Malaysia Tourism Hunt: Arrival and Meeting New Friends

Looking outside the window, a vast land of palm trees, mountains and more palm trees slightly shrouded by a thin layer of clouds met my eyes. In roughly half an hour, we’re landing at Kuala Lumpur International Airport Terminal 1 (KLIA1). I straightened up my seat, and couldn’t help but think that weeks ago, I was in a total mess fixing my travel papers, buying a luggage, arranging a four days off from work, and getting a driver’s license (unfortunately, my pro driver’s license didn’t make it for this trip).

Alighting Malaysia Airlines flight MH0805 in KLIA1 and walking the long stretch of tiled pavement down to the conveyor belt to pick up my luggage, I knew I’m going to meet three more bloggers from the Philippines who are on the same flight as mine. I knew their names but the only thing is, I’m totally clueless how they look like as we’ve never been introduced before. How can I associate a name to face if I’ve never met them? Instinct has it. With my luggage in tow, meeting two lovely girls Sarah and Rochelle, I had a feeling that it’s them. At first it was a little awkward but seconds later, we’re all good. At the arrival gate, our ground handler was already waiting for us.

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My first ride in Kualua Lumpur was aboard the tour bus heading to our hotel together with online media and bloggers from Brunei. It was pretty long yet nice ride from the airport to downtown Kuala Lumpur on the freeway. After checking in at Corus Hotel, we took the much needed lunch at Dondang Sayang Coffeehouse. Dondang Sayang Coffeehouse at Corus Hotel offers buffet meals and you can choose from a wide array of Western and Asian cuisines. There is also a music bar adjacent to the restaurant, where a Filipino band called Music Notes performs nightly.

Our next activity is at 7pm. That means I have a few hours for myself. What better way to spend the free time? Run!

And the runner in me just activated. After unpacking a few clothes, I put on my running gear and headed to KLCC Park. Did a few loops and completed about 6 kilometres. Not bad on a humid afternoon capped by a heavy downpour! (Read related story here: The KLCC Park and The Runner in Me)

Along with other delegates, we boarded the coach heading to D’Saji Titiwangsa for the Welcome Reception and Program Briefing. While the sumptuous dinner was being served, it was also time to meet and mingle with fellow delegates of the inaugural Malaysia Tourism Hunt, a total of 40 online media and bloggers from ten ASEAN countries – Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Brunei, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia.

What surprised me a lot was that the local group of musicians actually played a Filipino classic Dahil Sa Iyo during their performance. I never felt more proud as one of the Filipino delegates. Maya from Thailand just couldn’t say no and took to the centre stage to perform with the band. And to the delight of everyone, Deputy Director General of Tourism Malaysia Dato’ Haji Azizan Noordin capped the evening with his rendition of Black Magic Woman.

From here on, I knew that six days of adventure and FUN in this country called Malaysia has just started.

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Disclaimer: This Malaysian tour was sponsored by the Malaysian government through Malaysia Tourism Hunt program.

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