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Kyoto Station

Arrival day into Japan, From KIX to Kyoto

Our 2018 long haul trip takes us to the Land of the Rising Sun. Japan will be the first country for our trip to the Far East, after many years of traveling around Europe. We boarded a Malaysia Airlines flight from Kuala Lumpur direct to Kansai. Departing KLIA at 22:10, we arrived Kansai airport at 05:40 the next morning. Flight MH52 utilising A330-300, took 6 hours of flying time which we felt rather ‘short’ compared to flying into a European city typically taking 12-14 hours.

Our Japan trip starting 2nd week of November 2018, coinciding with the start of autumn will take us to Kyoto and Osaka before flying to Tokyo with a brief one night stay at Lake Kawaguchiko for Mt Fuji.

Map of Japan

Upon arrival into Kansai, we will be collecting our pre-booked ‘Haruka’ train tickets & ‘Icoca’ pre-charged cards. Haruka is an express train service and coupled with the Icoca card (primarily to pay train & bus fares), you’ll be entitled to a substantial discounted train fare for the Haruka from Kansai to Kyoto, or to other designated station in between. We will need to collect our train ticket and the Icoca card from the JR Ticket Office.

Haruka tickets

The discounted ¥1,600 one way Kansai-Kyoto Haruka tickets.

Icoca cards

The regular & Hello Kitty Icoca cards. Two different designs to distinguish which is his & hers.

The International arrival level at Kansai airport is on 1F of Terminal 1. After passport control and handing our disembarkation card (distributed during your flight), claiming of our luggage and going through customs, we need to go up to 2F and walk over to the annex train station building. We then headed for the JR Ticket Office and after verifying details with our passport, paid & collected our Haruka tickets & Icoca cards. The Icoca card has a valid usage for up to 10 years. For more information and booking, visit here.

Kansai Airport

Passage on 2F airport terminal to Kansai-airport (train) Station in an annex building.

Kansai Airport

The annex building of Kansai-airport (train) Station.

Front part of the annex Kansai-airport (train) Station.

Kansai Airport Station

Rows of ticket machines for Nankai & JR trains towards your left.

Kansai Airport Station

At the end of the ticket machines, is the JR Ticket Office with it’s blue/yellow facade.

Kansai Airport Station

Inside the JR Ticket Office are counters for Japanese & English speaking visitors.

Directly in-front of the JR Ticket Office, are the ticket gates for our Haruka train platform on 1F a level down. Elevators are available for those with luggage.

Kansai Airport Station

Ticket gates for JR trains and Nankai trains. Credit : hiohio.net/travel-blog/

Kansai Airport Station

Past the ticket gates for JR trains, are stairs leading to the Haruka platform one level down. Elevators are also available.

Kansai Airport Station

The Haruka awaiting for passengers.

Kansai Airport Station

Seats in the Haruka train.

Kansai Airport Station

Luggage compartment in the Haruka.

(Note : 1F is GF (Ground Floor) in most other countries. Likewise, 2F in Japan is the 1st Floor and so on.)

Traveling time is 1h 15m for the Haruka to Kyoto station. If you’re riding the train in the morning, choose seats to the left to avoid the sun. As the train enters Osaka, you’ll notice a number of tall buildings, befitting it as the 2nd largest city in Japan. Our journey continues by-passing Osaka bound for Kyoto.

Osaka

The causeway connecting Kansai airport & the mainland.

Osaka

Boat on one of the rivers.

Tall buildings in Osakak

One of the tall buildings in Osaka.

Tall buildings in Osakak

Another modern tall building in Osaka.

Osaka

The unmistakable Umeda Sky Building.

Osaka

Coming up, a brief stop at Shin-Osaka station.

Once you’ve arrived into Kyoto train station, you’ll want to get out through the central exit for the Kyoto Tower (Shiokoji Dori) side. Depending on your itinerary, you may want to exit through the Hachijo Dori exit at the opposite side for your hotel or Shinkansen transfer. Elevators and escalators are available in this station. As with most Japanese hotels and guest houses, check-in is 2-3pm, thus you’ll may need to store your luggage till then. There are lots of coin operated lockers at B1 level of the station. A manned luggage office is also available although a little hidden, so ask around for directions. Cost of storage depends on the size of your luggage.

