I woke up at around 5:30AM, took a shower and drink a cup of tea and butter toast which I bought from Singapore and made in the Philippines. Yeah, you read it right. I check-out at the hotel at 6:15AM and waited a taxi going to Senai International Airport. I waited for 45 minutes in the road and there was no taxi. I almost cried because I’m afraid I will be late in my flight to Kuala Lumpur. I prayed God to let somebody guide me where to wait for a cab. When I’m about to give up, I turned around to get my bag and going back to the hotel to let them help me, one taxi stop with two male passengers inside asking me where I will be going. I did not answer the driver’s question since he has passengers but he insisted where I want to go. Even one of the passengers asked so I said I’m going to Senai. The driver said, “Oh no, go to the other side of the road.” So, that was an answered prayer. Now again, I’m asking for a kind taxi driver to send me to the airport in a safe but fast driving because my boarding time is 7:45 and it’s already 7:00 AM. Fifteen minutes later, I saw a taxi coming but with passenger inside, female in front this time. The driver passed a few feet from me but he stop and drive backward towards me. He asked where I want to go, I have no choice but to answer him to Senai and he let me in.
The passenger in front turns out to be his wife where he will drop a few meters away. He asked what time is my flight and I said 8:25 but I have to be board at 7:45. Time check was 7:20 and he said he needs to drive fast so that I won’t be late.
On our journey, he asked why I stayed in Kulai. I told him that as per internet information and as far as the hotel receptionist is concerned, airport is only a twenty-minute ride from the hotel. This is what the driver said while I was patiently listening:
“Do you know that Kulai is a dangerous place in Johor Bahru? That is the place where snatchers-in-motorbike snatch your bag while you are walking. JB Sentral is safer and you can get a lot of taxi that takes you to the airport. Believe me, I’m a taxi driver for 27 years and I know the places in Malaysia.” (He gives me his number just in case I will be back in Malaysia and need his service. He said he also has a van for a group ride around Malaysia. Just in case you need a taxi or van service for a tour in Malaysia, you can contact him directly. His name is Kumar 0127929105).
Wow! I was stunned for a while, not able to talk with what I heard. That is why when I waited a taxi, there were some vehicle that slows down in my place where I stood and even one of the vehicle beep twice. I know somebody’s with me because not one vehicle stops in front of me except the taxi which I asked to guide me. Lesson learned: HAVE FAITH AND PRAY THAT THEY WILL GUIDE YOU AND BE WITH YOU WHEREVER YOU ARE.
7:30 AM – We arrived at the airport and the driver asked for a fare of MYR45 (USD14.96). He did not use the meter and I did not bother as long as I can reach the airport on time. I don’t have a change so I gave him MYR100 (USD52.22) and I asked for a change of MYR50.00. He gave me MYR40 (USD13.30) because he said he doesn’t have a change. Well, what can I do? I just consider that one as a tip.
We arrived at KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport) at 8:55AM, ten minutes ahead of our expected time of arrival. I went to the bus counter to buy a ticket going to Puduraya Terminal where I will be going for a bus to Butterworth. The ticket from airport to Puduraya cost me MYR4.00 (USD1.33). When I sit inside the bus, the driver always stares at me. I seated near the door, near the bus driver because I wanted him to drop me at the Puduraya Terminal. I need to be there at 11:15AM because the bus will leave at 11:30AM going to Penang. I still have 2 hours to arrive in Puduraya. Suddenly, the driver asked me, “Pinay ka ba?” (Are you Filipina?). I smiled and said yes. He told me he was hesitant to ask at first because I looked like Chinese but move like a Filipina. Then we talked and he even gave me a coke in can.
The bus in the information states that it will leave at 9:30AM and when its 9:35 it still didn’t leave, I asked the driver what time it will leave. He said in 10 minutes. Hmmm… the bus was star shuttle but it was not a star for me because it leaves at 10AM. The driver said the travel time from KLIA to Puduraya is one hour. We arrived in Puduraya Terminal at 11:15AM. I move fast to go to the counter and she said I need to hurry downstairs after she exchange my online booking for a ticket. By the way, you can book online here: www.busonlineticket.com. The ticket cost me MYR34.65 (USD11.52) and traveling in Yakin BG Express bus. As per internet information, bus traveling time from Puduraya Terminal to Butterworth will be around 4 hours to 4 and a half hour. So, I was expecting to arrive in Butterworth at around 3-3:30PM.
