Way to Nepal – Transit in Kuala Lumpur

Florence and the Machine’s playing repeatedly on my earphones. I am stuck today with this song, Never Let Me Go. Just like what I feel, I should be not letting go of Nepal, but over is over, my vacation was over. Today, I already returned to work again, to my boring desk, after an unforgettable trip to Nepal I had a week ago. I still feel a bit tired and my body trying hard to adapt again with the routine, but still this sleepy eyes and wandering mind always against to each other, so I write, it’s usually ease my mind.

Go to Nepal such a dream come true for me. After months ago, since I heard about this country from a friend, I wanna see it with my own eyes. The rich of the culture of mixed people from India and Tibet and the great Himalayas, made me wonder and curious about this country, especially because Buddha was born in Lumbini, one of the city in Nepal. I’m not keen of Buddha, but history of such a wonderful person (who became God, as Buddhist people believe) can be a good knowledge for me. In a place where Buddha was born, the country grows with mostly of Hindu believers.

I only have ten days holiday, counted by adding some of Religion Holiday in Indonesia where people celebrate Eid Mubarak, make me have such a quiet long days off. Anyway, who can resist a good price of fly from KL to Kathmandu from one of famous budget Airlines, Air Asia. It cost me around $ 230 for return. Even the ticket from Jakarta-Kuala Lumpur-Jakarta will be so expensive due to the peak season, but I don’t care.. Nepal.. I’m coming!!!

The cool thing happened just 4 days before I fly to Kuala Lumpur. A Senior High School friend, who I only keep in touch from Facebook, after 13 years never meet up again, contacted me through my Facebook after I put a status about me going to Nepal very soon. He interested to join with me on the trip, I feel so happy because I love to travel solo, but accompany by a friend also a nice thing to have, especially I will plan to do trekking in Nepal for 5 days. Which I never trekking in many days before, I only usually doing the hiking on the weekend, which generally only 4-6 hours hiking before we make a tent to stay overnight on the top of the mountain. So the 5 days trekking is new for me, and good for me that I have a friend to go with and to talk with along the journey.

After fixed everything in very short time, me and him met up in Jakarta’s airport and ready to go to this adventure together. That was really surprising for me! Who will imagine someone who you never meet for such a long time suddenly contact you and brusssh.. you go flying together. Life truly such a mysterious drama, hahahaa.

We arrived in Kuala Lumpur and haven’t booked any place to stay. We planned to go around China Town to stay in one hostel that I already searched before, but later on, a friend told me that Bukit Bintang area is a nice place to hang out because mostly places there, open for 24 hours. So we found out how to go to Bukit Bintang from the airport. Everything was quite smooth in the airport, only in Jakarta, I had to went out again to meet up with my friend, since he brought 2 bottles of Oxygen, and it’s not allowed if 1 person brings 2 bottles, so I should show my face in order to confirm the airport crew that the oxygen will be used for 2 person. A weird rule I think.

From Kuala Lumpur’s airport to KL Sentral, we took the Air Asia bus which cost for 9 MYR per person. The journey took around 1,5 hours before we arrived in KL Sentral. Arrived in KL Sentral, we asked to a lady behind the ticket counter, a way to go to Bukit Bintang area, she said we can take monorail, but we can’t find the way to go to monorail, only the station for LRT, so we think, ah maybe it’s only different a bit, not much, after take a look on the map, with LRT we need to change 3 times, sound easy for us, then we took the LRT, avoid the advise from young lady. Lesson to learn, don’t ever ask if you end up to avoid the advise, lol. We turned up to be in long journey than it should be.

Arrived in Bukit Bintang, now we both confused which area we should go to find place to stay. All the places look so suspicious – not look like a real hotel or hostels. Finally after going around here and there with our heavy bags (I always wonder how can women lift up such heavy bags – many western women do it easily…) we decided to stay in one cheap hotel. Only for one night, I thought. So it was ok, even the room wasn’t really ok. So many suspicious guys approached us and offer room and massage and other things, gosh.. I can admit the area is really open 24 hours, but maybe the area where we were was a slum area where prostitutes are many.

Hungry by the nature calling, we tried to walk a bit around the hotel and find something to eat. Behind our hotel, there is a quite famous road, Jalan Alor if I’m not mistaken. A long food street with so many restaurant, street snacks, people, supermarket, all gathered together on the street and we found a nice restaurant with delicious meals to eat. I chose the famous tarik tea (milk tea) with a soup noodle. After eating, I chose to spending another hours I had in Kuala Lumpur by meeting a friend and going to a Weekly Couchsurfing Gathering which quite close from our place. Nice to have new friends around the town, especially to see and feel the hip of Bukit Bintang area in the evening.

