken pizza, well, not too much to rave about.

The IFE system was not launched throughout the flight, nor were there any hot towels or addressing passengers by name as featured in plenty of flight reviews out there. A particular family sitting on the other row with no care for seat numbers or privacy of other passengers didn’t help with the experience.

Was it because of the low fare I paid? I’m not sure. Basically, the experience felt like a full service airline’s Economy Class service with a plushier seat.

Arriving at Terminal 3 right on time.


No priority lanes for First or Business Class over here at Changi (only for Singapore Airlines Suites), because there’s never a need to.

Perhaps when I can somehow afford a 5-digit ticket in future will I be able to make a comparison with other top airlines in the world, but for now, a good experience at an unbelievable price.

KLIA Ekspres: KL Sentral to KLIA by Train

I’ve got a ridiculously cheap Business Class ticket on Malindo Air for my Kuala Lumpur – Singapore flight, so to complete the Business Class experience with an in-town check-in at the Kuala Lumpur City Air Terminal (KL CAT) at KL Sentral, I decided to use the KLIA Ekspres to KLIA instead of getting the Airport Coach. Also, this would be the first time since the fare increase to RM55 since 1 January 2016 that I’m riding the KLIA Ekspres.


Instead of buying tickets over the counter for RM55, I got mine at the self-service kiosk for a 10% discount of RM49.50. But of course, with every overseas transaction, there’s a separate exchange rate and/or fee incurred, so let me give you the breakdown, using the Malaysian Ringgit as a base.

Fare from counter: RM55
Fare from kiosk: RM49.50
Fare which POSB charged me: $16.27
Fare if I took $16.27 in cash multiplied by the money changer exchange rate: $16.27 x 3.11 = RM50.60

Total savings: RM4.40 (8%)

Result: Still worth it, as compared to a RM55 cash transaction.

Buying tickets from the kiosk, however, gives you a receipt-like flimsy ticket with a QR code to scan at the gate instead of a contactless card from the counter.



To enter the in-town check-in area, scan your ticket at the gate.



Das right.

To exit the in-town check-in area, scan your ticket at the gate again.

My boarding pass for my Malindo Business Class flight back to Singapore.

A “lounge pass” which is described as a meal voucher instead, giving access to lounges such as the KLIA Premier Access Lounge, Sama-Sama Express Lounge or the all-time favourite Old Town White Coffee if lounges are too mainstream.


Heading for boarding at KL Sentral.

Scan the same ticket at the gates to the platform.


Not sure if ERL wishes to adopt “On time. Every time.” as their new slogan. We all know what happened to the initial company with the same tagline.


Waiting for the KLIA Ekspres to arrive at the air-conditioned platform.

Inside the KLIA Ekspres train.

The non-air-conditioned KLIA Transit platforms on the other side.

Departing KL Sentral.

Bye KTM Komuter.

Passing by Midvalley.


Passing by TBS, the usual place to get a bus back to Singapore.


Splitting from the KTM tracks after Serdang.


Putrajaya/Cyberjaya station.


My first look at the new KLIA Transit trainset manufactured by CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles Company Limited (CRRC Changchun). A total of 2 KLIA Ekspres and 4 KLIA Transit trainsets were ordered. These sets were delivered in 2016 and will be in service in March 2017.

*checks calendar*

Oh, it’s August 2017 already?




3 other sets of the new CRRC Changchun KLIA Transit trains are also seen stabling in the depot, which means all 4 sets are on the track already. Wonder when will they actually start operations.


Arriving at KLIA.

Looking at the former KLIA Transit platforms, now no longer in operation with the extension to klia2.




Arrived at KLIA, with the train continuing onwards to klia2. Though there are two parallel lines to klia2, the section is operated as two separate bi-directional single tracks, with KLIA Ekspres and KLIA Transit trains each operating on their own track.

Look out for the train service and direction at the KLIA island platform.

From here, it’s a long wait but a short lift ride up to the departures level on the fifth floor.

BusTravel Station is now launched!

BusTravel Station is your one-stop integrated information portal and blog about what you can experience on your next bus journey. As somewhere you will sit for the next couple of hours, you want to make sure that you get as comfortable as possible since you’ll be stuck in a moving metal box to where you actually want to be.

And so that you would know what to pick before you actually purchase your ticket, I volunteer as tribute.

Why BusTravel Station?

