Day #227: After a nice couple of days in Singapore, the Bepkos were ready for travel day #56. Can’t believe with all those travel days under our belts, today would be a first for the trip! We were traveling to our next destination by bus.
Initially, we had wanted to take the trains up and down Southeast Asia, with the exception of border crossings between Thailand and Cambodia, and Cambodia to Vietnam. But when it came down to actually booking the tickets, I realized it was going to take three trains (and two train swaps) in order to get from point A (Singapore) to point B (Kuala Lumpur). So we decided to try one of the “VIP” buses. These are direct buses from point to point, with cushy seats in a 1×1 arrangement, onboard meal service and personal TV/games. All for about 45 US$ per person. Much cheaper that a flight.
Since the trip is about new experiences, we thought we’d give the bus a go.
First, we needed to down size our travel gear. We were able to leave our two large rolling suitcases at the hotel in Singapore – and we will pick them up later. Since we would be taking trains, buses and ferries we decided to pare down to four smaller rolling bags.
A short Uber ride from the hotel to the bus station… then a 30 minute chill for the bus to arrive.
We chose the Transtar Solitaire bus because the vehicle looked awesome on the internet. But in reality, it was kinda looking like it could belong on one of those “Nailed It” Instagram memes.
The chairs had plenty of room and the electrical outlets worked… but the bus looked nothing like the internet photos and none of the television sets worked. (Not that Jeni and I minded… but S was particulary heartbroken)
Because we were crossing an international border, we had to disembark from the bus right before the Johor-Singapore causeway – this was the bridge linking Singapore and Malaysia.
Once we cleared immigration, we got back on the bus and drove a few miles across the bridge…
… and then got back off the bus to clear Malaysia Immigrations and Customs. We had to take all our bags off the bus and move them through the Customs x-ray machines before loading them back onto the bus. This was pretty quick since there weren’t any other buses there at the time, and it was a new and interesting experience for the Bepkos!
Our next stop was a short bathroom break – so we pulled off the highway into a rest stop. In addition to the bathrooms, this area was full of food and drink stalls where we could top off our water and snacks.
About 30 minutes after the bathroom stop, we pulled over again. This time, two “flight” attendants got on and distributed water, hot drinks and the box lunch.
The food was actually better than almost all of the airline food we’ve had. It was nasi lemak which is rice (usually cooked in coconut milk although I think they skipped that part on this rice) and small packets of peanuts and tiny dried anchovies to sprinkle on the rice. Spicy sambah, pickled cucumbers and some fried fish accompanied the rice. It was quite good.
It was kind of hard eating the snack while the bus bumped along the roads.
Finally… after about 6 hours on the bus, we pulled into a little bus parking spot in the KL business dictrict. A quick 15-minute Uber trip and we were checking into the Le Meridien hotel… our home for the next 4 nights.
KL is a great place to splurge on a hotel given the excellent exchange rate. I had tried (too late) to book us some rooms at the St. Regis, but they were all out – so we had to slum it at the Le Meridien. #sarcasm
This place was pretty nice. A great surprise was that the hotel was connected to the main subway and transportation hub of KL. We didn’t even need to go outside in order to get to most of the transport options. I had no idea of this when I booked.
Since we were tired from the long bus trip, we pretty much got to our rooms and relaxed a bit. Jeni and I went to the gym and the kiddos went straight to the pool.
We stayed in the hotel and had dinner in the Club. One of the perks of the SPG Platinum status are upgraded rooms. Although there were no suites available, the Club level rooms are nice and come with free food and drinks. A couple of gin and tonics go far after a long travel day.
Tomorrow we head out to explore Kuala Lumpur. Hoping the weather works out. Our weather app pretty much shows lightning storms every day we are here… just like it did during our Singapore stay.
Bus Trip Singapore to Kuala Lumpur: 183 miles (6-hours travel time)
TOTAL MILES TO DATE – 47,182 miles