Saturday, March 14, 2009

MATTA FAIR 2009 - EUROPE HERE WE COME

We have been waiting for the biggest taravel fair of the year which happens twice annually, first in March and another in September where great bargains are offered. Yesterday was the first day of the Malaysian Travel and Tours Association (MATTA) fair and I was there to hunt for a bargain. Coming on the first day which is a working day is good as it was a working day and the crowd are not there yet.
My wife and me came to KL solely for the event after having boooked our flight on AirAsia way in advance. For that we managed to secure our two return seats at a total cost of slighly over RM300 which averaged out to about RM75 per seat per pax. That is only slightly higher than the bus fare! We would also be holding a get together with the children as my daughter Azini and her husband Lokman would be coming back from Labuan.
We came over a day earlier and stayed the night at our son's place at Enstek Labu which is about 15 minutes drive from the LCCT.
The next day I had two options. The first was to drive all the way to PWTC and suffer the problem of losing my way there and also the parking problem at PWTC. My daughter suggested that I drive to Bukit Jalil LRT station and take the LRT direct to PWTC.
I took the second option and with daughter in law's Yani's sketch of the way, I drove to Bukit Jalil with constant reference to her via the phone.
Upon reaching the Bukit Jalil LRT station, my other half's attempt at using the toilet at Bukit Jalil LRT's station was a put off as the toilet was clogged and a real shame to Malaysia. She had to suffer all the way until we reached PWTC.
Reliance Travel set up booth at the entrance to the expo and we were hopefull of buying a package from them. Unfortunately they don't have the right package for Europe during the school holiday. They offered us a package to Gold Coast Australia which seemed to be well liked by my other half but not to my liking as I prefer to do Gold Coast on our own. We moved on to the main venue and paid the RM3.00 entrance fee. We found Apple Holidays where a package to Korea seemed to be attractive. We promised Zul, the sale person that we would come back cos we would like to look around first.
At Poto Travel's booth we found what we have been looking for, a 13 days package to Europe during the May/June school holiday costing RM9046 per pax for those above 55 (younger people are charged slightly more) . They said they already have 24 pax and should we join them they will need only find another 6 pax to make the maximum 32 pax for a full group. The best thing is almost all if not all in the group are elderly people who are not in a hurry to rush around as is customary of a group package.
In their itinerary, most cities will be done over a day and with 2 nights stay in most of the cities except for Frankfurt where we will arrive in Europe after a stopver in Bahrain. We will be flying on Gulf Air. How I wish we would fly on MAS as we could chance upon our own son Azrin flying the Boeing Triple 7 as it was one of his sectors. Accomodation will be 3 star hotels. Good enough for us.
From Frankfurt we will put up the night in Stuttgard before moving on to Lucerne Switzerland to visit the Titlis mountain. Riding the cable car will cost an additional 50 Euros each as it will be an optional tour. I will take the optional tour as this will be my first experience with snow and I want to try skyiing. Could an old man like me still manage to balance myself on a pair of skis? You will see.
Next will be a 2 night stay in Paris. I studied the Hunchback of Notre Dame in my school days and visiting the Chapel of Notre Dame will be a childhood dream realized.
Amsterdam will be next. The Netherland is the land of windmills and the wooden clogs. We will have ample free time to explore Amsterdam on our own.
We will pass through Brussels, Belgium next before enjoying a three nights stay in London. Abang Awang and Kak Teh, see you in London before I fly back to KL. I will try to get in touch with a friend whom I have blogged about by the name of Nick Habgood of Azini Capital in London.
After exiting from the MATTA Fair, I had to take the LRT back to Bukit Jalil from PWTC station. I saw the written annoucement that "Tren ini ke Ampang" dan "Tren berikutnya ke Sri Petaling". When a train stopped in front of me and the doors opened up, we boarded it. After passing the Chan Sow Lin Station only that I realised I was on the wrong train to Ampang instead of Sri Petaling. We had to backtrack to Chan Sow Lin before boarding the right train to Bukit Jalil which happened to arrive at the same time.
Surfed the site of no frill airlines AirAsia for my flight to KL on the 25th of May 2009 and surprise of surprise we got the RM1 fare for the KBR - KUL sector and a RM55 fare for the KUL-KBR sector on 8th June 2009. The total for us is RM265! Dirt cheap. I wonder who is susidizing this fare.
Making the first enquiries at Reliance Travel.

