Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Malaysia - Singapore Trip in 3 Days

What was supposed to be a solo soul searching trip turned out to be a fun filled adventure with friends. You might be wondering why we would squeeze in 2 countries in just three days. One, our ticket was MNL-KL-MNL which doesn't make sense I know. Two, I wasn't really planning on going to SG, if my solo trip panned out, I was just planning to take city-scapes in KL. But then my friends decided to tag along and they haven't been to SG yet so Three they wanted to make the most out of our trip hence going to SG as well.

If you just want a quick overview, here it is:

Air Fare
We bought our round trip tickets for PHP3860 each via Cebu Pacific 5 months before our target date.

Money Exchange
We exchanged our money beforehand at Tivoli Money Changer. You can find one at Trinoma.
Rates as of November 17, 2015:
1RM  = 11.26PHP
1SGD = 33.91PHP

Itinerary and Budget
This does not include airfare and pasalubong.
For details, check this out.

1. Kuala Lumpur -  SS City Hotel via located at Bukit Bintang.
2. Singapore - Footprints Hostel via located at Perak Road, Little India.

As it turned out, our trip happened to be within the APEC week, where most of the flights got cancelled (luckily? not ours), where there was heavy traffic and most roads leading to the airport were closed, where the "laglag bala" issue was at its peak, where the Paris attack just took place and bomb threats were everywhere. But against all these odds we went ahead with our trip anyway.. Why? keep reading..

We arrived 5 hours before our flight, anticipating the heavy traffic and with our bags fully covered to prevent any hassle.

It was my sister's first time to go out of the country. Lucky she got a window seat which showed a really great view of the city lights.

Advanced Booking
I bought most of our tickets online before the trip, like the following:
1. Bus ticket from Kuala Lumpur (The Royale Bintang, Bukit Bintang) to Johor Bahru (Legoland) via Causewaylink Consumer Portal for RM57 each.
2. Legoland ticket via Legoland Malaysia Website for RM132 each. Discounts apply when you buy your tickets early (a month before).
3. Universal Studio ticket via Resorts World Sentosa Website for SGD64 each. They usually have discounts for Mastercard holders.
4. Bus ticket from Singapore (Golden Mile Complex) to Kuala Lumpur (Berjaya Times, Bukit Bintang) via for SGD26.50 each.

I also booked our hotels before hand:
1. Kuala Lumpur -  SS City Hotel via located at Bukit Bintang near Berjaya Times. Walking distance from Imbi KL Monorail. We rented 3 rooms, each room has a double deck bed and a bathroom. The space is really small with hardly enough room for your baggage. But for around PHP210 per person for 3 nights who's complaining? XD Also, you can see the KL Tower from the fire exit. There's an RM50 deposit per room which you'll get back when you check out.

2. Singapore - Footprints Hostel via located at Perak Road, Little India. Walking distance (though a bit far) from Little India Station. Around PHP4250 per night with breakfast (consists of cereals, toasted bread and coffee) good for 6 persons. The room has 3 double deck beds and a bathroom. There's an SGD20 deposit per room which you'll get back when you check out.

Both are budget hotels with small rooms and luckily an ensuite. They are clean, affordable, and within walking distance from train stations. I guess what I'm saying is don't expect much. They're just a place to sleep and freshen up since we don't really have much time to rest. I booked with Agoda because Citibank card holders have a discount and they offer free cancellation and pay later option.

That being said, imagine if our flight actually got cancelled? hahaha Thank God it wasn't... Moving on, the flight took around 4 hours with delays and stuff. 

Sim Card
The first thing we did was buy a sim card, so we can communicate in case someone got lost. It costs RM21 with 400MB data good for 5 days.

KLIA2 to Kuala Lumpur
The trains were already closed when we arrived, we just missed the 2:30AM bus and the next trip will be at 5:00AM which we can't afford to wait. KL to Bukit Bintang trip takes around an hour, we still need to check-in our hotel and find our way to our Bus to Legoland at 7:00AM. So our only choice was to get a taxi. Counters are located at L1 of KLIA2.

 Malaysia Taxi
There are 3 kinds of taxi in Malaysia which I found really confusing:
1. Budget (red) - fixed fare. Buy taxi coupon at counter.
2. Metered (1Malaysia) - meter + toll charge. Buy RM2 coupon at counter.
3. Premier (blue) - family van for big groups. fixed fare. Buy taxi coupon at counter.

For all three, you need to buy a coupon first. For 1 (Budget) and 3 (Premier), you also have to pay the fixed price at the counter which they will give you when you tell them your destination. The difference is that 1 (Budget) and 2 (Metered) can only accommodate up to 4 persons (we were 5 T_T) so again we had no choice but to go with 3 (Premier) which was more expensive.
From KLIA2 to our hotel in Bukit Bintang, the fare was RM300 for the entire van.

Taxi can be found outside Exit (Keluar) 4

SS City Hotel, Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur
We checked-in at SS City Hotel at around 4AM, freshened up and packed our overnight bags for SG and left the rest of our things here.


Room, when you open the door you'll see a bunk bed and the small bath room. Hardly enough space for 2 people to move around.

Bukit Bintang to Legoland (Johor Bahru)
After that, we found our way to Royale Bintang which is walking distance (but a bit far) from our hotel, where the bus to Legoland stops.

 Travel time from Bukit Bintang to Johor Bahru (Legoland) is around 4 hours with 1 stop.
At the stop, the bus driver required everyone to go down and stretch or eat or go to the bathroom for 30minutes. This is our only "sleep window" for the day,

  Good thing the seats were big and comfy.

Legoland Malaysia
Yay! Legoland Malaysia! 

