Friday, May 20, 2011

Summer Vacation 2011 - Part 1 (Manila - Jakarta - Singapore)

My children and I have just come back from our lovely summer vacation this year. We spent 1.5 months traveling from Manila, Philippines, to Jakarta, Indonesia, then we spent a night in Singapore before continuing our journey to Ipoh, Malaysia. It was a great vacation because no one fell sick and no trip to doctor or hospital like last year. Praise the Lord for our tip top condition during the holiday.

Unlike last year, we didn't actually plan to visit Jakarta this year. We wanted to fly directly to Malaysia and spent our vacation there. We planned to visit Singapore while we were in Malaysia. But then I had to renew my Indonesia driving license and my Indonesia IC for they had expired this year. So, we diverted the plan to include Jakarta in our vacation. Since we had to include our stay in Jakarta for 12 days, we had to carefully budget ourselves. Unfortunately, the ticket price for Cebu Pacific direct flight to go to Jakarta from Manila was already very expensive. So, we had to look for another way to go to Jakarta. We were lucky because at that time Cebu Pacific had a promotion for Manila - Singapore vv ticket. So, we quickly opted this option. From Singapore, there were so many flights to Jakarta. We chose the cheapest one by Air Asia Indonesia. We were lucky also to be able to get the cheap ticket. We didn't really think about the long transit time from the time we landed from Manila to the time we departed to Jakarta. We didn't plan to go out of Changi Airport to save our money. We planned to stay at Changi Airport transit hotel.

So when we landed in Singapore (at Budget Terminal Changi Airport) at around an hour passed midnight, we just hang around at Changi Airport moving from Budget Terminal to Terminal 2 basement by taking a free transfer bus. We found out that we could not stay at Terminal 1 transit hotel because we had to check-in first to be able to access this hotel. We then walked and took the skytrain to go back and forth from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2. We didn't visit Terminal 3 because Air Asia Indonesia would depart from Terminal 1 at 10 o'clock in the morning. 

It was at 3 o'clock in the morning when my children found the children playground at the departure area in Terminal 2. The kids suddenly got so hyper and run around in the playground, screaming and disturbing other passengers who were trying to catch some sleep. I was already like a zombie. I was extremely tired and sleepy but I still took turn with my husband to watch the kids. 

At around 5am, the kids started to get tired and sleepy. We all walked to the Terminal 1 wanted to check in. But unfortunately, for Air Asia flight, we can only check-in 2 hours before the departure time. So, we had to wait for another 3 more hours before we were allowed to check-in. We all tried to catch some sleep by sleeping on the chairs at the departure area Terminal 1.

Finally, at 8am, we checked-in and we quickly went up to the passenger area. We found an empty spot with many couches. All of us were able to nap there until the boarding time. 

On our first day in Jakarta, all we could do just to catch our lost sleep. We tried our best to rest our body as much as possible. It was highly important for me to keep the children in tip top condition. I definitely didn't want last year bad experience to happen again (read here). 
Renewing my driving license and IC was my top priority. So on the 2nd day in Jakarta, I did just that. My dad accompanied me to go everywhere by motorbike. It was a good day for me because I could complete everything on that day. Jakarta is a lot better now in processing these things. Everything is computerized now and quite transparent. I'm very proud of the positive changes.

The rest of the days in Jakarta we spent with my beloved mom and dad, our family and friends, my nice  neighbors who cooked special dishes for me. All I did everyday was just eat and eat and eat all kinds of food that I always miss when I'm not in Indonesia. As the result, my body ballooned so fast and I gained 5kg in 12 days! 

From Jakarta, we booked Air Asia Indonesia again to fly to Singapore because this time I wanted to enter Malaysia from Ipoh, Perak. My parents joined me and the kids to continue our journey to replace my husband who had to fly back to Manila. I didn't choose Kuala Lumpur as our entry point this time because now there is Firefly plane (subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines) that serves the route from Singapore to Ipoh directly. Since Firefly only has 2 flights a day from Singapore to Ipoh, I had to book a room in Singapore so that we could catch the first flight to Ipoh the next day. I booked a deluxe room at Costa Sands Resort Downtown East. I chose this place because I wanted to take my parents to walk down the memory lane. 

Everything went smoothly when we landed in Singapore. We checked-in to the resorts and got shocked with the changes my parents and I saw there. This was our 2nd time staying in this resorts. The last time we stayed in this place was 11 years ago on my wedding day... :-)
I was super excited to walk down the memory lane with my parents. I explained to my kids everything about my life before I met their father. They got so excited as well. They love Singapore. Too bad we only stayed in this country for a night. We couldn't do much of sight seeing. For my parents, they slept most of the time. Oh well, I couldn't force them. They are aging and not as strong as 11 years ago.

The next day we had to check out at 5am. I booked a van taxi to fit all our luggages. The van took us to budget terminal Changi Airport because Firefly will depart from there.

Since this story is already very long. I have to end it here. 
Please continue reading my very exciting vacation in Ipoh, Malaysia, on the part 2 of this story.

1 comment:

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