travel

AirAsia’s Asean Pass Affordably Flies Us to Penang & Bangkok

September 5, 2015

Written by Yu Liang Sin

One of the more affordable ways to jet around ASEAN

Air Asia ASEAN Pass - Plane

Love to travel and always on the lookout for an affordable deal that’s worth every cent of your money? Here we introduce to you the AirAsia ASEAN Pass and our real experience using it; We recently worked with AirAsia to travel to Penang and Bangkok using this ASEAN pass, which has quite a wide variety of holiday destinations in the ASEAN region.

ASEAN is a 10-country political and economic association consisting of:

  • Brunei
  • Cambodia
  • Indonesia
  • Laos
  • Malaysia
  • Myanmar
  • Singapore
  • Thailand
  • the Philippines
  • Vietnam

The AirAsia Asean Pass, as explained in detail in our previous article, is a travel pass that allows guests to book low fares with 10 or 20 credits, at least 14 days or more prior to departure date. This pass can be used to travel to more than 140 routes all across ASEAN. Depending on the origin and destination, countries you want to travel to will require 1 -3 credits per one way trip.

Read our ASEAN pass article again for further explanation on the pros and cons of how it works.

This time, we’re running an actual field test of the ASEAN pass to Penang as well as Bangkok to see how well it works and how far it can actually bring us to. We’ve chosen Penang as one of our destinations, and will also travel to Bangkok on a later date since the pass is valid for 30 days from the first flight date.

Air Asia ASEAN Pass - Check in counter Air Asia ASEAN Pass - Self Check In

The AirAsia check in counter is located at Terminal 1 of the Singapore Changi International Airport. It can be really easily spotted as you step into the terminal.

Upon checking in at the counter for your flight, you are greeted by warm and friendly staffs decked in red coloured top. The checking in process is a breeze with the high efficiency of their staff.

Alternatively, you can do a self check-in at their machines located at the side.

Air Asia ASEAN Pass - Plane front view

From the viewing gallery at the gate,  you can see the signature red tipped plane preparing for passengers to board the AirAsia flight bound for Penang, Malaysia.

Air Asia ASEAN Pass - Plane interior

We were comfortably seated throughout the flight, took a power nap and woke up to see that we arrived in Penang in less than 1.5 hrs. The AirAsia Airbus A320 planes have 31 rows of 6 seats per row and more than enough capacity for such short haul flights.

Air Asia ASEAN Pass - Food menu Air Asia ASEAN Pass - food menu 2

Okay, for those who do not want to nap, you can also eat.
Onboard Air Asia flights, food is available for purchase, be it heavy meals like Nasi Dagang or light bites like cookies and tea.

You can read more about the in-flight meal menu here as well.

Air Asia ASEAN Pass - wifi

You can also stay connected with your loved ones with 3MB of date (RM 9 when we were bound for Penang). A point not to be misunderstood here is that this service is only available for the use of Instant messaging services (WeChat, WhatsApp, KakaoTalk, and LINE).

Not entirely useful for short flights as I’m sure the world won’t end without whatsapp for a couple of hours.

Penang, Malaysia

Air Asia ASEAN Pass - Penang streets

After an estimated 80 minutes smooth flight from Singapore, we finally reached our destination here in Penang, ready to rumble. It only costs 1 ASEAN pass credit one way to Penang, and of course, 1 more credit back to Singapore.

Air Asia ASEAN Pass - building Air Asia ASEAN Pass - Street

In Penang, there is a rich and diverse culture of the street hawkers. Hawker food especially in the main Penang city of Georgetown is just full of hidden finds that are not just delicious, but very affordable as well.

Air Asia ASEAN Pass - Street art 1 Air Asia ASEAN Pass - Street art 2

In Penang, you will be amazed at the quality and number of street artworks and graffiti, embedded seamlessly through random district walls. I felt that most of the art on the walls were thoghtfully detailed – definitely something we don’t see (commonly) in Singapore – without the authorities coming to enforce some kind of fine.

Air Asia ASEAN Pass - white Curry mee

Of course when in Penang, you”ll have to check out their street food for the most authentic experience. Here we have: Penang’s famous white curry mee

Air Asia ASEAN Pass - Char koay teow

Duck egg char koay teow

Air Asia ASEAN Pass - oyster omelette

Oyster omelette

 

In every trip overseas, the foodie in you craves for some fantastic local fare right?
There is an amazing spread and variety of local food here in Penang, slightly similar to Singapore but I’d say more robust and vibrant.

Pictures shown above are just some of their yummy-licious local food with a different twist from our usual local versions.

Something to note about Penang’s food is that it usually tastes sweeter than the ones in Singapore, generally due to liberal use of dark sauce.

Bangkok, Thailand

bangkok 2015-1042

As mentioned, we also used the ASEAN pass to fly to one of the most popular Singaporean travel destination: Bangkok.

Traveling to Bangkok on the ASEAN pass requires 3 credits for 1 way from Singapore, but it’s quite hard to plan direct as most connecting ASEAN flights only go in and out of Kuala Lumpur. Instead, what we did was book a separate trip from Singapore to Bangkok after our return from Penang since the pass is valid up to 30 days of the first flight date.

bangkok 2015-0761

In Bangkok, one of the major attractions for both tourists and locals alike are the night markets which sell an amazing variety of trinkets, foods and fashion accessories. JJ Green night market is one such night market located near chatuchak that’s definitely worth a visit for its hip, bohemian vibes and wares.

bangkok 2015-0905We visited quite a few markets, and one of the most highly recommended would definitely be the Talad Rod Fai Train market. Do note that there are 2 such markets, the newer one being located in Ratchada while the older, bigger one is a bit further out of the city at Srinakarin Soi 51.

The Rod Fai Train market is named as such because it used to be located beside the train tracks near chatuchak market before being forced to move in 2013 when the BTS was being built.

These 2 massive night markets boast vintage appliances, household goods, antiques, fashion apparels and much more in a maze-like arrangement under colored tents.

bangkok 2015-0602

And of course, we also purveyed the local street food like this Thai-style Wanton mee at Thong Lor Soi 38, again a familiar name with our local dish but distinctively different with crab meat and a heavy pork lard flavour.

Air Asia ASEAN Pass - Plane upclose

Traveling around ASEAN countries is pretty simple and can be more worth it if you connect flights between countries using the ASEAN pass. The ASEAN pass is really for the avid traveler who enjoys Asian culture immensely.

Thanks to the ASEAN pass from AirAsia, we got the opportunity to travel to Penang and Bangkok with much convenience and less burden on our wallets.

Check out our ASEAN pass article again for a review on how the pass works. To book tickets via AirAsia or to purchase the ASEAN pass ($209 for 10 credits/ $369 for 20 credits), just hover over to their site!

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