The statistics gathered for the past month indicates that without the KTM service information pages, most visitors arrive at RailTravel Station for bus information. So, to further diversify my travel options and not dilute my existing RailTravel Station branding, bus posts on RailTravel Station will be migrated to BusTravel Station in time to come.

For bus experience seekers, I’ll see you over at BusTravel Station!

AirAsia AK717: Kuala Lumpur (klia2) to Singapore (Changi Airport) by Plane

I flew back from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore this time because the fares were cheap enough and I didn’t feel like getting stuck in the evening causeway jam on the bus. Also, I get to write about the bus connections from klia2 which I’m hoping to expand the section in the near future too.

From gateway@klia2 where the bus stops, the actual terminal building will feel slightly separated on the departures level with the short outdoor area. After entering the terminal though, you will see this huge departure sign.

Long story short, if you’re on AirAsia, just turn left for baggage drop and counter check-in where all the rows are AirAsia’s.

If you’re just travelling with hand-carry luggage, you can use the self-check in kiosks to check-in or reprint your boarding pass.

Heading for immigration clearance. There’s usually a queue here, so be in early.

klia2’s layout is one of the strangest for security clearance. After immigration, you have to scan your bags, and after which, you head to your respective piers and before you enter, you have to scan your bags again. That means scanning your bags twice in a span of probably 5 minutes for the L pier.

Fortunately (or unfortunately) this time round, my gate was the very first after security clearance. But from the looks of it, there isn’t much seats to wait around in this very thin area.

A little further, and there’s a little bit of shops. The travelator is out of order though, but not much of a surprise there.


And so are all 3 of the free internet stations.

Since it’s going to be a pain waiting at the pier, I just opted to enter the gate hold room early.

The very thin gate hold room of the L pier.

Piers K and L are actually the same, except that K is used for domestic departures. This pier offers flexibility in case the aircraft is coming from a domestic route and departing to an international destination or vice-versa, and probably to cope with the crowds at different periods too.


My plane ready for departure.

Leaving klia2.

Passing by the AirAsia X Airbus A330 in the “A Truly Passionate Allstar” livery, dedicated to the late Anaz Ahmad Tajuddin, former COO of AirAsia X.



klia2 from the air.


The scenery along the way, including the Muar River.


The Tuas Second Link. Glad I’m up here instead.

The Tuas South extension.


All of Singapore in one picture.

Looking back at Tanjung Piai, the true southernmost point of continental Asia based on the main Europe-Asia land mass.

Sentosa as seen from above.

The Marina Bay area, which most passengers on board would probably be visiting within the next few hours.


Passing by Changi Airport.



Looking down at Batam Centre and Batu Ampar in Batam.

The reclamation of Tekong.

The sunset reflection on Sungai Sebina.

Sungai Belongkor on approach to Changi.

Finally entering Singapore after a very short visit to Indonesia and entering Malaysia again.


Most Singaporean males’ favourite island resort.



The future Terminal 5 land area.

The up and coming Terminal 4, with an A380 parked.


The last few days of the split Tigerair and Scoot.

Approaching Gate D42R.

Sharing a gate with the neighbouring Jetstar on D42L.


Back where 1-minute immigration queues for locals are always a standard.

AeroBus/SkyBus (AeroSky Ventures): KL Sentral to klia2 by Express Bus

The most frequent bus route to klia2 is from KL Sentral, with AeroBus and SkyBus buses serving the route. And with a flight to catch, not wanting to risk missing it and not pay RM55, I opted to go to the airport by this method.

You might be thinking that both the AeroBus and SkyBus serves klia2 as competitors. Well, it’s true during the LCCT era, but they’ve merged some time ago and now operate as AeroSky Ventures for the klia2 – KL Sentral route, with tickets purchased from AeroBus or SkyBus valid for use on either company’s buses. Note that this applies for the klia2 – KL Sentral route only and not other routes still operating under the distinct AeroBus or SkyBus names.

AeroSky Ventures tickets are sold at the SkyBus counter for buses heading from KL Sentral to klia2. Just buy a ticket for RM12 and hop on the bus with the door open in the queue. Whether it’s red or yellow, they’re the same. Buses depart approximately every 10 to 20 minutes.

The interior of the 44-seater bus.

Passing by the old Kuala Lumpur Railway Station before heading onto Jalan Damansara towards Sungai Besi.

Passing under the KLIA Express and KLIA Transit tracks on the way out of KL.

Hmm.

Passing over the Shah Alam Expressway and Sri Petaling LRT Station.

The Bukit Jalil National Stadium, looking ready for the 2017 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.

