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Saturday, June 17, 2017

14D13N Self-Drive Melbourne, Sydney & Brisbane (Part I)

with 4 Khoos, 1 Kang, 3 Shas, 1 Phor, 1 Koay and 1 Chan.
on 22 May - 4 June 2017.

Recently, we went on a 2-weeks long holiday in Australia and managed to cover three beautiful cities; Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. 

I felt that 2-weeks of holiday was kinda long to get away from work and life's familiarity but I also loved the idea of making new experiences and get away from all kinds of stress (in our case, trying to get pregnant again). We decided that we will let things happen according to God's timing. I mean from the beginning, we have always enjoyed doing life together but ever since we lost our baby, we realized that we have become more (sort of) 'obsessed' with getting pregnant again. 

We really want to get rid of that 'obsession' and just enjoy life again at our own pace. We believe that when God feels that the timing is right again, my egg and his swimmers will be at it. So, we're not too worried anymore. This vacation took our minds off from this 'pressure' and boy, it felt good. 

And now, let's get to business. 

This trip was planned almost a year ahead of time because we needed to get the cheapest flight there (no, low cost carriers were never in the discussion because comfort is priority heh). 

Actually right, Australia was never in the picture until we had to re-schedule our New Zealand trip because the ticket price per person to NZ was about RM3,500. That's crazy. 

So, we decided that this time we will go to Australia and keep New Zealand for 2019 (everyone needs more time to save). 

Being the typical Asian we are, of course we cannot just go to a city since we're already paying so much to OZ, so might as well cover as many cities as we can. #kiasu

We wanted to only visit Melbourne and Sydney but I insisted that we go Brisbane because Mr Teng is there and he would kill me with his bare hands if I fly to Australia and not find him. So, we managed to squeeze Brissy in and extend few more days. 

After spending a lot of time on Skyscanner (highly recommended to download this app that tracks all airline's prices and gives you the cheapest including low cost carriers!), we finally were able to get a fairly good deal with SilkAir & Singapore Airlines at the price of RM2,300 per adult. The normal price is about RM3,000 and above.

So, we got the tickets with Holiday Tours & Travel Penang (my ex company - best travel agent in the world please). 

Next, accommodations. 

Of course we opted for Airbnb. There were 9 adults, 1 kid and 1 infant so if we stay in a hotel, we will go bankrupt before the trip even begins. Hah. More details on the Airbnbs on separate posts because there's just too many to squeeze all information /photos onto 1 post.

Next, we monitored on the car rentals because we have planned to drive from Melbourne to Sydney then to Brisbane. It sounded insane at first because everyone said so and because Google Maps showed up the real distance but we wanted to experience the international-driving so road-trip it is. 

My sister found out about the relocation deals where sometimes the car rental company will only charge $1 for the entire car (excluding petrol). So, we took turns to monitor closely to get these deals. We didn't confirm this until like the week before we were supposed to fly.

In the end, we managed to rent a relocation car from Melbourne to Brissy for only $1! That feeling so syiok!

Without further ado, we shall go straight to it.

TWENTY-FIRST OF MAY

Obviously we were all sleepless and excited because we've only got less than 24 hours to the big holiday! 

I only started packing this very night and the next morning. Thankful that our flight was a noon/evening flight, so not so bad. 

It was a no Monday-blue kinda Sunday, so syiok. 

TWENTY-SECOND OF MAY
PENANG-SINGAPORE-MELBOURNE

I spent my morning at home finalized all the packing while Koay went to office to work for few hours. Since all of us lives on different part of the island, we took Uber rides separately. Gone are those days when you need to get someone to fetch you to/from the airport. With Uber/Grabcar, everything so convenient now. 

Actually I just remembered that our Uber driver that afternoon was my mother in law because she wasn't working that day. Thankful for my mother in law and if I start talking about her, it's going to be a post by itself. Heh. 

We decided to get to airport earlier so that we could enjoy the access to the Plaza Premium Lounge. Now before you go off thinking that we some kind of VIP or rich people, don't. Let me tell you how you can get access to this lounge. 

First, you need to go get yourself a credit card from Ambank and do supplementary cards to the rest of your clan (maximum: 3 supp cards I think). We found out that we have 2 times access to the Plaza Premium Lounge per year with their credit card so we decided to make full use of it. 

It's complimentary okay!

Of course there are higher tiers kind of credit card that will give you more times of access to the lounge (selected airports worldwide) according to which one that you qualify to apply. For our case, we only have Ambank so yeah. Kids go in for free. 

Once you're in there, everything you order and take from the fridge is free - Malaysians favorite F word. I love the feeling of being in there. It's quiet (until we went in) and cosy and cold. Worth the hassle of doing paperwork and applying for Ambank's credit card! 


Penang - Singapore // MI 351 (SilkAir) // 6:00pm-7:25pm (1 hours 25 minutes)

Mini TV on board - not available
Refreshments & free flow drinks - yasss


Upon arrival at Changi Airport, we rushed to the Shop 2 Changi Information Counter because if you fly with SilkAir or Singapore Airlines or Air New Zealand, you are entitled a $20 cash voucher to be used at Changi. It's called Changi Transit Programme

Changi Airport is really big so with the little time that we had before our next flight to Melbourne, we walked really fast and kept asking people on the direction. No time to get lost please. Have to change to Terminal 3 some more.

We decided to use the $20 cash voucher when we come back so got more time to walk around. Hah.


Just get to the counter and pass to them your passport and boarding pass. Withi a minute, you will have in your hand the sweet $20 cash voucher. Yass to free shopping! 

After getting all our vouchers, we walked really fast to our next boarding gate - thought they were going to call us on the loud speakers. Turns out, they haven't even ushered the first class travelers in yet. 


Singapore - Penang // SQ 227 (Singapore Airlines) // 9:15pm-6:40am (7 hours 25 minutes)

Entertainment on board: Yes (though quite worn and used)
Meals: Dinner and breakfast (got menu some more)
Hot towel: yass
Pillows & blanket: yass
Earphones: yass
A set of toothbrush, eye pads and socks: yass







Both my parents preferred the food served on Cathay Pacific Airlines on our last year's family trip to Korea, but I like this one better. They gave us a menu each so we knew what we were going to have even before they start wheeling out the trolleys. 

For dinner:
Appetizer - Coleslaw salad with bay scallop & bread roll and spread
Main Course - Stir fried Sliced Chicken with ginger and spring onion, vegetables & chicken rice OR Beef Goulash accompanied with seasonal vegetables and garlic mashed potatoes.
Dessert - Flavors of Singapore Ice-Cream

For breakfast: Seasonal fresh fruit & bread roll and spread

Of course kids meals are very different from ours, more fun and snack-ish. Ohh and infant also get meals okay. They baby food. They gave 3 bottles of Heinz puree and Daryl loved all of it. Tam chiak to the max.


Vanessa wanted to sit by the window because she wanted to capture the sunrise shots (expected time of arrival is 6:00am-ish), but little did she know that it's 6:00am in OZ but 4:00am in Malaysia. What sunrise? Hah.

I shall continue with more updates soon once all photos are auto-corrected. Heh. 

Till then, bye now. 

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