Thursday, 6 October 2011

MM2H Visa Collection - Putrajaya (from Penang)

Having been in Penang since 20 July I figured it was high-time to go and collect my MM2H visa. It has to be said that the new location of the MM2H office did make me view the trip with a slight sense of dread but as it turned out is was all misplaced.

The address of the MM2H unit is:

Ministry of Tourism Malaysia,
Level 10,Tower 1, Jalan P5/6,
Presint 5, 62200 W
.P. Putrajaya,
MALAYSIA

Now, as can be seen from the post dated 31 July I had managed to get all the documentation I would need prior to collecting the visa (medical report, Security Bond stamping and medical insurance) sorted in Penang so I hoped I would need little time in Putrajaya, once there, to collect the visa. On that basis I decided to save on the cost of a hotel stop in KL (I'm not a great fan of capital cities and was not desperate to stay on this occasion) and do the trip there and back in a day.

I considered flying to KL to be the only real option in this case, given my need to do a round trip in a day and that of course means either flying to KLIA or KL Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT). In deciding, one main considerations for me was how to get from my chosen airport to Putrajaya and with the least amount of hassle and stress. From KLIA one of the two most sensible options was to take the KL Transit (please note, NOT the Ekspress which doesn't stop until KLCC) which stops at Putrajaya/Cyberjaya Sentral (P/C S), Cyberjaya being the IT based 'development area' adjacent to mainly governmental Putrajaya that is home to the Ministry of Tourism, which is about 10 minutes away by taxi. The other option is to take a taxi direct from KLIA at a cost of around RM 65. Putrajaya though is a bit of a nightmare if you don't know your way around however and I figured that a local taxi driver operating out of Putrajaya Sentral may have a better chance of not getting lost, as as happened to at least one MM2H applicant I know. KL LCCT also offers exactly the same options. Grab a taxi and go to Putrajaya direct, again at a cost of RM 65, or buy a ticket for the KL Transit and, again, take a taxi from Putrajaya Sentral. The difference is that with KL LCCT you need to take a 20 minute shuttle bus (which is free when you purchase your KL Transit ticket) to get you to the KL Transit station, Salak Tinggi, which is actually the transit station before KLIA. With KLIA the Transit terminal is on-site. The picture to the right shows (maybe poorly) the rough route to get to the MM2H offices from P/C S. If you Google Putrajaya KL Transit and then look for Presinct 6, below the station and to the left, you will see where the Ministry of Tourism is.

So, what about flights. KLIA does benefit from having slightly easier access to the KL Transit station and of course better direct connection to KL direct (e.g. KL Ekspress) which may or may not be important to you. However, you will pay a premium to fly into KLIA as you will need to use a major airline and not one of the low cost operators such as Air Asia (which flies into KL LCCT) or Firefly (which flies into Subang). Booking 5 days in advance as I was, I would have been able to get a return flight from Malaysia Airlines for RM 378 (inc taxes) and actually that's not too bad. On top of that you will of course need to add the cost of getting to the airport and your connections the other end.

I then looked at the LCCT option. Total cost of a return flight with Air Asia was RM 229, around RM 150 cheaper than the flight into KLIA. Given that the cost of the flight was considerably cheaper, the flight times suited me more and that the Putrajaya connection did not seem to daunting, KL LCCT was the option I chose.

When the big day arrived I took a taxi from my home near Tg Tokong to the airport, with a driver I use often, at a cost of RM 40. At 9am the roads are quite quiet and the trip took us about 40 minutes. Penang airport is still undergoing renovation but finding your way to the departure hall, up the escalator, is not too hard. I had checked in with Air Asia online previously and had the bar code they issue saved to my phone. They have self-service terminals at the airport which SHOULD be able to scan this code and print your boarding pass (I only had hand luggage so would not need to then check baggage also). The machine seemed to struggle with my bar code which MAY have been down to the phone screen protector, I'm not sure. Once you have checked in online however you cannot check-in again using the terminals and I had to use a 'Document Check' desk which only took a few minutes. With hindsight I probably wouldn't check-in online again and would just check-in using the booking code at the terminals leaving less margin for error. Using a bar code to do the same thing seems to just add another needless step. My flight left on time at 11:20 and an hour later, about 12:30 pm I was at KL LCCT.

