Malaysia Airlines – The Way I See It As A Passenger

Malaysian Airlines
Malaysian Airlines

 

I can’t remember when was the last time I fly on Malaysian Airlines (MAS) since my organization changed our travels to Airasia. It was in the mid 90s. Since then I had no opportunity to fly on MAS until recently.

Mot much changes on the outfit of MAS except with the addition of new plane to its fleet and changes on their body paints.

I saw this original MAS paintwork on one of their aircraft at Kuching airport with their original Wau Bulan Logo. It is a good idea to keep this original design as a nostalgic monuments in the history of Malaysia Airlines after their separation from Malaysia singapore Airlines in 1972

Original Desing on Malaysian Airlines Plane
Original Design on Malaysian Airlines Plane
among ther earlier MAS fleet of aircraft, with the original design
Among the earlier MAS fleet of aircraft, with the original design – Photo from Going Places April 1997

During my last flight to and fro Kota Kinabalu from KLIA I was ware the changes in crew attires and also the interior finishing of their new fleet pf boeing 737-800. I fly Malindoair to Kuching two weeks before and both on the same type of aircraft. MAS had changed from their batik motif seats to the leather look with tone of maroon (on the plan I was on) Not sure if all their 737-800 fleets has the same colouring.

Meals on board not much changes only that the present caterer is Brahim’s istead of MAS Catering. Well, is MAS Catering still in business? with Brahim’s, the Briyani Chicken was superb and the smell caught the nostrils immediately when the crew starts preparing to serve when the seatbelt sign was switched off. I did not take any pictures of the meal sets since there not much difference from the last.

Touch Screen facilities for your In Flight entertainment
Touch Screen facilities for your In Flight entertainment

When I was on Malindoair flight earlier I thought they had outsmart MAS but my thoughts was wrong. In fact maybe all Boeing 737-800 comes with inflight entertainment facilities.  So if your mobile gadget is running out of battery juice, just remember to bring along your USB cable to charge and of course its included in your airfare.

With the entertainment screen in front of every passenger, there is no more opportunity for SOME male passengers especially to voyeur on the cabin crew demonstrating the safety procedures. (LOL)

There’s a selection of entertainment to suit all passenger if not 100%. Movies, Music, Cartoon all in the package. There is also the Quran on screen if you want to read the Quran while in flight. Musics include most genres including Nasyid and after finishing The Heat acted by Sandra Bullock, I entertain myself with Nasyid number from Maher Zain. flying on MAS will now not be a boring one unless you want to doze off all the way.

FYI, I still keep this copy of Going Places, a special Wings of gold Commemorative Issue for 50th anniversary of Malaysia Airlines. I know it will be an antic publication many-many years to come and I will keep it for monetary purpose. I have two copies of the issue, but trying to locate where’s the other one.

 

Kuching Revisited – India Street

Indian and Chinese towns can be found almost in every major towns and cities. This showed how determined people from these two descendants are willing to travel to search for greener pastures away from their comfort zones.

Kuching is not spared since there is a street dedicated to this community. Its the India Street in the heart of Kuching.

India Street in Kuching
India Street in Kuching

As the name implies, you can buy goods from Indian and Indian businessman along the road that has been turned into pedestrian mall.

India Street in Kuching
India Street in Kuching

India Street, Kuching

India Street, kuchingIndia Street, KuchingFor map of the location GO HERE

 

My First Experience On Malindoair

Malindoair is the new kid on the block budget airline in Malaysia. It took to the sky in mid March 2013 with its tagline “Not just Low cost“. Malindoair is a venture of two parent companies- the National Aerospace and Defence Industries (NADI) of Malaysia and Lion Air from Indonesia.

During my recent flight from Kuala Lumpur to Kuching, I can see that the new service can really attract passengers from other airline in the country. During the first month of operations, Malindoair had served 50,000 passengers and doubled in the second months. The article that appeared in Convergence’s Aug-Sept Issue 2013 mentioned that it has already served close to 170,000 passenger. Malindoair operates from KLIA and also Subang Skypark.

