Friday, April 29, 2011

Namaste India Pt. 2

Our plane is expected to stop at Jammu for transit before proceeding to Srinagar. After taking off from IGIA for about 30 minutes, the pilot made a special announcement. "Due to some technical problem with the plane, we'll have to return back to IGIA, Delhi because there is no technician in Jammu". Everyone kept silence for a moment until refreshment and lunch was served. That diverted passengers from getting worry for a short while. But it was a quick serving as the plane was about to land in about 30 minutes. Not much choice of food  were given. We were served vegetarian food.
Even though everyone were busy eating, I can tell most of the passenger were still worrying. I watch some of the guys stop the Chief Steward to find out the problem. I did too, but they didn't seems to have any answer. They say it's just a slight problem, and only the pilots knows about it.
Even though my sons were making some jokes in the plane, I can tell they were just as worrying too. It was  scarier when the engine starts to make loud noise about 10 minutes later. Looking at the condition of the plane, you can tell it is a very old plane, maybe more than 20 years because the color of the interior already turn yellowish instead of white.
Thanks God somehow our plane landed safely at IGIA. We waited inside the plane while a team of technicians try to repair something. It was quite sometime that my son insisted a reason from the stewardess about the plane. The stewardess replied that she is not sure. He was annoyed and raised his voice that if the plane is not safe, we should changed the plane. 2 hours later, they decide to ship us to another plane.

We arrived Srinagar Airport late that evening. After passing the customs check point, we were approached by some plain cloths police personnel. They recognize us as foreigner from our outlook. We are obviously the only alien out of the whole lot. The Man who claim that he is the CID says it is the standard procedures for all foreigners to fill the form, and asked us to be quick as we are the last batch to arrive at the airport. No photography allowed at the airport. He escorted us to our hotel representative who were there waiting to received us at the exit. Latif is the name of the hotel representative from New Star Boat House at Dai Lake. Everything was quick and rush. It was police and soldiers everywhere from outside the airport and all the way to the Dai Lake. Our first impression about Srinagar ? Since there are tight securities everywhere, it's really a terrorist state and unsafe. The old buildings which is uncompleted and unpainted most of them, it's people and soildiers hoilding guns, Srinagar does remind me of Afghanistan as seen on TV back home.  
But everything gets better and the feeling of relief as we approached tourist area especially at the Dai Lake with so many boats awaiting. Our tour starts after our check-in at New Star Boat House that evening.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Namaste India Pt. 1

Before our departure, many friends warned us about India. The most common one is the unhygienic street food and lack of public toilets. Friends told me  people do their big job at the road side and street food is extremely dirty. Because of many advice, I brought along lots of medicine and wet tissues in case of emergency. We left Kota Bharu by Malaysian Airline for KLIA. We arrive KLIA just in time for lunch at the KLIA food court before taking the airport bus to LCCT which cost us RM$2.50 per person for a direct trip for about 30 minutes journey. It didn't take long for us to wait for the next Air Asia X flight to Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi as we were over excited for the trip. Our flight took of as schedule at about 5.30 pm.
India is 2.5 hours ahead of Malaysia. Our flight landed about 8.30 pm ( Indian time). Upon arrival, everything was fine and Indira Gandhi IA was absolutely huge and a beautiful complex. Everything seems fine except for some stringent security check.    
After collecting our luggage, we move around the airport arrival complex. It was a plain but huge and clean hall. The toilets were very clean indeed. Since there is nothing much for us to do hanging around, we decides to get out of the airport building. We were unaware that once we walk out of the Terminal 3, we are unable to get in back into the airport. The securities are everywhere at the exit and entry point. Our plan is to sleep over night at the airport for the next domestic flight to Srinagar by Air India. So now we have a big problem as the weather outside the complex is so warm. As such, without wasting time, we take the opportunity to explore a little bit of India from the airport compound. The city is still far and the next Metro train is the last to the city. It was about 11 pm than. We had hot dog for dinner cum supper with a bottle of mineral water each.
We were deny entry to the departure complex as our flight is about 11.30 am the next day. Only those with flight departure of 3 hours before the schedule and 'ticket owner' only allowed to enter the airport. That's why the airport is clean and safest place to be around at. From one gate to another, we try entering the airport but deny entry by the security personnel's whom I think are Indian Police. After a few attempts, we manage to get in trough one of the gate out of the 5 gates, by giving many excuses, reasons and showing some documents. I think the police got confused at that time because of the many documents we shown them. 
Thanks God we finally get to find our way for a good sleep inside the air conditioned complex. We look for the best spot with less people and many long bench to lay our back. The airport was busy 24 hours, bright and cold but many mosquitoes.

 We checked in for the departure hall once the gates opened, 3 hour earlier. At the departure hall, everything inside are totally different from the outside. There are many shop lots, boutiques, cafes and even food court. It's like a shopping Mall. What a waste to allow shoppers to only spent 3 hours inside. Our first destination is to the food court for the taste of India.  
The food looks fine and of course for airport standard, they do look clean, not so delicious and slightly expensive outside compare to outside food. And they do have Mc D and Subway too beside other Indian fast food which I totally don't know off. They also have resting chairs for long distance travellers like me, just what I needed most at that time. Our Air India flight took out as schedule at 11.30 am. I doze off as the plane took off. Everything went on fine until about 30 minutes later in the sky, suddenly the pilot made a special announcement ... 

to be continue..

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Coming Soon - India !

Will be flying off to India soon. This will be my first trip for 2011. Destination : Kashmir, New Delhi, Agra & Jaipur.

Schedule as below:

Day 1 - KB to KLIA to LCCT to New Delhi
Day 2 - New Delhi  to Srinagar
Day 3 - Srinagar
Day 4 - Srinagar
Day 5 - Sinagar to New Delhi
Day 6 - New Delhi
Day 7 - New Delhi to Agra
Day 8 - Agra to Jaipur
Day 9 - Jaipur
Day 10 - Jaipur to New Delhi
Day 11 - New Delhi to LCCT
Day 12 - KLIA - KB

Initial Cost for 3 Persons: 
Flight to and return : KB - KLIA - RM 684-00
Flight to and return : LCCT - New Delhi ( including baggage ) - RM 2346-00
Flight to and return : New Delhi - Srinagar - RM 1757-49
Visa for 3 Persons including service charge by agent - RM 600-00

Will be sharing the photos after my return. Namaste !