Mohd Azmi joined me at the Reliance booth. He is also looking for a package to Europe in August. He has a son studying in Switzerland.

A gimmick to attract patrons to a jewellery expo at the same venue. She is quite a jewel herself.

Buy One Tour Free One Tour. It is that cheap.




Establishing contact with Anny Yulianty of Grand Java Tour and Travel for our November trip to Jogjakarta. Anny is a Director of the company. Visit their website http://www.grandjavaonline.com/ for all your travel need to Java Indonesia.

39 comments:

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Kak Teh said...

i was scanning through very quickly to see whether you mention London and yeyyyy!! you are coming here! Looking forward to see all of you here.

Puteri said...

Wow, you got yourself a deal, Zawi!! Next Matta Fair, find deals to the US West Coast, ok? :-)

Rita Ho said...

That's a great package, Pak Zawi. Good choice! My first trip to Europe was somewhat similar and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Watch out for the 'automatic' toilets and 'doggie bombs" in Paris. :)

Was the MATTA fair crowded? It was always jam-packed during my time at PWTC and MVEC.

Zawi said...

Kak Teh,
Wow what a quick way to reach you! We chose this package because we have 3 nights in London and one full day free. I will meet you and Abe Awang on that free day. What shall I bring you from Malaysia?

Zawi said...

Puteri,
US is our next dream. Just hold on there and we will be there. Rest assured it will be a dream realized if I am OK healthwise.

Zawi said...

Rita,
Agree with you it is a good package, very leisurely. I think we will enjoy it too.
There is an automatic toilet in Kl so I will start practicing. The doggie bomb? Not aware what that is.
The day I was there was a working day so there was not much crowd but when I pass there yesterday afternoon which was a Thursday, all cars seemed to be heading for PWTC. Today is a Sunday I think it will be worse. Recession? They don't seem to affect Malaysia.

kbguy said...

wow ! syoknya.. nak pi cuti, haha,, I wonder why this time they didn't publish much in the paper.

Zawi said...

KBguy,
At opening day The star had a thick pull out and given free at the entrance when you buy the ticket.

Uncle said...

Pak Zawi, JAL is giving a 50% to selected routes. Check out their promotion. For my family of 4 they are charging approximately RM4000 but unfortunately my wife dah bayar during MAS Fair which was double! Sigh....

PS: I'm your silent reader

Uncle

Rita Ho said...

It's good that the recession is not affecting Malaysians and I think most are smart to take advantage of the competitive airfares.

Doggie bombs are the 'gifts" the 200,000 or so dogs in Paris leave behind daily. I heard they fine owners who don't pick up after their pets now, so the situation has probably improved. :)

Pak Idrus said...

We did once on a fifteen days trip to Europe. Fly to Rome and then by bus all over Europe and end at the Hague. From there to London by ferry and back home[the package arrangement]. We stayed on our own for a few days more in London and then return home using the return ticket of the package. It was a good trip but too strenuous for our age except for the free and easy time in London on our own.

So later on we would just buy a ticket to any destinations and then take the local tour. It is a free and easy and my spouse and I did enjoy this kind of tour.

I no longer go to Matta type of tour sale but would just scout out for the best airfare and hotel and then take from there.

Have a nice day.

Covert_Operations'78 said...

Salam, Abang Zawi!

That's great news! Looking forward to your blog entries on your travels!

Best time to go to the Netherlands is now. If the sea level rises a few metres more, the entire country and its culture would be innundated. So sad! My housemate Jake's mother is from the Netherlands. They are in constant fear of losing their home country.

Skiing is one of the most dangerous sports there is. Please do not stray too far from the beginner's slope. We want to see you safely back here in one piece, blogging happily for us!

CO78, Over!

Akmal said...

