Where we live is a big old trek from Heathrow: you basically have to either go through central London, do the entirety of the south circular or do 45% of the M25 to get to there from here. Or use public transport, which is what we hoped to do. However you choose to go about it, it’s best to knock out two hours minimum to get there.
Which is unfortunate if you’re due to leave at 10am and have a three hour check in limit. 10 – 3 – 2 = 5am being the latest we could leave the house. So we did what any sane person would do: we tried looking for alternatives that would let us wake up closer to Heathrow so that we could wake up at a more sensible hour. Alternatives were: a) sleep on the terminal floor, b) find a hotel very close to the terminal or c) find a cheaper hotel slightly further from the terminal that would result in half an hour travelling or so.
We chose a combination of parts a) b) and c). A cheaper hotel, close enough to the terminal that it is pretty much on the terminal floor. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the Yotel!:
It’s a very small capsule type hotel buried deep in Heathrow terminal 4. Approximately 90 seconds travel time from the check-in desk and about 20% of the price of a Hilton room nearby. For that you get a double bed with ensuite, free wifi and a telly. Bargain.
So we did the decent thing: got over there fairly early the night before, checked in, had a meal, got slightly tipsy and went to bed knowing that we didn’t have to get up until 6:30. Brilliant.
From then, we checked in and did the obligatory shopping, before finding our gate and our chariot for the trip:
Our home for the next twelve or thirteen hours: a Malaysian Air Service 747. Which was nice, even in economy we had personal video players with enough to keep us entertained (TLW managed five films during the outbound leg). And the flight attendant dude had to be told to stop refilling my glass after the third or fourth can, which was a pleasant change from most airlines I’ve flown where getting more than a single small glass of beer can be problematic.
From thence, we flew to Kuala Lumpur for a brief transfer on to an older 737 and a flight to Langkawi (one of those little tropical islands closer to Thailand than Malaysia) which was to be our first port of call. On this flight, we bumped straight into a bit of a cultural difference: our seats were slightly played with because it would have apparently been a very bad thing for me to sit next to a random woman in a burka; clearly I would have been a bad influence so my wife had to separate us. What fun.
Then: Langkawi. Where we were met by a driver from the hotel (the Datai, one of this chain) who took our bags, gave us a cold towel to get the worst of the sweat off our faces, and took us to one of the most beautiful and relaxing places I’ve ever been. We checked in sitting in a bar overlooking the rain forest, sipping a little drink and trying to keep our eyes open.
After checking in and looking around the room, we had a quick half mile walk down to the private beach:
Then back to the room and to sleep…