May of 2015 I was again trusted to represent our company in one of the major events in the aviation industry. It was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
MY ARRIVAL IN MALAYSIA
Being a Filipino, we get visa on arrival in Malaysia. Being a business trip I had to make arrangement for travel and accommodation at least a month before the conference. The event organizer recommended Sheraton Imperial Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, however the arrange rate was higher compared to the rate that staff from our company gets at the Marriot (Renaissance) Hotel, other than the room rate we also get discounts on F & B and other services. Other than that, Marriott is within walking distance to Sheraton (event venue). It is also close to the train station, a mall and a lot of street food vendors.
After making the hotel booking, I have to figure out how to get there from the airport, Google maps to the rescue.
So I decided to take an adventure and ride the train instead of taking a taxi. I booked my train ticket online at http://www.kliaekspres.com/. The process was very easy. I was also advised to book in advance the Petronas Tower experience since the line for the ticket on site will be time-consuming. I tried but the online booking at that time was not working due to maintenance.
I left Dubai one day earlier of the event so that I will be fresh, well rested and ready for the conference. I was hoping for an A380 plane because it would have been amazing to travel in business class on that aircraft, however due to the season, the flight was downgraded to B777. It wasn’t bad at all because the seat and service quality is the same as it would have been in A380, I just wanted to have bragging rights that I have been on the upper deck of the A380 as a passenger. 😛
So I reached KLIA. At first, I had difficulty finding the train station but it’s a good thing that people there speak English. The train ride was an adventure for me because I wasn’t really sure where I was going. The view was amazing. Hectares and hectares of coconut plantation between the KLIA and the city center. Once I reached the last stop, I had to go and find the monorail. It turns out that I have to go inside a mall to reach the Monorail.
It was familiar view. I felt like I was in Manila, so many people who look and dress similar to what Filipinos do. I didn’t feel like a tourist, in fact, tourists even thought I was a local and some locals thought I was a local. The funny thing is even Filipinos thought I am a local (they didn’t know that I also thought they were locals!) When they asked me how to buy a token for the monorail, I realized that they are “kabayans” because I overheard them talking.
While purchasing a token, I had a major fail wondering why all machines that I tried were not working, until a local told me that the machine does not accept the bills that I have been trying to use to pay for the token. I had to get a change. I tried several shops and the same as some shops in the Philippines, they cannot open the till until there is purchase. I bought water at a price that I wouldn’t normally spend on a bottled water!
I got to the train, found the hotel. The reception went well and I was guided to the lift that would take me to my room. This was my room:
I opened the window curtain and boom there it was, the PETRONAS tower.
I didn’t know that the PETRONAS Tower is just a few blocks away from where I was staying. First things first, I have to let the love ones know that I arrived safely and to take selfie with the PETRONAS on the background. I had to show “S” and “B” via skype but I am hungry and wanted to stroll outside to find my way to the conference venue. Don’t want to be lost on the day of the event.
Once again Google maps to the rescue. I found the event venue (Sheraton Hotel) which happens to be opposite a mall. I was almost dinner time so I went to the mall to see what is there to eat. It was a normal size mall (outside UAE/Dubai normal). There were plenty of options but I played safe and ate at KFC. Took a few more round of the mall then I headed back to the hotel.
On the day of the event I woke up early, I wanted to see PETRONAS up close, also served as my exercise for the day.
Then on to the venue, KL has its shares of traffic problem during rush hour, the good thing is cops are there to manage the traffic.
It was refreshing to see a fellow kabayan at such a high-profile event. The conference started … technical data this, technical data that, airplane this and that. I will not bore you with the details. The venue was nice and suitable for the event.
The food served was good with a variety of choices. At the end of the day, there was a socializing event where we get to network with like-minded people over a drink or two (or three!!). Being in the aviation industry, it was nice to meet people from different parts of the globe sharing common interest and best practices. For me that was the most important part of the event. No, not the drinks, it’s the socializing and networking. (I swear!)
After the second day of the event our hosts took us to an exotic restaurant in the jungle (according to our driver) I later found out that it was called Tamarind Springs. It was about 45 minutes’ drive away from the hotel. Our bus arrived first, so we got a chance to take pictures and selfies before the area got crowded. More socializing, more drinks, dinner, dancing and then an awards ceremony.
Some of the participants didn’t return for the last day session, some went home and some went roaming around (read: shopping). There were also some who stayed longer.
I didn’t stay any longer than I have to. I still have to get presents, though. I did so on the mall that connects to the Monorail. I got “S” a Pandora charm, sadly, they didn’t have anything specific to Malaysia. I got her the closest thing that I could get. Got some more souvenirs for the loved ones and sweets for the office.
Back in Dubai instead of going home, I went directly to the Millennium Airport Hotel where “S” had plan for us to celebrate my birthday, that is “A” nother story.
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