Qantas A380 business class desperately needs an upgrade
Read the highs and lows of the Qantas A380 business class cabin on its journey from Melbourne to Singapore. It’s a non stop flight of just over 7 hours.
Australia’s national carrier gets the Only1invillage review. Flying high and flat with the white kangaroo because Qantas has an impeccable safety record. Like the character in Rain Man says, “Qantas has never crashed”.
We get to turn left when we board a plane! One of us is already a little light headed after 2 hours in the Qantas international business lounge Melbourne. Is it going to be a g’day or not? Continue reading as we give you all the details of this business class flight.
Find out why the Qantas A380 business class desperately needs an upgrade.
The flight from Melbourne to Singapore is scheduled to leave at mid day. An announcement is made that the plane is going to be delayed. When you’re sitting in economy class, expletives start to form. Your eyes meet your fellow passengers and you roll your eyes upwards.
But, if you’re in business class, you don’t care, because the champagne just keeps on coming! Well actually, there’s no pre flight champagne on the Qantas A380. We settle for wine and pretzels instead. We have sympathy for our fellow economy class passengers. After all, we fly economy too!
The Qantas A380 business class cabin
First up, it’s really big. The business class section on the upper deck is split into two parts. The front end is smaller and feels more cosy. There are 18 seats here. We get seats 13 A and 13B. One is a window seat and one is an aisle seat.
The configuration is 2-2-2. If you’re not travelling in a couple or with friends, it can get a bit awkward for the window seat passenger. The window seat passenger has no direct aisle access. Your fellow passenger will have to step over you when you decide to go fully flat!
The service galley separates the mini cabin from a further 24 business class seats. Behind that there are 8 rows of premium economy seats. Finally at the very back of the plane are 2 rows of economy seats.
The front end contains the ‘bar’. We’ll get onto that a bit later!
The seat and its surrounds on the Qantas A380 business class cabin
The seats themselves are comfortable enough, but, showing their age. The positives are the 180 degree flat bed position and the comfort mattress. Notice that business class seats are not much wider than economy class seats. It’s all about the legroom.
There is a huge amount of legroom.
The window seat passenger gets an extra piece of stowage space in a side compartment.
In flight entertainment
There is plenty to entertain yourself with. The Qantas in flight entertainment system has all the usual options. The latest films and classic films in various languages. You can watch the flight cameras or listen to music. The TV screen is a bit grainy and small for business class.
The noise cancelling headphones are a nice touch. They are superior to the ones you get in economy class. You almost want to take them with you!
But what’s going on with this controller? Is it a telephone?
The electronics around the seat
The TV controller can hide in a compartment to the left of your seat. The seat can go into many positions. You can have just your feet up, a slight recline or, the fully flat bed. The buttons to change the seat positions are self explanatory. What we love most, is the in seat massage function of the seats. Getting a massage at 39,000 feet, that’s luxury.
The most disappointing and surprising aspect of the seat electronics is the lack of charging outlets. There are no USB or sockets to charge your devices! What is going on Qantas? That’s a big reason why this fleet of planes needs upgrading. Many airlines in economy have USB charging options under the TV. We are baffled by the lack of electricity available in business class.
The amenity kits on the Qantas A380 business class
We have to say, they’re a bit under whelming. No pyjamas, that’s only for first class passengers. The quality of the toiletries bag isn’t great. It looks a bit cheap and will make a great ‘re-gift’ present for a 5 year old. The Aspar products do smell very good, though.
The food and beverages
Now if you really want to know what you’re eating, you can pre- select your food online. You go to ‘manage your booking’ on the Qantas website and look for ‘Menu Select’. Personally, we like the surprise, there’s always something you’ll want to eat, when flying business class.
When you fly business class you expect the food to be restaurant quality. The food should look and taste different to economy class. From the ‘real’ cutlery and crockery, you expect a big difference. The food is definitely better than economy class! One small gripe is the wine and premium alcohol quality.There’s also no cocktail service, unlike on Emirates business class.
The menu selection always reflects the place you’re flying from and the destination. So, on the flight from Australia there is a choice of Asian inspired and Modern Australian food. We opt for one of each and share!
The lunch service begins an hour into the flight. The headphones are on and the latest film is rolling. It’s main course time. There are four options to choose from! There’s a vegetarian polenta with braised greens, mushroom ragout and a salsa verde. The other choice is a Moroccan style beef tagine with chickpeas, roasted sweet potato and coriander yoghurt. As you can see, it’s a difficult choice!
Ok, Ok, so we eat a lot. Yes, we had a little breakfast in the lounge before the flight, but, you can always make room for dessert! In the interests of a thorough review, it would be unfair not to order something sweet!
Now, just when you think you can’t eat any more. Three hours into the flight, there’s the mid flight snacks. These are also available at the ‘bar’ section at the very front of business class. They are pieces of whole fruit, chocolate bars and bags of crisps/chips. They don’t need a photograph.
Prior to landing, so about 6 hours into the flight comes the last food offerings. There’s a choice of two things, so naturally, we order one of each!
The service of the Qantas staff
The staff are friendly, but not over friendly. They don’t seem to have as much time to chat to you about your destination. For example, landing cards are handed out regardless of whether Singapore is your final destination. A more personal touch would have been to ask passengers if they are connecting or not. Outside of meal times, the Qantas staff keep to themselves.
The Qantas A380 business class toilets
This is what you have all been waiting for! Here it is, the toilet photo!
The Qantas A380 business class bar
This is the part of the Qantas A380 that needs the urgent upgrade the most. When you see the pictures of the bar, you will understand why. Unlike its competitors Emirates, Etihad, Qatar, Virgin Australia, Virgin Atlantic and Korean Air, you probably won’t be leaving your business class seat for this bar.
It’s not really a bar and the shape of it, isn’t really enticing. Despite that, you will always get some people using the room behind the curtains!
Summary of why the Qantas A380 business class cabin desperately needs an upgrade
Firstly there are NO USB charging points! What happens to people who actually use business class to do some work? Your laptop isn’t going to last the 7 hour flight on battery mode.
Secondly, that bar isn’t enticing. There should be better quality wines, champagne on boarding and cocktail options to match competitors. If you compare the area to its competitors, you can see why it doesn’t come close to Emirates or Qatar’s on board bar. See pictures of the Emirates A380 barhere.
Thirdly, the seats are starting to sag and could be a little wider. Seating configuration of 2-2-2 vs competitors such as Emirates 1-2-1 means a lot less space. Also it means window passengers need to climb over the person next to them. The privacy screens are too short. The television screens are too small and low quality. The toilets have no amenities.
Good news the overhaul of the A380 started in September 2019. Qantas promises to make the bar area more inviting.
Qantas has also announced that all seats will have aisle access in business class. They are making their business seats more like Qatar’s ‘business suites’ which are like mini first class areas.
The upgrades are scheduled to finish at the end of 2020. Roll on 2020, we say!
To read about the improvements, Qantas is planning for the A380 fleet, click here.
Here is our review of this shiny and modern lounge. It is spacious and comfortable with fast Wi-fi. A calm oasis to relax in, before your long haul flight. We visit at breakfast time. The menu changes at mid day. Only1invillage tells you what you get and what you don’t, in the coffee Capital of Australia!
Australia’s national carrier Qantas has recently spent a lot of money refurbishing its domestic lounges. Are the lounges of the same standard for international passengers in Melbourne, Australia? When Down Under, find out if you’re getting a dud or a gem, when you fly through or from Melbourne International.
Quick Index Qantas International Business Lounge Melbourne
After passport control in Terminal 2 you go through the duty free shops. Keep following the signs. The lounge is located down an escalator and is opposite the Singapore Airlines and American Express Lounge.
Qantas International business class dress code
Quite a lot of people can use this lounge. Before you get dressed though, please read our guide of what to wear and what not to wear! How embarrassing if you get refused entry because you’re not properly dressed!
Who can Get In
Emirates code share customers who are flying business class can use this lounge, but will probably opt for the Emirates lounge. Also business class passengers of the following airlines. Get ready for the long list! Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways, Sri Lankan Airways, LATAM (Chilean), China Airlines, China Southern, China Eastern, Garuda Indonesia, Fiji Airways, Jetstar, Vietnam Airlines and Sichuan Airlines.
You can also gain entry if you have racked up enough points with your airline. Usually if you’re in the top two tiers and have jewel status of at least a sapphire, you can use the Qantas international business lounge in Melbourne. For Qantas you have to hold gold status. For Emirates, gold and platinum status gets you in. If you’re a Oneworld alliance flyer and have sapphire or emerald status, come on in!
Lastly, if you’re a Qantas Club member or you have a single entry pass, then come on in and relax.
The good news is that the lounge is very big. It can hold up to 350 people apparently. Still you don’t want it to be full and at capacity! You come to a lounge to get away from the terminal crowd.
The best thing for families with small children, is the play area. It would be better however, if it was enclosed, so you can’t hear the screeching of the little darlings. Take a leaf out of Emirates’ children’s area in Dubai. For a review of the Emirates business class lounges in Dubai, click here.
There’s a business area with a sleek long desk and photocopier machine/printer at one end, just after the reception desk. Set up here if you need to get some work done.
The seats range from armchairs in small groups to bar stools. They come in a variety of colours, textures and comfort levels. As usual, the tables are way too small to fit much onto them. However, most people aren’t travelling in large groups and you can always put two tables together, if the need arises.
The shower area is located in the middle of the lounge.
There are also separate toilet areas.
The showers have a toilet inside them too, so they’re more like a mini bathroom.
The toiletries have been exclusively designed for Qantas by Aspar. The 500ml body lotion retails at $50AUD per bottle. When you get on the A380 Qantas plane, inside your amenity kit, you will find an exclusive offer for Aspar products. You enter a code on the Aspar website and you get $50AUD discount. Conditions apply.
Food and Beverages
Feeling hungry? Like all business class lounges, the food changes according to the time of the day. We visit at breakfast time. There’s a very good, not quite excellent, variety of hot and cold choices, including Qantas signature ‘made to order’ dish of the day.
The drinks selection never changes, don’t worry. You can still mix yourself a cocktail at 8am!
Being in Melbourne you are guaranteed great coffee. Barista made is best. There are 2 self service machines, but who in their right mind uses them, when you’re in the coffee capital of Australia?
The cold options are a Western style selection. On offer for breakfast is fruit salad, yoghurts, cereals and muesli.
Now onto the hot food. It’s what we call a full English.
For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s pretty tasty, but, not so healthy. Fried or grilled sausages, bacon, eggs, mushroom and hash browns are standard. For the health component grilled tomatoes are usually offered too. It’s not all bad!
If that’s too unhealthy for you, you can always try the special dish of the day. It is cooked to order, so it’s guaranteed to be fresh. The business lounge plate of the day is next to the barista coffee bar. You place your order and hang around for about 5 minutes. They call your name, when your food is ready.
Any international business class lounge worthy of its class has to have a good selection of alcohol. Whilst Qantas doesn’t offer premium alcohol, like Emirates does, the variety is good.
The selection of alcohol is vast. You can mix your own cocktails for breakfast at two stations in the business class lounge. No one is going to judge you!
The quality of the wines isn’t as good as in the Emirates lounges, but much better than the Qantas Club in the domestic terminal.
The soft drinks selection is pretty good too. Teas are available in single sachets. Freshly pressed vegetable juice is available too. What the Qantas lounge does have over the Emirates lounge, is the barista coffee.The fresh barista coffee is excellent. Well, this is the coffee capital of Australia, after all! The latte art is pretty impressive too.
The only drinks missing are the bubble teas and smoothies. We don’t know any lounges that offer these! If you do, let us know.
Here’s a round up of what you get and what you don’t in the Qantas international business class lounge.
You get plenty of space. A dedicated children’s play area. Comfortable spaces to sit or work. A big variety of beverages. A good selection of hot and cold food. Showers to freshen up in. Fabulous barista coffee.
What you don’t get is natural light. Also, the cleaning up of dirty plates isn’t as good as it could be. Apart from that, there’s not too much to complain about. We enjoyed our time in the Qantas international business class lounge Melbourne. It beats having to cook breakfast for yourself!
Redang Island is Only1invillage’s secret paradise island
So what’s your favourite place that you have visited? A common question that is hard to answer. For us when it comes to beach destinations around the world this is it! Redang Island Malaysia is a tropical paradise! Beautiful sand, crystal clear warm water, spectacular scenery, amazing marine life and largely unknown. Keep reading and you will soon start wishing you are there!
