My anxiety as a first-timer almost escalated to panic level. So there's no such thing as overacting because sticking to reality is the name of the game here.
My anxiety as a first-timer almost escalated to panic level. So there's no such thing as overacting because sticking to reality is the name of the game here.

[Sepang, Sepang District, Selangor State, Peninsular Malaysia, West Malaysia, Malaysia]


The cabin crew announced, "Selamat datang ke Malaysia! We're now in Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2." I closed my eyes to feel this indescribable emotion hitting my limbic system now. If this is a movie, I know I'm overacting. Why? Because I just can't believe it's happening and I felt like I was the protagonist of my own novel with the rugs to riches plot. If I have to cry, I will—overacting, it is.

I didn't want to expect that I'll be capable of traveling outside the Philippines someday because I don't want to get hurt and be frustrated if it will not come to reality. But now it's happening. So just imagine that—getting something you badly wanted when you least expect it. Bliss!
At Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2
The plane landed to terrestrial ▼ MALAYSIA. IT was more than an hour late from the expected time of arrival that was emailed to me when I booked the flight; so the planned itinerary I printed on a bond paper was ruined for the very first hour.

The airport is really big. Malaysia's successful industry in aviation is inspiring. Due to heavy traffic in their airport, Malaysia built two airports under one code (KUL). KLIA2 was made for low-cost airlines and AirAsia—a Malaysia-based airline—seemed to be the favored airline here (well this is just me because I saw a lot of AirAsia planes here).

Of course, I tend to compare between anything I see here in Malaysia and the ▼ PHILIPPINES. In terms of airport, Malaysia won this time for its big, organized and busy airport. NAIA is nice too though. But KL has transformed to be one of Asia's busiest low-cost airline hubs—flying to many destinations more than any other city in Asia could offer. Indeed, it's so inspiring.

KLIA2 has a mall called gateway@klia2 that serves as a one-stop shop for almost everything you need. It was not my thing though. Food, goods and services here are quite expensive. It's all about the convenience.

The next thing I should do is to face the immigration officer. This part is where everything sank into reality—the reality that I'm no longer in the Philippines after couple of minutes of disbelief that I'm already outside my beloved country. I said it sank to reality because I'm seeing an unusually huge crowd of Indians. I've never seen a big crowd of Indians like this before in a public place. Some are Chinese though and there's also a big group of white men. I am only seeing a few people with the same features as me so I'm starting to feel that I'm a foreigner.

For a first-timer like me, I was nervous. I didn't know what are the things the immigration officer should ask. Remember, in the Episode 01 of this series, I almost didn't pass the stringent requirements of the Philippine immigration officers for me to leave the country. Right now, I am so afraid they might see something inside my bag that may forbid me in entering Malaysia. Well, all I know is that I didn't bring any illegal drugs, smuggled goods or anything self-incriminating but I was paranoid that someone—a member of a syndicate—might have inserted something so that I may bribe them for freedom's sake or collect a fee from me. I really was a paranoid lad and please don't tell me I'm overacting because this is no longer inside the airplane where I can imagine my own fairy tale and fantasize. This is no longer a day-dream zone. It's already a zone where I need to have presence of mind, be smart and alert. I'm now inside a territory I do not call my home and I only have two choices: be a loser or a winner. My anxiety as a first-timer almost escalated to panic level. So there's no such thing as overacting—like in the fictitious movie created by my imagination back in the cabin—because sticking to reality is the name of the game here.

There were 6 counters with long queues as far as I remember. I joined one of the longest queues. I can actually queue myself to the shorter line but I thought the long line was extra special that's why it's long so I joined them. I've warned myself to prioritize safety and for security reasons, I have to go where most people go.

For a change of heart, I saw two ASEAN lanes with shorter queue. Amazing! The Malaysian immigration bureau recognizes the importance of its neighbors. My ASEAN pride prevailed over paranoia. I joined the shorter ASEAN queue with conviction that I was safe here. I looked back the long line where I came from and I realized that majority of them were white people.

It's my turn already and the immigration officer I faced looked like an Indian and I can see how stressing his job was yet he stayed cool and fresh. Anyway, he requested me to show my passport and asked how many days I'm going to stay in their country. He checked my passport. Afterwards, he looked to me eye to eye for a few seconds. Maybe he was making sure that I was the right person on the photo in my passport. It was pretty seamless and less taxing compared to my experience in ▼ METRO MANILA's immigration bureau. I was allowed to enter Malaysia and my passport was stamped!
Leaving the Airport and Getting Ringgits
I've researched greatly for this trip so I was aware that there are couches going to KL Sentral from KLIA 2. I also booked a hotel that is near the train stations to save time. So from KLIA2, I looked for the way out of the airport terminal.

On my way, I was looking for an ATM where I could withdraw Malaysian notes (ringgit). I asked another Indian security guard where was the ATM machine and he politely pointed the direction where should I go. I chose the HSBC and the machine told me I'm not going to be charged by this transaction even though I was using a bank card issued outside this country. How nice HSBC! However, it later warned me that my own bank could charge me for a transaction done outside the Philippines.

Before this trip, I've called all the banks that issued my bank cards regarding possible charges in every transaction I'll be making outside the Philippines. For UnionBank, they do not charge. So I didn't have to spend an extra buck here. I withdrew some ringgits and this was my first time to handle such.

After getting ringgit notes, I saw a booth that sold bus tickets so I inquired there if I could get a seat to KL Sentral.

