Saturday, October 1, 2011

EuroSpring 2011 - Intro

Today nak buat travelogue skit, eventhough the trips were from 4 months back. Ni cerita pasal jalan-jalan di Europe. This year I flew to Europe twice, one in spring, one in summer. I'll talk about the former here (more on the planning efforts), and do the latter in separate articles. 

Trip ke Europe ni dah lama dah dicadangkan among the 3 of us girls, Cik Shawn, Cik Yda and I. Ni semua rentetan dari our trip to Singapore on KTM masa Hari Kemerdekaan Malaysia 2008. Tapi only after I bersalin baru la we got a little more serious on the trip.

Everything started in September 2010. The first thing that we did was to purchase the flight tickets. Sebabnye, kalau sibuk planning routes sume tp tak beli tiket flight, mcm x serius aje. And since none of us was any millionaire's daughter, we had to survey for the cheapest flights.

Wing airline mane paling cantik sekali???
In searching for the best deals on flights, we found to be really really handy. You just type in your points of departure & arrival, and select the dates you'll be flying (the same way you'd do in the other airlines' websites). will then run its search over the internet on all the airlines websites and display all the flights that are flying on the dates you entered. As with other websites, you can always filter the results as you wish, eg nk sort by price ke, departure/arrival time ke, nk direct or indirect flights ke, up to you. So, rather than having 5-10 tabs on your Google Chrome to compare the prices, you just let do it for you, in one tab. Really easy peasy breezy..

Destinasi yang itu tak boleh pergi naik flight ye.. For illustration purpose only

Memandangkan kitorang nk ke Europe, flying from KL memakan masa berbelas jam, maka AirAsia was not an option. Cari punya cari punya cari, we finally found Royal Brunei Airlines to have the cheapest rates, plus the flight timing pon ngam dgn our plan. A return trip flight ticket KL-London (30 April - 15 May 2011) cost RM 2996, best kan? And since it's not AirAsia, we went to Seatguru for seat selection. Ye lah kan, if you don't like to be squeezed to the window, you can select the aisle seat. I, for one, would prefer the window seat. Walaupun susah sikit nak keluar ke loo tgh2 malam when everybody's sleeping, tapi bila nk tdo, boleh lentok kepala kat window kan? Kalau aisle seat tu, sakit leher la nanti.. Takkan nak landing kepala kat auntie sebelah kan?

Steward & stewardess RBA on duty.. Awda memang best la, cik stewardess.
My two lovely travel partners... :-) Excited!!!
But of course, since it's RBA, we had to make a short stop in Brunei airport, then transit again at Dubai, before landing at Heathrow. But still OK kan since the transit times were not more than 30 minutes each, if I remember correctly. Sempat la nak solat jap ke, kenc ke, stretch our legs ke, etc. So, kire no sweat lah..

Terasa la jugak kat bumi Arab bile tgk landskap pokok tamar dalam airport
The internet kiosk in the middle of the airport, fully 'plastered' with Citibank

RBA plus points, for me, are:
  • the seats yang lebih comfy and spacious, with larger pitch - MAS pls take note!!
  • the frequent meals (compared to the other European long-haul flight I was in.. I will review the flight in another post someday)
  • the in-flight entertainment yang best..
  • ada display arah qiblat at all times... Orang kate MAS pon ade jugak. Good feature!
  • the warm hospitality - Asians memang lemah-lembut kan?? Macam I..... erk!!
  • most importantly, walaupun tgh travel jauh beribu2 batu, but takde rasa too foreign sbb announcements were in Malay/Brunei. Boley gitu??
For this trip, we travelled to 5 countries in 2 weeks. And kat bawah ni is basically our route map.

KL - London - Amsterdam - Bruges - Munich - Prague - London - KL
Kalau tgk route tu, nampak cam kitorang pegi London 2 kali. Actually the first time tu, singgah kejap je sbb flight land kat Heathrow. Kira consider London as our entry point into Europe la. Then from London, we went to Amsterdam to start our journey.

To get to Amsterdam from London, there are a few options. By land, boleh pakai train. Amek Eurostar from London to Brussels via the Channel Tunnel, then from Brussels, just get the normal InterCity (IC) train to Amsterdam, or the high-speed Thalys. Kalau by air, senang, sbb banyak low-cost flights flying domestically around Europe. For us though, we took the overnight cruise to cross the North Sea. I'll share about that in a post on Amsterdam later.

Travelling in/around Europe is best experienced by land, at least in my opinion, as Europe is a huge piece of land where all the countries are basically neighbours. While there, train was our main mode of transportation. is a very good website, complete with information about train travel (primarily around Europe). You can also customise your train travel and get certain special passes if you're travelling to a number of neighbouring countries, from So untuk merealisasikan impian kitorang, dan selepas bersemangat after buat research segala, kitorang pon purchased the Select Pass 3 Countries from raileurope. Actually same je pon Eurail and raileurope tu. I guess kitorang beli from raileurope sbb die ade office kat Singapore and senang delivery ke Malaysia (rasanye la). Hehehe, part booking Eurail Pass ni, keje Cik Yda. So I'm not sure what's the main diff between the 2 websites.

Walaupun kitorang travelled through 4 different countries (UK tak kira sbb tak pakai Eurail Pass kat sana), tapi die kire Select Pass 3 Countries, sbb Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg) dikira sebagai satu country (sebab kecik sangat ek, tak luak minyak train tu kot). Best kan?

For accommodation and recommended places to visit, I would always check the reviews on TripAdvisor, Virtual Tourist and Lonely Planet, apart from the cities' own tourism sites ,which European cities normally do have. In fact, I pon ade gak tulis reviews kat TripAdvisor (TA) tu. ** Peringatan : Kalau reviews on hotels tu, ada gak orang hotel tu seniri tipu and write reviews konon2 dia tu one of the hotel guests and sangat berpuas hati dgn stays kat situ. Motifnye utk bagi good reviews and naikkan rating hotel tu dalam TA. So bila bace reviews, good to cross-check with other trip review websites, contohnye VirtualTourist (VT), Lonely Planet and personal reviews from bloggers.

Some cities even introduced special passes, called European City Cards, for the tourists with loads of travel benefits, mainly discounts to museums & attractions, activities, accommodations and transportations. You can check the list of cities that offer the special privileges here. We didn't buy any of them, though. :-) But I know some of them are good deals. Maybe next time la kot boleh try.

Ermmm... OK ni la serba-sedikit intro pasal trip tu, planning-wise. It took us almost a year to plan, make bookings and purchase tickets prior to the actual travel date. Ye lah, kalau beli lambat, tak dapat la price yang best2. So basically kalau budget tak setinggi langit, kene la rajin buat research and plan betul2 kalau nak travel, tak kira la ke mana2 sekalipon.

I'll write about the trips at every city later, in separate posts. Miss Princess dah bangun tido...Till then!!!

P/S : My reviews on some accommodations & restaurants in the TripAdvisor are here. Purely based on my own experiences. 



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