We passed by at Ipoh and I was amazed by the mountain rock. Line and line of rocky mountain with a temple below was enough to awaken my sleepy eyes.
We arrived in Penang terminal (but I was not expecting to stop here as I booked online from Puduraya terminal to Butterworth) at around 5:30PM. Yes, 5:30PM! I was a bit groggy when I stood up and asked the driver, “Is this Butterworth?” The driver said, “You are going to Butterworth?”, with two-big-round-eyes. I said, “Yes, this is what my ticket says.” He then angrily said, “We already stopped in the highway and I shouted that those who will go to Butterworth, go down to change bus.” I feel like, “OMG, what happened?” I feel like going to yell at him and said, “How would I know since you shouted in Malay and Tamil language at that time?” Surely, I heard the word Butterworth but I did not mind because I did not understand. I told to myself, “Okay, never mind, relax, breath deeply.” I did that and sat for a while feeling exhausted. Lesson learned: IF YOU HEAR THE DRIVER SHOUTING AND YOU HEAR THE PLACE WHERE YOU ARE GOING BUT IN THEIR OWN SWEET LANGUAGE, STAND AND ASK!
Since I am already in Penang, I was thinking that it’s easy to go to Butterworth. I approached to the counter and asked:
Me: “Excuse me, is there a bus here going to Butterworth?”
Counter: “Yes, take bus 407.”
Me: “How many minutes will it take me to go there?”
Counter: “Twenty minutes.”
Me: “Is there a bus from Butterworth to Batu Firringhi?”
Counter: “No, take a bus to Butterworth then take a jetty then another bus to Batu Firringhi.”
I feel like saying, “Okay fine.” I sat down, think for a while when an old man in his broom sat beside me and talking in Malay. I don’t understand his question but I answered Batu Firringhi. It was like a light switch on my brain and I immediately stood up and go back to the counter and asked, again:
Me: “Excuse me, is there a direct bus from here to Batu Firringhi?”
Counter: “Yes, take bus 102.”
Me: “Oh thank you! (feeling alive again). How many minutes it will take me there?”
Counter: “40 to 45 minutes.”
Me: “How much is the fare?”
Counter: (Feeling annoyed) “I don’t know. Ask the driver.” (Taray!)
So here comes bus 102 in fifteen minutes of waiting and it costs me MYR4.00 (USD1.33) for 1 hour and 15 minutes ride! I arrived at Shalini’s Guesthouse in Batu Firringhi at almost 7PM. I put down my bag, took out my cam, head down to the beach which is only 5 minutes walk from Shalini’s and look for a restaurant where I can eat. By the way, when I leave the hotel in Kulai, I ate one pack of butter toast and a cup of tea. That was my breakfast which I am not used to because I always have a heavy breakfast every day. Remember my hectic schedule so I don’t have time to eat. This is where biscuits and water at hand are very useful. I don’t have lunch either, only another pack of butter toast. Thanks to Marky’s butter toast, it keeps me full and alive, hehehe.
At the restaurant, I’ve got a very good view of the sunset. The food which I ordered (Sweet and sour fish and a can of coke) costs me MYR20.00 (USD6.65). Since I am very hungry, the food taste very good (though it was just a normal taste) plus the view was awesome!
Sunset at Batu Firringhi:
The sky is burning:
Shalini’s guesthouse is like a home away from home. The rooms don’t have an air-condition but it was windy since I booked with a room with window and I kept it open when I am inside but be sure to close it when you are going out. There was an attached toilet and bathroom (shared) outside the room. You must have your own towel as they don’t provide you one. Every time I move around my bed, it will give a crack sound. Not a good type of bed. It’s only a place to sleep. Do not expect anything as it is a guesthouse. Good for backpackers on low budget, anyway. Location of the place is highly recommended.
And their dog named Gizmo: