Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sydney 6D/4N Itinerary - Day 1 & 2 (Part 1)

Date of Travel: 16-21 Aug 2012

Our best memory of Sydney - the coastal walk from Coogee to Bondi beach

AirAsia X launched their KUL-SYD route on 17 Jan 2012. This launch was in a hurried manner, as they were contesting with Jetstar Asia and Scoot Airlines to see who will open their bookings first for this much coveted route. They kept saying they wanted to launch it, but there was no announcement on when or what travel period etc. It was pure luck, that I was sitting in my office on the morning of 17 Jan, and kept checking and the booking suddenly opened. The highly sought after Hari Raya long weekend was still at an unbelievable price of RM571.00 nett per person, so we snatched it up without hesitation. August is the perfect season to visit Sydney, for the 2nd time in my life. Side note: during my 1st visit to Sydney in 1997, I absolutely loved it in every way, and branded it one of my top 3 destinations across the world!

Next up is hotel booking. We like to stay at the hub of transportation (not necessarily at the heart of the action). Transport is tremendously important to us, as we move around a lot. What better place than at the Central Train Station. The Mercure Sydney is just right next door to the station, and we got it for an unbelievable price of RM1369.41 for 4 nights, for a 4-star hotel in Sydney. This was possible by booking it from AirAsiaGo when they gave a special code to get an additional 15% off. We loved the Mercure, where we could walk to almost anywhere, or could easily hop on a bus to anywhere else. I would stay here again if I were ever to return.

Room at The Mercure Sydney for RM342 per night

Swimming pool and gym at The Mercure Sydney

At the time of writing, Sydney has only 1 flight a day departing KUL at 11:40pm. I attempted to do an upgrade using OptionTown, but it was rejected due to the high season and lack of availability. Since I had suspected this beforehand, I used OptionTown to purchase both an Upgrade and an Empty Seat Option so that I will be guaranteed to get 3-in-a-row to be shared by 2 persons. Only RM34 for the empty seat, so why not? We took turns using the empty seat and managed to get past the 8-hour flight.

We got off the flight like zombies, and were faced with a horrendously long queue at immigration (we were in front of our pack in our flight). It took about 45 minutes to clear. Next up, was getting transport to town. There are several options for public transport passes in Sydney, but we opted for the MyMulti1 pass. MyMulti1 allows travel within the city area, which is more than enough for us. MyMulti2 and MyMulti3 allow access to farther away suburbs from the city. A day pass costs A$21 or a week pass for A$43. Great, $43 is perfect. Now there is a lovely train from the airport direct to the city. However, the MyMulti1 cannot be used on its own and you need to purchase an additional "gate pass" for A$12 for one way, or A$18.60 for a weekly gate pass. So for holiday makers in Sydney for less than a week, the A$18.60 + A$43.00 is what you need.

BUT, HH and I aren't ordinary holiday makers. We like to test the system and maximise the tickets and save unnecessary cost. After all, check-in isn't until 2pm, so we have time. There is a public bus number 400 that serves both the domestic and international terminals of Sydney airport, and yes it is covered under the MyMulti1 ticket. The bus-stop is literally outside the Arrival Hall of the International airport, but the trick is looking out for which direction the bus is heading. If your bus is heading Eastbound, it would say destination is Bondi Junction and you would alight at Mascot station. If your bus is Westbound, it would say Rockdale or Burwood, but you alight at Rockdale station. The biggest problem is, how do you know you have arrived at Mascot or Rockdale stations?

Bus stop for Bus Number 400, outside of Arrival Hall at International Terminal

I am extremely disappointed with the public transportation in Sydney. It is totally un-tourist-friendly. There is no signage in the bus/train to tell you where you are now, or what the next stop is. Certain bus-stops will indicate what stop this is, but not all. We were unlucky enough to catch the Eastbound bus, and was supposed to look out for Mascot station. After 20 minutes of riding, I suddenly noticed that our current bus-stop said something "Mascot". So we tried to get out of the bus when the driver had already closed the door, and got some grumbles from him. Great we were in the middle of a suburb street, with 1 bus stop and 1 office building. No sign of train anywhere.

We randomly followed some people who looked like they knew where they were going, but alas they went into an office building. We dragged our luggages further along the road, and saw some train tracks down the hill. After poking around, we finally found the Mascot Train Station, hooray! When we saw the trains, oh my, it looks almost as bad as those in Paris! This time we were smarter, we counted how many stops before we needed to get off.
Train station at Mascot

Sydney trains, where part of it is double-decker

Central Train Station

Finally, we arrived Central Train Station and friendly people pointed us the way out of this huge station towards George Street, and we finally arrived at The Mercure Sydney at 12:30pm, feeling totally hungry and exhausted.

Day 1 Costs:
Air Ticket = RM571 x 2
Mercure Hotel = RM1369.41
OptionTown Empty Seat Option = RM34
MyMulti1 Week Pass A$43x2

Total Day 1 =  RM2824.91
(Note: At the time of travel, A$1 = RM3.25)

Other posts in this series:
Sydney 6D/4N Itinerary - Day 1 & 2 (Part 1)
Sydney 6D/4N Itinerary - Day 1 & 2 (Part 2)

Sydney 6D/4N Itinerary - Day 3  

Sydney 6D/4N Itinerary - Day 4   
Sydney 6D/4N Itinerary - Day 5 
Sydney 6D/4N Itinerary - Summary of Expenses (Final)     

1 comment:

Peter Russo said...

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