We are not joking! You don’t even have to dive to see giant bumphead parrot fish, angel fish, giant clams and the clown fish are everywhere!!! Black tip reef sharks, turtles, puffer fish, red breasted wrasse and titan triggerfish are common sightings.
If your idea of paradise involves palm trees, frangipanis, eating with your toes in soft, white sand, crystal clear warm water, amazing fish life and serious relaxation, you know what to do……..keep reading!
We know, we know, you want to go to the Maldives, but, trust us, the Maldives is a huge rip off. Do you enjoy paying $US5 for a 330ml can of Coke? Do you like getting your feet cut on sharp coral? Do you enjoy going for a 1 hour snorkel and seeing one grey coloured fish?
Is your idea of paradise worth $US400 a night for a 3 star resort? Unless you go to exclusive resorts which charge in excess of $US800 per night, the sand quality is not better in the Maldives. To us, Redang is the Malaysian Maldives!
Compare these photos. Can you tell which one is Malaysia and which one is the Maldives?
You can see where we’re heading can’t you? Malaysia has everything the Maldives has but on a budget! Train your brain to say Redang Island is my next dream destination. Forget about the Maldives. Malaysia or the Maldives? See, they are even beginning to sound similar!
Where is Redang Island?
Redang Island is NE of the capital Kuala Lumpur. It used to be a plane ride away, but the runway closed in 2016. It is a bit of a transportation collective to get to Redang Island, which makes it less popular than Langkawi. Yes, Langkawi is beautiful too, but far more crowded. We like the fact that it’s difficult to get to Redang. A plane, a taxi and then a boat ride from KL, makes Redang Island quieter. Redang is close to our other dream destination in Malaysia, the Perhentian Islands.
When is the best time to go to Redang Island?
Redang Island has three seasons. Bloody wet and hot, bloody hot and dry and monsoon season. Best time to go is non monsoon season. June, July and August offer the calmest seas and best water clarity. Many places close from November to February. Always check in advance. The crossing over can be very rough in the monsoon season. Some boats may not operate at all.
April is good too, but tidal waves bring in some rubbish from wherever all that plastic comes from. When we come in April, we spend a lot of time cleaning the beach.
It is however, nothing like the nightmare of rubbish you see on Indonesian beaches. September still has plenty of sunshine. Even in October, when you might get downpours of H2o, it doesn’t last long! Basically Redang is an escape for the southern hemisphere experiencing Winter.
If you’re bored of crowded European beaches in June, July and August, come on over to the Malaysian Maldives, of Redang!
How to get to Redang Island
The nearest airport is Kuala Terrenganu. Kuala Terranganu is a 50 minute flight, from the capital of KL. KLIA2 and Air Asia offers the most number of flights to KT daily. From KT airport (Malaysians love acronyms) a 50 minute taxi ride takes you to Shandabhar Jetty. From there, a public ferry takes 90 mins to cross the South China Sea to our no longer secret paradise island.
You can also go to Merang Jetty and wait for a boat to fill up to get to Redang Island. Don’t confuse Merang with Marang, which is totally different. The letter e makes all the difference. There is no jetty at Marang. You must go to Merang. Click here for the boat times from Merang Jetty to Redang. Note, we only use this for the return from Redang. We cannot vouch for the accuracy of the times going to Redang from Merang Jetty. Also, we have never booked online, we always pay cash.
However, the boats can be more crowded and you may have to wait for one to fill up.
Buy your tickets here for Redang if you turn up at Merang Jetty. Your accommodation can also buy your ticket in advance along with your taxi transfer from Kuala Terrenganu. Don’t forget, you will also have to pay a small jetty access charge and the marine park fee. Have to preserve paradise! It won’t put a dent in your budget. It’s 30MYR for non Malaysians, 15MYR for children and senior citizens. That’s the same fee for the Perhentian Islands marine park fee. If, like us, you go to Redang, from the Perhentian Islands, you don’t have to pay twice!
If you love a bumpy, hold onto your bones boat ride for 50 minutes, you can also get to Redang Island from the Perhentian Islands! On arrival at the Perhentian Islands, we always go to Ayumni House, which is behind Tuna Bay resort and ask the lady there to arrange a boat transfer. The cost is MYR100 per person.
At least 6 people have to go to make it worthwhile for the ‘taxi’. That’s why you need to enquire at least 3 days in advance. In our experience, it’s easier to island hop from Perhentian Besar to Redang Island and not the other way around.
If you’re staying at the Taraas Beach Resort or Laguna Redang Island Resort, they will arrange all transfers for you. This includes a meet and greet at the airport in Kuala Terrenganu. Enquire with your accommodation.
What’s there to do on Redang Island?
It’s all about the ‘s’ words. Sun, sea, sand and snorkelling! There’s also some hiking, massage, reading and yoga. A few places will rent out kayaks and stand up paddle boards. Believe us, it’s exhausting from dawn until dusk fitting everything in.
The snorkelling and diving is some of the best in Asia. The diving is also very cheap and the equipment you get is of a good standard. Diving instructors are knowledgable. If you’re thinking of getting your PADI license, why not do it in paradise? It really gives Thailand, where J got certified a run for its money.
Redang is an underwater paradise. Every day, we are busy spotting resident turtles, clown fish, angel fish and rare sightings of bump head parrot fish.
Not to mention giant wrasse, titan triggerfish, black spotted cod, moray eels and sting rays!
Almost forgot about the schools of black tip reef sharks which smile at you as they glide past!
Redang Island is, for us, the perfect mix of not too isolated and not too busy.
Nightlife consists of live bands at the various resorts. Thankfully where we stay doesn’t have a band at all. Also, Sari Pacifica doesn’t do live music, which means it is possible to sleep at 10pm.
During the day, you often have the powder white sand to yourself and 10 other western tourists. Asian tourists avoid the sun from 10 until 4. Your peace will be interrupted 3 times a day when the snorkelling boats come in and out.
Apart from that you can only hear waves, gently lapping against the shore. Oh and course people’s conversations about the amazing fish!
What’s the food like on a tropical island?
You’ll need great coffee to go with that cake. Forgot to add the latte pictures! Here you go. You can get great coffee on Redang Island. OK, not Milan or Melbourne standard, but what else are you going to drink with your cake?
Where we stay on Redang Island
Our secret island paradise is out, so we might as well share where we stay. Our favourite place to stay on Redang Island is Coral Redang Island Resort. This is a 3 star resort.
Good value and modern with a prime position on the beach. What we like about Redang Island is that even though the hotels are built on the beach, they are well camouflaged. They are also about 20 metres back from the water.
The service is good and the restaurant is the best option for western food. We have tried every restaurant on the island. The organisation of transfers to and from the island is very good. Visa is accepted for paying the final bill. You cannot book via booking.com or expedia. You have to book direct with the resort.
There are two types of room available. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Deluxe rooms are more expensive, better decor and you only have one neighbour. Deluxe rooms are two storey stand alone buildings at the front and centreof the property. The first 6 from the reception area have beach and water views.
Standard rooms are set further back from the beach. They are cheaper but are newer. They have a more plain decoration. The standard rooms don’t have a fridge. The showers are more powerful, however than deluxe rooms. You have more neighbours, especially if you are in the middle floor. Beds are newer and slightly more comfortable than in the deluxe rooms. We like both rooms and have stayed in both. Both rooms have a massive safe. The safes are big enough to store laptops, something quite rare. There are also family rooms. There is a block facing the pool which is ideal for 2 kids and 2 adults in a sort of adjoining room.
Breakfast is included at Coral Redang Island Resort.
There is fruit, yoghurt, cereal, croissants and toast. There is also an egg station. Don’t expect poached, egg white omelettes or soft boiled eggs. The egg station is strictly for fried eggs and omelettes.
There’s always hash browns (English and Australian style), baked beans and some kind of starch like noodles or rice. On Sundays it’s roti bread breakfast day! Our absolute favourite flaky bread with a yummy curry sauce.
Coral Redang Island Resort also have a very professional dive centre. Snorkelling and diving trips go out every day and the staff speak English, Mandarin and Cantonese in addition to Bahasa Malay. The equipment is modern and clean. If you have your own diving equipment, there is a small discount. So bring your oxygen tank, just joking! Waterproof cameras, masks and snorkels are available to rent. Life jackets, masks and snorkels are part of the snorkel trip package. Kayaks and stand up paddle boards complete your water sports adventures. Thankfully there are no banana boat rides or giant doughnuts on Redang Island.
The beach view frangipani villas are the only choice here. You have well padded veranda lounges and a king sized bed. The food isn’t the best here. There’s no live music at night which makes this and Coral Redang on the quiet end of the beach.
Laguna Redang Island Resort is a big development. Even though it is large it blends quite well into the scenery. This is rated as a four star resort and caters mainly for tourists on a package, which includes daily snorkelling. During peak season, the breakfast buffet can be chaotic!
If you want a pool for the kids and a jacuzzi for yourself you have to stay at Laguna Redang. Make sure you venture out between 11 and 4pm and you’ll be like J (see picture below!)
Popular with Chinese tourists on a package. However, most Chinese people stay in the shade between 10am and 3pm, so you’ll have the facilities pretty much to yourself during daylight hours. Beware as the temperature drops (by 2 degrees from 32 to 30) the vampires begin to come out and the peace will be shattered!
Located just next door to the big complex that is Laguna Redang is Redang Beach Resort. Yes, the names all get a bit confusing! This is also quite a big resort. The sand in front is powder white and has a volley ball net set up for the 5pm games. Note: no one plays before then, it’s too hot!
This is a 3 to 4 star hotel, depending on your tastes. The rooms seem comfortable enough and you get the usual tea making facilities.
Expensive and posh for Malaysia. Read Tripadvisor reviews however, for the service. Commanding a whole white sandy bay all to themselves. The Taaras is a bit remote. Stunning location, definitely a mirror image of some Maldivian islands. Once there, you don’t have many choices for food or activities. It’s a place to stay if you want luxury and you don’t want to leave the one beach.
Turtle spotting happens just in front of this luxury resort. So you don’t have to pay for a boat trip, because this is where you end up. The turtles here are amazing! But, it is sad to see that the tour operators let people get too close. They also feed the turtles squid to encourage them to hang around. We don’t like this practice and prefer to see our resident turtles on Long Beach.
There is a beach right next door which has the same soft white sand. We trek across the island and it takes about 50 minutes of pure sweat through the jungle. Don’t bring anything valuable as there can sometimes be people ready to snatch your belongings. (see the jungle trekking pictures)
The beaches on Redang Island
Used to be a resort Beach
This is where we want to buy and develop a resort! After that we want to set up house on this island, our beautiful Malaysian Maldives. There used to be a resort here and it is a bit eerie exploring here. But, go through Laguna Redang Resort, past their private jetty area and into the back area to get to Delima Resort and you will arrive here! We are always the only people here. We don’t know what this beach is called. There are no facilities here obviously.
Well if we haven’t convinced you that Redang Island is the Maldives on a budget, you’ll have to go yourself and prove us wrong. We love it so much, we have been six times! Pop on over to the Perhentian Islands, our other fave Malaysian Maldives islands, while you’re in the area!
Only1invillage shares our dream destination the Perhentian Islands
Here, we reveal how the Perhentian Islands is just like the Maldives and why it should be your number 1 dream destination! We are regular visitors and this is our 5th trip to these amazing hidden gems. You’ll be kicking yourself in the nether regions, thinking “How come I’ve never heard of this place?!” Forget Thailand and Bali for beaches and sunshine, hello Malaysia! Malaysia is the new Maldives. Keep reading and start planning your first visit to the Perhentian Islands! You know you want to 🙂
Ask yourself these questions about a beach holiday destination.
Do you love to walking and lying on powder white soft sand?
Do you love watching spectacular sunsets and sun rises?
Are turtles, clown fish and reef tip sharks your favourite ocean animals?
Do you love days of clear blue skies and no rain?
Do you love swimming in crystal clear, warm water?
Do you love gorging yourself on fresh seafood and local delights?
Do you enjoy island hopping?
Is snorkelling in pristine coral reefs high on your agenda?
Are friendly locals an important part of your holiday?
Do you like to gain some cultural knowledge of the place you’re visiting as a tourist?
Do you love getting a bargain on holiday?
Have you answered yes to all the above questions? Well, who wouldn’t? Maybe some of us don’t care too much about the last question, but, overall you say yes to the questions. That’s why the Perhentian Islands is your next dream destination.
Where are the Perhentian Islands?
