Day 1: Malaysia Airlines CBR-KUL

Flying as a part of any trip is pretty easy; turn up at the airport, wander through security, be tested for explosives, sit about, get herded onto a plane, sit about, get herded off a plane and emerge from the casino like environs of the airport in a new locale.

If only it really worked out like that.

Leg 1: CBR-MEL

For me every international flight involves taking a short hop on one of the two domestic airlines (Virgin Australia or Qantas), deplaning, scurrying from a domestic terminal to international and going through the same motions again.

For the flight to Kuala Lumpur Malaysia Airlines had me riding with their Oneworld Alliance partner Qantas.

As I’d been able to select the departure timing from Canberra I had very consciously made sure I selected flights to Melbourne on Qantas that utilised their jet service, these tend to fly on schedule irrespective of the Canberra weather and also make the journey a little quicker than the Dash-8 or ATR72s do.

Unfortunately over the months between me buying the ticket and the flights happening my seats were bumped to the bug-smasher.

This left me sitting in Canberra Airport for quite some time – eating up precious minutes I had to transfer to International in Melbourne.  At least I was already checked-in for the flight to KUL so they’d at least try to find me.

As it turns out I was “this close” to missing the flight to KUL!

If you’ve ever had one of those “tight” connections you’ll know the fear that floods through your body as you hear your name being butchered via the airport PA.  In my case I had made it through security of the International terminal and had just entered the twilight zone of Duty Free.  While I may have been walking briskly at that point I broke into a run to the farthest reaches of the terminal to present myself to the staff at the Gate.  10 minutes to boarding, and if I had’t run, I probably wouldn’t have made it!

Leg 2: MEL-KUL

With the crazy rush over and my heart slowing to a more sedate pace I quickly snapped a picture of the Boeing 777-200 that was to be my ride to Kuala Lumpur.  Grabbed a bottle of water and waited 10 minutes to board.

My seat, 12A, was comfortable enough without being generous in the allotment of space.  Without a doubt it’s an economy class seat but it doesn’t feel like being crushed into cattle class like some can.

Once flying the weather was largely clear with only a few minutes of bumps and thumps of turbulence.

The inflight service was efficient and friendly – a generous meal was served along with enough beverages to meet my needs.  Some may feel that the beverage service is not generous enough but I did see other passengers requesting and receiving additional drinks over the flights duration.

On the Ground

The end of every journey is the wait for baggage, the queues for Customs/Immigration and finally emerging into the destination.  Here I tend to find Kuala Lumpur International Airport to be pretty good.  There’s plenty of space so you don’t feel crowded in, and even the longer walks through the terminal are appreciated after the flight.

As one of the worlds best airports it does a good job of being efficient and welcoming, without many of the annoyances that can be found elsewhere.


Malaysia 2015: The Plans are complete!

After scoring the deal of the century on flights and the Formula1 dates being announced I’d waited for Sepang Circuit to put them on-sale and taken the time to plan some Side Trips.

This left me with one last accommodation puzzle to complete.  Where to stay in Kuala Lumpur for the 4 nights over the F1, and how to ensure the total expenditure fell in under AUD1500.

About the planning Process

Trip Advisor Badges
Trip Advisor Badges

As a reasonably active member of the TripAdvisor community I have started taking a few steps to post things actually related to Bargain Travel in the Bargain Travel forum.  So to open with I created a thread that largely talked about the planning for this years F1 trip and some of the methods I’ve used.

It’s spread over a few posts in a single thread

Back to my accommodation choice

I switched back to using because there was simply no difference in price using any other site, and this way with the exception of the Tune Hotel at Danga Bay I’ve got all my bookings in one place.   So we shall see how the oddly named 12fly works out.

Malaysia 2015: Formula1 Tickets Onsale Now

After scoring the deal of the century on flights and the Formula1 dates being announced I’ve been waiting for Sepang Circuit to put them on-sale.


 So how are those Formula1 plans?

When Sepang Circuit slipped the tickets on-sale last Monday I quickly secured some Topaz (Upper level, back straight) Grandstand tickets at an exceptionally good value 50% discount.  For me this was an essential part of the trip plan as my travel insurance includes event cancellation and changes in its cover.  Now if the Formula1 race is cancelled, postponed or moved I have some insurance to deal with it.