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When we got ready to go to the airport, we tried to talk with a guy who was waiting on the hotel reception. It was still early morning, we seen no one except him, a young guy with a drowsy face. We asked him to return to us our deposit but later on he said he didn’t have it because the other guy took that away. What a suspicious reason. I kind of type a person who can’t be ok with such of fraud. I hate that. So while my friend tried to talk in a friendly way to him to asking our money back, I only told him,  “we don’t care how you will get the money, because it’s kind of impossible, the hotel owner won’t tell you about deposit money guest put on hotel’s pocket. And deposit money suppose to be returned. And we wanna leave to the airport immediately since our flight won’t wait on us.” The guy only nodded his head with a dumb face, and tried to call someone, but later he confused and excuse to us that no one pick up the phone and he didn’t have the money on his wallet. After I insisted him that we wanna leave to the airport now and wanna take our money back, he finally took money from his wallet. What a little liar!

Anyway, along the way to the airport, we were a bit nerve since the time quite limited. Thank God, we finally arrived in the airport on time. Everything was so smooth and we have to go to the waiting room. I was a bit shock when I see so many Nepali-Indian people on the waiting room. Hahahaa, of course! What do you expect when you have a flight to sub-continental India country? 😉 When the time’s up, we were walking together to the plane and I was feeling extra excited! So here we are, finally the journey is on and we will be on the road again, adventure again, another chance to see different life again, fun fun fun.

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We were so surprised when we found out that we got the Hot Seats for free! It’s mean a lot for me, hahahaa. Will be so good for getting your legs in comfortable position for 4 hours journey. This budget airline seemed so kind to us, a part of that, the cute steward that sit in front of me, seem so busy to organize everything and make sure everything is in order. I only can smile to him while he smiled toward me, and I mostly smile because I enjoyed seeing how busy he was. Going here and there, open the luggage, check the seat-belt, etc etc. When we almost landed, he acted so firm to the passengers since they already stand up before the plane stop properly, which is of course will be dangerous for them. I was watching him thoroughly, he definitely do according to what his company pay for him or beyond. A real good employee.

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Next to me is a Nepali guy who tried to talk with me all the time, but I have a difficulty to follow his accent, since his English also not really good. But he was so polite toward me, he always call me, Sister, Sister. We both have conversation with a broken English – as long as you understand, and body gesture. Anyway, we both looked at the window when the plane almost landed, and I am full with curiosity and wonderment, “wow, so that’s how my dream city look like from above?” I can see many mountains surrounding Kathmandu, the capital city. Not only that, I found incongruity about the local houses, many look such as unfinished building, and all houses in Kathmandu are in form of apartment with ceramics as their walls. Very typical.

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Then we finally arrived in Tribhuvan International Airport. The name of the airport taken from one of King in Nepal who was reign from 11 December 1911 – 13 March 1955 before he passed way. The airport itself is a small brick building and look a bit old, no wonder since Nepal itself is an old and ancient country. Me and my friend both were so excited and accidentally met with another Indonesian that will hike the Chulu East peak (6584 m from sea surface level) in the airport. He brought so many stuff with him and we together go to the Visa counter. We filled in 1 form, we stand on the line and got our Nepal’s stamp after pay USD 25 for staying 15 days. The process was easy, only don’t forget to bring your photograph for 4 x 6 cm size. If you forget, they have an instant photo box, but I don’t know how much you need to pay for it.

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We were very lucky because the guide of my friend, pick us up in the airport with such a huge van. We felt like important person, hahaha. It was from the company of the guide, who later become our friend. The guide himself will guide us to Poon Hill trekking for 5 days to see the Annapurna mountains range while my friend will stay in Thamel to prepare everything for his plan to Chulu East.

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The car came inside to the town, welcome to Kathmandu city! I watched everything attentively. The city full with dust and many people, cars here and there. It was beyond my expectation, true I never come to any sub-india continental countries. Honestly to admit, I was in shock. The road quite dirty, muddy and wet because of the remaining rain. I saw people like coming from everywhere, loud horn on the air, hot weather that suddenly raining, bus and truck which crossing the normal speed and animals on the road for free, a special privilege for cows to walk freely in the middle of the road. Those all situation make my head dizzy but also full with excitement, this is the adventure!

Arrived in Thamel Guest House, I almost again bite my tongue. This place really not worth to stay even for 1 night. The free wifi icon on the reception wasn’t true, since the wifi always broken. The toilet is shared which really really really dirty. Sure we can’t complain since it only cost us 250 rupees per night, which is USD 3 for 1 room, can be used for 2 person. I only can hold my breathe, it’s only for one night by the way, I better take my sleeping bag and sleep inside of it, even I sleep on a bed. What special from the guest house is I can saw the Buddhist temple that I always see on google before, now it’s in front of me, with some crows around, busy making noise.

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Enough for today, a very tiring day, but the charm of busy Thamel road calling us to go walking around. So I packed my stuff, and enjoy the hip of this famous road.

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