The Perhentian Islands are in Malaysia, south east Asia. They are on the Eastern side of the Malaysian peninsula. The Perhentian islands are south of the Thai border. Penang is on the western side, directly opposite the Perhentian islands, when looking at a map. From Kuala Lumpur in the south, the Perhentians are located in the North East.
How many Perhentian Islands are There?
They are two islands which on a clear day, you can see across the South China Sea. In Bahasa Malay, they are known as ‘pulau Perhentian’. Pulau means islands. Furthermore, Pulau Perhentian Kecil means ‘small Perhentian island’ and Pulau Perhentian Besar, means, ‘big Perhentian Island. It’s important to not that there is an island off the coast of Melaka, called Pulau Besar, so don’t confuse the two!
How do I get to the Perhentian Islands?
To get to the Perhentian Islands you have to get a boat from Kuala Besut. Before you get to Kuala Besut, you have to get to Kota Bharu. International visitors will fly into Kuala Lumpur. From Kuala Lumpur, an internal flight is necessary. Air Asia, Firefly, Malindo Air and Malaysia Airways fly to Kota Bahru, one hour away. Air Asia offers the best number of flights per day. From KL, you can choose from 10 flights per day on Air Asia. The cost is usually about $US20, $GBP15, $AUD30, EUR18 one way before luggage and taxes. Air Asia is a budget airline. But for an hour’s flight who cares?
From Kota Bharu, you get a taxi to the jetty point of a little town called Kuala Besut. You can either get your resort to arrange a taxi, use your GRAB app (UBER for SE Asia) or get a pre -paid ticket at the taxi counter at Kota Bharu airport.
There is a public ferry, but we never take it. Time is of the essence when you need to get to paradise!
We always hitch a ride with the Tuna Express, run by the Tuna Bay resort. They also arrange a driver from Kota Bharu airport and drop you off at their office on the mainland. The operation is seamless.
They guide you to the departure point where you pay MYR30 per adult for the marine park fee and then onto their own boat. The boat ride is 45 minutes to Perhentian Besar.
What’s the best time to go to the Perhentian Islands?
The tropical islands of Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil experience the dry season from April to August. Peak season is June and July. To escape southern hemisphere Winter, the Perhentian Islands are perfect for that dream destination getaway. Long days of sunshine make for perfect snorkelling and diving in June and July. On the cusp of dry season, March and September are months still worth going, as the rain is generally at night.
What’s there to do on the perhentian islands?
Like the old saying goes, there’s 4 things to do on a tropical island. It’s sun, sea, sand and serious sandcastle building! Actually the snorkelling and scuba diving is pretty amazing. Crystal clear waters an abundance of sea life from turtles, reef sharks, sting rays, clown fish, parrot fish and plenty more make it an adventure every time you go in to the water! Jungle hiking and kayaking are also popular activities. Most resorts do not have a television which suits us just fine.
Jungle trekking on Big Island
The path is well signed for this short, but very sweaty little hike. Take mosquito repellent!
You actually start the walk from the beach after Cocohut Chalets. See picture below.
Oh there’s snorkelling too and high quality snorkelling at that.
To recap the Perhentian Islands activities are sunbathing, swimming, snorkelling, diving, sand castle building (unlike on Boracay, this has not been banned!) jungle trekking, walking, reading and island hopping.
Throw in eating and sleeping and then press repeat. Yup, it’s a serious beach vacation on the Perhentian Islands.
How do I pay for items and services on the perhentian islands?
There are no cash machines on the islands! We repeat, you cannot get cash out! You need to bring a combination of Malaysian Ringitt and credit cards. Bigger establishments will accept credit cards. The water taxi boats accept cash only. The small shops on both islands accept cash only. If you like collecting foreign currency banknotes, some Malaysian notes are plastic. This means that even if you drop your money in the crystal clear waters of the Perhentian Islands, you can still use it!
Is there WI-FI?
The most important question! It’s an island in the middle of the South China Sea. Yes, WI-FI is available. Of course it can be unreliable in times of bad weather. If you need an uninterrupted connection it is better to buy your own SIM card at the airport. There are three outlets at KLIA2 and a few stands at KLIA. Tune Talk seems to be reliable and DIGI also sell good plans.
Prices are very cheap. MYR40 buys you 15 days and 25GB. Beware that if you don’t activate a top up message half way through your plan, your plan will stop in 12 days. You can buy Tune Talk before you go and pick it up at your arrival airport in Malaysia. For DIGI you have to go to the shop.
Is the food halal?
Malaysia is a Muslim country. There’s no pork available on the Perhentian Islands. There are several places on Perhentian Besar that serve halal food. These will be the Malaysian run places. If the restaurant or cafe is Chinese Malaysian owned, the food will not be halal. This is a generalisation. It is best to check before you order just to be on the safe side.
What are the food options like on the Perhentian Islands?
Western and Asian food is widely available on both islands. Vegetarians always need to check if the food contains small bits of meat. Also oyster sauce and fish sauce are widely used. So, if you’re a strict vegetarian you must make sure you say so. Salad leaves are rare but cooked vegetables are plentiful. Malaysian style curries are fabulous. The roti bread on the Perhentian Islands is something else! Flaky and buttery, one is never enough!
Check out the size of those prawns. The fork is there for illustration purposes. Cocohut Chalet on Perhentian Besar provides the best value for huge prawns on their nightly barbecue. Size does matter in this case!
For the best in Western cuisine we like Bubu’s on the small island. From Tuna Bay on Big Island it’s only MYR15 per person in a boat taxi.
Can you get alcohol on the Perhentian Islands?
You can get beer, wine and spirits on both of the Perhentian Islands. There are a few places that do not serve alcohol, such as Abdul Chalets on Perhentian Besar. Beer is available to purchase from the small shops on both islands. The most popular beers are Tiger and Heineken.
How do I get around?
There are two options – your legs and boats. There are no cars or mopeds on both islands. Water taxis clearly display their prices for both islands and various snorkelling trips. There is no haggling as prices are very reasonable.
The Beaches of Perhentian Besar
Tuna Bay Beach
This is the best all round beach for sand, coral and fish life.
Here we see puffer fish, parrot fish, needle fish, titan triggerfish and wrasse. There is also something very special here. One bright neon pink anemone is in the crystal clear shallow waters. If you’re very lucky the resident turtle will make an appearance. If you’re really lucky, bumphead parrot fish will make an appearance. On our 6th visit here we see one! This is the beach that has the best coral. It’s just in front of the resort called Tuna Bay. There are some naughty small fish that like to take a nibble if you stand still in the shallow water.
The reef begins literally 1 metre from the sand. Please don’t wear fins when snorkelling. There is a sign that says fins are not allowed, but, this is unfortunately, largely ignored. There is some bleaching happening, but, overall, for snorkelling it’s pretty good!
On our latest trip, we discovered a neon pink anemone! This is something we haven’t seen before on our previous 5 trips. There’s always something different to see. There is also some conservation work going on underwater. The marine park has sunk some frames, to encourage coral growth. Some of them are quite successful. The sand here has small bits of coral in it, right in front of the restaurant, but head further along and it’s powder soft.
Abdul Chalets Beach
Powder soft sand. It’s a continuation from Tuna Bay and on the other side of the pier. A couple of large granite rocks provide some snorkelling opportunities, but, not as good as outside the front of Tuna Bay. Better for swimming. This beach has no umbrellas and is generally used by the guests staying at Abdul Chalets. The water is of course crystal clear. It’s better for swimming at this beach.
The Barat Beach
When you jungle trek accross the pathway shown in the map above, you reach this part of Perhentian Besar. This isn’t really the name of the beach.
When you get water taxis around you will notice the destinations are the accommodation names.
Here you will also find Mama’s Place, Water Colour, The Reef and Coral View resorts. From here you get a view of the mosque on Kecil.
The beach here is made of small stones and fine sand. More a beach for sunbathing and getting your feet wet. No coral here.
Perhentian Island Resort Beach
Perhentian Island Resort pretty much has a sheltered bay and granite rocks at one end. This beach is a 50 minute walk through the jungle or a MYR10 ride in a water taxi from Tuna Bay. This stretch of white sand has the colourful pier on one side and ends with huge granite boulders on the other side. It is a lovely curved bay.
Before you get here, there is a massage place on top of the hill offering spectacular views of this beach.
Reef tip sharks love to swim near the pier in knee deep water!
Powder soft sand with some coral the closer you get to the water. Chairs and umbrellas are reserved for guests only. There is however, some natural shade under the coconut trees. This beach has easy entry into the water along the sand. At low tide you might have to go 20 metres before you can’t swim. You can swim out to these floating square buoys for a break in between swimming.
Perfectly calm without waves, it is great for children.
This is clown fish heaven. The little cuties are everywhere! You will also see different species of clown fish, not just the orange and white ones. This is the best beach for clown fish spotting. There are hundreds of the little orange and white cuties fiercely defending their territory. The anemone here is also pale white, pale green and the more common green colour.
KK Beach and Teluk KK snorkelling point
This is a very, very quiet beach.
Water taxis can drop you off or you can walk from Tuna Bay or Abdul Chalets. Warning, there is some broken jungle path along the way and a kind of bridge made from plastic pipes! There is one lady selling snacks here.
The sand is powder soft, but the beach is narrow. It’s good to swim out to Teluk KK which is where snorkelling trips drop you off for half an hour. Due to its remoteness we saw some western girls go topless on this beach. Please don’t do this in a Muslim country. It is quite disrespectful.
Guess what you can see on Turtle Beach? Erm…..yes you’re turtle-y correct. It’s a flippin marvellous sight to behold! The sand is lovely and soft here too. Granite boulders enclose this small crescent shaped beautiful beach. To be the only 1 in the village, you have to get there early before the boat loads of tour groups. Please, please don’t touch the turtles, it stresses them out. Of course the aquamarine clear water makes this beach a dream destination. What more do you need? White sand, tick, clear water, tick, turtles just offshore, tick and for an hour or so by yourself! Dream destination status secured in our humble opinion!
Although it’s often called Quite Beach, it’s really is supposed to be QUIET. Not many people come here as its name suggests. Reachable by water taxi.
The beaches of Perhentian Kecil
Long Beach is the main attraction.
Many restaurants and cafes have put their chairs onto the sand, making the beach look a bit like Thailand. We guess due to rising popularity, the vendors don’t want to miss out. The sand is powder white and soft here. There isn’t any coral or fish to see here.
Coral bay is on the other side of Long Beach on Kecil. You can get there by a well maintained path starting from the glamping tents or just before Bu Bu Villas. Look out for the signs! It is a bit of an uphill walk, but you can do it in about 25 minutes. The beach here is curved. It’s mostly yellow sand with a few patches of large grainy sand. It’s not the prettiest view with many boats tied up in the water. The water is clear once you get out past the boats.
If romance is on your mind, head to the aptly named Romantic Beach! You’ll be left alone! Ask your water taxi driver to come back for you!
There are more beaches which we will share next time! This should be enough to get you planning a trip to the Perhentian Islands. Remember the best time to go is between April and September. A perfect getaway from the Southern hemisphere Winter!
Walking from Long Beach to Coral Bay on Perhentian Kecil
If water taxis are too easy for you and you want to get your cardio exercise for the day, we suggest you do this little hike!
It will take about 25 minutes, going at a reasonable pace.
On Long Beach look for the Aina Garden Chalets or Long Beach tents.
Accommodation Options on the Perhentians
We always stay on Perhentian Besar. It is slightly more upmarket than Perhentian Kecil, which is mainly for backpackers.
We are loyal customers to Tuna Bay Resort because they offer a really convenient transfer service from the airport to the jetty and then the island. They use their own private boat which runs three times a day. Most of their rooms could do with a make over, but they have the best restaurant on Perhentian Besar. After years of lying on the hard wooden sunbeds, they have finally added padding to their sun loungers! Tuna Bay are not on any of the hotel websites, you have to book with them directly.
Warning, there are not any 5 star establishments like in Thailand or Bali. It is altogether a more rustic kind of paradise.
There are exceptions on Kecil such as BuBu Resortand a newly built hotel, MIMPI on Long Beach. The reason we stay on Besar, is also for the snorkelling. It is non existent on Kecil, it’s more for the sun part of your holiday.
Kecil caters more for budget travellers. There are tents and shacks with fans only. If you want air conditioning, you will have to pay a bit more.
There is also free accommodation! If you do a diving course with some diving centres, they’ll throw in the accommodation for free. We have not inspected a room being offered, so we can’t comment on this offer.