I was starting to get nervous again yet quite excited. I grew up and lived my entire life in the province so I have a relative phobia of big cities like ▼ #MANILAMANILA—a city where street crimes and pickpockets are plenty. Sorry, but as a child then living in the province, this is the image of Manila our local culture wanted us to believe. Whenever someone from our town travels to Manila, elders would always warn them to be aware of pickpockets and avoid walking on the streets because of the presence of drug and hold-up syndicates. Also, the movies of FPJ and Lito Lapid have become a part of local culture. Their movies back in the 90's would make every premier night a blockbuster hit in our local cinemas (before we have Consuelo, TAJ and Lyric). Their action movies would always portray Manila as a place for kidnappers, killers, drug syndicates and notorious gangsters. So don't blame me. As a person who grew up in ▼ #VIGAN and never lived in Manila, this is the image of Manila registered in my mind since then and it never changed.

Anyway, I was entering another metropolis! Boom! What I'm doing here??! Ginusto ko ito eh. For ▼ #KUALALUMPUR, I don't want to judge this city the way I judge Manila (as I explained above, my judgment of Manila is personal, cultural and subjective: Mañilenos don't hate me for this—however, I'm learning to love Manila).

Thinking how I would roam around this city the moment I'd leave this airport was stressing me. It's a big city and I'm not accustomed exploring a concrete jungle. But like most of my travels in the Philippines, I have to enter Manila first because it is my gateway to the many destinations in the south. For Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur is my gateway. My main fear here was getting lost—and the fact that in case of emergency, there's no one I know whom I can ask for help. Be good to me Kuala Lumpur. Please be good to this old-fashioned traveler who usually ditch big cities. I hope we can be good friends. I hope I'll find peace of mind in your arms. I hope you'll let me feel loved. I'm entering into a short relationship with you and I hope this is worth it. See you! | to be continued... |

CHAPTER 01CHAPTER 02
CHAPTER 01 SUMMARY: ▼ Five (5) Tourist Stops (Not Spots) to Spice Your DIY Itinerary Below 24 Hours in KL

If you loaded this page expecting for tourist attractions to see in less than 24 hours in Kuala Lumpur, I'm sorry to disappoint you but this is not a story of tourist spots but tourist stops. Yeah, stop here, stop there, stop everywhere.



✈ EPISODE 01: ▼ Flying from Metro Manila to Kuala Lumpur with Drama in Between

I was shaking, quite speechless for outspoken words but the voice within me is speaking too much that it's so hard to handle...



✈ EPISODE 02: ► Travel Drama in Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2)

✈ EPISODE 03: ▼ KLIA2 to KL Sentral by Bus: My First Land Travel Outside PH

I was showing physical awestruck signs overtly while inside the bus because I was seeing different races. There are Malays, Indians, Chinese, black and white men. This country is so multicultural! This is my first bus ride in Malaysia!



✈ EPISODE 04: ▼ Reaching KL Sentral and How I Acted Dumb Stupid

You may not believe this but I felt so ignorant about this. There's no train station in our province so encountering a self-service machine like this in actual setting is new to me.



✈ EPISODE 05: ▼ KL Sentral to Bukit Bintang: My First Train Ride Outside PH

The monorail runs overground. I saw the city of Kuala Lumpur in a general perspective up close—the modern skyline, the lush parks, the mosques, the busy roads and the residential areas. I enjoyed it.



✈ EPISODE 06: ▼ Lorong 1/77a: of Endings and First Times

This street was where I ended my first day in Malaysia but it served as the rendezvous of my many first-time experiences and encounters so it meant so much for me.


Coming Soon!

BLOGSERYE 03 SUMMARY: ▼ MALAYSIA-THAILAND BACKPACKING + MOTORBIKE RIDING FOR THE FIRST TIME OUTSIDE PHINDOCHINA

As a millennial, this is not conforming to the 'trend'—doing it because your friend do it. For me traveling is a form of continuous education. No masteral and doctoral degree could ever teach you the way traveling does.



Map Showing the Location of #Sepang

MAP OF SEPANG
► FOOTNOTES, DISCLAIMERS, ACKNOWLEDGMENT, ETC

[1] The above story is the Episode 02 of Blogserye 3.

[2] This post was filed under the category "Airport Tales." See more posts related to this below.


[3] The maps I used on this post are from Wikipeda.

[4] The insights, condition and name of places or properties I mentioned here are based on the facts and situation on the day of my visit. Take note that you may have a different experience when you try or see the properties or places mentioned here. Names of places and properties may also change by time so it's not my responsibility to update all the information on this blog because once published, I already consider it an archive and I won't update my narratives because I want them to become my references of what have happened in the past. I'm very particular of the dates because I want my amazing readers to understand that I am writing stories based on my perspective and insights on the day of my visit. You can see dates almost everywhere on this blog. Exempted from this rule are my travel guide posts that need to be updated.

LATEST STORIES COVERING #SEPANG | SEE ALL #SEPANG STORIES »

MORE STORIES COVERING SELANGOR | SEE OLDER STORIES »

MORE FROM THIS CATEGORY (AIRPORT TALES)
SEE OLDER STORIES COVERING 'AIRPORT TALES' »

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SPEAK YOUR HEART OUT. C'MON! DON'T BE SHY. I PROMISE TO REPLY EXCEPT FOR TROLLS.

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EDMAR GUQUIB

Born and Raised in Vigan, Philippines. Hardcore Ilocano. Genuine Bigueño. Sucker of Long Land Trips. Loves the Highlands. Professional Nurse on Weekdays. Coffee Addict. Travel Blogger in Between. For sponsorship, advertising, event invites and collaborations email me at edmaration@gmail.com.

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