Travel: Firstcoach

Over the June holidays, we brought the kids to Kuala Lumpur to have a short getaway. We had initially wanted to go back to Sunway Lagoon, but decided to forgo it as we did not have enough time.

This time round, we did not drive up as my SIL is not willing to drive for 5 hours so we took a coach instead. It was the kids first experience on the coach.

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At the recommendation of a relative who travels frequently between Singapore and KL, we decided to try out Firstcoach. And we are glad we made the right choice! Here are the reasons why:

  • Safe.  When travelling to KL, hubby got to take the first row of the coach and he monitored the coach driver throughout the ride (as much as he can). He noticed that the driver never exceeds 100km/hr. It may seem slow, but for such a big and heavy vehicle with so many passengers, I will rather be slow than not reaching my destination at all *Choy!*. We also noticed that there were 2 drivers each time on both our rides (to and fro). And they took turn to drive the coach ensuring they are not tire out from the long journey. (P.S. This is the first time we took this coach and this is what we noticed, we are not sure if it is the same for all the drivers and rides.)
  • Clean.  We also noticed that the coach was quite clean and neat, which is very important when you are trapped in that vehicle for so many hours.
  • Entertaining.  Each of the seat comes with their own entertainment system but you have to bring your own ear phones. Compared to airplanes, the selection were definitely lesser. There are about 6 shows in each category. And there is a category for “cartoon” and another for “family”, enough to keep my elder 2 entertained.
  • Thoughtful.  I noticed 3 pin power socket below the window for each row of seats. This means you can plug your charger in and charge up your devices anytime. No worries of running out of “juice”.
  • Friendly Drivers.  You know how you travel with young kids, a moment ago you asked them if they need to pee, they say no. And like an hour later, they told you they are very urgent. Well, it happened to my SIL and she had to asked the driver if he could pull over at the next resting point. Which they gladly did without much complains. But we feel bad for causing delay to other passengers.
  • Convenient.  It happens that this trip we are staying at the Bandar Utama area. The drop off point for the coach happens to be the hotel that we will be staying. So its really convenient for us.

Of course there are disadvantages:

  • Slow.  It took us a whopping 7 hours to reach KL! The bus left Novena at 8am, and we only reach KL like 3pm. There was queue at the Singapore and Malaysia customs but I think we manage to clear both within an hour. However, we probably chose a bad time to take the coach and was caught in heavy traffic along Singapore expressway while trying to get to Tuas Second Link. On our return leg, we left KL at 8am and cleared the Singapore custom by 12pm. That was really fast but unfortunately we waited at the custom for an hour because of an irresponsible passenger who left without informing the driver (another downside of taking coach).
  • No lunch break.  As our coach ride to KL was 8am, we had thought the coach will stop for a lunch break in between. We were wrong. The coach only stop for a short toilet break and there was no decent food for sale at the area. However, when we were coming back from KL, the coach did stop at an area with hawker and fast food. But we were given only 20 mins, which isn’t enough for us to go for toilet break and eat, especially with the kids. So Chubby actually da bao (packed) KFC on board. He wasn’t stopped by the driver but I felt a little pai seh because of the smell.
  • Reclining affects other passengers.  The chairs can be reclined to an angle where it will be diffcult for the passenger behind to get in and out of their seat. Fortunately for me, the kids were infront of us, so we are not affected. And I tried to be considerate and not recline my chair too much. I have taken a coach many years back to Genting, where the seat was really comfortable and the the reclining does not affect other passengers. Unfortunately, it wasn’t available in this coach.

At the end of the trip I asked the kids if they prefer to take a car or coach to KL. The answer was obviously coach as they can watch to their heart content. For me, I still prefer the car. Maybe because I’m not the driver. But I feel its easier to manage the kids, especially the littlest as he could be belted to the car seat. And the interaction while in the car is part of the family bonding for road trips. Besides, the time saved would mean we have more time to explore KL.

How about you? Do you prefer to drive up or take a coach? Share with us your views.

 

KL2013: Shangri-La Hotel KL

During our visit to Malaysia KL back in August, we stayed in the Shangri-La hotel (erm.. Yah, I’m so back dated in my post).

Location
I was kind of being misled by Google maps into believing that Shangri-La KL is at the heart of Bukit Bantang. Only to reach there and realize that it’s a few BTS stops away and KLCC is a good 15 minutes walk away. So we were “stranded” in a middle of nowhere.

The road sign near Shangri-La KL stating the directions and distance to the landmarks.
The road sign near Shangri-La KL stating the directions to the landmarks.

Although the location wasn’t so ideal, the hotel itself was still pretty good.

Price
We booked through Agoda and paid SGD488.9 for the executive room with extra bed for 2 nights. There is a king size bed which fits our little family of four comfortably and the extra bed is for the helper. Housing everybody in one room makes it’s easier for us. Do note that the price doesn’t come with breakfast as I was told by my friends that we should go out to have breakfast while in KL.

Room

The interior of  Shangri-La KL executive room.
The interior of Shangri-La KL executive room.

The room is quite spacious as seen in the pic. We chose the executive room partly because it comes with bath tub, which is a must for the kids as they simply love bathing in huge bathtub.

The kids enjoying their bubble bath in the bathtub.
The kids enjoying their bubble bath in the bathtub.

Looking at their smiles while having the bath is all worth to pay the little extra more each day.

We placed the extra bed to the right of the bed so we can keep the arm chair, and there is more space for the kids to run around.

The armchair beside the window became the boy favorite spot for his morning milk.
The armchair beside the window became the boy favorite spot for his morning milk.

The room also come with free Wi-Fi and daily fruits. The boy fell in love with dragon fruit because of this.

As for the view, ours was really bad. It was facing some construction site. My parents were the lucky ones who at least got the pool view.

Views from our room
Views from our room

Swimming Pool
Swimming pool is very important when you have young kids who love water. We took the kids down for a dip on one of the afternoon. There is a simple children pool which the kids have fun just splashing water and an adult pool where we bring them for a short while to really kick and “swim”. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my phone with me to take pictures.

Breakfast
As mention, our room doesn’t come with free breakfast. But on the last morning, Chubby decide to indulge and the two of us went for their buffet breakfast while we leave the helper and kids with my parents. Well, let the photos show you the spread.

Buffet Breakfast @ Shangri-La KL: Pastries
Buffet Breakfast @ Shangri-La KL: Pastries
Buffet Breakfast @ Shangri-La KL: Local and Western Spread
Buffet Breakfast @ Shangri-La KL: Local and Western Spread
Buffet Breakfast @ Shangri-La KL
Buffet Breakfast @ Shangri-La KL
And more spread at the Buffet
And more spread at the Buffet
And even more of the spread
And even more of the spread

As seen from the photos the selection of food is really huge. Some of the food was nice, some couldn’t make it. But the mere enjoyment of selecting food and not bothered by kids just make the whole experience enjoyable (opps).

Overall we enjoyed our stay at Shangri-La KL. The service was good. The place was well furnish, if only the location was better. And if they can make it more child friendly like having some kids playroom it will be perfect. Hahaha asking for to much?

Have you stayed in Shangri-La KL before? What’s your thoughts? Or do you have other family friendly hotel to recommend in KL? Drop me a comment. T.I.A.