Well done for reading (or scrolling through!) our very long article on your next holiday destination in Asia. What are you waiting for? Paradise waits for no one. Get packing, Perhentian paradise is waiting for you! You too will be dreaming about this destination. Like us, you’ll be returning visitors. We even have another little Malaysian Maldives up our sleeves. Redand Island our favourite tropical paradise
Is Bali Business Class Lounge the worst in the world?
Using the Bali business class lounge in Denpasar may not be the treat you are expecting. One of the many perks when flying business class is the pre flight experience. Using a business class lounge to freshen up after you get thrown out of your hotel is usually a pleasure. Nibbling on local delicacies is another business class perk. But, in the Bali business class lounge, you may change your mind, after reading our review!
The lounge is also called the Premier Lounge. The problem with this business class lounge starts at the entrance.
Lots of airlines and we mean, lots of airlines share this business class lounge. Qatar, Emirates, Qantas, Jet Star, Thai, Singapore, Malaysia, Cathay Pacific, China Eastern, China Southern, Philippine Airlines, Air New Zealand and the list goes on! The Bali business class lounge can also be accessed if you have certain priority passes.
That’s a scary amount of airlines sharing one business class lounge!
Where is the Bali business class lounge located?
After immigration at Ngurah Rai International Airport, Bali, it’s quite crowded and very humid. The air conditioning can’t quite keep up. You have to weigh up the pros of sitting in the crowded ground floor terminal or the Bali business class lounge. It’s not a huge airport, so finding the lounge isn’t difficult. From the ground floor at Ngurah Rai International Airport you can see the Premier Lounge and it isn’t huge.
Let’s step inside and see what the Bali business class lounge is really like. Is it really the worst business class lounge in the world?
The seating options at the Bali business class lounge
This is the view when you step inside the business class lounge at Ngurah Rai International Airport after immigration.
To give it some credit, the Bali business class lounge is at least cooler than on the ground floor with the masses.
When you go to a business class lounge, you expect two things, comfortable spaces and great food and drink. In the Bali business class lounge you get the comfortable seats, but, only when not busy. With over 15 airlines sharing the Bali business class lounge, you’ll be lucky to get a seat. Most business class lounges are not busy. There is always somewhere to sit comfortably. However, this space quickly fills up and you’ll find yourself very close to strangers.
The shower and toilet facilities in the Bali business class lounge
You also expect toilet and shower facilities above and beyond what is on offer in the main terminal. There are toilet and shower facilities, but they are very small and of dubious cleanliness.
The food on offer at the Bali business class lounge
Now onto the most disappointing aspect. We thought British Airways was bad and the Qantas Club Lounge in Melbourne. The Bali business class lounge can definitely win the title of worst food on offer for business class passengers. Judge for yourself.
There is one saving grace though in terms of food on offer….
The beverages selection at the Bali business class lounge
Now onto the beverages. As Indonesia is a Muslim country there is no alcohol available. Even though the island of Bali is mainly Hindu, the lounge does not offer alcoholic beverages, which is not a problem for us. You can select soft drinks from a free standing fridge.
There are also some ‘fruit’ juices. When we say fruit juice, it is concentrated fruit juice, not freshly squeezed.
The hot drinks selection at the Bali business class lounge
There’s no hand made latte art going on here!
It’s a place to escape the humidity and heat of the main terminal. You might as well go since you have a business class ticket. You can get complimentary water and canned drinks. If you’re desperately sticky, you can have a shower. If you want great food, you’re better off staying downstairs. You might get a soft seat, you might not. That wraps up the review of the Bali business class lounge by Only1invillage. Do you agree? Have you been to a worse one?
Post a comment below, we would love to hear from you!
Your essential 2 week Japan Itinerary starts here!
How to spend an awesome 2 weeks in Japan. Our two week Japan itinerary suggestions. The Japan Rail Pass is a must for your 14 days. See the incredible sights, sounds and smells of this amazing country. Below is our itinerary put together from two separate 2 week trips to Japan. You don’t have to do it all. Pick and choose from what sounds most exciting. You might want to slow the pace down a bit too as our itinerary is pretty jam packed!
The land of the rising sun. Ahh, the Karate Kid, raw fish and big drums. Sushi, sake and noodles. High tech gadgets and robots instead of humans in hotels. Toilets that talk to you, wash and dry you. Plus public toilets are spotless, plentiful and free! Public transport that runs on time and never ending politeness. Bowing, bowing, more bowing, bow some more. Girly giggling and wild make up. Boy bands, anime, manga, Pokemon and big name fashion brands.
Temples, castles and fast cars. Japan is a country full of stereotypes and contrasts. Ancient traditions and cultural practices are jostling with the modern Japan.
Mountains, forests, busy coastal mega cities, hot springs galore and fascinating gardens to explore. Japan provides everything for tourists and at a surprisingly reasonably cost.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is Japan?
Don’t laugh! Some people don’t know where Japan is. Japan is an archipelago in East Asia. The biggest islands of Honshu, Hokkaido and Kyushu get all the attention. Japan stretches almost to Taiwan, with the islands of Okinawa, Miyakojima and Ishigaki in the south of the East China Sea. Neighbouring countries are: South Korea, China,Russia in the extreme North and Taiwan in the extreme South.
When is the best time to go to Japan?
In our opinion the best time to visit Japan is Spring or Autumn. April, May and June have plenty of daylight and it’s not too hot. It’s mild, some showers, but most days will be bright and sunny. The famous sakura (cherry blossom) season is also in Spring in the major cities of Tokyo and Osaka. For exact weeks you have to check each year, because of the effects of climate change.
Avoid Summer as it is roasting in Japan! However, if you love the high temperatures and humidity, you’ll love Japan in July and August! September and October are good months to travel on your two week trip to Japan. The days are still warm and the nights cool, not cold. There is still plenty of sunshine and the Autumn colours are just spectacular.
How Big and expensive Are Hotel Rooms in Japan?
Japan isn’t as expensive as people think. On your unforgettable two week Japan itinerary, you will spend less than you think. There is a vast range of accommodation available. The hotel rooms are not all like capsules! We like the Tokyu Rei chain of hotels for the price and size of the rooms. Some rooms are over 20 square metres. Our top tip is to always book twin rooms, rather than double, as you can be guaranteed a larger room with two beds. You can always push them together if you like.
Youth hostels are becoming more popular in Japan. Good value three star hotels are very clean and can be as cheap as USD60, AUD90 or GBP50 in the right season and if you’re prepared to be a little further away from the railway station.
How expensive is Food in Japan?
Food is also very reasonable. Filling and tasty noodle dishes can be found in McDonalds like ‘restaurants’ for USD6, AUD10 or GBP6.
Western food, especially Italian dishes are copied very well and are also not expensive. They are available ready made on a microwaveable plate at convenience stores. In Italian restaurants pasta dishes start at $US7 for a basic spaghetti dish with tomato sauce, basil and parmigiano reggiano.
Sushi and sashimi as you would expect is everywhere! NIgiri (the rice on the bottom and a slice of raw fish on top) is about an Australian dollar, 70 pence or 70 US cents per piece. Every corner shop, mini supermarket and major supermarket has top quality raw fish. You will see sashimi (raw fish with no rice) types you have never seen before. The variety of raw fish is amazing in Japan. Our top tip is to go at about 6.30p.m. to supermarkets in department store basements. The day’s fresh catch is discounted by 30 to 50 per cent.
Is Japan safe to visit?
In terms of crime for tourists, Japan is one of the safest countries in the world. If you drop a tissue, people will come running after you, to give your tissue back to you!
The organised crime of the Yakuza gangs will not be visible to the tourist.
The biggest danger is a major natural disaster. Japan is of course earthquake and tsunami prone.
What’s Japanese food like? Where to eat? What to eat?
Traditional Japanese food is always beautifully presented. Every dish is a little work of art.
Like all countries different regions have different specialities. Noodle of various types (there are 8 types: ramen, uson, soba, yakisoba, somen, hiyamugi, shiritaki and harusame) rice and dumplings (goyoza) predominate of course. Fish is highly prized and the famous marbled beef from Kobe.
Fresh vegetables are really expensive in restaurants. You’re better off buying fruit and vegetables from a supermarket. Pickled vegetables are served with everything and at every meal.
Japan has the most Michelin starred restaurants, (after France) in the world. So you can drop a whole day’s budget on one meal if you choose!
Is it true ATMs are hard to find and Credit Cards aren’t widely accepted?
Yes and no. There are plenty of ATMs in the big cities. Top tip – many ATMs are hiding inside 7-Eleven convenience stores.
Credit cards are widely accepted in the big cities. Mastercard and Visa are more popular than American Express.
What unique souvenirs can I buy from Japan?
Rice paddles and every sort of Hello Kitty merchandise you can think of!
Green tea Kit Kats are definitely on the top of our list. In fact, green tea everything, green tea Pocky, ice cream, biscuits, waffles, cakes, chocolate, macarons, green tea latte powder and green tea leaves. We eat so many green tea products when we go to Japan, our poo turns green!
No trip to Japan is complete without the toilet experience. You might want to take one home. Well the seat that is! Once you go, you’ll know what we mean! It will definitely be a memory of your 2 week trip to Japan!
Getting around on your two week Trip to Japan
The best way to get around Japan on your two week itinerary is by Bullet train.
Buy the two week Japan Rail Pass
This is the best way to keep travel costs down. The Japanese fast trains (shinkansen) or bullet trains are well known throughout the world and rightly so. Shinkansen actually means ‘trunk line’ but that doesn’t sound as sexy as bullet train does it? Their ability to run on time and the safety record of these high speed trains is amazing. You will be left in wonder how precisely these bullet trains leave and arrive to the second.
Also your shinkansen tickets will tell you exactly where to stand on the platform and the bullet train pulls up at exactly that spot. You will be a bullet train geek by the end of your two week trip to Japan! Even if you can’t tell your Hikari from your your Aomori, you’ll still love the Japanese bullet trains for their speed, comfort, cleanliness and efficiency.
Two week Japan rail pass cost
The National JR pass is available to buy in 7 days, 14 days or 21 days only. Green class is first class and ordinary class is, not, as the name suggests, that ordinary! In our opinion, splashing out the extra is worth it for first class travel.
The National JR Pass is such a bargain that the bullet train trip from Tokyo airport to a downtown destination, is a quarter of the 7 day pass alone. You do the maths! You will make half your money back on the two week Japan rail pass cost just by doing a return journey on the bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto. But, of course, you’re in Japan for a 2 week trip, you’re not just going to Kyoto!
Just in case you’re not going to Japan for a 2 week trip, you can buy the Japan Rail Pass for 7 days or 21 days, too. Below is a link with the cost of Japan Rail Passes, for 7, 14 and 21 days, in 3 major currencies.
First up don’t get confused with the number of Japan Rail Passes on offer. For your two week Japan itinerary you will need the National JR Pass. This will give you access to all the bullet trains except the Nozomi. The Nozomi is the fastest bullet train, but, that doesn’t mean the other bullet trains are slow.
Japan rail pass where to buy
You can’t buy the Japan Rail Pass in Japan! You must buy it in your country of residence. As a tourist you are very privileged to be able to buy a two week Japan rail pass. Japanese citizens are not allowed to buy one! These bullet trains are something else!
Japan rail pass how to buy
Make sure you are a non resident of Japan. Type in the words ‘Japan Rail Pass’ into your browser’s search engine. Lots of travel agencies and online vendors will compete for your business.
Japan Rail Pass rules of use
The Japan Rail Pass can only be used for the person whose name appears on the pass. You must carry it at all times with the tickets of the various destinations you are travelling to.
Japan rail pass map Where can I Travel?
Don’t get confused by the names of the trains. The Japanese give names to their trains and service lines. Come on, admit, it’s sort of cute! The name of the train also tells you if it’s fast or mega fast. Yes, all the shinkansen (bullet trains) are fast, but in Japan, there’s quick and super quick!
The Nozomi and Mizuho trains are not covered by the National Japan Rail Pass. If you want to take these ‘super fast’ services you have to pay an additional fee.
The Japan Rail Pass also entitles you to free JR buses and the JR Miyajima Ferry when travelling to the beautiful must see island of Miyajima, near Hiroshima. Click here for the JR train map.
Unforgettable Two Week Japan Itinerary
Warning: This is an action packed, not for the faint hearted 2 week Japan itinerary. It involves a lot of walking and a lot of train rides. You’ll be travelling at speeds of 320km/h (200mph) on the bullet trains, so actually, you won’t be spending that much time on trains. It means changing hotels every 2 to 3 days. Of course you can always skip a few of the places we suggest in our incredible 2 week Japan itinerary.