Kyoto Station

Arrival platform 30 at Kyoto train station.

Kyoto Station

No doubt we’re correctly in Kyoto.

Kyoto Station

Central entrance/exit of Kyoto train station facing the Kyoto Tower.

Kyoto Station

Kyoto Tower in-front of the station’s central entrance.

Kyoto station map

Useful map of Kyoto Station. Credit : KyotoStation.com

MH786/795 KUL-HKT-KUL Business Class

The obvious benefit of flying Business Class in my opinion are the seat pitch. Although you’ll be getting a wider seat, that’s not considered a luxury for me but the extra leg room (pitch) and reclining seat or a ‘flat-bed’ is. Our flight from Kuala Lumpur to Phuket and return was on Malaysia Airlines B737-800 with a 2-2 seating configuration in 4 rows totaling 16 seats. On a short flight of less than 90 minutes, you’ll get reclining seats instead of a ‘flat bed’ typically found on long haul flights in A330 or A380. A pull-out foot rest is available for added comfort. On this short flight, I haven’t had time to even put the seat in recline because shortly after departure it was lunch and then it’s preparation time to land!

(MAS A330-300 Business Class review here.)

MAS 737-800 Business Classs

Business Class check-in at Phuket airport. Only a cabin bag & a backpack for a 40kg baggage allowance entitlement.

Boarding in KLIA was via jet bridge whilst in Phuket we have to board a bus for our plane at one far end of the airfield. On our return flight, since there were only a handful of business class passengers and frequent flyers, Phuket airport authority decide to accommodate economy passengers in the bus as well. This made boarding bothersome as we have to jolts with the others boarding the plane through a common aisle. I wouldn’t have mind boarding last to avoid all these. On A330 or A380, past the entrance door, business and economy class passengers go their separate ways to their designated cabins.

MAS 737-800 Business Classs KUL-HKT-KUL

Pink guava ‘welcome’ drink. Refreshing.

MAS 737-800 Business Classs KUL-HKT-KUL

Empty seats at the back. 2-2 seating configuration.

Even on a short flight, you will be accorded a small pillow and a blanket. It wasn’t used as the cabin temperature was just right. The day’s newspaper was already slotted into the front seat pocket. Hot hand towels and your choice of chilled fruit juice was served before departure. Unlike long haul business class flight where you are addressed by name, this time it’s just Sir/Madam.

MAS 737-800 Business Classs KUL-HKT-KUL

Cross legged and still plenty of room to the front seat.

MAS 737-800 Business Classs KUL-HKT-KUL

Feet down, a toddler  could easily walk across.

MAS 737-800 Business Classs KUL-HKT-KUL

In-flight magazine, shopping catalogue & safety card in the front seat pocket.

MAS 737-800 Business Classs KUL-HKT-KUL

For such a short flight, there wasn’t time to watch or listen to any in-flight entertainment. .

Meals were served shortly after take-off and you’ll get three selection to choose from, whether for breakfast or lunch. Meals are served on plates, drinks in glasses and cups, you’ll use stainless steel cutlery and you’ll be handed linen napkin. Refill of cold or hot beverage is free flowing unless you ask to stop! Food tasted good and suited for the local (Malaysian) taste bud.

MAS 737-800 Business Classs KUL-HKT-KUL

Dim sum breakfast for wife.

MAS 737-800 Business Classs KUL-HKT-KUL

Omelette and sausage for my breakfast with choice of breads

MAS 737-800 Business Classs KUL-HKT-KUL

Briyani chicken lunch for both of us on our return flight to Kuala Lumpur.

MAS 737-800 Business Classs KUL-HKT-KUL

Peanuts …. once sought after, now tasted ordinary.

MAS 737-800 Business Classs KUL-HKT-KUL

Taxing for departure in a heavy downfall.

MAS 737-800 Business Classs KUL-HKT-KUL

A little cloudy on the Malaysian side.