First order of business was to eat a decent meal. 
Our first meal, I forgot what it's called but it's chicken in turmeric something. It's a set meal for RM23, with drinks and dessert.

Legoland has a theme park and a water park with different entrance fee. You can choose to buy a ticket for only one or both. We opt to just go to the theme park this time. I'm not really into extreme rides (any roller coaster type of ride is a no no with very few exceptions that being "the mummy" and "transformers" both of which cannot be found here in Legoland) but I like going to parks anyway to look around and take pictures. 

There were just a few rides anyway and most of them are for kids. I only tried 2 rides, one is a 4D show and the other ride which takes you to a high view point and gives you a 360 degree view of the entire Legoland theme park. Other than that we just visited the Star Wars area and Miniland which in my opinion is a must go when you're in Legoland.

A life sized figure of Darth Vader (C3PO and R2D2 in the background) all built from Lego, will welcome you.

There's a mini film showing when you go inside then afterwards you can see different scenes (some have animations) from the different episodes of star wars made out of lego. Just before you go outside, there's a store of different star wars memorabilia mostly made of lego. A small keychain costs RM21 which if you convert to peso costs around PHP250 (so don't convert XD). And that's about the cheapest thing they sell.

Miniland was amazing, it will take you to different parts of the world and here are some of them.
Taj Mahal, India

Singapore Flyer


Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Wat Arun replica at Legoland

Actual Wat Arun, Thailand
This is to show how precise the replica is. 

As if they weren't beautiful enough, imagine all those things were made out of lego. I can't even begin to fathom how much time it took to assemble them and how much it costs knowing that a small keychain costs RM21.

The sun was shining brightly and the skies were clear with beautiful clouds as you can see in the picture then suddenly it rained..hard.. So I suggest you bring your own umbrella or a raincoat because it will be too expensive to buy inside the park. We were lucky we're just about to go home when the rain decided to pour.

Legoland to JB Sentral
We took the LM1 causeway link bus from Legoland to JB Sentral which costs RM4.50

 The bus stop was just in front of Legoland

JB Sentral

Malaysia Immigration located at JB Sentral

JB Sentral to Singapore
After Legoland, we crossed the border from JB Sentral, there were buses going to Woodlands (SGD2.50) where Singapore Immigration is located. You should either have an exact fare (because they don't give change) or an EZlink top up card for the bus. EZlink cards are pretty much like our beep cards only much much better because you can also use it on their trains and taxi. You can also use it in stores and is easily re-loadable. It costs SGD12 with SGD7 already loaded which you can buy and re-load at MRT stations.

Top - EZLink Card for Singapore
Bottom - TouchNGo Card for Malaysia

Singapore Immigration was pretty tight, the immigration officer asked to see our documents, asked a lot of questions, where we will stay and for how long, what we'll do in SG, how we'll get back to SG and stuff so it was a good thing I printed all our hotel bookings and bus tickets. He even asked how much pocket money we have. But thankfully he let us all pass after a while.

Footprints Hostel, Perak Road, Little India
From Woodlands, we took a bus to Little India (SGD 2.50) and checked in to our hotel. 
Footprints Hostel, Little India

This is the entire room with 3 bunk beds and an ensuite

much more space than our room in KL

Makansutra Gluttons Bay
Afterwards, we met with a friend who treated us to a full meal at Makansutra Gluttons Bay. How I missed these must try dishes in SG!
Fried Baby Squid

Oyster Omelette

Char Kway Teow

Steamed Hainanese Chicken

Marina Bay Sands
Marina Bay Sands

Merlion Park
The first time I went here, the Merlion was under construction and all covered up.
Now (second time) again it's under construction and no water sprouts from it's mouth. Well at least it's not covered.

Universal Studios
The next day we went to Universal Studios

Princess Fiona's castle


with Marilyn Monroe


MUST TRY: The Mummy and Transformers! You really shouldn't miss those two rides. Luckily the lines were short when we came here so we didn't need the express pass which costs SGD 30-50.

Going around Singapore was easy. Most tourist attractions are easily reachable via trains. 

Singapore to Kuala Lumpur
After Universal Studios, we went to Golden Mile Complex to catch our bus trip back to KL. The bus was comfy and waited for us until we were done with immigration which went on smoothly this time. What I didn't like was that when we arrived at the first stop, my sister and I went to the bathroom and when we went back, the driver refused to let us in until the 30minutes time was over. We went back to our hotel in KL and went to Batu Caves the next day. 

Teh Tarik - Milk Tea - must try in Malaysia 

Batu Caves
There's a station which will bring you directly to Batu Caves easy as pie. Malaysia also has a commuter card but not as centralized as the EZlink card. We didn't buy the card but we got along just fine using cash/coins.

There were monkeys playing around, snatching things like this baby bottle he grabbed from a kid.

Inside the cave, it was majestic. It was really beautiful and the feeling was serene.

Kasturi Walk and Central Market
We bought pasalubong at Central Market which consist of Beryl's Tiramisu Chocolates, Teh Tarik (milk tea) and some tshirts. We also bought a pack of coffee from Old Town Coffee.

Petronas Tower
Our last stop was at Petronas Tower. We were kind of in a hurry so we won't miss our flight. Too bad I don't have a wide angle lens yet but this is good enough for me.

From KL Sentral, we took the KLIA Express to go to the airport. It costs RM35 and only stops at KLIA and KLIA2. Train frequency is every 15minutes. We mistakenly got off KLIA instead of KLIA2 and I lost my ticket so I had to pay another RM35 when we arrived.

It was a very haggard but super sulit trip. Thanks to all our sponsors for the food and offers for a place to stay. I hope next time we'll be able to stay longer :)

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