I think I might start a new style of post on here called ‘travel snippets’. I’m always really intrigued how people get from A to B. The actual TRAVEL side of travelling. The bits that a lot of people are put off by, or find stressful and difficult to organise.
I’m sure we’ll have those moments – I’ve certainly had them in the past. Throwback to the 29 hour bus journey from hell from Vietnam to Laos…
Anyway, we consider our first real travel day as the day we left Singapore and headed to Malaysia. The flight from London to Singapore barely counts as we just slept on a plane for 13 hours, so this was really our first taste of figuring out how to get from one place to another… including a border crossing.
Where do you even start?
Our first step (and something I do everywhere I go) was to simply ask at the front desk of our hotel. “Hello, I’d like to go to Kuala Lumpur in 2 days’ time. How do I get there?”
Two minutes later, I have a paper map with instructions on how to get to the nearest bus station. So, we set out and twenty minutes later we were filling out our information, choosing our seats, and handing over $60 for our tickets – about £18 each.
Two days later we rocked up at the bus station 30 minutes before our bus was due to arrive (as instructed, although I am always early), having popped into 7/11 on the way for some water and snacks for the journey. The essentials, obviously.
We were pleasantly surprised by the bus, expecting something very basic. But no, this is Singapore! Everything is clean and comfortable and looks brand new. We had comfy reclining seats and more space than we had on our flight over.
The bus journey was also only around 6 hours, including the time it took to stop off at Singapore immigration and then go through Malaysian immigration. After one hour we reached Singapore immigration. Singapore has high-tech passport scanners and there was no queue so it literally took 5 minutes. The only downside to visiting Singapore is that it’s all digital, so we didn’t get a stamp in our shiny new passports. Hey ho.
We walked through the terminal and our bus picked us up the other side and drove another 20 minutes to Malaysian immigration, where we only queued for about 10 minutes to get stamped into the country.
Another new country ticked off!
After all this had been sorted, we set off on the remaining 4 hour journey to Kuala Lumpur, the excitement well and truly bubbling within us by this point. Here, the adventure really begins!
With a quick stop off for toilets and a bite to eat (we thought we wouldn’t get a proper lunch stop so this was highly appreciated) the rest of the journey was spent listening to music and gazing out of the bus windows at the gorgeous scenery we passed.
Malaysia is such a beautiful, green country and these first glimpses were a wonderful insight of what was to come. We passed mountains, lush forests, and ramshackle little towns en route to Kuala Lumpur. When we could eventually see tall buildings rising in the distance, we were excited to arrive and start the next phase of our adventure.
We were dropped off at one of the main bus terminals right in the centre of Kuala Lumpur, and this is where we experienced a bit of temporary stress.
We knew we needed to get to our hotel via taxi, but first we needed to get some WiFi or signal to show a taxi driver where we needed to go, and then we needed to also pay them in cash. So our first mission was to find an ATM.
We thought the mall right next to where we were dropped off would have one so went inside to have a look. I don’t think the security guards were keen on us lingering around trying to connect to some public WiFi with our huge rucksacks on but we got there eventually and nearly broke our backs trudging around looking for a cash machine.
As soon as we were in the taxi, we breathed a sigh of relief. We haggled fairly easily (I low-key love haggling in Asia, it’s fun) so the taxi only cost us around £8 if I remember correctly. We definitely could have got this cheaper but coming to terms with a new currency and exchange rate and what is considered good value for money is always a challenge upon first entering a new country or city. Our taxi driver was very friendly (if slightly erratic in his driving ability) and we soon collapsed in our bed on the 35th floor of our gorgeous hotel. More on this later…