On a two week trip to Japan we suggest this itinerary. Tokyo – Kyoto – Nara – Arashiyama – Osaka – Kobe – Himeji – Hiroshima – Miyajima – Beppu – Takayama – Matsumoto – Tokyo.
This route means you don’t back track on yourself. Well, you do in the sense that you have to get back to Tokyo but you don’t stop at the same places!
As soon as you land at Narita International, Haneda, Osaka Kansai Airport, head straight for the Japan Rail Pass office to exchange your ‘exchange order voucher’ you received in your home country. The actual Japan Rail Pass will look like this.
A piece of card, which can be folded into three, to make the same size as your passport. While you’re at the office, you might as well get your tickets to Kyoto. You can reserve your seats at the same time.
Tokyo on your Two Week Japan Itnerary (3 nights)
The mega busy, modern capital of Japan is everything you have heard about. Tokyo is crowded, fast paced and full of energy. Shopping and entertainment is everywhere. It looks like any other major world city, full of skyscrapers and busy roads. Commuters and tourists from all over the world descend on Tokyo.
Deciding which district to stay in is very difficult. All we can say is, make sure it is near a train station. Shibuya, Roppongi, Shinjuku and Ueno are popular choices. Look at the map below. For a PDF version of Tokyo train lines and districts,click here.
In Tokyo, you’ll want to visit Harajuku street, the Royal Palace and the Meiji Jingu Shrine. Tokyo is also the place to do a day trip to Hakone and view Mount Fuji from a distance. You have to visit the famous Tokyo fish markets if you’re a sashimi (raw fish) lover.
To see Mount Fuji, you will need to do a day trip to Hakone and Lake Ashi. This is a one hour train journey from Tokyo. Your Japan Rail Pass is valid to Odawara. From there you have to pay a separate fee to get onto a ‘romance car’ to Hakone.
Kyoto (3 nights as part of your two week Japan Itinerary)
Kyoto is the place to see the iconic, much Instagrammed 1000s of tori or gates of the Fushimi Inari shrine.
There is also a hill walk/ hike at this shrine. The shrines are actually in the little town of Inari, which is on the JR Nara line. This means with your two week Japan Rail Pass, it’s totally free! Kyoto to Inari is only 5 minutes away! See the green and white dashed lines below.
It’s impossible to miss the entrance to the Fushimi Inari shrines.
Just follow the crowds who will be on your train. The walk to the top will take around 2-3 hours depending on your fitness level. You can turn around at any point, it’s not a one way circuit. As you climb between the thousands of bright red ‘tori’ you might even get sections to yourself for that precious photo!
There are a few restaurants and shops to buy refreshments along the way to the top of Fushimi Inari. Make sure you deviate a bit from the main paths and find these gorgeous areas with mini gates and animal statues.
Gion District of Kyoto
This is one area you don’t want to miss out on seeing. Amazing shrines and temples at the top of streets lined with magnificent food shops and restaurants. Wandering up and down the narrow and traditional streets of the Gion district is unmissable.
This is the traditional district of the geisha. Always ask permission before you take a photograph of geisha.
Kiyomizu -dera Temple Kyoto
This amazing UNESCO World Heritage Site is set on the hills above Kyoto. A vast complex with lots of steps and opportunities for stunning photography.
The main hall ‘stage’ built out of wood fascinates all who visit. The view of Kyoto down below is truly unique. The overhanging ‘stage’ of the main hall of the Kiyomizu Temple is built onto the steep cliff of Mount Otowa. It is built in a Japanese style of grids, without any nails being used! The wood is almost 400 years old and still supports the hundreds of visitors each day.
You might need a little map to orientate yourself at Kiyomizu dera Temple. It’s like a little village. Kiyomizudera means ‘pure water temple’. There are lots of places to see this pure water running out from the Otowa waterfall. There are said to be benefits from drinking this pure water. Visitors can drink from special long handled ladle like cups to bring longevity, luck in love and success at school! Every little bit helps!
You will also want to make a day trip while in Kyoto to the nearby town of Nara. You can feed tame deer with special deer biscuits.
It’s temple time again! You have to visit Todai-ji temple when you’re in Kyoto. Well, actually, temples will be like churches in Europe, on your 2 week trip to Japan! Todai-ji temple is one of the world’s biggest wooden structures. It’s ancient too. Todai-ji temple is over a thousand years old.
The main attraction is the huge, and we mean huge, bronze budhha statue. 400 tonnes of huge.
Todai-ji Temple is inside the Nara Park, where you can see deer roaming around. They’re quite friendly and very cute. See below!
From Kyoto this is another easy day trip, you don’t want to miss out on! 6 stops from Kyoto on the Sagano line. Yes, it’s free if you have the Japan Rail pass! It’s not a bullet train, but a local train. The top three attractions in the Arashiyama area are the bamboo grove, the Kinaku-ji golden temple, Tenryuji temple and Sogenchi gardens. There are of course other delights which will be on your Kyoto tourist map, that your hotel will give you.
The bamboo grove has gone insta crazy and now it’s really hard to get a shot of this place without anyone else in it! Ok, maybe if you go at the crack of dawn, we’re just not early morning people! It’s not really a forest. It’s a pathway with lots of tall bamboo on either side. It can look very green or quite grey.
Another must see site is the Tenryuji temple. You can enter it via the bamboo grove. This amazing temple has one of the best gardens in Japan. The famous pond is also full of colourful carp fish and on a sunny Spring day, the reflection of the hills in the pond is just amazing. You will see devout Japanese meticulously picking up leaves and pulling out grass in these immaculate gardens. This is one of the finest examples of shakkei which means borrowed scenery. The hills in the background blend in seamlessly with the Sogenchi gardens.
Osaka (1 night or a day trip from Kyoto)
Next stop on your unforgettable 2 week Japan itinerary is the city of Osaka. Population 2.6 million. It’s just a 15 minute bullet train ride away! We only stop for a night and a day. Our main highlight is the castle and the entertainment district of Dontonburi. You can even stay an extra night in Kyoto, if you don’t want to pack your bags and change hotels. Osaka castle and the Dontonburi district can be a day trip from Kyoto.
Your 2 week trip to Japan continues on the awesome bullet trains. BY now you are loving your Japan Rail Pass. It is so convenient. Practically every major tourist site is reachable for free on the 2 week Japan Rail Pass in your hand. We bet even you have started bowing at the trains like the conductors do on the platforms! Come on, admit it, you’re a big fan of travelling by train, bullet train style.
Kobe (1 night)
It’s just 13 minutes from Osaka on the amazing bullet trains. The famous city named after an American basket ball player? No, we’re just joking. Apparently Kobe Bryant’s parents named him this after seeing the famous beef on a restaurant menu. What can we say? We came all the way to Kobe just to eat the beef too!
Kobe beef is a type of Wagyu beef. Wagyu beef is so expensive because you can trace the cow back to its parents and grandparents. Kobe beef has to come from the Hyogo prefecture. It also has to be from a type of cattle calle Tajima. The wagyu, which means ‘Japanese beef’ you’re eating in your home country probably isn’t genuine. However, if you come to Kobe, you can bet your bottom dollar, the beef is local. Kobe beef is exactly that, beef from the Kobe region.
Apart from some of the best beef in the world, Kobe has some other attractions worth coming for. If you’re a nature lover, you will be amazed by the Kobe Herb Gardens. Perched high up on the hills of Kobe and reachable by cable car, the Kobe gardens are quite unique.
It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, (which you can get up there), as you gaze down on the sprawling city. It’s built to mimic a European, German to be precise, castle and its grounds.
There’s a fabulous restaurant too.
It’s a place to go just to breathe some fresh air and relax in nature. In Spring, the slopes are bursting with colour from the thousands of varieties of flowers and herbs. There’s also a water fall on the way up. This is definitely worth seeing, on your 2 week trip to Japan. For a map of the rope way and gardens, click here.
Another reason people come to Kobe is to experience the hot baths at Arima. The Japanese onsen experience is quite a ritual and Japan is famous for its onsens. Good for the skin and a great cultural experience. Remember in Japan, no tattoos and no mixed bathing. Plus, you have to get naked. Sorry, no naked pictures of us!
Search for Arima onsen and you will see that there are plenty of hotels with private onsen too. If you want more privacy, you will have to go in your hotel’s onsen. In any case, walking around a traditional town is quite nice after so many big cities on your 2 week trip to Japan. Even if you don’t like bathing in thermal mineral waters, Arima is worth the day trip from Kobe.
Himeji (1 night or day trip from Kobe)
Next stop on your whistle stop tour of Japan is Himeji. Himeji is home to the White Heron castle and has been restored to its former glory. From Kobe, it’s just 30 minutes on the bullet train! The main reason for stopping here is the stunning castle. It is a national treasure.
Hiroshima and Miyajima Island (2 nights)
Hiroshima is infamous for a very sad reason. Two atomic bombs were dropped on two Japanese cities in 1945. Without going into the politics of the Second World War of who was wrong or right, Hiroshima deserves a visit. Hiroshima is also the jump off point for the beautiful Miyajima Island, with its massive red gates built into the sea (our feature picture). Also if you have missed out on seeing the deer at Nara Park, there’s hundreds of deer roaming around Miyajima Island.
From Kobe, this is another short trip on the bullet trains. Just over 90 minutes away.
The most photographed image in Hiroshima is the Industrial Promotional Hall.
Now called the Genbaku Dome, it is the only surviving structure that withstood the atomic blast in 1945. It stands now as a permanent Peace Memorial. It is both a reminder and warning to us all of the destructive power of atomic weapons.
It’s not all doom and gloom in Hiroshima. Even though the Peace Museum is a must see attraction with confronting images. You have to go.
There is great food, an electrical bike system and if you’re a baseball fan, the Mazda stadium. Oh and of course there’s a castle and pretty Japanese gardens to stroll around!
Getting to Miyajima Island is also easy from Hiroshima. With that handy Japan Rail Pass in your hands, even the ferry over is completely free! Miyajima warrants a whole day, especially as you’ll want to stay for the amazing sun set shots. It’s also a chance to see Japanese island life, away from the big cities. You can even find spots where you’ll be completely alone!
After breakfast in Hiroshima, make your way to the JR ferry. Get on a JR Sanyo mainline train (it’s not a bullet train, but still free with the JR Pass). 30 minutes later you’ll be at the Miyajimaguchi JR station. From there it is a 6 minute walk to the ferry terminal. Don’t worry it’s well signed. You can’t get lost. As usual follow all the other tourists! The ferry ride only takes 10 minutes.
As you sail on the waters, you approach the famous Otorri Gate. It’s unmissable. It comes in as the number three most scenic spot in Japan.
Don’t panic if you don’t get good shots from the ferry. There are plenty of opportunities to get those breathtaking shots when you get on dry land. When the tide is out, you’ll even be able to go underneath the huge gate.
From the ferry terminal on Miyajima, don’t forget to make a note of the last departing ferry back to the ‘mainland’. Head right towards the huge red gate and the old town walk just like everyone else. Sorry you won’t be the only 1 in the village just yet!
The main attractions are all centred together in two main areas. The Itsukushima Shrine, the 5 storied pagoda, the Senjokaku Hall and the main shopping street are in one area. The aquarium, history museum, treasure hall and Tahoto Pagoda to the right of the shrine.
You can do some hiking on Miyajima. There is a trail that winds itself up from the Momijidani Ropeway station, which is just a 10 minute walk from Itsukushima Shrine. In fact there are three trails that will get you to the top of Mount Misen for some spectacular views. (see the map below)
We cheat and go to the summit with the assisted option. But we do come down on foot.
At the top of Mount Misen, on a clear day, you get fabulous views. Even if it’s not a clear day there are huge granite boulders and possibly, if you’re lucky you will see some hawks or falcons circling high above you.
On the way down, we choose to take the Momijidani hiking trail. This is particularly rewarding if you want to be the only1in the village. Hiking down is a lot less crowded than getting the ropeway up. As you descend along this path there are hundreds of maple trees. There’s even a small river and of course a beautiful shrine to keep the spirits up. No pun intended!
As you walk along the Momijidani hiking trail, you will see the lovely Shinomiya Shrine.
Miyajima is also home to lots of deer. So don’t worry if you missed out on seeing them in Nara, near Kyoto. The deer are very used to humans and often try to walk with you!
Beppu is on the island of Kyushu. Looking at a map it is left of Tokyo. To get here you get your shinkansen to Fukuoka (have fun pronouncing this one!) and change onto a local train. Of course it’s all included with your 2 week national Japan Rail Pass. Beppu is known for its many onsen, over 2000 in fact. The coloured water of various ‘hells’ are a main attraction of the area. Think New Zealand on a smaller scale. But we mean a really smaller scale.