Somebody's going Europe, yah? :D

louis said...

Zawi,

Going to abandon your new vegetable gardening for wandering about Europe so soon? I wonder how your veggies are going to feel about that?

Zawi said...

Uncle,
This is my first trip to Europe so going there on our own won't be that easy and my wife is not that adventurous. She prefers everything to be laid out and served to her.
That is why I prefer to wait for MATTA fairs rather than go to MAS fairs cos there is more choices and MAS is there too themselves.

Zawi said...

Rita,
Thanks for the info on dog's bomb. Since faeces of dogs must be cleansed (samak) by using soil with water and not just soap, I can imagine how difficult it is for us to do the cleansing where soil is not easily available. It is good that they have such legislations to make dog owners pick up their pets poo as it will make Paris cleaner.

Zawi said...

Pak Idrus,
Maybe we should join you in your next trip as that wil give some confidence in Fatthiyah that I have failed to impress her on my ability to get around anywhere other than in Malaysia.
This package seems to be less taxing as it seems to be tailormade for the retired persons. Above all I love to meet and make new friends on the tour. Over the period of 13 days together there will be lots of camaderiere which is something difficult to find. I really love this aspect of group travel.

Zawi said...

Ee Lynn,
We will be going in June so I guess we will miss the beauty of Holland as of now. Anyway a new country being visited for the first time will always be beautiful in our eyes.
Maybe they should increase the height of their levee to prevent being inundated. The present phenomenon of global warming can only raise the sea level as more ice are being melted up at the poles. Tell Jake not to worry as those people back home in Holland will know what to do to survive.
Straying out from the beginners slope will be furthest on my mind. All I would like to do is to remain standing on the skis long enough for my wife to shoot a still photo of me. Should I improve very fast, maybe a video shoot of me gliding on the snow. That will do as any slippage will be like a sack of potatoes falling and if the snow is not soft enough it will be like crash landing a Jumbo jet on the tarmac.
I want to be back in one piece too hehehehe.

Zawi said...

Akmal,
I have been dreaming to see Europe since my scholdays. Soon my dream will be a reality. It took us 40 years to realise it.

Zawi said...

Louis,
It is still a few months from now that I will be leaving my vegetables behind. By the time I am ready to leave I will have everything harvested and not plant new ones. So don't worry I wont be leaving my plants unattended.
I am home now and lucky thing it has been raining almost everyday since I was away so I guess God must be taking care of my plants while I was away.

tchersally said...

wah..bestnye Pak Zawi!!!..am sure u n ur wife are going to enjoy every minute of it..have pleasent n safe journey ya..

Zawi said...

tchersally,
We have been working for long and after all those years don't you think we deserve ourselves an overseas holidays? Every year we get about RM20K from our investment which we intend to use for such activities.
I guess you have done your travles right?

tchersally said...

Pak Zawi,
yess..both of u deserve it..now is the time to smell d roses right??..err..no..no..i'm 'done' we my travelling episodes yet..havent seen it all..havent been to all corners of the earth yet..hehe..Europe sure is one of my dream destination..

Mia's Mom said...

En. Zawi,

Wish you a very wonderful time during your trip. Perhaps, after enjoying the European countries, you will on later trip be visiting each country longer? Looking at how excited Kak Teh is, maybe later you can stay longer in the UK. Though it is not advisable to drive in London, it is very easy to drive out of London. I think you'll love driving to Nottingham, or Yorkshire? and Scotland?
Have a safe and wonderful time (:-D

Zawi said...

tchersally,
With your other half's business flourishing, I believe you will get to realise your dream much earlier than us. Just set your mind on it and u will get it.

Zawi said...

Mia's Mom,
This is the introductory trip to Europe. We will definitely love to go through every country in greater depth. Given my way, I would love to just hitch hike around to the countryside of every country to interact with the general populace.
Nottingham, the place of Robin Hood is defintely one of them to be visited.
Abang Awang and Kak Teh are people we have met when they came home to sign GUIT. They are familiar people. Meeting them again on their own turf will be a pleasure.

Leena Ahmad said...