Approaching klia2.

Flying over the road from KLIA.


If you miss taking the train, you can pretend you are on one as the bus enters the gateway@klia2 Transportation Hub parallel to the ERL tracks. Except that this method is around 80% cheaper.

The interior of the bus with 2+2 Orient seats.

A little bit of the old AeroBus livery is still under the advertisement wrap, listing the route as LCCT – KL Sentral.

The journey from KL Sentral to klia2, without any major traffic jam, took around 60 minutes. But you should assume that it is a 90 minute journey just in case of any unexpected jams or you are leaving during peak hours.

Pass through the glass doors to get to gateway@klia2.

Upon ascending to the main level, you will see this flight information screen. It’s not necessary to stop here because gateway@klia2 is only a shoppping mall and NOT the actual terminal building to check-in.

Continue walking straight ahead, and maybe make a stop for Gong Cha.

Also, wave at the passengers coming off the KLIA Ekspres who might have been at KL Sentral also when the bus was there who didn’t know about this cheaper option.

Ascend 2 more levels up for departures.

Exit gateway@klia2 to a short non-air-conditioned area and head straight for the klia2 passenger terminal building. The walk takes around 5 minutes from the Transportation Hub. Over here can you finally start the check-in procedures for your flight.

Genting SkyWay: Highlands Station Maxims Hotel Resorts World Genting to Gohtong Jaya Genting SkyWay Complex by Cable Car

NOTE: This journey was made when the Awana SkyWay was closed for maintenance.

Only one (1) SkyWay will operate at any point of time with the Awana SkyWay being the main SkyWay and the Genting SkyWay being the “backup” SkyWay.

Buses go to EITHER the Awana Bus Terminal for the Awana SkyWay or Gohtong Jaya Genting SkyWay Complex for the Genting SkyWay at any one point of time, depending on which SkyWay is in operation. In the rare event that both SkyWays are out of service, the Go Genting Express Bus will head directly to First World Hotel at Resorts World Genting at no extra charge.

After spending the night at Genting, I headed back down to KL in the morning just after breakfast and guess what – no crowd existed.

There’s a huge sign directing people to the Awana SkyWay at the Genting SkyWay, probably just in case people are still thinking of the old Genting.

The short queue at the ticket counter and no queue for boarding the Genting SkyWay. Since I’ve already got a return ticket, I just headed straight for boarding.

The current price list for the Genting SkyWay:

  • One Way: RM8
  • Return: RM16
  • Genting Rewards Card: 5GP / RM8
  • Express Queue One Way: RM40
  • Chartered Gondola: RM300

Here, the staff takes off the other remaining portion of my ticket, leaving me with just the receipt.

Boarding the Genting SkyWay.

Bye Genting.

The Awana SkyWay to the left of the Genting SkyWay when heading down.


Heading down with a great view of the Titiwangsa Mountain Range.



Some interior shots of the gondola since I had it all to myself. The windows open generously enough to let cool air in for sufficient ventilation and a camera lens out for photos.

The exterior of a gondola.

The detachable grip.


Approaching the Gohtong Jaya Genting SkyWay Complex.





Arrived at the Gohtong Jaya Genting SkyWay Complex. The ride took around 20 minutes.

The totally empty queue area as compared with the crowd the day before.

Heading down to get the Go Genting Express Bus back to KL.

NOTE: This journey was made when the Awana SkyWay was closed for maintenance.

Only one (1) SkyWay will operate at any point of time with the Awana SkyWay being the main SkyWay and the Genting SkyWay being the “backup” SkyWay.

Buses go to EITHER the Awana Bus Terminal for the Awana SkyWay or Gohtong Jaya Genting SkyWay Complex for the Genting SkyWay at any one point of time, depending on which SkyWay is in operation. In the rare event that both SkyWays are out of service, the Go Genting Express Bus will head directly to First World Hotel at Resorts World Genting at no extra charge.

Genting SkyWay: Gohtong Jaya Genting SkyWay Complex to Highlands Station Maxims Hotel Resorts World Genting by Cable Car

NOTE: This journey was made when the Awana SkyWay was closed for maintenance.

Only one (1) SkyWay will operate at any point of time with the Awana SkyWay being the main SkyWay and the Genting SkyWay being the “backup” SkyWay.

