I am back to blogging again! My recent trip to Penang was the most memorable trip ever and I shall share my experience here with everyone. Well, lots of hiccups came along our way during the trip from the start of Day 1. You must be wondering what happen. I shall let my story begins.
The flight booked to Penang was at 11:25 AM. Hence, we reached the airport 2 hours before departing to do a check in of our baggage. While the counter staff was performing a check in, my sister and I were praying that our passport were permitted to travel to Penang. Why? Because we realized that our passport will expire in March 2015 one night before flying. In other words, our passport will expire in less than 6 months. With less than 6 months expiry, we were not allowed to proceed with our travel. We were told that Penang is very strict about the passport expiry date. Even if they allow us to go through, Penang might reject us from entering. He proposed two solutions: 1) Head to ICA for a passport extension 2) Travel by Land through Kuala Lumpur then Penang (I don’t understand why Land accepts passport less than 6 months expiry but not Air. It’s still entering their country). Risk shall be minimized in such situation. We decided to go for a Passport extension and told our parents to proceed on with check in. My parents were really worried about us but I thought that’s the best choice to be made.
Ran out of the Airport, got on a cab and headed down to ICA building at Lavender. Upon reaching, we ran up to level 2 service counter and told the staff that we needed a new passport urgently. She asked for our passport and our IC. Thank goodness, I brought my IC along with me. BUTTT…….. My sister did not bring hers along. From 50% hope, it reduced to 30% hope. And the best part was, there’s no way go back home and take because we didn’t have a single pair of house key. The lady was kind enough to let her proceed. After that section, it’s really up to our luck. Took our queue number and proceeded up to level 3 counter 23 & 24. While waiting for our number to be called, we thought of all ways to get her IC. And the conclusion was there’s no way but to PRAY! When my turn arrived, I told the officer that I needed a new passport immediately because my passport will expire in less than 6 months. Her reply was, “Sorry, new passport requires at least 3 working days.” My heart sank immediately but thank goodness, her sentence continued “I can only give you a temporary passport”. Whatever passport man, so long as I could get it on the day itself. Got my application processed and it was my sister’s turn next. The officer asked for her IC but she didn’t have it with her. She explained to the officer and finally her application was allowed to be processed under exceptional cases. One less worry down! It cost us 75 SGD to get a temporary passport. This temporary passport will be valid for 9 months. It’s a one time usage which means that you can only travel once to the destination stated with the temporary passport. It will no longer be valid upon using it.
We were so thankful that our applications got processed but there’s something more to worry. Payment can only be done in cash or nets and so happen that we only have 120 SGD cash and credit card with us. We needed 150 SGD for payment and we were lacked of 30 SGD. Tried to ask around to see if there’s any kind soul that could lend us 30 SGD and we would perform a bank transfer to them. Apparently, one said they didn’t have any cash with them and the other said 30 SGD is too much. Okay… Alternatively, we went to the UOB bank to check if we could withdraw money using Credit Card. The lady told me the interest rate is 23%. Our jaws almost dropped on the floor. That’s like literally robbing in daylight. Last solution, I troubled my good friend to travel all the way from Promenade to Lavender during her lunch time. I am really blessed to have a friend like her! Rushed back to the counter for payment so that our application can get processed. We were told that the temporary passport would take about 4 hours. No other choice but to wait. Finally, no more worries about Passport.
While waiting for the passport to be ready, we went to Bugis for lunch at Miam Miam. While waiting for our food, we checked for the next flight to Penang. AirAsia website stated that there’s vacancy to the timing. Feeling desperate, called their hotline and asked but their staffs were not helpful at all. The only thing they said was to check from their website. Freaking pissed off. To avoid the risk, we decided to make a booking with Jetstar which flew at 07:45 PM. That cost us about 378 SGD for 2 one way tickets. Boyfriend was the one who did the booking for me. My girlfriend and boyfriend were the two that made our trip possible. Special thanks to them!
At 04:00 PM, our passport was ready for collection. Immediately after collection, we slowly head to the airport by train. There’s no rush because the flight was at 07:45PM. Bid Singapore goodbye at 07:45 PM.
At 09:00PM, we arrived at Penang International Airport safely. On our way out to arrival hall, we bought 2 sim cards from HOTLINK with unlimited data plan for 7 days and 8 minutes of international calls. Each sim card cost RM20. I would say it’s really cheap.
We took a taxi from the airport to Flamingo by the beach hotel. There’s a taxi booking counter at the airport located near gate 1. After collecting your baggage, walk towards your right upon exit of the arrival hall. You will not miss the taxi counter (KOPLIMO). Simply tell the staff where you are heading to and they will issue you a taxi coupon on the spot. Of course, you would need to pay on the spot. We paid about RM54.70 for a trip to Flamingo by the beach. It’s around 25 minutes with smooth traffic.
Alight from the Taxi and saw my parents waiting at the lobby for our arrival. They must be real worried. Thankful that we were still able to proceed with our trip. Went up to our room to put down our stuff before heading to Hard Rock Cafe for dinner. That was about 10 PM. Starving to death.
Hard Rock Cafe is located at Jalan Batu Feringghi which is approximately 15 minutes from Flamingo by the beach. We took a cab there and that cost us RM 40 (To and Fro). I guess it’s not really expensive. Anyway, Hard Rock Cafe is a nice chilling place. There’s no reservation required because the place was pretty empty. At that hour, they no longer sell main course but only finger food. It’s cheap as compared to singapore and their food were pretty good. We left the place after eating because my mum don’t really fancy such noisy cafe.
Time for a good rest after a long and tiring day. 🙂