Uncle, Dont forget to buy a fridge magnet for me. I want one for every country you visit ok!... My uncle always on the move when there were a free time and guess what, they always Free!! huhuhu! Kalau dtg KL next time, Lina bwk makan dekat Big Plate Shah Alam ok!

http://evileena.wordpress.com

Zawi said...

Leena,
Ayoyo! One for each country? Just pray that they are not very expensive cos if they are, I may have to disappoint you. I have told my own children there wont be any souvenirs from this European trip hehehehehe.

Gurindam Jiwa said...

Imagine that, own children NO souvenirs! Happy traveling.

In fact, I think you may have to bring souvenirs from here to give to people you'll meet there. But for Kelantanese, that won't be too difficult. Just carry a bundle of kain batik sarong and you'll be all set.

I should've done that during my travelling days. But I was too broke then to think much about PR. :-D

Jauh berjalan luas pandangan, banyak pengalaman. Yang baik jadikan teladan, yang buruk jadikan sempadan.

Take only pictures, leave only footprints. Oh, that's for the jungle! He he..

Anonymous said...

assalamualaikum pak zawi,
i wonder how will you blog about your tour as this is already breathtakingly interesting!

all the best for your trip.

i was in Lucerne last year, indeed a beautiful city, do enjoy yourself there.

aminahsj

Zawi said...

Mazle,
On our previous travels we have never failed to bring home souvenirs to close relatives. It was OK then as the destinations were not that expensive destinations but this is Europe where Euros and Pounds are the currencies. Can't promise too much but will do my best to get something for them.
The tip on what to bring is really great. I have something in mind on what to bring for them.
Will be taking lots of pictures of course though it will be in concrete jungles where footprints are not easily impressed on the ground.

Zawi said...

aminahsj,
Waalaikummussalam. If there are readers willing to read about my travellings, I will be too happy to write about them. I will be blogging about the travel and post it daily to keep readers informed. Hope you will like it.
Lucerne will be a great place as it will be our first experience with snow.

Fauziah Ismail said...

Salam Pak Zawi
Yes, go to Notre Dame. The hunchback is, of course, fiction but the cathedral is there. And its awesome!

Zawi said...

Fauziah,
The cathedral is definitely in the itinerary. I will be there.

The KL Traveler said...

Pak Zawi,

hope you enjoy Europe. Jgn lupa bawak baju tebal.. hehehe kalau x leh main ski... go for toboggan.

Talking about Jogja, I have just returned from Solo/Jogja last couple of weeks. I would suggest you should fly to Solo and return via Jogja... and bring a big travelling bag so that you can stuff lots of batik from Solo/Jogja on your way back.... they sell very cheap there... kena tawar menawar laaa.

Cheers!

Zawi said...

The KL Traveller,
Baju tebal akan bawa bab nak main salji di Gunung Titlis. Nak pose main ski walaupun tak meluncur. Ada toboggan? Masa kechik selalu baca cerita Enid Blyton Famous Five main toboggan.
Bagus la you dah pi Jogja. Will do via Solo as advised by you. No more batik for me. Have more than enough of them. Did buy some the last time I was in Solo in 1990.

Anonymous said...

I bumped into ur blog, while I'm looking for some idea, to get cheapest way to Europe, it's BIGGEST dream to travel to Europe, particularly Rome and Paris,but scouting for the cheapest airfare n many more, wow the budget is beyond my ringgit in my pocket. How much is the cheapest for me to spend to go for my dream?
MATTA Fair sounds interesting, but what if I go for backpacking? is it going to be cheaper or more expensive than the offer?
~ROWE~

Pak Zawi said...

Anonymous (ROWE),
Use Air Asia X for the lowest fare to get to Europe and book far in advance and travel in the non school holiday season. If you can back pack, that is the best form of adventure travel. It may be the cheapest way if you don't mind roughing it out by camping, especially if time is not your constrain. You will meet more people that way.
Before going make sure you strike up with new friends by becoming a member of Virtual Tourist Com. Go to the site via my Zawi's Travel on the side bar. Many new friends at the places where you intend to go can help you.