Saturday, May 24, 2008

A successful drive down to Kuala Lumpur. :)

Took a 3 day trip down to Kuala Lumpur as I needed to close the bank account for the Damansara apartment. Went down with 3 friends in my Honda Edix. It was my first trip (and my car too) driving down to KL, and as you can imagine, I was pretty excited and after hearing so many horror stories about robberies in JB, frankly a little apprehensive about it too!

I picked up my friends on Monday morning and we headed down to the Tuas Second Link. Although it was Vesak Day, the traffic was relatively smooth and customs at both the Singapore and Malaysia side had several counters opened to meet the needs of the SIN- MALAYSIA travellers. It was basically a drive-through affair although we had to come out of the car once at the Tuas Checkpoint to get a thumb scan. For the higher purpose of tighter security, I thought it was quite understandable and hardly an inconvenience as it was so efficiently carried out. :)

In particular, I noted that Malaysia has done away with that annoying white immigration card that we had to fill in the past. Kudos to that!! I thought the white card was quite a pain especially since we had to keep one small part to show when we leave the country. As it was a loose piece of paper and thus relatively easy to lose, I’ve had a bad experience once of losing it (careless me) and was not-so-gently prompted by the custom officer in Malaysia to “help him out” so that he can “help me out”. Being a poor student at that time, I had to part with RM 50 dollars and would have parted with more (as I was pretty much scared shitless at that time) except that I did not have that much money with me at that time. Grrr!!! Try to make me part with my money like that again……just TRY ME!!! *takes out the punching gloves*

Anyway, I found the North South Expressway in Malaysia of good quality and well labeled. In fact, it was such a straight-forward drive, I didn’t even have to refer to the map once. The speed limit on the highway was 110km per hour and K.Ling told me that if I stick below 123km per hour, I would be OK. There were the occassional cars that were speeding around the vicinity of 140-160 km per hour and I found that if you kept out of their way, it was a basically a pleasant drive.

There were 3 toll stations along the highway and they had 3 different types of lanes depending on the payment mode: Lorong Tunai (for cash), Touch and Go(pre-paid card) and Smart Tag (that works like our erp service in Singapore with cash card services and machine and all). We spent approximately RM 70 on a one way trip. Along a stretch of 330km (between Singapore and KL), I found that pretty acceptable.

We took a break for lunch at Malacca at a famous chicken rice restaurant which was famous for their rice BALLS. (literally rice that were rolled up in small balls). It was interesting but I preferred the traditional pandan flavored chicken rice though.

Anyway, a typically 4-5 hours drive was covered in about 3 hours 30 minutes (it was easy to exceed the speed limit as the roads were clear and the roads in good repair) and with such a successful trip, I’m looking forward to another trip to Malaysia soon!

Note: The visit to the bank and developer went smoothly. It was a nice surprise since we had quite a lot of problems with them in the past but I guess after months of harassing them, they probably decided that they had enough of me and ensured everything would be sorted out before my trip down. Hooray!! A weight off my chest. :) *clap clap clap*

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