Malindoair is a cross between a full service airline and low cost one, creating a new class of airline. It has Economy class and also Business Class. The comfort of the economy class is in its 32 inches spaces between seats and gives ample leg room, in-house movies and even snacks that can compete with other budget airlines. They has a fleet of 7 planes – 2 ATR 42/72 turbo props planes and 5 Boeing 737s

Check in was at counter F 14 – F16 on Level 5 that is the Departure Level.

 

Whats inside? Bring along your headphone and listen to music or the sounds of the in house movie you are watching during flight. If your phone or mobile gadget is running out of battery get your USB charging cable and plug in to the port below the screen in front of you.

View from seat 33F on Malindoair
View from seat 33F on Malindoair
Malindoair LCD Screen for In House Entertainment
Malindoair LCD Screen for In House Entertainment

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Wet Trip To Kuching

I was in Kuching from 22 – 24 October and stayed at Grand Continental Kuching. Its my first stay at the hotel after so many trip to this cat city. Reason: its a boit out of the city’s attraction. Even though not far, but its quite a walk to the Waterfront the place to be when one feels bored in Kuching, especially her visitors. So, I prefer the hotels nearby the Waterfront so that I can laze around even past midnight at the stalls along the river. Market Street is also far from this hotel and that makes it not my preferred place to stay. 
However this time my stay was sponsored and I have no chice but to stay at the Grand Con. My three day stay this time is a bit bored. It was raining nealry the whole day. The evening I arrived it rained heavily and continue into a drizzle till late at night. So my plan to walk to the Waterfront has to be shelved. 
Grand Con provide Broadband Access and Wifi. But the service is not free. Charge for an hour is RM 10.00 and RM 35 for 24 hours. Do you think it is woorth to spend that much for a short access to the World  Wide Web. In fact most Grand Continental Hotels do provide internet service but at a cost. I just wonder why they still charge guest for the access when most other hotels provide them forFree. Internet access nowadays should be part of the free facilities for hotels just like complimentary coffee and tea in the room. Another setback for the hotel is there is no mineral or drinking water provided. Usually hotels provide complimentary mineral or drinking water in rooms of at least two 500 ml bottles. Forme Grandcon is not my preferred hotel whenever I travel if I were to pay for the accomodation. 
As I said  it was a wet visit to Kuching and that restricts me from going anywhere since I do not have any transport. Only when a member of the organiser came to take us to the Dayang Salhah’s Kek Lapis at Kampung Gersik, did I have the opportunity to buy some kek lapis to take home. It is cheaper to buy the cake from Dayang Salhah’s own outlet than to buy from sellers elsewhere. I bought three bar of cake at RM 10.00 beach. If I were to buy them from sellers somewhere else it would cost between RM 15 – RM 18. To get to the outlet is easy. One can take a sampan ride (Pak Tambang) from the Waterfront near the Khatulistiwa Restaurant opposite The Hilton. The fare for the sampan is RM 1.00. Upon reaching the other side of the river, walk along the road towards the right for about 100 metres away. The outlet is tucked betwen kampong house on the left and walk in through the small lane. 

Them we went for supper at Satok for Kolok Mee and roasted chicken wing. Kolok mee is a specialty dish synonym to Sarawak. 
Kolok Mee is a type of noodle dish commonly found in Sarawak. It is served throughout the day – for breakfast, lunch or even supper. It is made of egg noodle, blanched in water that looks like instant noodle and served in a light sauce with some condiments like shredded beef.The difference with Kolok Mee and the Wantan Mee,  that is popular in Peninsular, is that Kolok Mee is not drenched in dark soy sauce and water is not added to the noodles when served. But the taste is still pretty amazing.

Another must buy not to be missed by visitors to Sarawak is the Ikan Terubok. The place to look for this salted terubuk is at Satok market. I bought three salted terubuk and three unsalted. The fish can be packed nicely to be taken home. A well packed terubuk masin can be kept in the boxes for about two weeks.

