It was my first time to Malaysia.
On landing at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) I was overwhelmed. Not only by the responsibility of traveling alone with the children for the first time but also as I had to navigate a foreign airport in search of a helpdesk to book an onward flight to Bangkok for our friend Nai.
This challenge was met by little customer service, and a very overpriced Malaysian Airlines ticket.
After that we caught a bullet train to the baggage collection terminal. This train is contained within the shopping area of the airport and has trains leaving every 2.5 minutes.
The KLIA is a slick and shiny state of the art structure, full of designer shops and high end stores. After we collected our bags and said our goodbyes to Nai, it was time to make our way to our Hotel.
I thought it best to feed the children at the airport not knowing what was available at or nearby the hotel. We had a quick bite to eat then made our way to the exit doors of the airport, assuming taxis would be available outside. I was wrong. I needed to go back inside, a 500 meter walk to a taxi ticketing counter and purchase a taxi ticket. There I told them which hotel we needed transport too and they informed me of the price, which I paid to them and not the driver. I was then directed (and by that I mean a wave of her arm) to the exit.
I walked back to the exit door. And stood in line, once I reached the front I was told I was in the wrong line, that I needed to go to exit 3 instead. Ok then, off we go, another 200 meters away I line up again. This time we reach a taxi who drives us to our hotel to await the arrival of Joel and Georgia.
I had done it. I had jumped thru all the hoops at KLIA and successfully traveled solo with 3 toddlers into a foreign country.
The following day we all traveled to the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) for our onward flight to Vietnam. This terminal is for Air Asia flights and given that Kuala Lumpur is the hub for Air Asia this terminal is enormous. Basic and busy but utterly enormous. Think super large warehouse or shed like structure.
In strike contrast from KLIA. Apart from a few food outlets and a couple of basic shops there is nothing on offer at LCCT. The checking in area was much like a cattle yard, after checking in we walked to the lounge area and waited for our flight to board. The lounge was basic and very very crowded.
You really would think you were in two different countries when you compare these two airports which are only 20 minutes apart in reality.