Coming in for our landing, we passed Kuala Lumpur airport. The turn into the airport however, was some 100km away. I’m pretty sure it was somewhere around or close to the seaside town of Port Dickson. The airport so near, yet so far.

MAS 737-800 Business Classs KUL-HKT-KUL

KLIA runway & the Sepang F1 circuit in view prior to landing.

Phuket At A Glance

The whole of our 4 days in Patong, was spent walking around town. It’s truly a Free & Lazy itinerary and we did not visit the major Phuket attractions as we have done so before. Patong town isn’t big and you can cover by foot within one hour if you restrict to window shopping. Our main focal point was the vicinity of Jungceylon Mall where our hotel is located. The Jungceylon Mall complex itself can easily take a whole day if not two, to fully explore. A host of convenience can be found here.

Phuket, Free & Lazy

Jungceylon Mall entrance facing Thanon Ratuthit Songroipi Rd.

Phuket, Free & Lazy

The Junk inside Jungceylon. Twice a day, there will a fountain display.

Phuket, Free & Lazy

Adjoining shopping complex housing anchor tenants Robinson’s Department Store & BIC-C Supermarket.

Phuket, Free & Lazy

Full fledged BIC-C Supermarket.taking up two floors

Phuket, Free & Lazy

Foot SPA therapy at Phuket Square outside Jungceylon near KFC.

The main tourist attractions of Patong Town are the beach activities along Patong Beach and the night entertainment for the young and young at heart along Bangla Street. Here you’ll find crowded and noisy restaurants, pubs, bars, nightclubs, etc till the early morning. In the morning, you can do some serious shopping at Jungceylon Mall and souvenir hunting in shops or roadside stalls.

Phuket, Free & Lazy

Patong beach, Phuket.

Phuket, Free & Lazy

Bangla Road fronting Patong beach.

Phuket, Free & Lazy

The happening street at night for the young & young at heart.

Phuket, Free & Lazy

Crowd starting to build up at Bangla Road at night.

Phuket, Free & Lazy

Souvenirs by the roadside.

Phuket, Free & Lazy

More souvenirs.

Banzaan Fresh Market is located across Sai Kor Road at the rear of Jungceylon Mall. It is just a normal market serving the locals daily needs. In what is common to most Asians, this market would also be referred as a ‘wet market’, where most of the floors would be wet. The upper floor has a large food court with halal food available.

Phuket, Free & Lazy

Banzaan Fresh Market across the road from the rear of Jungceylon.

Phuket, Free & Lazy

The fresh vegetable section.

Phuket, Free & Lazy

Varieties of fresh fruits you can sample before buying.

Phuket, Free & Lazy

The seafood section with lobster and crayfish.

The only attraction we went to is FantaSea. It’s a cultural theme park with it’s main attraction being a Thai Cultural Show with trained animals joining in. Laser show has now been incorporated into the one hour segment which wasn’t there 17 years ago. This is our second time here, the first in 2001.

I tend to enjoy more the first time as the animals got more stage time, now lasers having it’s ‘own slot’. Honestly I’ll say, seen once, seen them all. The ‘wow’ factor diminishes for repeat visitors. Video recording devices including hand phones are not allowed in. You’ll hand over your devices and be given a ticket to claim them after the show.

Phuket, Free & Lazy

Back again to FantaSea after 17 years.

Phuket, Free & Lazy

Parrots at Phuket FantaSea theme park.

Phuket, Free & Lazy

A rare white tiger in a glass cage at Phuket FantaSea. This isn’t part of the show.

Phuket, Free & Lazy

The event building where the show was performed. It has theater style numbered seating.

Phuket now has a new, large modern International Airport. Arrival is on the lower level while departure on the upper. The domestic terminal is next to it which actually was the old airport. This new terminal building was a far cry from the old with many amenities for the convenience of passengers. This new terminal was completed in 2016.

Phuket, Free & Lazy

Departure level of Phuket airport.

Phuket, Free & Lazy

Entrance for departures on the upper level.

Arrival exit at the ground level.

Phuket, Free & Lazy

The old airport which is now the domestic terminal located alongside the new.

Phuket, Free & Lazy

Spacious check-in counters in the new airport.

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