In order to get a European spa experience, meaning you can bathe together you have to go to Suginoi Palace Baths. This is a hotel with a huge set of pools with local thermal waters attached to it. Non guests can use the pools. To bathe naked though is single sex. That’s very Japanese. No naked bathing together like in Germany and Austria.
Takayama Japanese Alps
Now you have visited quite a few big cities on your 2 week trip to Japan. You are a bit tired of the neon, bright city lights. It’s time to head for the countryside for some fresh air and a change of scenery. You’ll still be eating awesome food and experiencing polite Japanese culture, just at a more relaxed pace.
Now getting here is a bit of a conundrum when it comes to using the bullet trains and the local JR trains. It depends where you’re coming from. If you decide to come from Tokyo you will come via Nagano and Matsumoto. There’s not much to see in Nagano, or rather, we don’t have time to stop off and see Nagano on our jam packed 2 week Japan itinerary. The trains will take 4.5 hours and a bus 2.5 hours. Getting the Nohi bus is definitely quicker from Matsumoto.
If you decide to follow our itinerary and come from Beppu, you’ll be coming via Nagoya on a mixture of limited express trains and the shinkansen. Change at Nagoya for a limited express train and the journey is 2.5 hours. Get the local JR train and the journey time increases to 4 hours. Please note that the total train journey time from Beppu to Takayama, with changes is just over 7.5 hours.
It’s a long day of travelling. The total train time without waiting for connections is 7 hours and 40 minutes. But hey, it’s all covered on the Japan Rail Pass you have in your hands.
Takayama itself is very compact and has an old district and a new district. The old district is similar to the Gion district in Kyoto. There are lots of wooden houses and restaurants with narrow streets. This is the place, apart from Kobe, to eat Hida beef, a special type of beef, reared only in Japan.
Traditional village – (Hida No Sato) Takayama
Hida No Sato is an open air museum. This might sound a little naff, but, actually it is a really good experience. The area is built to recreate life in a traditional Japanese village. You can go inside houses, dress up and try traditional games. It is a lot of fun and you learn something about traditional Japanese village life. It will be really quiet here too as not many tourists make it out here!
If you’re not sick of castles and you want to break up your bullet train journey before heading back to Tokyo, you must stop off at Matsumoto. 50 minutes on the limited express train from Nagano will get you to one of Japan’s most complete castles.
Matsumoto is a compact little city with all the main attractions walkable from the train station. It has a cute walking street, lined with of course cherry tees. Matsumoto is the place to eat horse meat – raw and cooked. Neigh, we are not joking. Being global travellers, horse is not new to us. We eat as the locals do, when in France, we mean Japan!
Matsumoto castle is best photographed in cherry blossom season, as its outer moat has hundreds of cherry trees. Walking under them or on top of freshly fallen petals is like a carpet of pink pastel. Girls, get your inner pink on! It really is quite magical. It’s not too crowded either which is another reason for stopping off at Matsumoto.
If you have made it all the way through our 2 week Japan guide, well done! Obviously this doesn’t cover the whole of Japan. You need at least a month for that to happen. Next time we go to Japan, we’re going to turn right from Tokyo and go towards Sapporo.
Japan is a country you will want to visit more than once. You will leave with memories of bullet trains that run on time to the second. Your bowing technique will leave you more flexible than your yoga teacher. Going to the toilet will never quite be the same again. You will tell your friends about how in a country that has robots running a hotel, there are still places you can’t use a credit card. All of the above will be done at your local izakaya over some sushi and sake!
If you have any comments or suggestions about our incredible 2 week Japan itinerary, please write a comment below.
Arigato gozamaishita! (We’re bowing as we say this by the way!)
Only1invillage reviews the Peninsula Hot Springs Melbourne
Tired, stressed out, need a short break? Head to the Peninsula Hot Springs Melbourne for a much needed short getaway. Indulge, relax and rejuvenate. Luxury is so close at hand for city slickers at the Peninsula Hot Springs Melbourne.
Healing thermal waters are just 100 kms from the CBD. Make a day trip from Melbourne or stay in a nearby winery for extra luxury.
The Peninsula Hot Springs on the Mornington Peninsula have long been a secret destination for corporate bonding, girls’ day out, hen parties and nature lovers. Here you can immerse yourself, literally, in warm mineral water and in nature.
The benefits of geothermal waters are plentiful. You get really smooth skin and a great night’s sleep for starters! In addition to this, the minerals in the water are good for arthritis sufferers and can reduce blood pressure. Finally bathing in mineral rich waters, such as the Peninsula Hot Springs promotes detoxification. By increasing blood circulation and the movement of oxygen through the body, the warm waters contribute to the body’s detoxifying capabilities. So what are you waiting for? Not only enjoyable, a social event and a beautiful peaceful place to visit, but good for your health!
When to go to the Peninsula Hot Springs Melbourne
The good thing about hot springs is that you can visit them at anytime of the year. Even when it’s cold and raining, you’ll be immersed in warm water. You won’t feel the cold at all. Personally we like to go on sunny or cloudy days with an air temperature in the 20s.
Getting To The Peninsula Hot Springs
About 1.5 hours away from Melbourne. Of course this is traffic dependent too. Taking the paid way is 15 minutes quicker than taking the free roads.
It’s a bit difficult to get public transport and we don’t recommend it. But it is possible. If coming from Melbourne, you need to get a train to Frankston. From Frankston take the number 788 bus to Rye. From Rye you need to call a taxi or an Uber.
Book a day tour which includes entrance, lunch, wine tasting and a gondola ride. The lunch is not at the Peninsula Hot Springs. Prices start at over $200AUD. You only get to spend 2 to 3 hours in the pools, if you come on a tour.
Prices and Packages at The Peninsula Hot Springs
For public bathing, prices start at $55AUD for a whole day. To experience all pools you need at least 4 hours in our opinion.
If you want just a ‘quickie’ and you can get to the Peninsula Hot Springs before 9am, you can pay as little as $25AUD. That’s the off peak tariff, which means Monday to Friday. Weekends are naturally more expensive!
If you don’t want to mix with the common people and are seeking seclusion, packages start at $95AUD per person. This means however, no people watching and why would you sacrifice that?! There are also plenty of other ways to spend your money, for example, buying a massage package or the Spa Dreaming Package.
At present you cannot stay on site. There are plans for 10 glamping pods to be opened soon. Stay at nearby wineries or in hotels in the nearby towns of Fingal or Rye. The Peninsula Hot Springs has partner hotels on their website. We stay at the excellent 4 star Rye Hotel
What to bring
Bring your own towel and bathrobe if you want to cover up as you run from pool to pool. Bring your thongs! By that we don’t mean your G string! Take our Aussie slang guide quiz to make sure you can understand what the staff are saying!
Ladies – C always brings her own powerful hairdryer. There’s nothing worse than a bad ‘after the hot springs’ look!
Bring some clay. What? A mud mask or a body mask. There’s an area where you can paint yourself with clay, but, you have to buy it. SO bring your own instead!
What not to bring
On sunny days, you don’t need sunscreen as there is plenty available at the Peninsula Hot Springs. Can we just say though, please don’t smother yourself in it and get straight in the pools. It leaves a sticky, oily mess floating on the top!
Don’t bring jewellery because it will tarnish – badly!
Don’t wear your best footwear. They might get wet and shrink.
Spend a whole day relaxing at the Peninsula Hot Springs Melbourne
The number of pools is amazing. They keep adding to the pools too. It’s getting bigger and bigger. You can bring your own food because there are dedicated picnic areas. The food isn’t that great at the cafe we’re afraid to report.
Start at the bottom of the complex and slowly work your way up!
Let’s get stuck into the pools!
We like the public spaces pools. You can have private baths, but the tubs in the private areas are not that big and there’s less people watching. Where’s the fun in that?
After parking, you follow the signs to the Reception area. It’s best to book ahead, especially at the weekends. You will get refused entry or told there’s a slot available in four hours if you want to wait. The locker charge is $5 which is activated onto your wristband. You don’t have to use a locker, there are wooden boxes that you can put your belongings by the first hot pool. However, you are relying on other people’s honesty not to rifle through your things.
The first pool has a hydrotherapy bar and lie down jet massagers, that you can activate yourself. The water temperature is a very pleasant 36 – 37 degrees. Just behind is a cold plunge pool which apparently is the best way to use thermal waters. You warm your blood up and then you cool it down.
To the left of the first pool is another low pool surrounded by trees. The water temperature is pretty much the same as the first pool (36 -37 degrees).
As you head up the hill, you come to the reflexology walk, also known as the ‘freakin painful footpath’. Raised pebbles make a supposed therapeutic walk to ease the tension of your whole body and massage pressure points. It’s not for everyone, but, most people do it as a badge of honour. We just like the punishment factor. Of course, it’s filled with warm spring water.
After you survive the water walk torture, there’s another pool and then the Turkish style hamam. Basically a steam room with a dome, a hamam, is the place to sweat all the toxins out. As is traditional, there is a heated marble stone in the centre to lie on, if you like to pose. Fill up the little silver bowls with cold water to splash on yourself, if you get too hot. Make sure you close the door quickly as you enter and leave, so the temperature can remain hot and all the steam doesn’t escape.
Just adjacent to the Turkish style hamam is the sauna. It’s quite small and can fit a maximum of 10 people comfortably. Bring a towel to sit on the wood for hygiene reasons.
Before you get in each pool and after you get out, you are supposed to have a shower to rinse off any dead skin. There are a variety of massage showers which we love to stand under as the powerful jets massage the head and shoulders. All the water coming out of the massaging showers contain trace elements. C swears her hair feels better and has more root lift after using thermal waters.
The newest area of the Peninsula Hot Springs, is called the amphitheatre. This area seems less busy probably because it’s further away from the older section.
You get beautiful garden views here, an outdoor stage and a new cafe will be built soon. There are seven hot pools and two cold plunge pools.
If you turn left at the bottom of the stairs after the reception area, you start at the foot pool inside. Continuing outside there are Japanese style waterfall jets and a small cold plunge pool. There’s a hand bath basin, where you can fill up a huge stone basin with therapeutic thermal waters.
Keep walking and you will come to a pond where the ducks are having the best time! You can watch the wildlife from the next pool which has the best foot, calf and back massaging jets. The jets are on automatic timer and get switched on every 15 minutes. Most of the pools look like the one below. The temperature of the pools range from 36 to 42 degrees celcius. All the pools are clearly signed for temperature.
Now for the best part of the Peninsula Hot Springs. No it’s not pictures of us in our swimwear, it’s the hilltop pool. When you make it to the top pool, you are rewarded with a 360 degree view of the Mornington Peninsula. Be warned, however, you will rarely get this pool to yourself!
After some careful editing to protect the privacy of others, we can show you the hill top pool. Be warned though, you will rarely have it to yourself.
We hope you enjoyed this review from Only1invillage. The Peninsula Hot Springs is an easy day trip from Melbourne. If you’re in the Mornington Peninsula area, stay at the excellent wineries of the region and of course, take a detour to the nearby beaches. Make a weekend out of it or a day trip. Relax, indulge and rejuvenate!
Qantas Club Melbourne Domestic Business Class Lounge Review
Recently refurbished, one of the business class lounges at Melbourne Airport for domestic passengers gets a review from Only1invillage.
There are 2 lounges at the domestic terminal in Melbourne for business class passengers. Here we review the Qantas Club lounge. Don’t confuse it with the Qantas Domestic Business Lounge. Definitely not same same!
Before you are allowed in remember Qantas has a strict dress code. To ‘ensure an enjoyable experience’ make sure you read this first. No beachwear! (Erm who wears that to fly anyway?) and no singlet tops for men. No UGG boots and no thongs! By thongs we mean flip flops. They’re not going to check your underwear! (See our Ultimate Aussie Slang Guide to help you understand more of the native lingo!) No sleepwear. Don’t show too much flesh or look like you’re heading off to the gym. Make sure your tops don’t have offensive slogans or images on them. (But an ‘I love Qantas’ T shirt is probably fine!)
Qantas call this particular domestic business lounge the Qantas Club. The domestic lounge got a much needed makeover. According to previous reviewers, the space for business travellers was like a dark, scary corridor! It was also cramped. The renovations are still coming. There will be more space upon completion in November 2019.
