The trip back to KLIA2 to catch the plane to Bangkok was simpler than google had tried to make it, neglecting to tell me that there was a train station a minute walk from the hotel lobby where I could catch a train a single stop to KL Sentral to meet the bus to the airport. Instead it tried to take me back the same way I came in a couple of nights before, a route that involved a larger distance of walking before taking a similar single stop ride. I took the non google option. I left the hotel at 9am and had made the bus by 9.15am, arriving at the airport just 1 hour later in plenty of time to catch my flight. No matter what else you can say about the Kuala Lumpur, getting around by public transport is really really easy and really really cheap. These are both massive plus points in my eyes.
The gate for checking in that was specified on my Air Asia booking confirmation was Q19 and it only took a short amount of time to workout out the layout of the counters. It took a split second longer to see that the lettering system of the check in counters started at T and a split second more for me to bite down on my bottom lip to stop any choice words from slipping out of my mouth. I paused momentarily, recomposed myself a little, took a calming breath and approached the lady on the information counter to ask her to explain where I could find the missing Q19 counter. The answer forthcoming was thus.
Go to the electronic check in machine and print off the bording card.
Then go to the "Q" gate that was located at the bottom of the hall.
The Actual process was as follows.
Electronic check in - scan passport and print the boarding pass at the stand.
Ask someone else "Now What?"
Join another queue and wait 30 minutes in line whilst the staff on hand process check in luggage at a painfully slow pace (This could easily negate the need for and incorporate the previous electronic check in)
Go to the "Q" gate at the bottom of the hall, get scanned and enter the departure hall.
Sit around for 3 hours drinking coffee, eating junk food and changing up remaining Malaysian Ringitt into Thai Baht, before then heading off to the actual departure gate.
Remove belt, take watch off and empty pockets into the tray all at the same time. Walk through scanner as your hand luggage takes the easy route then fill your pockets back up, put belt and watch back on,(releasing belt back a notch to allow for the junk food in take) and walk a few minutes to Q19, sit down and wait to board.
Get on Plane, eat prepaid food, drink complimentary water and pay for instant coffee (60 Baht)
Land at Bangkok
Get off plane and head towards Immigration, put on glasses to distinguish the "Foreign Passport" queue from the "Asean" one. Realise that you are now wearing sunglasses inside.
I had flown into Don Muang airport which is the smaller of the ones in Bangkok that Air Asia as well as many other budget airlines use. This meant that the queues for immigration were no where near as long, the luggage hall less vast so baggage was easier to find and the overall time from getting off the plane to clearing customs just a small fraction of the time it would have taken had I flown to the alternative venue. I grabbed my bag, pieced the bits back together, grabbed a mobile sim to cover my time in Thailand and headed out of departures to try find the yellow A1 bus which would hopefully get me to Mo Chit BTS Station. It couldn't have been much easier. Outside the main doors the bus was waiting right in front of me so I got straight on passed the welcoming, smiling driver and grabbed myself a seat. It almost feels too easy travelling here and it makes me feel uneasy. Don't they know I'm British, I'm used to having to walk miles through shitty weather before waiting in line for a transport that doesn't arrive, at least rarely on time anyway and never with friendly polite staff at the helm.
And so it continued.
The bus cost 20 baht and took about 25 minutes to reach the drop off point just short of Mo Chit BTS station. Here I brought a day ticket to allow for later travel also, which cost 140 baht with the train arriving as I reached the platform. From here I continued for 7 stops until I had to change at Siam Square and as I exited the first train there, the train for the second BTS leg arrived on the platform which I then rode a further 3 stops to reach my exit station. I'm telling you now that these people just have no idea about how to run a public transport service. Where's the pain? Where's the frustration? Where's the extortionate price? That whole journey from the airport had taken around 40 minutes in total, with literally no time wasted waiting and had cost me less 3 english pounds and no raise in blood pressure. It had also taken me to just a 5 minute walk from my hostel, the same hostel that I stayed at the last time I was here.
Very little had changed in the hostel, the prices seemed the same, the colours and layout were identical but, with the exception of the cleaning lady that I recognised from last time, the staff were all different, which left the place with a more muted feel than I remembered it having.
But it wasn't just the atmosphere in the hostel that seemed to have changed, there was also a different feeling to Bangkok as a whole. I was just struggling to put my finger on exactly what it was that had gone amiss.