Harbour View – Kuching

Harbour view hotel is one of the most convenient place to stay when you are in Kuching if you are looking for a cheaper alternative place to sleep. Located at Temple street it is near to the waterfront and market street where one can buy local Sarawak handicraft. I was told that the hotel is a favourite for visitors from West Malaysia and one must pre book because it usually full house.
There is also Free WiFi for guest and you can ask for the password from the reception. However during my stay I can’t get logged on to the network and the problem is with my laptop not the service I think. However since I subscribe to Celcom Broadband, I have nothing to regret about not being able to get connected to their network. The only thing is that Celcom’s signal is not very stable and speed is slow.

Rooms are with breakfast and I can tell that food is excellent and on a rating of 5 I can give 4.5. However there is not much choice for breakfast but with a hotel like it, what more can we expect.

Taxi’s is always available and if you want cheaper meals for your lunch or dinner, there’s a Malay restaurant just at the back of the hotel. Its Molly’s Place and serve excellent Malay food with a reasonable price. Five to ten minutes (depend on your walking speed) away is the waterfront, D place to hang at night. There’s food stall but price is quite expensive. Just sit and enjoy a glass of teh tarik. Read more here.

The single standard room with one single bed

The view from my room. Sarawak River and the istana in the background. The dome shaped building in the background is the Kuching North Local Council

If you are a night owl, nightlife is just five minutes away from the hotel. Cafes and Bistro can be found along the road opposite The Hilton. Walk out of the hotel and go left. Walk up the hill and the next junction is the place. If you are the kinky type, you might find transvestites as company (LOL) over there.

The Holiday Inn, Kuching

This is the second time I stay at The Holiday Inn in Kuching. It is situated at Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman and is in the centre of the happening in Kuching. Behind the hotel is the Sarawak River. There’s the Sarawak Plaza adjoining the hotel that also house a shopping complex. Accross the road is Tun Jugah Complex, also another modern shopping complex. The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf can be found at The Sarawak Plaza and McDonnalds accross the road is open 24 hours. Another 24 hours restaurant, Khatilustiwa is also nearby. But above all I think The Kuching Waterfront along the Sarawak River the main plus point for staying at The Holiday Inn.

Across the Sarawak River behind the hotel is an extreme different from the city life, the traditional Sarawak Malay village. One can take a sampan ride popularly known as Pak Tambang about 5 minutes away. The fare is just 40 cents one way. A restaurant My Village Bistro is also found at the village, Kg. Boyan.

The nearest bank is just minutes away and walking distance is The Standard Chartered, Al Rajhi Bank, CIMB, Maybank and Affin Bank. A shopping compleks, The Riverside with the main tenant, Parkson is just about 5 minutes away. If one loves playing bowling, just drop in at the shopping complex.

I find that The Holiday Inn is near to anywhere in Kuching.

The Hotel also provide prayer mat for Muslims and even shuttle facilities to mosque for Friday prayer.

The shower. Clean and pleasant to be in. They even remind that if you forget your toothbrush, shaving cream or razor, just dial the number provided. Well, if you need condom, you can even order from your room. Af course its not free. LOL.

There is internet access in the room using LAN network. Just plug in the cable provided into your laptop and agree with the terms. However charge is quite high @ RM 20.00 per hour. It is better to go to the Coffee Beans just in front of the hotel and with a cup of cuppicino or your favourite drink that cost not more than RM 10.00 one can have unlimited access.


My meals for Sahur

My second night sahur is Nasi Lemak, fruits and kurma juice. This meal is also accompanied with the popular southern peninsula Malaysia food, otak-otak. Otak-otak is made of fish grousse grilled in banana leaf or nipah palm leaves.

First and third night sahur is Fried Rice with satay sticks and fish crackers, fruits and kurma juice. Its tasty but just a bit cold.