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From Ho Chi Minh City to Johor Bahru

This post is a continuity of my previous post, Ho Chi Minh City Business Trip.

The business trip to Ho Chi Minh City was a last minute thing and I was only informed about the meeting a couple of days before the trip. I was supposed to be in Johor Bahru for the weekend so I have to make arrangements to fly from Ho Chi Minh City to Johor Bahru via Kuala Lumpur. Luckily MAS is having Merdeka sale so I managed to grab-a-deal of RM69 for KUL-JHB flight.

After a long and tiring 1st day in Vietnam, I woke up early to have my ‘sahur’ or early breakfast before the start of fasting. The DIY instant meal. A few slices of bread, 2 cans of Tuna, chocolates, a few packs of Milo and a bottle of water. It’s all cold and I was too tired so I ended up eating only half of what’s available.

After the sun rises, I went for a short walk alone around the hotel. Hoping to see something interesting, I ended up nowhere and concluded that the hotel is located in the middle of nothing interesting.

Feeling disappointed, I parked myself at a nearby bench in the middle of a roundabout. I just sat there for an hour looking at Vietnamese doing their daily routine.

It was then time to leave to catch the day flight back to Malaysia.

I love Tan Son Nhat International Airport. Customs and Immigrations were fast as there are dedicated ASEAN counters. Duty free shops are quite ok but what I like the most is the wide and clear windows than enable aviation enthusiasts like me to enjoy viewing planes movement.

Some traffic from Tan Son Nhat International Airport.

Our flight arrived from KLIA for a 1-hour turnaround.

A Boeing 737-400. The backbone of MAS short-haul network.

I always pre-booked for seats on the last 2 rows of the plane that has the higher chance of not having another passenger next to me. I was lucky as I got the whole three seats to myself on a flight that is 85% full.

Pushback was on-time despite the heavy load. Goodbye Vietnam for now. I look forward to come back as a tourist to explore the great tourist sights in Ho Chi Minh City and Mekong River.

Ho Chi Minh City from above.

Flight was smooth all the way and lunch was served with hot meals on MH’s Snekbox. The meals smelled good but I was fasting so I took a nap throughout the flight.

Landed at KLIA on time.

I had a 3 hours 40 minutes transit in KLIA so instead of going straight to the domestic departure hall for my flight to JHB, I spent 3 hours in the Satellite building.

Mainly in Plaza Premium Lounge. I have free access thanks to my Priority Pass membership.

I could not eat but it’s great to have a comfortable and quiet place to relax.

A couple of rounds of putting. Followed by a massage.

A nice refreshing shower.

I then made my way to gate B5. Another Boeing 737-400 flight. One day MAS will put 737-400 service to a stop and replace it with brand new Boeing 737-800.

A light load based on number of people at the gate.

I was right. I got the whole row of 6 seats in Row 26 all to myself.

It was a short flight. Despite having showered and rest at the lounge, I finally started to feel exhausted from 2 hectic days. The normal orange juice suddenly looks so delicious. Even these dates and peanuts look so good!

The plane landed on time in Senai International Airport, Johor Bahru, my most frequently used airport after Subang SkyPark.

And an-hour later, it’s ‘buka puasa’ or iftar time. Great meals! Everything taste so good after a very light sahur and iftar the previous day.

This business trip has opened my eyes to the existence of great places to visit in Vietnam. I am planning to return to Ho Chi Minh City for a couple of days next year to explore these places as a tourist. Anyone care to join?

17 Comments

  1. wm September 3, 2009 at 12:54 am

    man.. what is it with you and back seats.. never heard of anyone trying to sit at the back of the plane of all places..

    • azuan September 3, 2009 at 9:11 am

      Haha I’m the Backseat Boys.

      I have my own favourite seats for each type of aircraft. For MAS Boeing 737 i usually go for 26C or 26D. Reason being is i want to avoid the crowd as most people would go for front rows. I hate Malaysians who love to rush to get in and get out of a plane, so i sually be one of the last passenger to leave.

