Okay, it's been some time since I wrote last and I thought to write about our journey to Malaysia. We had planned this journey since our wedding in 2020 and we had to postpone it a couple of times due to different reasons. Covid19 spread was the main reason among them. Due to the travel restrictions that were imposed by Sri Lanka as well as Malaysia we had to wait for some time period.
Finally, we decided to travel in July 2022. The first thing we did even before purchasing the tickets was to look into some of the travel videos that were done by different vloggers about their journey to Malaysia. These were really helpful for us to find accommodation, food, places to visit, etc. Many thanks should go to them.
The first step was deciding the dates that we are gonna travel and buying the air tickets. So we finalized the time period as 9th July - 15th July. Mainly we checked the FindMyFare website and mobile app to get the ticket prices. So different airlines offered different prices and Malaysian Airlines had the lowest price compared to Sri Lankan Airlines and Singapore Airlines. So we decided to go for the Malaysian Airlines option. In my previous travel to Cambodia as well we choose Malaysian Airlines. But at the booking time, I forgot to look into some cheaper options like AirAsia. But if you are looking for somewhat cheaper options first look into AirAsia first. You always have to compare the prices on multiple airlines. Even if AirAsia offers cheaper deals sometimes they do not offer baggage options. So you may have to purchase them separately and it would cost you more money which would later be equal to flying on some other commercial airline. So you have to always compare the prices. So we did the air ticket booking through the mobile app. I did book two seats in one booking. But later when I completed the booking I received a promo code to be used in my next booking which offers a 10% off. Since I had booked both seats for myself and my wife together I could not get the benefit out of it. But if I knew it earlier I would have done the booking in two separate bookings. Keep in mind this kind of thing as well when you are doing the bookings. So the schedule for our travel was like the following.
- Flight Leave Colombo(CMB) - 00:05 09th July
- Flight Arrive to Kuala Lampur (KLIA) - 06:20 09th July
- Flight Leave Kuala Lampur(KLIA) - 22:00 15th July
- Flight Arrive Colombo(CMB) - 22:55 15th July
So the next step was to get the travel visas. With my previous experience in visiting Cambodia, I thought this would be easier. But after reading through the requirements and the documents that we needed to submit I understood that it would be harder in this case. We have to submit a lot of documents to get the Visas. As per the Malaysian government website, it says the Visa process would take about a week or two. Since the time we had was limited to go back and forth if our documents get rejected, I thought to go through a travel agent to obtain the Visas.
So got some contacts from a couple of my friends and made phone calls to those agents. They all mentioned the same document set that we need to submit. So I thought to go with MACKINNONS TRAVELS (PVT) LTD for the visa process. The following are the documents that we had to submit.
- Application form with checklist
- Original Passport with previous passports
- Air ticket
- Hotel confirmation
- Last 03 months' personal bank statements ( Should have a minimum balance of LKR 150,000.00 per traveler ) with seal
- Bank Balance Confirmation Letter ( Both ) with seal
- Employment confirmation ( leave details have to be mentioned )
- Personal covering letter
- 02 passport size colored photographs ( white background )
- Traveling for the first time a USD 500 foreign exchange confirmation from the bank is required
The cost for visas was LKR 18000/= per person. But if we did it on our own we could have to get it done by around LKR 12000/=. Meanwhile, I tried to get some USD from banks. Since there was a USD shortage in the country I knew it was going to be hard to find the USD. Most of the banks didn't have and some banks required me to have a bank account with them in order to get USD. Some banks that I had accounts with didn't have USD to offer to me. A common thing that everyone said was that I need to produce the Air ticket and the Visas to get the money. So I had to wait till I get the Visa.