This has also meant that I’ve started feeling more comfortable about locking in the side-trips to LegoLand (yes I know I’ve been before) and for something different a couple of nights in Penang.

LegoLand Side Trip

LegoLand is located down in Southern Peninsular Malaysia and a short distance from Singapore.  So after a few days in Kuala Lumpur I’ll board my flight to Johor Bahru and spend 4-nights checking things out in a bit more detail.  Flights were cheap, I initially tried searching using a few different engines like Zuji, Bravofly, Expedia and the trusty Skyscanner only to realise that sometimes making an effort to check directly with airlines pays off.  Onto the Malaysia Airlines website I went!

So for 120RM I had return flights from KUL to JHB, including checked and carry on luggage.  Even the normally competitive AirAsia couldn’t match that!

Welcome to LegoLand
Welcome to LegoLand

I’ve yet to book the accommodation for this side-trip.  Naturally I’ll be resorting to my favoured standby of but this time will also add LastMinute, Expedia and a few others into the mix.  Heck it may be time to forget my aversion to bad spelling at check out!

Penang Side Trip

The planning for my trip to Penang was a little different.  With only a couple of nights “spare” in the itinerary and a desire to go somewhere different I hit up the usual suspects (ZujiBravoflyExpediaSkyscanner)  and once again settled on going direct with a twist.

Yes readers, I booked a flight on a smart phone via an airlines app!  It was with Malaysia Airline again, and amazingly for the same 120RM Return that I was already paying to fly KUL to JHB.  The MHMobile App worked very well right down to scanning my Credit Card!

MHMobile App
Flights to Penang via MHMobile App

A small “glitch” was having to populate all of my details into the App, I would have thought these would be imported from the profile I have with Malaysia Airlines Enrich Frequent Flyer Program.  Still it’s not too hard to set put details in and make bookings.

To push the boat out in experience even further I used the App to book corresponding accommodation in Penang!

All done while enjoying a coffee with a work colleague!

Where or rather what next?

The world of travel has come a long way in just a few short years and as I’ve now locked in some 6 nights outside of Kuala Lumpur it’s time to hit TripAdvisor and start to get some more ideas on what to do with the remaining 4 nights in KL.





Malaysia 2015: Commitment Made!

After having a great time in Malaysia for the Formula1 in 2014 I was immediately keen to consider doing the same in 2015.  It’s no secret I like the country and find it pretty easy to get about.

So when cheap flights started appearing on Skyscanner I was starting to get a twitchy desire to book early and hope to the heck that the Formula1 calendar would stick to the “normal” late March date for the Malaysia F1 race and Sepang International Circuit.

In 2014 I spent about AUD720 on flights from my home-base in Australia to Kuala Lumpur using a combination of AirAsiaX and Virgin Australia.  The price crept up thanks to the me adding the Plaza Premium Lounge at the LCCT Terminal on departure from KL.  I also had to add in the shuttle between Sydney International and Domestic terminals.   I also up-specced my AirAsiaX ticket into the “Quiet Zone”.

So when flights started coming available via SkyScanners network of suppliers for around AUD630 including luggage, meals and all connections in Australia lets just say “Woohoo”.

Flying Malaysia Airline System (MAS)?

You bet, after air disasters there’s traditionally a massive cut in the cost of ticket prices as the airline affected struggles to attract customers back.  We’ve flown with Malaysia Airline before in 2012 on one of the their older Boeing 747s and survived.  I’m confident in 2015 the Boeing 777-200 will be an equally safe option.

Aren’t you taking a risk with the F1 dates?

Life without risk isn’t living.  Well not quite but when just about every Formula1 race held in Malaysia has been on either of the last two weekends in March, two weeks after the Australian F1 race it’s hard to not see a pattern.  I’ll be there for both those weekends but am confident the race will be on the 29th of March 2015.

Some reassurance comes when many of the ticket and event tour companies agree with my “guess”.

So there we have it, now to wait for the F1 calendar to be confirmed (probably December), then snap up some tickets for the Race via Sepang Circuit while they’re fresh (and discounted).

Last step organise the accommodation and a side trip or two.  I’d love to spend more time down in Johor and as my only trip towards northern Malaysia was to Bota Kanan Terrapin Center I would like to go up to Ipoh and spend a few days exploring.

We shall see how things go!