Indonesia: Flores + Komodo + Bali - July 2011
Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and correct text:
Since the time I've been talking about it (Air Asia here, Air Asia by then), this time, it's done! I finally tested the brand new Air Asia X route, from Paris to Kuala Lumpur. The route was launched by the Malaysian lowcost airline in February 2011.
January 13, 2012. Small update : too bad, Air Asia flights to and from Europe will stop from the end of March 2012...
Read: Air Asia X abandons flights from Paris and London
Airbus red and white
As I have written in other posts, Air Asia is probably the airline I flew the most often, because it allows to fly everywhere in South-East Asia, for cheap. Low cost is good...
But to fly 12 hours on this brand new long-haul route from Paris, stamped "X", is another matter. So I boarded the plane this Sunday, July 3rd, asking myself a few questions...
I was worried about being a little cramped and in the end, it was fine. I didn't measure the spacing between the seats, but they seemed comparable to any other airplane seat.
The plane looked new, or almost new. A red and white Airbus, in the company's colors.
Two pigeons perched on the cockpit, while I was waiting in the boarding room. It seemed like a good omen for the trip...
For the extra services, you have to pay: it's the principle of the lowcost companies. So I bought my meals in advance, as well as my "comfort kit" and the extra luggage.
The "comfort kit" consists of a red cover containing a blanket, an airbag and an eye mask. You can keep everything afterwards, but I didn't bother with that...
Impossible to load more. As for the extra kilos, with my diving equipment and all my bardas for underwater photography, I now put in the hold... 27kg!
As for the food, the portions are not huge, but it was enough for me. I think I was right to choose the Asian menu, with a little spicy rice, as I like. The "western" dishes of my neighbors seemed to me much less appetizing.
The prepaid meal is divided into two services: you get a tray with a small bottle of water a little after takeoff, then another one three hours before landing. If you want some extra stuff, you have to buy it when the hostesses pass by with their carts.
I refrained from renting a small screen to watch movies, really not essential, saw the turnips on the program, even to kill time.
The thing I missed, in fact, is the famous flight parameters that most regular airlines display on their long-haul screens: altitude, elapsed time, countries flown over, local time at destination, etc.
The paid options I took cost me, all taxes included, 100€ (50€ on the outbound trip, 50€ on the return trip). This amount should be added to the 287€ of the initial round trip ticket. Total: 387€.
Fare more than correct, in my humble opinion, to reach Asia... I had managed to get this ticket at a low price in November, during the great launch promo.
Since then, I have looked at the fares on the Air Asia website. And, frankly, except for promotions, they are not much more interesting than what some regular airlines can offer, very competitive on destinations like Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore...
All the same, Air Asia X offers a Premium class which is worth it: there, you have a real bed to spend the 12 hours of flight time comfortably, almost all services, and the fare remains accessible, compared to the seats in First or Business Class of regular airlines.
At the check-in, I was a little envious of a bunch of young people who went to put their backpacks at the Premium counter... Lucky kids who must have managed to get their seat during the famous November promo, I guess.
Well, that's not all... Flying is not the most exciting part of a trip.
I only passed through the airport LCCT from Kuala Lumpur. To board immediately, on another flight, this time of Air Asia Indonesia. Heading for Denpasar (Bali). Short trip of less than 3 hours.
Bali, I stayed there only one night. In a very charming hotel that I recommend, the Bali Hotel Pearl. A French-run resort with a small pool and a pretty quiet garden, ideally located on the edge of Legian and Kuta, just steps from the beach.
We are obviously not in the business of rates backpackersBut the place is still affordable. Ideal to recover from the jet lag and the tiredness of the trip when arriving...
I took another plane the next morning. Batavia Airthis time. A domestic Indonesian company, which is no longer on the famous "black list" of companies considered dubious ... Nevertheless, the plane was quite old and the pilot too daring for my taste. Anyway, I arrived at my destination.
AT Flores. Still in Indonesia. A long island, east of Bali, after Lombok and Sumbawa, for those who know. Flores is part of what is called "the small islands of the Sunda".
I am there, there. Vaulted on the terrace of my little bungalow, facing the sea.
I enjoy my first step "farniente and diving", not far from the city of Maumere. I will say more in a next post, if I manage to reconnect...
Here, wifi is capricious and power cuts are frequent!