Back in Hanoi in October I spent some time one day researching how I’d get from Singapore, where I planned on spending Christmas, to Sydney where I would spend the New Year. The straightforward thing to do was to fly directly to Sydney however this proved to be very expensive at around US$450 for a one way flight. So I did some digging and eventually found a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne for about US$195 followed by a flight from Melbourne to Sydney for US$102. Combined with the cost of transport from Singapore to KL I was going to save about US$100. The downside was that I was going to have to get from Singapore to KL by early evening, then take a redeye flight from KL to Melbourne, then spend about 4-6 hours in the airport before finally catching a flight to Sydney; total time in transit would be about 36 hours. Compared to an overnight flight direct to Sydney from Singapore it was a no-brainer…I would save the money and spend 36 hours to get to Sydney.
It all started with a bus ride and short walk to the unofficial bus depot. All the buses to KL departed from here and there were passengers everywhere. I would’ve rather taken the train (even cheaper than the bus when a return ticket is purchased in Malaysia) but it was fully booked. Passengers on my bus were told to check-in by 07:30 but there was quite a bit of anxious confusion since the check-in window for Starmart (I know, it sounds like a supermarket but it’s actually a bus company) was closed until 08:00. Finally someone showed up and opened the check-in window. The bus was scheduled to depart at 08:30 but the actual time of departure was 08:50 and unfortunately we got caught in the massive traffic buildup at the border. The border crossing took over an hour because of the sheer volume of cars and buses. Once we crossed into Malaysia the going was pretty smooth.
We got caught in some more traffic as we entered KL but we eventually made it to the drop-off point in the middle of the city. I went back to the hostel I stayed at to store my bag and make use of the free wifi, got a meal, then got to KL Sentral station a bit too late to catch one of the many US$2.5 shuttle buses to the airport. Since I was in a rush I had to pony up and pay about US$33 to get a taxi to the airport. Very very upset about my timing error and about having to take the bus instead of the train to KL. Oh and I was in such a rush I forget to collect my change at the taxi stand. The only redemption was that the taxi driver did an excellent job and get me to the airport in time.
The flight was delayed for quite a while but we took off with no problems. Since I was flying on Air Asia, not even the water is free so I didn’t eat or drink for the entire flight. However since it wasn’t full I was able to stretch my legs and take up the seats around me. I landed in Melbourne at around 10:00 extremely tired, hungry, and thirsty. After passing through immigration I went to straight to Virgin Blue to check in for my flight to Sydney, scheduled for departure at around 17:00. I passed the time eating and watching movies on my netbook. After many hours of sitting on the floor next to a power outlet it was finally time to check in. Upon arrival in Sydney I collected my bags and then walked about 2km from the domestic terminal to the Mascot train station to save AU$10. The ride to the city from Mascot costs about AU$5 compared to AU$15 from within the airport. In the end, I didn’t save as much money as my initial calculations predicted but I still saved a bit!