We visit on a busy Friday evening. It is definitely being tested to the maximum. Seating is sparse, conversation is loud and most of the shower rooms are busy! It is very unlike the pictures Qantas show you on their website.
Here are the positives and negatives of the Qantas Club Domestic Business Class Lounge at Melbourne Airport. No wonder Qantas shorten it to The Qantas Club, it’s quite a mouthful to say, otherwise!
POSITIVES Qantas Club Lounge Melbourne Airport
The lounge location is just after security. Turn right and go up the escalator.The other business class lounge is for when you turn left at the top of the escalators.
The lounge is spacious and has a light airy feel. It is very long. The placement of the bar and barista coffee machine is nice and central. The luxury touches of marble and shiny stainless steel are new and inviting. The new wooden floors give the lounge a modern touch. It looks so much better than carpet. Carpet is so last century!
The wi-fi is fast and there’s no need to ask for a password. There are plenty of charging points. Look under or near your seat.
There are various types of seating. You can grab a bar stool while you chat to colleagues or sit on the more padded chairs and armchairs. If you need to work there is desk seating too.
Showers are available in the toilet areas. There’s no reservation system, you just go and try your luck. Towels are a bit on the thin side. The glass is frosted so you can see if someone is using it (apart from the engaged red sign in the lock).
The central bar looks and feels like any classy Melbourne City watering hole. It’s clean and the service is friendly and efficient. You can order beer on tap or get bottled beer. There’s no help yourself beer at the Qantas Club. You can help yourself to wine and sparkling wine. Spirits have to be requested too. Qantas clearly want to keep you in a decent upright state before your flight.
The barista made coffee comes with latte art and tastes great. Melbourne lattes are good in the Qantas Club business lounge!
NEGATIVES Qantas Club Lounge Melbourne Airport
The biggest disappointment is the food. Avoid it, if at all possible. You probably don’t want to eat there unless you’re really hungry or like food you used to cook when you were a student living away from home! Take a look at the uninspiring food menu.
You can make your own toasted sandwich. There are various fillings on offer. In our opinion it wasn’t very different to the AMEX lounge at Melbourne International Airport. The taste of the one hot dish was very bland. A microwave meal for one is tastier than the pasta dish on offer.
Sorry Qantas catering, you need to lift your game. The food definitely doesn’t match the pictures on their website.
The wine selection is also mediocre. Qantas has not pulled out the stops when it comes to the grog! Maybe they’re thinking, no one will notice.
Busy busy busy.
The lounge is heaving at the end of a working week. Friday evening at the Qantas Club domestic lounge is like Friday evening in the city. There’s people everywhere, drinking and socialising. It’s noisy and you can hear everyone’s conversations.
Who can get into the Qantas Club?
A lot of people!
Business class ticket holders flying on a Qantas or Jetstar flight. But you wouldn’t come here, you would go next door.
Qantas Gold or Emirates Platinum Gold.
China Eastern Miles Gold.
Sapphire and Emerald business or first class travellers travelling on a Qantas flight. Again though, you won’t be happy here.
Buy Qantas Club Membership ($399 once off joining fee and $540 per annum). Not worth it in our opinion.
Buy a day pass for $49 if you’re a Qantas Silver member. Must buy in advance. No at the door purchases.
The Qantas Club lounge is the poor cousin of the Qantas domestic business class lounge. There’s no Asian Spice Bar, it’s not peaceful and the food is a taste disaster! On the positive side it is much lighter and has a brighter feel than its predecessor. If you have the choice, head next door!
5 enticing reasons to use the Emirates Business Class Lounge KL.
The luxurious emirates business class lounge KL is situated on the upper level of KLIA. Malaysians love using acronyms. KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport) is not to be confused with KLIA2. KLIA2 is the hub for the no frills airline Air Asia and is NOT walkable. There is a train called the KLIA Express which connects the two terminals. Make sure you go to the correct terminal or your FOMO (fear of missing out) will kick in!
You are welcomed with the bright golden signature colours of the Emirates lounge. Access is granted in any number of ways. All business and first class ticket holders. Skywards Gold members travelling in economy can access Emirates Business Class Lounge KL. If you’re a silver member, you can’t come in here, but you can when you get to Dubai.
This lounge, like all Emirates Lounges are open 24 hours a day.
Here are our top 5 reasons you must visit Emirates, business class lounge when in KL.
5 Emptiness and luxury at Emirates Business Class Lounge KL
Now some people might argue that having no one in the lounge equates to no atmosphere. Personally, we love an empty lounge. The space looks cleaner, the staff are way friendlier and it’s like sitting in your own living room. The large screen TVs keep you informed on current affairs and your flight departure. We have read reviews that this lounge can get very busy, but, this was not our experience.
4 Refresh and relax
A business class lounge should be an area to relax in. A space to catch up on some emails or research your next destination. There are a few different areas to spread out in. The lounge is lovely and cool. The famous humidity of the Kuala Lumpur weather won’t get you in here. You can definitely spend 3 hours here easily. Take a refreshing shower, as on board, unless you’re first class, there’s no shower for you! Collect a towel and toothbrush from the attendants or just help yourself. The shower pressure is good!
3 Comfortable choice of seats and varied seating areas
There are cosy seats for families and friends. Individual armchairs for business and lone travellers are covered in leather. You can choose to sit in a cafe style area or a more restaurant looking area. There’s an office space too complete with photocopier and printer. If you’ve been to other lounges, you’ll notice the same signature colours and styles of the seats.
2 Views of aeroplanes
For those who love watching the aeroplanes, the Emirates Business Class Lounge KL has you covered. Watch luggage and catering being loaded. Imagine your comfort on the upper deck of your A380. Dream about your arrival destination as you sip on top quality champagne.
1 The outstanding food and beverages selection
This is where Kuala Lumpur really stands out. The quality and freshness of the ingredients used are first class. The presentation and the taste of the food is as good as a restaurant. Gourmet dishes and definitely standout presentation.
As you can see from the pictures below, care has been taken in the way the food is prepared and plated up. Even when you make your own bigger plate, it still looks good. Everything is very clean and shiny in the Kuala Lumpur Emirates Lounge. Luckily for us, we get to the food before anyone else and so there aren’t any spills or stains in the buffet area.
You won’t find any cheap and nasty wines in the KL lounge. All the wines retail at about $35 a bottle. (We like to do our research!) The wines are expensive and the champagne French. Emirates don’t take short cuts on the beverages list in Kuala Lumpur.
Emirates a380 business class Kuala Lumpur to Paris
It’s non stop luxury from the business lounge in KL and onto the first A380. A BMW return transfer service to a complimentary hotel in Dubai too. Back in the dazzling and glitzy flagship lounges (there’s 3) in Dubai and onto another A380 to Paris. Come along with us for the ride.
You will notice when in Malaysia, that acronyms are everywhere. No one says Kuala Lumpur – it’s KL darling. Unfortunately the Emirates limousine service to the airport isn’t available in KL so you are stuck with a cab, Uber, Grab or train.
Flying business class on long haul flights makes it that much more bearable! Using the lounge beforehand in Kuala Lumpur is even better. The lounge is pretty empty for the 19.10 departure flight. This is also the best flight in our opinion, because you can leisurely check out at midday from your hotel. Most, if not all hotels in Kuala Lumpur have a midday check out time. So much nicer than European hotels, that sling you out at 10am. You also miss the notorious KL traffic. Sometimes, it takes over 1.5 hours from downtown KL to KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport). The lounge is actually very impressive check out our full review here.
Stopover, Flight Times and Transit
Emirates flies with 1 stop in Dubai, between Kuala Lumpur and Paris (Charles de Gualle). There are 3 flights daily. Departure times from the Malaysian capital, are, 01:10, 10.15 and 19:10. The flight time is approximately 7.5 hours for each leg of the journey.
The transit time can range from 3.5 hours to 18 hours! If you opt for the longest stopover, in business class, Emirates will provide you with a complimentary hotel stay. This will also include your meals and transfer in Dubai.
Emirates use Dubai and Singapore for their stopovers in Asia from Australia and New Zealand. From Kuala Lumpur, you’ll be in transit in Dubai for between 3.5 hours to overnight. If you choose the overnight stopover/layover option, (anything over 6 hours for business class passengers) Emirates will provide you with a complimentary hotel. Emirates call this their Dubai Connect service. All the meals are included and so is the BMW or Mercedes chauffeured car to and from the hotel.
The hotels Emirates use varies. We stayed in the Roda Hotel. Emirates like to advertise the Copthorne Hotel as standard, but it is at their discretion.
You must make use of the stopover in Dubai by using the Moet and Chandon Lounge in Terminal 3. It’s quite unique. When flying business class via Dubai, don’t miss out. See our separate review here for the Dubai Emirates Lounge. Read on to find out what to expect from the Emirates A380 business class flight from Kuala Lumpur to Paris, via Dubai.
Here’s the full review of the flight on Emirates A380 business class flight from Kuala Lumpur to Paris
After using the very non busy Emirates Lounge in Kuala Lumpur, (See separate review here) we are very relaxed as we board the 7.5 hours flight to Dubai. The personal welcome message ensures you are in the correct seat! Naturally you will have chosen the best seat via the Emirates App, beforehand!
the Emirates A380 business class cabin
The cabin is spacious and private on the upper deck. Nab the window seats if you’re a lone traveller. The window seats offer the most privacy. The middle seats are great for friends. Even if you’re not travelling together, the middle seats are still private enough.
The walnut and cream colours are used throughout the cabin. There are a couple of gold bling accents throughout too. The bar is packed up for take off. It looks modern and funky when the canapes and stuzzichini come out later! You receive your champagne before take off.
When you need to sleep, the cabin darkens and you look up to the twinkling stars. Well, not literally, the electric stars on the roof. There is also mood lighting that sends signals to your body to prepare for sleep and waking up. That’s why some of the photos are a strange colour!
the seat and surrounds on Emirates A380 business class
The most important thing about the seat in any business class flight is that it reclines to 180 degrees. A flat bed makes all the difference. There’s good storage space around you and you won’t inconvenience anyone when accessing your belongings. In business class, ample electrical points for charging various devices comes as standard. You get a personal soft drinks mini bar too. An additional ‘mattress’ for softness is provided after take off. Your personal tablet is also available for flight information and selecting entertainment.
The seats are most importantly able to go to a fully flat position. The Emirates 777 -300 ER business class does not do this. Newer 777 – 200LR planes do, however have a lie flat bed. The 180 degrees position allows you to get a full night’s rest. Immediately after take off, Emirates provides you with a ‘mattress’ which makes the seat even more comfortable for sleeping. Even if you don’t want to sleep, the mattress provides an extra layer of comfort.
There is plenty of space surrounding you. Plenty of stowage space by your feet and the over head locker.
Some people don’t like the personal storage ‘box’ which is quite deep on your window side if you have a window seat. If you’re in the aisle seats, you have plenty of storage overhead. You’ve got your USB ports and international sockets close at hand too. Your soft drinks mini bar and small items storage shelf are all within easy reach.
So, after the welcome drink and warm nuts, which come in a ceramic bowl, it’s time to look into the amenity bag. Men get a compact, grey rectangular toiletries bag filled with mini sized Bvlgari products. A disposable razor, shaving foam, the plastic toothbrush and those all important sexy flight socks!
Ladies get a beige Bvlgari toiletries bag. Plastic brush, compact mirror, toothbrush, eye mask, body lotion and eau de toilette. Not sure the bag is reusable. It’s not as sturdy as the mens’ toiletries bag.
All passengers are provided with noise cancelling headphones. They’re not as good as your BOSE headphones, but 10 times better than the economy class headphones.
Emirates A380 business class In flight Entertainment
The entertainment system for business class passengers comes with a huge 23 inch screen. You can control your entertainment in three ways. You can touch the screen directly, use the handset, like in economy class, or use your personal tablet. There are over 4000 programmes and films. You can catch up on TV boxsets, listen to whole West End or Broadway musicals or watch endless documentaries. The latest films/ movies are a highlight of Emirates’ in flight entertainment. The flight cameras are also quite fascinating. We always leave the personal tablet on flight camera mode. If you’re not asleep, you won’t get bored.
Emirates A380 business class service
Business class service is pleasant and friendly. Staff notice when your personal mini bar needs a top up. We do notice that when there are only 20 passengers in business class, the friendliness of the staff increases dramatically. They are attentive, but not in your face. They also seem genuinely happy, particularly the bar staff. Where else do you get to chat and get paid at 40,000 feet?
the bar on the Emirates A380 business class
Fancy going to the pub or wine bar? After take off, the staff busy themselves setting up the famous bar at the back of the plane. Here you will find a large screen TV, standing room and seating for about 8 people. Little hors d’ouvres decorate the bar and cocktails are made to order.
