There’s always a first-time for everything–First blog. First love. First success. First failure. Now, first travel. Malaysia is on my first list of travel goals in 2010. I was looking forward to learn many things from this quest.. and I did. So let me share.
As I recall, I was bombarded with work, school, and personal matters so I decided to detach myself from them for a while and embrace the tranquility of nature, to enjoy His magnificent creation, to immerse myself and appreciate different culture, and to create a story to tell to my children and grandchildren in the future. So how did I spend the 3-day vacation?
- Manukan Island
Day One. This is a private island is famous for coral reefs, pristine rainforest, and beautiful white sand beaches. Apart from these, remnant of World War are also displayed around. To some, this is paradise. There were a lot of people having fun when we got there. Although it offers plenty of activities, my friend and I went here just for island hopping and snorkeling.
- Mari-Mari Cultural Village
Our second destination. It is a unique opportunity to see and experience indigenous ethnic culture and lifestyle. It is a village with five different ethnic tribes. What made it more unforgettable is the entertainment it offers. MMCV has very knowledgeable, friendly, and extremely funny yet entertaining tour guides. 😊 😊 😊 This is the highlight of my Malaysia Travel Experience.
- The Green Connection Aquarium
Day 2. The Green Connection is an excellent local opportunity to interact and learn more about the environment and the world around us. The edutainment starts off with an introduction to the precious water cycle and introduces you to frogs, cave dwellers, turtles, a variety of fresh water fish, and snakes that you can stroke if you dare. 👌 (My friend is a pro! Snake is her pet. Me, I’m friend with the starfish).
- City Tour
This is an unplanned part of our itinerary. All we wanted is to maximize our trip so we ended up exploring the city after the Green Connection Aquarium. We still had ENERGY to go around and spend some friendship time together.
- Lok Kawi Wildlife Park
Day 3. Lost.
This family-oriented park offers visitors the opportunity to go jungle trekking along the botanical trail. It also has a zoological component with different species for animal lovers. (We enjoyed this place too much that we even missed our flight! 🙈 Lesson: Plan. Check your time).
My first international flight taught me several lessons/experience:
✔ Malaysia (KK) is truly Asia
✔ Budget for the Travel: $315 (if you can save up an amount higher than this, go ahead..)
✔ Actual Expenses: $150 (+ plane ticket on sale: $30 return trip)
✔ Days of Travel: 3 days
✔ Travel month: December
✔ No Visa needed for Filipinos.
✔ Be prepared for some uncertainties:
a. At the Immigration. Even if no visa is required, you may be asked to pass through the immigration process (this part makes every first-time travelers nervous. I know the feeling haha!). You’ll survive as long as you are prepared and consistent when an immigration officer interrogates you. If you travel for leisure, say so and show proof of your itinerary and accommodation. Add a little of confidence and you can make that one small dream come true.
b. Language Barrier. Although English is not a measure of intelligence, it is a language commonly used to communicate internationally. It’s a good thing if you can use the language but there are some people in non-English speaking countries who cannot understand or communicate well in English. So if you can use their local language, do so. If not, you have to use body language. 🙂
c. Missing the Flight. Even if you have a very smart travel plan, bad things can happen anytime. Be flexible. On our schedule of going back to the Philippines, we spent a night at the airport for the first time. We had to rebook our flight and fly the next day because we missed the check in time although the aircraft hasn’t taken off yet. The staff was not so helpful at that time. So we just bought new ticket from another airline.
So, this is where I got my first passport stamp (thanks to a friend who bugged me & tagged me along!). My first international flight has been unforgettable and a great learning experience for my succeeding flights. Thank you Malaysia for all the FIRSTs!
The Official Traveler