So as the next step and wives both had to get the documents required. So we went to banks for a couple of days to get the bank balance confirmation letters and bank account statements. Also, we had to get letters from our employer indicating that I'm working in that company and that the company knows that I'm traveling to Malaysia. So preparing these documents took some time. After finalizing the documents we send out the documents to the travel agent at Mackinnons Travels and did the payment as well. So after a week's time period, we got our visas successfully. So the tickets and the visas are ready. The next thing we had to do was to find USD. In order to do the expenses while being in Malaysia, we had to either bring Malaysian Ringgit or USD. Since Sri Lanka was going through an economic crisis and since there was a Doller shortage it was very hard to find Dollars. So we went to a couple of banks and branches. Luckily the Peoples bank Boralesgamuwa had some USD and I was given 500 USD. For that, I had to produce the Air tickets and the visas for them. So that's all the USD that I had. Luckily at the Colombo Airport, I could buy some USD again as well. Also since enough USD was not there in those banks I bought some Malaysian Ringgit as well.
Then happened the major change to our travel plan. A week before we leave when I was looking into the Malaysian Airlines mobile app I noticed that it indicated some error related to our flight. Since I haven't encountered anything like that before I was confused. What it said was something similar to "One or more flights on your travel has been canceled". I was shocked by seeing it. Since we had planned everything it would be problematic if we can't travel as we planned. So I click on the notification and get into the detailed view. So I understood the situation. One flight had been canceled as I remember it was the flight from Malaysia to Sri Lanka. So they were offering us alternative travel days. There were a couple of options offered. It was like +/- 2 days from our initial planned dates. So we had to decide which dates we are gonna select. After our initial booking, we felt that the 7 days is not enough to travel in leisure to cover all the places. We were thinking that it's great if we had around 10 days. Since we had done the initial reservations and if we are to change the dates it would cost us some extra money. So we thought to plan accordingly to 7 days. So this flight cancellation happened for good. So we could increase the travel time period to 10 days. So after confirming the booking to new dates the travel plan was like below.
- Flight Leave Colombo(CMB) - 00:05 07th July
- Flight Arrive to Kuala Lampur (KLIA) - 06:20 07th July
- Flight Leave Kuala Lampur(KLIA) - 22:00 16th July
- Flight Arrive Colombo(CMB) - 22:55 16th July
After confirming the flight booking we were all set to go. Apart from the Visas, you need to have some documents and a mobile application installed on your phone when traveling to Malaysia. I have written a separate article that you can read from the following article.
So after everything is set we created a daily travel plan as well. It was really helpful when we were in Malaysia to plan the days.
Something that I missed to do before leaving Sri Lanka was enabling roaming on our mobile phones. It was really hard for me to enable roaming on my mobile sim while I was in Malaysia. So please do it before you leave.Booking.com
The most important thing is if you plan to your credit cards abroad please get them activated to use there. By default, cards will not work in other countries. So you have to call the bank and get it activated. That's a five-minute call deal. So I activated 2 credit cards to be used in case I require more money and since I had less USD I had the feeling that I may need to use the card in certain places as well. This is where I faced big trouble. When I used the credit card in a couple of stores they were asking for the PIN number. Just by inserting the card into the card reader, it would not work unlike what we used to do, we have to enter the card PIN number. I didn't know that we need it and too bad I didn't know the PIN number as well for both the cards. But if your card has "Visa Pay Wave" you would not require the PIN. Both NTB American Express and NDB Visa cards didn't have it and I had to suffer a lot when doing the payments while in Malaysia. So please activate your cards and remember your PIN numbers as well so that they would come in handy in situations like that.Booking.com
Also if you are planning to visit some places which require ticket purchasing prior to the day. You can buy them online while in Sri Lanka to avoid any situations like running out of tickets. I did book some of the things before we arrive in Malaysia. I will mention them in the next articles.
Another important thing that you need to plan is how to get a travel sim while you are abroad. I have written a separate article on that well you can read it from the following link.
So everything was set and it was left for us only to get into the flights. Hope this article will be helpful to you if you are planning to visit Malaysia anytime soon. If you feel anything that I have mentioned here is not accurate please do let me know as well.
Hope you had a good read. Thanks for reading <3Booking.com