The rest of the trip was really easy. Walking into arrivals at LCCT there are a number of coach and taxi desks and also the desk marked KL Ekspress. It is this desk that you get the KL Transit tickets. The cost to Putrajaya is just RM 5.50 which includes the free 20 minute coach transfer to Salak Tinggi. I also confirmed that the cost of a taxi to Putrajaya is RM 64.20. Having got my Transit ticket (they give you two, one for the coach and one for the train) I walked straight outside the terminal and across two pedestrian crossings and straight onto the KL Transit shuttle coach. There is a placard which, despite being small and low down, clearly indicates that it's the KL Transit coach stop and the drivers and crews nearby are all helpful, directing anyone unsure. After a short wait the coach set off and 20 minutes later dropped us off at Salak Tinggi (picture left), one of the very clean, tidy and well laid out Transit stations. It was 14 minutes for the next transit so I took the opportunity to grab a cold drink and a couple of savouries at the cafe as you enter the station. After that it was through the automatic barrier (you will need your train ticket to gain access) and across to the platform for the KL bound Transit. Again, helpful and friendly staff are around if you are unsure of your bearings. P/C S is the first stop the Transit train makes and the journey only takes about 5 minutes.

You could equally do this trip to P/C S from KL by taking the Transit (again, not the Ekspress!!) from KLSS towards KLIA at a cost of RM 12.50 and getting off at P/C S.

At P/C S there is an Information Desk and clear signs to the taxi and bus stands. As you will find at many of the larger transport hubs there are taxi coupon desks where you get a voucher for taxi before heading to the rank. The fares are all pre-determined. I could have taken a bus but decided, at a cost of RM 13 to take a taxi. Here is where making my own way to P/C S paid a dividend, the taxi drivers know the area and know exactly where to go. The trip took 10 minutes and the taxi dropped me off at the Ministry of Tourism offices, opposite the Pullman Hotel, at about 2pm. Spot on for the finish of lunch hour.

Total travel time from KL LCCT to Putrajaya was about an hour but it doesn't seem like it because it's so hassle free and the time just flies. Taxis can be a bit thin on the ground around Putrajaya so I did take the 24 hour call-centre number for the main taxi operator which is +60 3 888 4000.

Collecting the visa couldn't have been easier. Straight to the Immigration Desks which are next to the MM2H desks on the 10th floor, hand over the Letter of Aceptance, Security Bond form, medical report and copy of medical insurance, wait for 10 minutes, pay cashier (security Bond + RM90 for each year of your visa which will be tied to passport expiry), done!! There was no FD for me to 'prove' as I had been granted a visa under the 'Offshore' criteria. So, 20 minutes tops. In all honesty I spent much more time chatting to my friend Noor at the MM2H office!!!

After that, it was the return trip. Pointless repeating as it was just a reverse run but with one difference. As I walked out of the MoTour building to wait or call for a taxi (and I did see a couple nearby) I turned right and then right again (bringing you opposite the side of the Pullman Hotel) and saw a 601 bus at the bus stop. I asked if the bus went to Putrajaya Sentral and the driver said yes. So I boarded the bus and paid the 50 sen fare for a 10 minute trip back to the Transit station. All from there was just the same, easy and totally stress-free journey. Again, a total of an hour trip back to KL LCCT, including the waiting time for Transit etc. I got to the airport at 5pm with ample time to eat and then check in for the 6:20pm flight back to Penang.

So, that was my trip from Penang to Putrajaya and back. 11 hours door-to-door and overall a totally stress free and pleasant trip. Cost wise:

Total cost KL LCCT to Putrajaya (return): RM 24.50 (could have been RM 12 as next time I would take the bus from P/C S both ways). Total cost of my round-trip: RM 333.50

There are a few very useful resources I found while planning the options for this trip and they are:

A Wiki entry on Putrajaya which provides some detail on where it is and travelling around it.

The KL Low Cost Carrier Terminal website LCCT website which contains details on travel options from LCCT.

The taxi coupon service Mesra Indah Jayah website with details of costs from LCCT to various places.

2 comments:

  1. Congratulations mate. With that entry in the old passport, the worries are all gone. Also you can use Malaysian Passport Immigration when travelling outside the country and no need for entry card fill in either.

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  2. Cheers Phil. It's great to get it out of the way and the trip to PJ was much less hassle than I thought, esp using the KL Transit. We'll have to meet up for a beer soon when you are next around Pg or when I'm in KL (which maybe end of month).

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