Manila is a vibrant metropolis brimming with cultural heritage, modern energy, and diverse experiences. This bustling capital city of the Philippines beckons travelers with its rich historical landmarks and an array of attractions that fuse the old and the new.
From the iconic walled city of Intramuros to the contemporary vibrancy of Makati, Manila encapsulates a unique blend of tradition and progress.
Travelling from Panglao to Manila
Our trip back to Manila followed a 3-night stay in Panglao, at the end of a 3-week trip around the Philippines. For our 2 last nights, we booked the small Oasis Hotel in the north-central area of the city.
A trike from Panglao to the airport took around 30 minutes (250 pesos).
At Tagbilaran airport, the terminal tax is 100 pesos per person. Philippine airlines max cabin baggage allowance is 7 kilos, so we had pre-arranged to check in 1 of our rucksacks. Flight time was around 1 hour, including a small snack.
At Manila airport we walked upstairs to Departures and took a white metered taxi from there to Ermita(Paco Park: 179 pesos).
Taxi to Oasis Hotel Manila – close to Paco Park
Total travel time from Panglao to Manila was 4 or 5 hours. Surprisingly, the traffic in Manila was not as heavy as Cebu City.
The hotel has a small pool (though a little too public, in the central courtyard, with no deck space). The hotel requires a 2,000 peso deposit on check-in, and charges 25 pesos per bag if you want them to look after your luggage after checkout.
Oasis Hotel Manila – Deck and Pool
The restaurant and bar prices are expensive (even excluding the 10% service tax), but Robinson’s Mall is just 15 minutes down the road. This is a huge shopping complex with dozens of inexpensive eateries and a large well-stocked supermarket.
The Paco Park Area
The area immediately around the hotel is pretty grotty, with plenty of homeless, beggars and piles of refuse. Not a place to wander around after dark. In the daytime its safe enough, but congested with people hustling and hawking stuff, incessant traffic, and noxious fumes.
At least our hotel room overlooked a very green and peaceful Paco Park.
Although we didn’t have a lot of time to explore Manila, we managed to visit the older Intramuros area and enjoyed a novel eating experience at a Shabu Shabu restaurant.
Embarking on a new adventure and considering Air Asia for your next trip? This article uncovers the pros and cons of flying with Air Asia. We’ll delve into the airline’s strengths, such as its pocket-friendly fares, extensive route options, and inflight services that make it a popular choice among travelers.
However, we won’t shy away from exploring any potential drawbacks, providing you with a well-rounded assessment to aid your decision-making process. Join us as we navigate the highs and lows of Air Asia, helping you make an informed choice for an upcoming journey.
Flying from Thailand to Malaysia
Following a few days in Phuket, we planned to take a short AirAsia flight south to the tropical island paradise of Langkawi. We were curious to see how the AirAsia inflight experience compared to other budget Asian airlines such as Lion Air and (the now bankrupt) Jet Airways.
Although there is a boat that runs between Phuket and Langkawi, the cost is about the same as a budget flight. Also the flight – including a transit stop in Kuala Lumpur – is actually quicker.
We booked our AirAsia flights online, 2 months earlier. Their booking website is very user-friendly, and you can get some great bargains if you book early enough. We paid the equivalent of €58 each for single flights travelling from Phuket to Kuala Lumpur and then onwards from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi.
Departure from Phuket
Count on at least 45 minutes to get to the airport from the main beach areas of Phuket (early morning or late night). At any other time the journey can take twice as long. You can anticipate long queues at the airport. If you’re short on time, the whole experience can be quite stressful.
Make sure you still have your embarkation card: If not, you’ll lose your place in the queue and will be facing even longer delays.
AirAsia inflight experience – Departure from Phuket
Our flight from Phuket to Kuala Lumpur was short and comfortable. Unlike equivalent European budget airlines such as Ryanairor Easyjet, we were offered complimentary warm snacks and drinks.
AirAsia inflight experience – complimentary samosas and soda
In-transit through Kuala Lumpur
We had a couple of hours at the airport in Kuala Lumpur to find our connecting AirAsia flight. This means transferring from KL International (KLIA ) to KL Domestic (KLIA2). For this you need to take a short train ride using the KLIA Transit Service (RM 2 per ticket).
Our transit went smoothly, and we were soon on our next flight for an even shorter hop over to Langkawi.
We were suitably impressed with the service and efficiency of AirAsia. Additionally they offer a Big Loyaltyscheme to all customers for even greater savings.
AirAsia inflight experience – Arrival in Langkawi
Arrival in Langkawi
It was raining when we arrived in Langkawi, but the AirAsia staff had anticipated this. We had a covered gangway down from the aircraft to the tarmac where we were offered colorful red umbrellas for the short walk over to the terminal.
Quite a different experience from European budget airlines, who allow you to get soaked in the freezing rain while inefficiently be made to wait to embark/disembark the plane.
Despite the rain on arrival in Langkawiit was warm, and we were looking forward to a week of tropical relaxation.
Reasons *Not* to Fly with AirAsia
Known for its budget-friendly fares and extensive route network, AirAsia has gained popularity as a go-to option for cost-conscious travelers. However, as with any airline, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons before making a booking. While the airline offers inexpensive flights, lets look at some of the drawbacks that may persuade you to search elsewhere.
Limited Seat Comfort: One of the most common concerns among travelers flying with AirAsia is the limited seat comfort. The seats on some of their aircraft can be relatively cramped, especially during long-haul flights. While this may not be an issue for short journeys, it could pose a challenge for travelers seeking extra legroom or more comfortable seating for extended travel periods.
Extra Fees and Add-Ons: AirAsia’s budget-friendly fares often come with additional fees and add-ons. From choosing preferred seats to meals and baggage allowance, these extras can add up quickly, potentially diminishing the initial cost savings. It’s essential to carefully review the fare breakdown and factor in any necessary add-ons to avoid surprises and ensure a hassle-free journey.
Limited Customer Support: While AirAsia prides itself on its streamlined online booking system, some travelers have reported challenges in reaching customer support when facing issues or changes in their travel plans. Limited customer service availability could be a concern, especially during peak travel periods or emergency situations.
Print your own Baggage Labels: With the ever-increasing move away from customer service and towards automation, AirAsia requires you to use one of their exasperating airport machines to print your own baggage labels. Have fun with that when you’re in a hurry at the airport 😠
Punctuality and Flight Cancellations: AirAsia’s punctuality record has become a hot topic of discussion. Many passengers have experienced flight delays, last-minute schedule changes, and cancellations causing inconveniences and disruptions to their travel plans. While not all flights encounter these problems, many do. It’s therefore crucial to consider this aspect when choosing AirAsia for time-sensitive trips.
Inflight Entertainment: Unlike some full-service carriers, AirAsia does not offer inflight entertainment options for their shorter flights. For passengers seeking a wide variety of movies, TV shows, or in-seat entertainment systems, this could be a point of concern.
Choosing an airline for your journey involves considering both the advantages and disadvantages to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience. While AirAsia’s affordable fares and vast route network attract many travelers, it’s crucial to be aware of the potential drawbacks.
From seat comfort to extra fees and customer support, being well-informed allows you to make a decision that aligns with your preferences and travel needs. Ultimately, by weighing the reasons not to fly AirAsia against its benefits, you can make a confident choice for your upcoming adventures.
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