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What it was Like Flying to Japan from Malaysia in 2019

Pre-COVID-19 Travel for Holidays

By Ian FanPublished 4 years ago 3 min read
What it was Like Flying to Japan from Malaysia in 2019
Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

After countless sushi-train plates, animes, J-dramas, and World War 2 movies, I'm finally going to the land of the rising sun - Japan. Also, the former (Asian) occupiers of my motherland - Malaya - during World War 2.

I can't believe it's been slightly over a year since my holidays to Japan. 2019 feels like a distant past. Even though my family and I traveled to Japan, we skipped Tokyo and headed north to Hokkaido.

At KLIA2 Aiport

The airport in 2019 was not like the airport in 2020. The airport was bustling with passengers, pilots, and people. There were no COVID screening tests and facilities.

Here's what it was like traveling to Japan and in Hokkaido before COVID-19 (or Coronavirus) paralyzed the world.

Traveling with AirAsia, we went to Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2). The Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) comprises of the Main Terminal Building (MTB), Skybridge, Satellite Building, connected Piers (J / K / L / P / Q), and a Gateway@klia2 shopping mall.

After being dropped off at Gateway@klia2 mall, we made our way to the Departure Hall. The Departure Hall is where we did our self-check-in, self-dropped our luggage, and had our passports scanned and carry-on baggage checked at immigration and customs' security checkpoints.

As it was an international flight, we had a long walk to the satellite building where our airplane was situated at either Pier P or Q. Spanning 300 meters with additional installation of "walkalators", the Skybridge connects passengers from the Terminal Building to the Satellite Building, allowing passengers to travel between these two points in just over five minutes.

AirAsia Experience

Everyone can fly. We flew with AirAsia from Kuala Lumpur International Aiport 2 (KLIA2) to New Chitose Airport, Sapporo, Hokkaido. As it was a connecting flight, we stopped over at Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok, Thailand.

It was a two hours flight from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok. Then another seven hours flight from Bangkok to Sapporo.

Malaysia is one hour ahead of Thailand and one hour behind Japan. We were like traveling forward in time and then backward in time.

Upon arrival at each airport, we had to fill in the arrival, departure, and disembarkation cards. I'm looking forward to the new cards with COVID-related questions.

It was quite an experience transitioning from one airport to another. Each airport had a unique welcome feel to it. Since we had to wait a few hours for our connecting flight to Sapporo, we ate our late dinner at Don Mueang Airport.

Photo from author
Photo from author
Photo from author
Photo from author

If there's a connecting flight, don't forget to exchange currencies. Along with the Japanese Yen in our wallets, we also carried some spare Thai Bahts.

After a few short hours, it was time to continue our journey to Sapporo. Knowing it was going to be a kinda long flight. We paid more for front row seats for extra legroom and comfort.

On our connecting flight to Sapporo, we had another round of meal - airplane food. We had pre-booked our in-flight meals of roasted chicken with black pepper sauce and vegetable rice bowl. Even though it's not "sky dining", it was still breakfast in the sky.

Vegetable Rice Bowl. Photo from author
Roasted Chicken with Black Pepper Sauce. Photo from author
Photo from author

Arrival at New Chitose Airport

After nine hours of flight time, we were finally in Japan. Landing at New Chitose Airport, Hokkaido early in the morning, we were greeted by ROYCE' Chocolate.

Royce' was founded in Higashi-ku, Sapporo, Japan. It is a popular chocolate brand to come out of Sapporo. Royce's signature masterpiece is the Nama Chocolate. Across the seas, Royce is also well known in Malaysia, as it opened its first outlet in Isetan KLCC in 2005.

If there's one of the many things Japan is well-known for is it's "advanced" and extremely clean toilets. I took the opportunity to check out a toilet. The toilet has panels to control the water pressure and temperature to clean your big business.

Toilet in Sapporo CTS Airport. Photo from author

Even the security clearance is cutely manual and humanitarian. Before entering the immigration booths, there's a line of elderly people and scanning machines. An elderly staff would man the scanner and direct a passenger to scan his or her face for face recognition. Then on to the immigration booths, where immigration officers checked the arrival cards and stamped passports.

Finally, we collected back our luggage and made our way to the arrival hall of the New Chitose Airport. This is just the real beginning of our journey and holiday in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan.

Welcome to Hokkaido. Photo from author

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About the Creator

Ian Fan

Going by the handles @foodyfans and @ipropfans, Ian shares about real estate, investing, finance, travel, food, and personal growth.

Follow Ian Fan on YouTube, Instagram (food), Instagram (property), X, Facebook, Blog, and Medium.

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