And the Journey Began With a Cold

It was a downpour nightmare last October 25. The Manila typhoon that was on its way out severely punished my big-ass umbrella and got me soaking wet. I thought a good bath would ease everything but I found myself seeking for lozenges and a cold medicine the next day…the day before my first ambitious trip. I do blame my big (yet frail) umbrella for not protecting me enough from the shower which may have altered my body’s condition. I’ve prepared a year for the trip but there I was, sneezing, coughing, and blowing my nose like a sick little girl. It was indeed no mercy for my nostrils.

On the day of my departure, with a runny nose and a bag of tissue paper, I left Manila at 7am and headed to Clark Airport for my flight. It was too darn early for a 3pm flight but I was told that the immigration team MAY give “late” passengers a hard time (I don’t want to say “piss late passengers off”). I was once stopped by an immigration officer 15 minutes before my actual departure time. Since I had my passport renewed, I decided to leave my old ones at home. This made the Immigration Officer suspicious of my motive for a 3-day stay in Singapore (I know I know…). The fact that I didn’t bring a single bag with me was not questioned at all. He was more concerned of the possibility that I might go TNT. He told me, “Porket my return ticket ka hindi ibig sabihin na babalik ka” (Your return ticket doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be back).

5 minutes later,  I was still at the immigration line and pissed as hell. After (finally) checking my travel history, the Immigration Officer let me in. I ran for my life to reach my plane and I barely made it. After that experience and the other horror stories I heard when departing from Clark, I decided to leave early to avoid all the shit. And I was right. When it was my time on the immigration line, I went through easily. Though a few questions were asked such as:

What are you gonna do in Malaysia for a month?
Where do you work?
And what is that? (follow up question to the work answer)

Because I had my old passports and my return ticket, it went well. Not having either can put you on the suspect list of “tourists trying to find work abroad”.

clark airport

Diosdado Macapagal International Airport


There’s no bullshit line when you enter Kuala Lumpur. When you get to the foreign passport area, you get a stamp and you’re free to go (unless you probably have an illegal record). It was also a breeze going to my hostel. From the LCCT terminal, there’s a shuttle bus that
takes passengers all the way to KLIA Transit. This fast train for 12.50 RMB will take you to KL Sentral Station, the gateway to most areas in Kuala Lumpur, in less than 30 minutes.

klia transit malaysia

The Comfortable KLIA Transit

From KL Sentral, I took the monorail to Maharajalela station where I got off and walked to my preferred hostel, The Travel Hub near Chinatown.

The Travel Hub is very clean and well managed. It has a “take your shoes off at the entrance” policy but it was all good. The staff was very accommodating and every guest was taken care of even if you opt to stay in a dormitory. After unloading my baggage, I decided to go around Chinatown.

To experience Kuala Lumpur for the first time through Chinatown felt like eating a big dish with lots of flavors and colors. It also felt like being in a carnival of cultures. There were Malays, Chinese, Indians and even Filipinos. It had too many things in there: Shrimps, satay, noodles, t-shirts, bags, perfumes, replicas of the Petronas, beer, everything you can think of!  …and it smelled great…and I can say that, even with a runny nose.

roti malaysia

Roti with Banana: my first meal for the night


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