KZ: Heading North

At noon I took LRT from Setiawangsa to KL Sentral for check in. After checked in, I rushed to Burger King Masjid Jamek where I promised BH to meet him for lunch. Then, I took a train back to KL Sentral for connection to KLIA. Reached KLIA around 2:15pm and directly went for a prayer. There was a long queue at gate C14 where 9M-MKR is bound to depart for BKK. Among the crowd were the Indonesian cycling and gymnastic teams flying to Thailand for Korat SEA games. It looked like the flight is 95% full in economy. Don’t know the Golden Club class load factor though. The push back commenced at 15:16 and soon we were on our way to BKK departing from 32R. 

After 30 minutes air borne, “Meal box” was served and I think this is a pretty good idea for a shot haul flight less than 3 hours. The box consists of sandwiches, an apple, mineral water and a Cadbury candy. This is the same concept by KLM on flight from KUL to CGK. The plane landed at BKK Suvarnabhumi at 17:15 local time on runaway 01R. Immediately, it taxied to gate D7 and soon I am at the international transfer desk for KC – Air Astana.

While waiting for the transfer counter to open, I bumped into another Malaysian who was heading to Almaty as well. He used to work in Azerbaijan before in oil and gas industry and just like me, this is his first time to Almaty. Great to see a “familiar” face.

Since I have 3 hours of transit and my first at Suvarnabhumi, I took a chance to walk around this gigantic airport. Structured wise, it looks “heavy” and the fact that it was not painted or tiled makes the airport looks dull. Very grayish. 

Duty free shops are scattered across three floors – level 2, 3 and 4. Level 3 houses the airline lounges with few shops.

What I liked most about this airport is Level 4, the departure level. This level has most of the shops and along the way, there are islands of restaurants for the passengers to wind down after shopping.

Boarding for KC starts at 18:40 for flight to depart at 19:20. At the holding lounge, met two 
girls going to Almaty to see their family who are working with Malaysian Embassy there.

The aircraft, Boeing 757-200 christened P4-GAS will fly me to Almaty tonight. The flight hours from BKK to ALA, according to the captain are 7hrs 30mins. Pushback on time and soon we were air borne from 01L. The flight path is a bit weird. It took us from BKK towards Dacca, then Delhi all the way to Kabul and turned back east towards Tashkent and soon Almaty. Wonder why we are not flying across the Tibetan Plateau, which should give us shorter route and shorter flight hours.

In-flight service on KC was not a good one compare to all other airlines I had flown before. The crew were “cold”. Seldom smiles. I think there were six cabin crew on board, 4 stewardesses and 2 stewards. What amazed me is that all the liquid leftover, i.e. drinks, were poured into the toilet sink. And just before landing, one of the lavatories was used as a dumped for garbage bag.

Landed at Almaty Airport at 02:00am with temperature 3 degrees celcius. It was a cold night and I really needed a sleep. Immigration was not difficult since the only flight arrived during that time was ours. All visitors have to get their face taken by the camera. Right after the immigration, there is a custom lane where you have to scan your hand luggage. You need to do this before you went to pick up your checked in luggage. I guess if you carry prohibited items in your checked in luggage, they will never catch you. But then, what are the prohibited items? 

Before leaving the arrival hall, make sure you have the luggage tags for each of the checked in luggage ready. These tags will be checked against your luggage before you are allowed to leave the airport. For me, everything went smoothly. Outside the hall, met with the pick up person from the company and within minutes I was on way to the hotel.

The journey from the airport to the hotel took around 30 minutes. When I was first time in the US, I feel “just like what I see in the movie”. The same thing here. You feel that the view and environment are just like those you have seen in James Bond movies or any movies involving villains from Russia. 

Let see what’s in store for me in the morning in this cold city. 

~ MT @ Kazakhstan
~~ Astana International Hotel, Almaty

~ To Travel Is To Discover Oneself ~

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