I have been living in the Philippines since 2005 and it was only until 2010 when I managed to get out of the country again. This time I was heading to Malaysia and it was my first time flying with one of Asia’s leading budget carriers, Cebu Pacific. My day started earlier as we had to be at the Cebu Mactan International Airport at around 3AM as we had to connect in Manila (Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3) to catch our flight to Kuala Lumpur.
My excitement levels were over charged as I haven’t been abroad in five years. Moreover, it was my first visit to a fellow Asian country and a member of the ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) – Malaysia. Back then in 2010, Malyasia was heavily advertised on TV especially on CNN, thus, we, my mom and I, were brainwashed by their fancy ads. Remember those “Malaysia Truly Asia” advertisements?
After a brief hour flight from Cebu, we arrived at NAIA Terminal 3. It was my first time to use the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 (NAIA 3) in Manila, the terminal which is dedicated to Cebu Pacific, Airphil Express and All Nippon Airways (ANA) flights. I was impressed instantly by the moden architecture especially the giant v pillars connecting to the roof. Plus, it was a newly opened airport so everything looked cleaned and tidy.
The restaurants, cafes and shops at the International wing of the NAIA Terminal 3 were adaquete and plentiful. I had a hot chocolate at a Ice-Cream cornershop. We had a couple of hours to spare as our flight was scheduled to depart at 10AM. It was my first time to see the Japanese airline, ANA (All Nippon Airways) too. They were using a Boeing 767 for their flight to Tokyo-Narita.
Boarding was swift and in no time we already up in the air flying over the Philippine Sea. We ordered a few sandwiches from the menu as no food was served on board. It’s a budget airline, what do you expect? The sandwiches were delicious though quite expensive.
After a 4 hour flight, Malaysia was in sight. My first impression of the terrain was somewhat similar to the tropical terrain found in Mindanao. There were tens of thousands of rubber trees leading up the runway of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).
Cebu Pacific’s Airbus A320 taxied to the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) at Kuala Lumpur’s International Airport (KLIA), a newly constructed terminal for budget airlines. The LCCT was designed for the low cost business model of budget airlines. Don’t expect to find aerobridges or rail connectivity. However, don’t think of the terminal as substandard. In fact, it’s one of the most modern terminals I have visited.
Collecting our baggage was a breeze and within a few minutes we stepped out of the terminal which looked like a shopping center with several restaurants, fashion brands and shops lined up. One wouldn’t think they’re at the airport.
We had to catch the KLIA Express Train to Kuala Lumpur. We were advised by the staff at the information desk to take a short bus ride to a closeby train station. The train station was futuristic in design – wave forms. We waited for ten minutes and a express train appeared. The entire journey to KL Sentral (Main Train Station) in Kuala Lumpur takes about 40 minutes.
It was a comfortable ride and I was still digesting the scenary around me. I looked like a small town guy. There were so many unfamiliar things to me including the airport express train.
Stay tuned for my escapade and adventures in Kuala Lumpur.