After a short-but-long work week full of anticipation, we set off from home late Thursday evening. Our first leg of the journey was from Calgary to London Heathrow on British Airways. It’s a very convenient flight time for travel, as you don’t even need to leave work early on the first day of your trip and the overnight hours are conducive to getting some sleep onboard. We arrived to a beautiful spring day in London where the weather was the same as in Greece that day!
In contrast to our last couple of visits to LHR, we had a practically empty bus transfer from T5 over to T3 where we waited for our next flight. We passed the time very comfortably in one of the lounges, nibbling on many delicious bits of food and drink, while watching planes take off, Elinka playing cards with Granny, some of us dozing occasionally. When it was time go we made our way to the boarding area for our next flight on Finnair to Helsinki. In this area, there was a piano set up for members of the travelling public to play, and Elinka and another little traveller around the same age wanted to try their hand at it. Next came up a boy who seemed to be around 10 years old, who played like an absolute master! Blanka commented that we were likely listening to a future musician. I think everyone slept a little bit on this next flight, but unfortunately Elinka had an upset tummy near landing and we needed to change her shirt on arrival…. poor thing.
We landed close to 11 PM in Helsinki at their modern and rapidly growing airport. We could see that our next plane was right next door to us. Finnair is using its physical location to grow as a major transfer point for flights from Asia to Northern and Western Europe. All around the same time were flights departing to Singapore, Hong Kong, and Bangkok. We didn’t get to spend much time in the airport, but it seemed very nice, and the promotional video regarding doing a stopover in Helsinki looked very attractive indeed. Next, we boarded what would be our longest flight of the journey – Helsinki to Singapore – on an Airbus A350, which is Airbus’ answer to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner series. What a beautiful plane! I love the 787, but I think the A350 beats it! It’s quieter, if you can believe that; the cabin interior is wider; there are physical window shades (the electronic dimming on the 787 is cool, but not ideal if you’re on the sunny side…), there are windows in some of the lavatories; and there is an awesome tail cam you can view on the IFE! The menu had some unique Nordic options – I had reindeer! (Hope it wasn’t Rudolph!) and lots of blueberry themed drinks, which were delicious! The cabin crew on this flight were exceptional. All of us slept for several hours or more on this flight, which due to ongoing issues with Pakistan’s airspace we amongst many other flights in this region had to detour closer to Oman to avoid Pakistan.
On arrival in Singapore we were met with classic Singapore efficient hospitality. We were pulled from the main immigration line as one of the officers identified us as a family, and brought us to a separate area to perform passport control formalities, then out through a side exit. We had about 4 hours between flights, so we checked out the brand new (only open for 3 days!) attraction at Changi Airport – Jewel. Wow, is all we can say! The outside of it looks like any high end mall with tons of amazing looking eateries and shops, but the interior is a multi (6?) level jungle, with the airport transit train running through one side, and a gigantic waterfall from the ceiling in the middle. It looks like you could easily spend several hours in here! After doing one of the Jungle Hikes in Jewel we decided to grab a bite to eat before our last flight for the day: a short hop from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur. This flight, on Malaysia Airlines, was only about 45 minutes long. I found it very interesting that there was a prayer for the journey announced on the in-flight entertainment system after the safety video.
Landing at Kuala Lumpur’s large and impressive airport, we made our way on the intraterminal train to our resting place for the night. The airside transit hotel, Sama Sama Express, was extremely convenient, being only a 5 minute walk from the boarding gate of our flight the next morning. After breakfast we checked out the little jungle boardwalk right in the middle of the terminal!
It’s Sunday now and our final flight brought us to Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia! The passport control lineup looked very intimidating when we entered the spacious immigration hall, but off to the side there were two much shorter lines: one for seniors over 60, and one for families with children under 5 – score!! It didn’t take too long to get out of the airport and waiting for us was our driver, Made, who gave us a very friendly welcome and great chat about Balinese traditions, culture, and craft on the one hour drive to our drop off point. I say drop off point because the last several kilometres of our journey is only accessible by foot or scooter. With all the luggage, do you think we walked?? And now, here we are in the peaceful, beautiful rice fields outside of Ubud, Bali. Time for some R&R…. 🙂
The five of us waiting to leave CalgaryA quick ride from Heathrow T5 to T3
Giant dragonfly art in Helsinki airport
Tail cam view of Finnair A350 just before touchdown in Singapore
What do we wanna do? Toilets? JEWEL!
Easter display in Changi Airport
Bamboo forest on the entrance to the central portion of JEWEL
View of JEWEL interior from the 5th level
One of the arrivals halls at Changi Airport
In one of the most modern cities in the world, we find a pay phone that takes coins!
Leaving our Sama Sama Express in KLIA
KLIA Jungle Boardwalk
Train terminal in KLIA Satellite Terminal C
Our next, and last plane!
Journey Prayer onboard Malaysia Airlines
Our first view of the coast of Java
Some typical terrain on Java – volcanic in origin
Giant Subahu greets incoming travelers at Ngurah Rai airport in Denpasar
Judy (hidden behind the driver) and her luggage on the way to our temporary home!
Our home for the next little while
View out one of the bedroom windows