      Plaza Premium Lounge is a pay-per-use lounge. You pay RM88 for 2-hour access including Food and Beverages. I get free access because i’m a member of Priority Pass, an international lounge programme.

  2. wm September 3, 2009 at 12:58 am

    The Plaza Premium Lounge looks good though.. need to pay for food there?

  3. Nur Fatma Othman September 3, 2009 at 11:31 am

    Kenapa pilih MAS? Air Asia is cheaper and runs newer planes. It is still cheaper than MAS even if you get Hot Seat on Air Asia and get the front row seat…

    I still tak faham why anyone still pilih MAS.

  4. wm September 3, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    yeaa.. i’m with Fatma man..
    my mum is asking me whether Firefly or AirAsia is cheaper and the differences between the airlines and blablabla..
    its like she expects me to know everything after reading your blog man >.<

    • azuan September 3, 2009 at 2:27 pm

      There 2 factors to evaluate when it comes to Air Travel. Cost and Non-Cost Factors.

      If you ask me personally, i would say the reason why i chose Firefly over Air Asia is the non-cost factors, Factors such as the location of Subang SkyPark near my house, the small plane hence less crowd and more comfortable, less-busy airport, faster ground time (check-in, boarding, baggage-pick-up)

      In the end if the price difference is small i would go for Firefly but it it’s too much i go for the cost factor and fly Air Asia.

      Why i fly MAS for this particular trip? Because i want the flexibility of changing my ticket at very small penalty compared to Air Asia. In case i have to stay in Vietnam for an extra day, i would be able to do it with not much extra cost.

      Each airline has its own strength. For MAS, its planes are old and outdated but the cabin crew is world class. For Air Asia its the price and choices of destinations and to some extend the food! For Firefly is the airport location and the great friendly cabin crew!

      That wraps up Airline 101.

  5. Clive September 6, 2009 at 6:13 am

    abg azuan!!!!pe kabar????lame x dgr citer…heeeeee
    slamat bpose abg azuan!!!!! heeeeeee

  6. wm September 6, 2009 at 9:48 am

    thanks for the explanation 🙂

  7. huserk September 9, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    malunya.. my english is not as good as yours. im still learning.. need lots of improvement. thanks btw.

    oh ya, nicol david wallpaper xnak buat yg baru n lg cantik ke? WM, any idea? hehe

    • azuan September 9, 2009 at 4:26 pm

      Dear Huserk and WM,

      I’m experimenting behind the scene. I promise by the end of the year the glory of NDO will be restored. I have to admit things have been slow and we’re not getting as many visitors compared to our previous website design. I’m still figuring out whether it’s because of the blog-like design or not many updates or people are just more comfortable with Facebook fan club.

      I’m now looking at ways for the website to ‘survive’ together with the FB Fan club + Twitter updates + Squashstar. Each website should be able to provide what others don;t have and in the end it would be one complete experience for Nicol fans. Yes, there will be new wallpapers, 2010 Desktop Calendar and *drumroll* a more refreshing look for 2010.

      See i have a long sleeve where i hid all my secrets 🙂

  8. wm September 9, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    yalar Azuan, you slacker!

    you mentioned something about new wallpapers earlier this year (or was that last year? XD).

    ahh.. i just recalled you saying you have ‘something up your sleeves’ and that its ‘a surprise’ for the site?!!

  9. wm September 9, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    jerk!! never share with me anything 🙁

  10. wm September 9, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    Heh.. ok back from 1U.

    I’m concerned about the content on NDO. We’ve been mostly copy-pasting news from main sites.

    On twitter, I have been drawing up a plan to pump up those updates. 😉 What do you have in mind?

    I have to admit that i’ve been spending the most time on the Nicol FB Page. Simply because its so convenient to update and moderate… and the response is always satisfactory.

    I’d like NDO to get back its old glory. Squash is finally getting into this whole web thing and we need to make sure that our site stays relevant.

    Anyhow, i see good things ahead for NDO. Remember the text i sent you recently?

  11. faida September 11, 2009 at 3:29 am

    nice one! the photos are all very interesting.

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