Solo trip to Hongkong
The desire to visit a foreign nation had been a dream of mine for many years. My plan was to visit a country with free visa or ‘visa on arrival’. Finally, I decided to visit Hongkong. I searched details for the same online and realized that an entry permit was necessary to fly in to Hongkong. Earlier this was free entry. So, I took a permit from the government website.
The permit had an expiry date of 6 months from the date of issue. We have to either save or take a print out of the permit. Otherwise you will not able to get it after the website is closed.
So, during my leave, I came back home from Dubai. By then 5 months had already lapsed. I went for a trip with my family to Munnar and Alappuzha before I even started thinking of the Hongkong trip. I was by not sure whether I wanted to go or not. There was only one week left for the permit to get expired. Finally, I decided to go and booked my flight ticket. I got my Hongkong dollars at the nearby exchange and packed my bags for the trip I had panned months ago.
Eventually the day to begin my trip arrived. I had booked my ticket on Air Asia. Only 7kg baggage was allowed in the plane. For extra baggage we have to pay 3000INR for 20kg. Since I didn’t have much to take with me, I packed a few dress and some necessary items in my travel bag. I was sure it was more than 7lg in weight.
I said god bye to my family and got into a bus plying to Kannur from Kanjangadu. I reached the Kannur railway station at 2PM and had my lunch. My train arrived at 2.30PM. I got down from the train at Angamali and hired an auto to Kochi airport. The auto driver suggested that he could stop at a hotel outside the airport since the cost of food at the airport would be too high. I decided to follow his advice since I knew I would be able to eat only the next day after reaching Malaysia. Air Asia doesn’t provide complimentary food in their flights. I had my dinner and was soon arrived at the airport.
I reached the Check-in counter. My ticket was in my mobile. I hadn’t taken a print out. There have been instances where the airport authorities unnecessarily insist for paper tickets. Fortunately, there haven a big change in that attitude. The man behind the counter checked my ticket and asked me whether I had my visa. I corrected him that it’s a permit not a visa and gave him the same. He checked all documents and gave me the boarding pass.
Luckily, they didn’t weigh my hand baggage. Otherwise I would have had to pay some extra money.
Since my flight was Air Asia, they gave me two boarding passes. One was from Kochi to Kuala Lampur and the next one from Kuala Lampur to Hongkong. Rach flight would take four hours each to reach the airports. There was another 4-hour waiting at the Malaysian airport. Since the transit time is only 4 hours, there is no need for a transit visa.
After immigration, I reached the waiting area. On the way I bought a bottle of water which they gave me after putting it in a special cover on which it was written “Do not open until you reach your final destination”. I was wondering why would any one buy water if not for drinking at the airport. I was ready to take the risk of drinking if required.
My flight was at 11.30PM and was expected to reach Kuala Lampur airport at 6.15am Malaysian time. When I heard the flight boarding announcement, I walked towards the aircraft. This was my first experience of travelling to a country other than Dubai where I work. Soon I fell fast asleep.
I woke up hearing an announcement that we have reached the Kuala Lampur airport. I left the aircraft with other fellow passengers and followed the sign boards in the airport. Since mine was a transit case, I didn’t have to go to the immigration. I saw a board with a sign for transit passengers and entered the area. After the baggage checking for transit travelers I walked for a while before I reached the waiting area. The Kuala Lampur airport is very large.
I looked at the flight chart and confirmed the time of my next flight. Since there were hours to spend here before the arrival of my connection flight, I decided to have my breakfast at the food court. I ate my food at the McDonald’s and drank a nice cup of tea. Since I didn’t have Malaysian currency with me, I paid with my credit card. Thankfully the price was affordable although the food court was inside the airport.
Then I checked the gate number for my flight and walked towards it. Again, checking and this time they were removing all liquid items from the hand baggage. My bottle of water which I had not yet opened was also taken away from me. I was not ready to give up. I showed them the seal from the duty-free shop and finally they allowed me to carry it. Since there are many gates, one has to walk a long distance before reaching your specific gate.
Soon I was at the waiting area. I had to wait another one hour before my flight at 8.40am. Since wi-fi is free at the airport I started browsing the net. I would suggest that while taking transit flights, try to use the lowest layover so that you don’t get bored waiting at the airport.
Soon I heard my flight boarding announcement. The view from my seat down below after the plane took off, was magnificent. So was the view just before we landed at the Hongkong airport. One can see the world’s largest sea bridge that connects China with Hongkong. Our flight landed at the Hongkong airport at 12.40 noon. I was surprised to note that not a single passenger got up from their seats before the flight completely stopped moving. Tat brought back my thoughts on ow we malayalees behave in the flight during the landing process. People removing seat belts and trying to take the head over baggage is a common sight while travelling to and from Dubai.
I shall continue to give a detailed description of my journey in the next part. I have tried to mention even minute details believing it would be helpful for those who want to know these things.
NB: – I booked my ticket only two days before I began my trip. So, it cost me a lot. Had I booked it one month earlier, I could have saved almost 10-15 thousand rupees.