Buses go to EITHER the Awana Bus Terminal for the Awana SkyWay or Gohtong Jaya Genting SkyWay Complex for the Genting SkyWay at any one point of time, depending on which SkyWay is in operation. In the rare event that both SkyWays are out of service, the Go Genting Express Bus will head directly to First World Hotel at Resorts World Genting at no extra charge.

The Genting SkyWay was the main means of transport to Resorts World Genting since its inception in 1997 with it enabling easy access to the resort from Gohtong Jaya Genting SkyWay Complex, since the original Awana SkyWay (now defunct) wasn’t that frequent and high capacity being of aerial tramway type with two alternating cars only.

Today, the Genting SkyWay seems to be the “backup” SkyWay, only operating when the Awana SkyWay is closed for maintenance. The Genting SkyWay operation dates are typically the same as the Awana SkyWay maintenance dates. Only one SkyWay operates at any point of time.

The entrance to the Genting SkyWay from the bus terminal of Gohtong Jaya Genting SkyWay Complex isn’t that grand though.


To get a ticket, you need to take the lift to the third floor, cross to the main block, and then go down the escalator to the first floor.

If in doubt, follow the signs.

The queues to get a ticket for the Genting SkyWay was pretty long during the weekend. I spent about half an hour queuing for the ticket.

Here’s probably the reason why: just two counters were open to serve the entire crowd.

Here’s the crowd.

Finally gotten my tickets. Fares are the same as the new Awana SkyWay. I wish they would adopt the same ticketing system as the Awana SkyWay and have self-service kiosks to minimise the queue though.

The current price list for the Genting SkyWay:

  • One Way: RM8
  • Return: RM16
  • Genting Rewards Card: 5GP / RM8
  • Express Queue One Way: RM40
  • Chartered Gondola: RM300

A sample of the cable car at the lobby for photo-taking.



To even ascend to the queuing area upstairs on the fourth floor, you need to join the queue to the queue at the third floor. A staff member maintains the crowd to the fourth floor just before the escalator up.

Luckily for me, I could use the express lane since I have a Genting Rewards Silver Card. Not that I actually gamble though, if you are a Singaporean and join the Genting Rewards Programme, you seem to get automatically get upgraded to Silver (or SkySilver if you are a Muslim) as your first level. I joined the membership mainly because there were member and non-member prices at restaurants in Genting.

*This is not an advertorial for the Genting Rewards Programme.

The crappy 2-hour queue behind me if I was a Classic or non-member.

The express queue barely took 2 minutes.

Getting onto the Genting SkyWay quite quickly luckily. The queue for the ticket was long enough for me. The staff will take a portion of the return ticket here, unlike the system at the Awana SkyWay where you scan the ticket and thereafter keep it as a souvenir.

Trying to get front-facing seats when boarding the cable car.

Got my seat with an open window in front of me.

Lifting off from Gohtong Jaya Genting SkyWay Complex.

The Genting SkyWay is a very straight cable car line with repeating rainforest views.


On a good day, you could probably see the resort straight upon departure from the Gohtong Jaya Genting SkyWay Complex.

A maintenance gondola a few gondolas ahead of mine. They should sell tickets on this as a thrill ride.

Approaching the “old” Genting.

Yup, this is Genting as I remember it probably about 15 to 20 years ago.

Doesn’t take much effort to make it look so.

Or maybe this might be better.


Approaching Highlands Station which is attached to the Maxims Hotel – formerly known as Highlands Hotel, hence the station name.


Arrived at Highlands Station after 20 minutes, a slower but further ride as compared to the Awana SkyWay.

Exiting the station.


The queue back down exists too, but it isn’t 2 hours long.

Since this is the “old” part of Genting, there’s a bit of walking to be done to get to the other parts of the resort, especially towards SkyAvenue and First World Hotel.


The Awana SkyWay was closed for maintenance between 3 and 14 July 2017. The SkyAvenue station was empty, save for a staff whose only job is probably to point people to the Genting SkyWay. No tickets were sold from the counter or self-service machines during this period.

NOTE: This journey was made when the Awana SkyWay was closed for maintenance.

Only one (1) SkyWay will operate at any point of time with the Awana SkyWay being the main SkyWay and the Genting SkyWay being the “backup” SkyWay.

Buses go to EITHER the Awana Bus Terminal for the Awana SkyWay or Gohtong Jaya Genting SkyWay Complex for the Genting SkyWay at any one point of time, depending on which SkyWay is in operation. In the rare event that both SkyWays are out of service, the Go Genting Express Bus will head directly to First World Hotel at Resorts World Genting at no extra charge.