Monday, February 13, 2012

Long Weekend in Bali: Penang to Bali


We were dropped off at the airport two and a half hours by a friend on his way to the office. The Tiger Airways counters were not opened yet when we got there and we met other passengers who were similarly trying to find the correct check-in counters. Thankfully, the contract check-in agents for Tiger Airways finally arrived soon after and we were the first few to get checked-in.

Surprisingly, the Tiger Airways plane from Singapore arrived to Penang more than an hour before scheduled departure. It looks like we were going to be departing on time or so we thought. Boarding didn't start until thirty minutes before departure and when finally everyone was on board, there was not enough overhead cabin space for hand luggage. This caused some bags to be checked in and for the flight to get delayed for thirty minutes trying to sort the mess out. I was thinking to myself at this point on why we didn't start boarding early so that we might have departed on time. It was another 30 minutes after doors were closed before we finally departed for Singapore. Point here to Air Asia for on time departure!

We got to Singapore with an hour delay and parked at a pretty far parking bay. Similar to the LCCT in Kuala Lumpur, there are no aerobridges at the Singapore Budget Terminal. It took us a good 15 minute hike before we made it through immigration. Our bags were soon out and we hoped on of the free buses that would take us to Terminal 2. Here's where the Singapore Budget terminal beats LCCT - the transfer from LCCT to the main terminal building is via some dingy bus service that costs RM5 per person.

There were no lines at the business class check-in counters and we got our boarding passes and bags checked in to Bali. After going through security and immigration, we decided to head over to the Silverkris Lounge in Terminal 3 first since we've never visited the one in Terminal 3 before and we needed to be back in Terminal 2 for our flight later.

Main Food Area

Still in Chinese New Year Mood

We were starving by the time we settled down in the Silverkris lounge since it was almost 2pm and we just had a light breakfast. There was a good choice of Chinese, Indian and western options. The only slight disappointment was that I could not find any champange but a pretty good white wine made it up.

We left for Terminal 2 about an hour and a half before departure and proceeded to the Silverkris Lounge to enjoy some cheeses and wine before our flight. The last time we were here was more than a year ago during our honeymoon to the Maldives. Just a couple of months ago, the Silverkris lounge was renovated and it now looked almost identical to the lounge in Terminal 3. The only difference is the the lounge is slightly smaller than the old lounge since part of it was made into a Krisflyer Lounge for *Gold passengers traveling in economy and that there is no outside view. The food and drink options are the same with the lounge in Terminal 3. I personally liked the lounge in Terminal 3 since it didn't feel as "enclosed".

There was a line at the departure gate but we were invited to "cut through" the line after the agents realized we were in business class. There was a slight incident at the security checkpoint where a half drunk guy was trying to carry an unsealed and probably consumed large bottle of Grey Goose Vodka past the security checkpoint.  It was entertaining to watch him try to convince the security personnel that it was okay to do so.

Our flight today was operated by a 777-200 that had the ancient business class seats. I would not want to be "stuck" on this seats for flights longer than 2-3 hours. Makes me wonder on why Singapore Airlines just not just retire this plane.

The 777-200 taking us to Bali

Doors were closed on time but it did take a while before we were in the air since there was a long queue or aircraft waiting to take off.

The long line for take-off

The flight to Bali was only a short 2 hours long which was just enough time for a meal and movie. Nothing on the menu seem to pique our interest and we regretted not pre-ordering something of the Book-the-Cook Menu. Another disappointment was that there was no satay offered on this flight!

Silverkris Sling & Singapore Sling

Shrimp and cous-cous

Beef Rendang

Peach Crumble
We started the descent right as I was finishing the movie I was watching and arrived on time. Overall the flight was just okay and I would not pay extra just for business class on this short hop.

We had pre-arranged a car and arrival service from the Conrad. There was someone waiting for us in the arrival area before immigration and guided us past the long lines and got our passports quickly processed. We were in the car and arrived at the Conrad a quick 45 minutes after arrival in Bali. The extra $25 USD per person and $18 USD for the car was worth it to remove the worry and hassle and to start the holiday quickly on the right note.

Our room for the first night

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