Plane Take-off & Landing – Delta Air Lines, Narita to Singapore

I love planes. The following video is one I took when I was on board Delta Air Lines. Take off from Narita International Airport (NRT) & landing at Singapore Changi Airport (SIN). I believe it was a Boeing 777-200ER.

EDIT: Thanks to youtube user, Wen Hao, I learnt that it was actually a Boeing 767-300ER.

Jetstar Asia Knows How to Confuse People

I  was looking to fly to Nha Trang (Vietnam) and have been monitoring the flight price on Jetstar for about a week. The price did not change much so I decided to do a One-Way search. The option was Singapore – Ho Chi Minh – Nha Trang within a day.

The basic search I did on Jetstar. Singapore to Nha Trang (One-Way)

The basic search I did on Jetstar. Singapore to Nha Trang (One-Way)

The base price aka Starter Fare was S$109.96 excluding tax and any other add-ons. I also noticed that the Plus Bundle package which includes certain perks was only S$2 extra (Normally about $30). I might as well enjoy the additional perks!

Jetstar Starter Fare was S$109.96 but Plus Bundle fare was only $2 with extra perks!

Starter Fare was S$109.96 but Plus Bundle fare was only $2 with extra perks!

When I clicked on Continue, the next page showed me the base price has increased from $109.96 to $150.69. What?! Why!?!? The $2 bundle value was also included.

Jetstar Base price increased from S$109.96 to S$150!

Base price increased from S$109.96 to S$150.69!

Okay so I headed back and chose the “Starter Fare” instead and the next page showed me the unchanged S$109.96 base fare. Wait, am I missing something here? If I chose “Plus Bundle”, I would expect the price to increase by S$2 from the total of the “Starter Fare” including the tax. I did a test with other flights and the base prices remained the same.

Jetstar Base price remained the same with Starter Fare

Base price remained the same with Starter Fare

I just needed to clear my doubt so I called Jetstar. I spoke with someone from the reservations department. He did a search on the trip to Nha Trang and told me that it did not exist. WHAT?!

I told him I am seeing an available flight online and if I booked it online will it get through? He said it will if its available but his system is not showing an available flight. Alrighty, So I just went ahead and asked about the base fare difference.

Let me sum up what happened. He did a check on the website but he told me the Plus Bundle S$150 base price was the final price but I asked him why it still remained as S$109.96 for the Starter Fare. It went on like this for a while with him putting me on hold and at times muting the call (I guess to curse me). I asked him if he understood my question and he said yes but made it sound like I did not understand his answer. He did not give me a logical answer. I could hear the frustration in his voice and I am sure he heard it in mine. Finally, he put me on hold again, this time longer.

He came back and told me he talked to someone from some department and apologised for the confusion. It turned out to be a glitch and they are not flying there. WHAT?! He gave me the option to fly Singapore – Ho Chi Minh – Nha Trang.

DUDE! THAT IS THE OPTION YOUR WEBSITE IS GIVING ME FROM THE START!

Explaining that did not make sense to him as expected. He said I had to do a multi city booking. We ended the 39min 42seconds call.

I tried doing a separate multi-city booking and this was the message I got:

Jetstar requires that your second flight departs at least 26 hours after your first flight arrives

*Jetstar requires that your second flight departs at least 26 hours after your first flight arrives*

I said “F*** YOU” staring at my screen but my computer might have been offended. *I didn’t mean you baby, it was at Jetstar*.

Pissed, I am.
Book, I did.
Starter Fare, it was.

*I will update if the anything goes wrong with the flight*

Ngwe Saung – Myanmar Travel Experience (Part 1)

When researching for a places to visit in Myanmar, the obvious options were Bagan, Mandalay & Yangon. I was about to do the same but the thought of traveling with many other tourist around did not appeal to me. A quick search on beach options gave me Ngapali, Ngwe Saung & Chaung Tha. A random analogy to describe the three would be: too hot, just nice, too cold. (not in literal sense)

I would not say Ngwe Saung is as beautiful as some of the beaches in Thailand. This place has its own charm, laid-back, not crowded and faces the Bay of Bengal.  It was just nice.

GETTING THERE FROM YANGON
Taking a flight would be the fastest option but taking the bus would be the cheapest.
Cost: 9000 Kyat (S$12 / USD$7)
Duration: About 5hrs
Location: Hlaing Thar Yar Bus Terminal or ask your taxi driver. They will drive you there and point to counter. There will be vague signs around so keep your eyes open. If you want to get to Ngwe Saung early, get to the terminal at about 5.30am to secure a seat. My bus left on time at 6.30AM. They have different buses leaving at different time so do enquire.

