Istanbul – November 2015
Continuing on from Rome, I was off on another airplane. After an amazing, albeit short, flight on Turkish Airways, I arrived in Istanbul.
Istanbul has always seemed like such an impossible place to go. I’m not sure why it’s seemed so much further away than the rest of Europe, but it has. Turkey has always seemed more foreign and mysterious to me, but I was glad to finally have the chance to explore a new country. I had 3 days to run around the city and see the sights, including going to a new continent!
So after spending a few days in Singapore I had about 5 days to make it up to Kuala Lumpur for my flight to Sydney. My original plan was to take the overnight train from Singapore to KL, but it turns out they had stopped the direct service about a month before my trip 😦
I had heard about Melaka (Malacca), a small town on the coast about half way between the two cities. It is a UNESCO world heritage city due to the history of the town; it has changed hands multiple times due to the strategic location on the coast. The town itself is quite small, but it seemed like a great place to spend a night and break up the trip a bit.
After getting through customs, I walked over to get my car into the city. I’m pretty sure I’m one of the only people who flies first class and then stays at a hostel! The driver had not heard of the place I was staying, but I think it’s also fairly new. After stashing my bags and checking in with the happenings on the interwebs, I went for an exploratory walk around the city. I was staying in Chinatown, so fairly close to the center of things. I was able to walk down to the Marina Bay and did an entire circle of the bay, including the Merlion!
Upon returning to my hostel I was able to check in and got settled in my “bunk” at the Adler Luxury Hostel. The set up is a cross between a pod hotel and a hostel. The beds are quite wide and have a fair amount of room to move around. There is also a locker and some shelves within your “pod” and a heavy duty curtain that keeps the light out. It does have a tendency to get a but stuffy because the curtain also blocks air circulation, but that didn’t stop me from accidentally having a nap… Oops.
The next part of my adventure would take me to Singapore. The only time I’ve ever been to Asia before would be in Turkey and the UAE, not what most people think of when you say Asia; usually most people go with either China/Japan or Southeast Asia. This time I’d be smack dab in the middle of Southeast Asia! No doubt about it 🙂
I arrived at the Emirates terminal (at DXB the terminals are Emirates and everyone else…) and saw signs towards the first/business check in and started walking… And walking… And went through to what seemed to be an entirely separate terminal dedicated for first and business class check in. There were a few desks open so I walked up and asked if I could get a printed version of my boarding pass (I’d managed to check in online earlier that morning). A few seconds later I was handed my boarding pass and directed towards the gates. After a quick trip through passport control and security it was time to head to the lounge. My flight was leaving out of B12, which is not the new, super fancy, A380 terminal, so I headed towards the B gates and went to find my lounge. At the A gates, the first class lounge in the entire terminal with lots of duty free shops. Terminal B is quite a bit smaller, covering about half of the gates, B13 and higher. I entered the lounge and walked around for a bit before finding the spa and checking to see if my massage appointment was confirmed. Turns out they’d booked it for 7 am instead of pm, but the attendant was able to switch it for me to 7pm.
That left me with a bit of time to relax and have a glass of wine. Continue reading