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Travel, Malaysia

New Straits Times
Saturday, Apr 12, 2014

Travel, Malaysia

Traveller's tale: Coach class

New Straits Times | Andrew Drummond Law | Saturday, Apr 12, 2014

I've travelled the five-hour bus journey between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore for decades now. Despite having tried budget airlines, I still prefer the bus. The usual complaint is the bus takes too long. Let's do the math for flying between KL and Singapore.

Depending on the traffic jam, it can be one hour's drive (or more) to KLIA or the LCCT in an expensive taxi, or getting a lift from a friend or family member.

I can drive to the airport but I must still shell out for the expensive long-term parking rates and still go through the hassle of trying to find a parking space.

Then I have to get to the departure terminal with my suitcase, so as to check-in at least 1 ½ hours before the flight departure. That's two hours so far.

Then, if you're really unlucky, the flight may be delayed. Airport stress. Check-in queues. People bumping their trolleys into your ankles. Immigration queues and overcrowded waiting lounges.

Board the aircraft and lounge in its small seat with limited legroom. Then it takes off and for 30 minutes you are in a flying cylindrical zoo, before landing at Singapore's Changi Airport.

Immigration. Baggage claim. Customs clearance. A taxi to town. And finally you arrive at your destination. It can be done in four hours, or as long as six hours, depending on the time of day, and day of the week, that you are travelling.

But it's a very fragmented and often expensive journey when you include land transfers. You never have the time to sit back and do anything constructive as you are constantly on the move.

In contrast, to board the bus, I take a 15-minute walk from my home to the departure point and check-in only 15 minutes before departure. I put my suitcase in the coach belly, board, pick up a free newspaper and find my assigned seat.

With one 20-minute R&R stop before the Tuas Second Link crossing into Singapore, I now have four hours all to myself. If I'm tired I catch up on my sleep with my eye mask and earplugs.

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