Bus Ticket

Bus Ticket

THE EXPERIENCE

I set my alarm for 4am on vibrate mode, worrying that I would wake others up (I was in a hostel and was sharing a room with 3 others.) Turns out that I was waking up to the sounds of people heading to the toilet or dogs debating by the streets. I was at the top of the bunker bed and I managed to give myself a wedgie while climbing down. I hope the hot girl below did not see my exposed balls but realised the room was dark and I was dark…..so do the math.

The taxi ride to the bus terminal was about 30 minutes and cost 5000 Kyat. After purchasing the tickets, I had about 45 minutes to spare so I ploughed myself down in a dingy looking eatery. Actually all the shops there looked the same. Managed to order 2 oily bread rolls and a bottle of water through sign language. English totally did not help.

Dingy Shop

Dingy Shop

While the flies and I were eating to our hearts content, a local man walked in looking at me. He sat at a table behind me and ordered a glass of whiskey. 5 minutes into his drink and I heard him puke on the floor. No one seemed to be bothered. He came over to my table and looked at me. I looked at him. He bent down and took a bin from under my table and went back to puke. I was impressed. He looked sober and was able to navigate around well.

Bus scenery

Bus Scenery

Bus ride was like any other. They provided us with a bottle of water and a strong-scented wet tissue. There was air-condition. Ride was bumpy at some points but I was able to get some sleep. There was a 20 minutes break to have some food and toilet stop.

But there was one problem. The locals seem to get motion sickness easily. Throughout the journey, you would hear a cacophony of people vomiting or forcing their vomit out. Every seat has a small plastic bag for this definite occasion. At some point someone might tap you shoulder asking for that bag. I was very lucky to get a pregnant lady to sit beside me. She puked into her bag an orange concoction. She kept going at it and when she was done she held the bag near me. I tested my mental ability to control myself but I gagged a little before the bus stopped and the driver said it was my stop. *Thank you God*

Step foot out of the bus and I was swamped by a group of guys wanting to take me to my hotel. Just what I needed but there was a problem. I forgot the name of the hotel and I think I didn’t write it down (what was I thinking!?) Those guys were resourceful. They showed me a map and I easily pointed out the Shwe Hin Tha Hotel. I thought it was a car ride but nope, it was a bike ride without a helmet. My left leg was used to support my bag with my left hand. Journey was about 10-15 minutes. Cost was 1000 Kyat.

Click here for Part 2

Bus scenery

Bus scenery

bus3

Traffic

 

Myanmar (Yangon) – Getting In

After days of finding for a place to travel to, I found a cheap flight with Jetstar to Yangon, Myanmar. If you think this is going to be some comprehensive guide, nah. I did not do any major research before heading there. Just spent my time reading information from internet without taking down much notes.

Myanmar Header

VISA
I am a Singaporean and the privilege of traveling to many countries without applying for visa is not applicable here. If you are a Singaporean, be warned, you need to go down to the Myanmar Embassy to apply for a visa. Click here for more information.

So imagine the panic I was in to apply for visa the day before I flew out. I was able to get it within a day.

FLIGHT
Landed in Yangon on 18 March 2014, 11AM-ish. Airport looked new. Head down the escalator to clear the immigration and you would be able to see families/friends waiting for their loved ones through the see-through glass. It was weird because they could follow and watch every step you take. They will be watching as you queue to clear immigration.

MONEY
There are money changers at the baggage claim area and out at the arrival-waiting area. I changed my Singapore Dollars to Burmese Kyat (At about 1SGD = 756MMK).

TAXI
You can book a taxi at the airport if you have not arranged for airport transfer with your hotel. It is hard to miss the big yellow sign which says “TAXI”.

After reading all the information online, the average rate is US$10.  If you want to get a taxi on your own by bargaining with the driver, you may get away with US$8 (It would be better if you could find others to share it with). I was quoted US$8 at the taxi counter. When I got to the destination, the driver asked for US$10. I wish I could just walk out giving him US$8 but I did not have smaller change so made it 9000 Kyat.

ACCOMMODATION
I had my first try of a hostel. A search on Agoda.com brought up this new place, Humble Footprints Hotel / Hostel. Whats good about it? Its new. Anything that is supposed to be white is really white. Click here to read my review on TripAdvisor.

I would not recommend the hostel if you want options on sight-seeing or food within walking distance.

RECOMMEND
One of the must-sees is the Shwedagon Pagoda or also known as the Golden Pagoda. It took me about 15-20 minutes to walk there. I did not need a map because I could see it from afar. It is one of the most sacred Buddhist pagodas and it literally covered in genuine gold plates. It was mid-afternoon when I got there and really wanted to see it at night after having heard about its light displays but time constraint denied me that chance. I am still grateful to have stepped foot there.

Golden Pagoda

Shwedagon Pagoda


 Next article would be about my experience at Ngwe Saung – Myanmar.