Jan 13, 2017

Taiwan Travelogue: Long Gone Prestige of MAS (7 Nov 2015)

When I was a kid, MAS was a prestigious national aviation carrier. Over time, I learned that despite MAS's established presence in Malaysia, the company had struggled to meet its bottomline. Slowly it crept into the limbo of premium airline and low cost airline.

I believed it was all for good reasons. My last trip to Siem Reap with MAS was pleasant by all accounts. Competitive fares, free baggages, free flow of wines, juices and peanuts made it more desirable than AirAsia. In consideration of the long flight time to and fro Taiwan, I decided to go with MAS.

On 8 Feb 2015, I made a return flight booking for my mom and I to Taipei for about RM1,000/pax. Flight time 1.35am.
On 6 Oct 2015, to my dismay, MAS had cancelled initial 1.35am flight, and reallocated all passengers to 9.25am flight.
On 7 Nov 2015, my mom and I arrived at KLIA at 7.33am. Few hours went by before we were informed that we were denied of boarding, along with 30 more poor souls, as the 9.25am flight was overbooked. We could either choose for full refund or be placed on a transit flight to Taipei. Having booked all hotels, we took the transit flight.

View @ MAS Domestic Golden Lounge
As the transit flight to Kota Kinabalu would be 2.05pm, MAS gave us some coupons to dine outside the departure hall before admitting us to MAS Domestic Golden Lounge at 10.30am.

Being a first time in MAS Domestic Golden Lounge, it was an unexpected experience. Food and beverages were served at all hours so we could fill our tummies whenever we were hungry, though it was not great. Bored we were but at least we had comfortable seats to rest on.

Mom @ MAS Domestic Golden Lounge

Me @ MAS Domestic Golden Lounge
In the MAS Domestic Golden Lounge we hung around before we boarded our transit flight to Kota Kinabalu at 2.05pm.

Meal served on the way to Kota Kinabalu
Meal was provided onboard, though it was no better than what we had in the lounge.

View @ Kota Kinabalu Airport
By 5.30pm, we arrived at Kota Kinabalu airport, before boarding our flight to Taipei at 5.40pm.

Meal served on the way to Taipei
Finally, we were heading to our destination. It was a tiring long day to us. We were not hungry when the meal was served but we stuffed ourselves with the salty meal anyway.

Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport
9pm marked the time we arrived at Taipei. By then, buses to Jiufen was no longer available. Contemplating between staying a night in Taipei and taxi to Jiufen, we decided on the latter. We checked into the hostel we booked and took all the time we needed to recuperate from the physical and mental exhaustion.

No words can explain how distraught I felt. From an airline which I would incline to take for long haul flights, I now have second thought.

Long gone was the prestige of MAS.

Jan 1, 2017

Siem Reap Travelogue: Home Run (2 Feb 2015)

Alas, the final day in Siem Reap.

Despite the short 5-day vacation, we had the essence of Siem Reap all covered:

Angkor Wat - CHECKED
Ta Prohm - CHECKED
Cambodian BBQ - CHECKED
Cambodian-French fine dining - CHECKED

All sort of street food - CHECKED

Banana Nutella Pancake
Grilled Goodies

Fried Cruller
Banh Mi
Fried Noodles
Avocado Shake

Scorching heat aside, its long dated history, its majestic structures, its beautiful architecture had made Siem Reap a wonderful place to be for the first time visitor like myself. Our dining experience in Siem Reap had transcended beyond ambience and services - we were literally spoiled for choices for USD1 street food.

Before we left for airport on our Tuk Tuk, we stopped by The Blue Pumpkin for some icy cold ice cream. For USD2, we got one scoop of Khmer fruit flavour and another scoop of Rum & Raisin. Not only it was smooth and creamy, the two flavours we had was simply no other.

Ice Cream @ The Blue Pumpkin (USD 2)
Trust me, it was the best bet on a hot afternoon, especially you need something sweet to cure your heavy hearted soul for home run.

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