If you’re a light sleeper, make sure you choose a seat away from the bar. If your flight is carrying an international sports team, things can get quite rowdy! The bar area is like a mini lounge area. You have 2 small seating areas on either side. There are 2 stand up spaces and a dedicated cocktail maker! The on board bar used to be the standout feature of Emirates business class. Now other airlines have jumped on board (no pun intended!!!) Qatar, Etihad, Virgin Atlantic and Korean Air also have on board bars. Maybe we’ll get to try them and write a review.
The food and Beverages on Emirates A380 business class
The food is good, but not exceptional. Whilst not exactly gourmet in taste, the presentation is solid. It is really hard to get fantastic tasting food when so high up in the air. It still needs to get reheated and this is where the freshness factor loses points. Still, the smoked salmon entree is always a good choice. You can’t go wrong, pulling out some salty fish from the refrigerator!
Your gourmet food is served on fine china crockery by Royal Doulton. Your cutlery is exclusively designed by Robert Welch! (Just in case you wanted to know). All the salads are crisp and fresh. If you really want to know what you’re going to eat before the flight, you can download the PDF menu here. J loves looking up the premium wine and liquor section, which you can also see here. The main draw card of all Emirates A380 planes are the bars at the back, where you can mingle with other guests or the staff. Never have your warm nuts and crudites looked so good!
The food on board is presented as a taste sensation of the globe. Flying from Kuala Lumpur you have a choice of Asian or Western starters, mains and desserts. All food is served on a crisp white tablecloth. You have shiny, stainless steel cutlery instead of plastic. If you haven’t pre – ordered a special meal, the staff come around with their phone to log your meal requests. There are also light bites available during the flight. You won’t be going hungry, that’s for sure.
We opt for the smoked salmon starter. Moist and tasty. Fresh lemon and capers on the top are pleasing to the eye. The little salad has not wilted yet.
For main course, the beef dish is succulent enough. There’s a bit too much sauce and the beef is medium. Like we say, it’s really difficult to get restaurant quality in the air.
The 7.5 hour flies by! (No pun intended)
We’re landing in Dubai and swapping onto another A380. As we opt for the long stopover in Dubai, we use the complimentary hotel service. (See above – Stopover, flight and transit times)
When we get back to the airport for our Paris flight, we make use of the Emirates Dubai lounge before boarding !
Back on board the Emirates A380 to Paris, from Dubai. We settle in to the same comfortable seats and play with the electrics again. Surely that’s the first thing everyone does? The crew is new and are as relaxed and refreshed as we are. We make sure the latest films are showing and calculate how many we can watch before landing. The menu is different and the first difficult choice is what to eat for breakfast.
We choose the Western English breakfast. The little flower shaped butter is one of those special touches that foodies will appreciate. Cute little salt and pepper shakers add some table elegance. Fresh orange juice is on offer as well as cappuccino or freshly brewed tea.
It’s deja vu! We’re on another A380 plane. This time however we bring you a toilet review!
the toilet on the Emirates A380 business class
No Only1invillage review is complete without the important toilet pictures! Don’t look in the magnifying mirror. Flying has a terrible habit of enlarging pores and drying out your skin! You’re still breathing the same air as your fellow economy class passengers.
If you love brushing your teeth, you’ll find extra toothbrushes and Colgate toothpaste in the toilets. Apart from that, there’s not much more to say. It’s got a tap with hot and cold water, face cloths and perfume. It’s not a huge toilet, but how much room do you need? It is slightly bigger than economy class and of course, you have fewer people to share with.
final thoughts on the Emirates A380 business class KL to Paris
The Emirates world wide network is quite big. Partnering with Qantas and part of the One World alliance, you can fly practically anywhere in the globe. If you’re flying with British Airways and at the last minute you get a plane swap for an Emirates A380, this is a good thing.
On this particular flight, the two A380s are exactly the same. In fact, maybe it is the same plane? The crew changes in Dubai, but the standard of service, food, entertainment etc remains the same.
A good thing about taking two shorter business class flights is you get to use two separate Emirates lounges in different countries. You get to experience the KL Emirates lounge and the Dubai Emirates Lounge. If you take a longer flight, for example, the Dubai to Melbourne route, which is 15 hours non stop, you only get to use the Dubai lounge.
The on board bar is a definite plus, over other long haul carriers such as Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific. Having a bar, brings back that luxurious feel of flying in the good old days when a whole deck was a lounge. We read that somewhere. Is it the best business class available? Well, you’ll have to decide for yourself.
Learn 24 Australian Slang Words and phrases in our essential Survival Guide
You have finally landed in the land Down Under. You’re in Australia. Everyone speaks English, well sort of! You’re not alone if you don’t understand everyday spoken Australian slang. Fear not, we have put together a guide we think you’ll find useful.
Australians have a special kind of English, that takes some getting used to. Here Only1invillage helps you navigate the confusing speak of ‘Straya’. Australian slang is confusing at first, but, persevere and you will understand these humans. Take the quiz and see how well you score, Australians and visitors alike. Let your inner geek shine. You know you want to get all the answers right!
C is a born and bred Londoner. She thought ‘Staryian’ would be a breeze. After all, it’s just English with a different accent right? WRONG! It’s taken her a few years to understand the lingo. That’s the first word in our Australian slang quiz.
Only1inVillage Australian Slang guide starts here mate
1 – What does ‘lingo’ mean?
(A) a type of exotic fruit, a cross between a lemon and a mango
(B) a language
(C) a line that can move on its own
2 – How you going? What is the Australian slang speaker asking you?
(A) How are you?
(B) What type of transport are you using to get there?
(C) When are you leaving?
Answer : (A)
3 – Who, what or where is a ‘servo’?
(A) A waiter or waitress
(B) You say this when you want someone to bring you drinks
(C) A service station where you can buy fuel and possibly go to the toilet
How are you doing so far? Got them all correct? Here’s more!
4 – Someone says to you ‘She’ll be right’ Do they mean?
(A) Women are always right and know the answers
(B) She’ll be here soon
(C) Everything will be OK
5 – What, who or where is a ‘bogan’?
(A) Something green or yellow that you shouldn’t pick from your nose
(B) An uncouth or uncultured person
(C) A shortened word for toboggan?
6 – You’re in a moving vehicle on a road and someone says ‘Chuck a U-ey’ Do they mean?
(A) Make a U turn
(B) Throw up immediately
(C) Throw a horse shoe that you just happen to have with you
7 – Who, what or where is ‘a bloody ripper’?
(A) A person who tears things and produces blood while doing so
(B) An angry person
(C) Something amazing or awesome
8 – You’re in a pub and you hear ‘it’s your shout’ Does this mean?
(A) You have to shout now
(B) It’s your turn to buy all the drinks for your group
(C) You’re talking too loudly, speak more quietly
9 – You need to go to a ‘bottle-o’ What kind of place is this?
(A) A museum where you can see lots of bottles shaped like the letter O
(B) A shop that sells alcohol and soft drinks
(C) A therapist who will help you to un-bottle your emotions
10 – You’re deciding what to eat in Australia. A native suggests you go to ‘Maccas’ Where do you go?
(A) A Spanish themed restaurant where maracas are being played
(B) A small town west of Sydney
(C) The fast food restaurant McDonalds
11 – You heard an Australian English speaker say, ‘I gave him the bird’ Did this mean?
(A) I gave my mate a pet budgy (budgy – see question 12)
(B) I tried to be a match maker with a girl friend and a mate (mate- see question 13)
(C) I extended my middle (rude) finger in a gesture to show anger and annoyance
12 – You’re at an Australian beach, because Australia is blessed with lots of them. You hear someone say, great ‘budgy smugglers mate’ as a man walks by. You think to yourself,
(A) That man is a known criminal who illegally imports colourful birds to Australia
(B) The man is wearing tight swimming briefs that accentuate ‘the lump in the front’ in the shape of a cute bird that can be trained to mimic humans
13 – You hear the word ‘mate’ shouted at the airport, in the street, in cafes, on the beach, well everywhere you go! Are the Australian slang speakers telling you
(A) You’re a friend
(B) You should ‘go forth and multiply’ like animals on the Discovery Channel
(C) They are trying to say the word ‘might’ but can’t articulate it properly
14 – Your Australian slang speaking friend says, ‘Can you pick up some tinnies mate’? What do you do?
(A) Buy some beer packaged in aluminum cans
(B) Lift up some cans of food to show how strong you are
(C) Buy a random selection of tin cans
15 – A favourite one of C’s when discussing children’s behaviour. He or she ‘cracks the shits’ What is happening?
(A) A child is desperate to go to the toilet to do a number two
(B) A child is very angry or loses his or her temper
(C) A child is nervous
16 – You are invited to a barbie (see question 17) and the host says in Aussie slang, ‘Don’t forget to bring the snags’ You nod and take to the barbie,
(A) Some cigarettes, because you think snags are rhyming slang for fags, which is slang for cigarettes
(B) Some of your SNAGS (sensitive new age guys)
(C) Cylindrical shapes of processed meat, wrapped in a skin, commonly called sausages everywhere else in the world
17 – Someone asks you if you have a ‘barbie’ What do you possess?
(A) A plastic doll that has unrealistic female proportions and long blonde hair
(B) A barbecue
(C) A bar bell for keeping fit and strong
18 – ‘See you in the arvo, for the barbie and snags’ You nod and take your sausages to the barbecue,
(A) In the afternoon of your mate’s back garden
(B) You’re totally confused because you can’t go inside an avocado. You think you’re good at Australian slang and heard the word ‘avo’
19 – You are walking on a hot day and you hear ‘awesome thongs mate!’ Is the Australian slang speaker complimenting you on,
(A) Your great underwear choice, as you quickly think ‘Is my G-string showing?’
(B) That great kitchen utensil you use to grip and lift food instead of using your hands
(C) Your flip flops, a type of open toed sandal with no back strap, that you only wear when it’s hot. Australians even wear them in Winter. Yes, some parts of Australia have Winter!
20 – Someone gives you advice about going to a popular tourist attraction because ‘it’s in woop-woop’ What do they mean?
(A) It’s a place with an Aboriginal name
(B) It’s quite remote or far away
(C) You definitely should go because it will make you say ‘woop-woop’ because it’s so much fun
21 – The Australian slang term is ‘Did you get a root?’ What are they asking?
(A) Did you find a fast route home back to Bondi?
(B) Did you figure out the cause of the problem?
(C) Did you have sexual intercourse?
22 – Your mate asks if you can bring the esky to the barbie? What do you bring?
(A) A portable cooling box for your tinnies and snags
(B) Your pet dog which is a mongrel breed – half husky and half unknown
(C) A pair of skies
23 – Your Australian friend says, ‘Mate, it was chockers’ What do they mean?
(A) He or she just had an awesome hot chocolate down at the cafe as they’ve given up caffeine
(B) It was Chockers who did it, not me!
(C) It was really full or busy
24 – You are whinging (complaining) because you’re probably a POHM (a British person who is a Prisoner of her Majesty. But, actually, descendants of the First Fleet are the real prisoners’ descendants, but, never mind). Your Aussie mate calls you a ‘sook’. Are you?
(A) Sulking because things don’t always go your way
(B) Saying ‘I suck’ or I’m not good at that
(C) Being mistaken for a sock or is he/she asking you for a sock (preferably a pair)
Hopefully you are now confident to navigate the strange world of Strayian slang. Good onya mate! Ripper job for completing the quiz! Help y’self to a tinny, from the esky and grab a snag from the barbie. G’day, G’arvo and G’night from Only1invillage.
How did you go mate?
Did you answer mostly A, B or C?
What kind of person are you? (Disclaimer: these personality types are not based on scientific research)
Mostly A – Crafty Cricketer – When you’re not in the members only pavillion at the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground), you’re sipping rose at the Portsea Polo.
Mostly B – Beer Drinking Bogan – You love drinking VB (Victoria Bitter) beer, while driving around in your Holden V8. The window is always down even in Winter. Maccas is your restaurant of choice. You will however, never be seen dead wearing budgy smugglers at the beach.
Mostly C – Latte Loving Larrikin – You love your piccolo, never drink capuccino after dinner and know your sashimi from your sushi. You’re also not afraid to have a few beers with your quinoa! You’ll sometimes wear your thongs or sometimes go barefoot.
Now you have mastered Australian slang like an Aussie go forth and spread the word (s). Happy travels from Only1invillage!