Again, I embarked on another short weekend trip to neighbouring Malaysia, making a visit to the town of Ipoh in the state of Perak. Since the start of direct flights from Singapore to Ipoh, Ipoh has been gradually gaining popularity for holidays by Singaporeans, as well as convenient access by Ipohians in Singapore. Currently, there are 3 to 4 flights daily to Ipoh, operated by Firefly and Tigerair (soon to be Scoot). Malindo Air, which I flew previously more than a year ago on my first trip to Ipoh, has pulled out of the route due to low loads. However, Tigerair seemed to be able to make the route work, increasing its flights to double dailies on certain days. Firefly maintained its twice daily flights. This trip, I would be flying on Firefly, which is the regional arm of Malaysia Airlines and operating solely ATR72 turboprops.
Checked in at Terminal 2 an hour before departure at the Firefly counters. There are 4 counters opened for check-in, 2 each for Subang and Ipoh. Boarding pass was prnted on Dnata stock.
It was a drizzly afternoon. Tarmac view at T2.
Both Firefly flights to Subang and Ipoh were departing from F55, which is a bus gate.
Code-shared with MH
Tigerair A320 at the gate. These aircraft will soon be repainted in Scoot's livery.
14 July 2017 Firefly FY 3546 Singapore (SIN) - Ipoh (IPH) ATR 72-500 9M-FYA Economy Class Flight Time: 1H18M
Both passengers for Ipoh and Subang were at the gate, but Ipoh pax were called for boarding earlier as the Subang flight was slightly delayed ue to late arrival of aircraft from Kuantan. Ferried by the bus to the remote stand. Firefly's first aircraft would be performing the sector today. This flight is part of the 4-sector Subang-Singapore-Ipoh-Singapore-Subang routing. Long working day for the pilots and crew.
Welcomed by a crew at the door and proceeded to our seats. Configuration on this ATR72 is 2-2 for a total of, yes you guessed it, 72 seats. 2 cabin crew will be working this flight. The cabin was clean and well-maintained despite this being Firefly's oldest aircraft.
Seat pitch is tight, but slightly better than the LCCs.
Inflight magazine and stuff in the seat pocket.
The flight was not too full and after the last passenger boarded, doors were closed and we were pushed back. Started the taxi to the runway.
Holding for AirAsia and Hong Kong Airlines.
Departure from Rwy20C. Massive works going on in preparation for T5.
The slower speed of the turboprop afforded a scenic 'tour' of the north-eastern part of Singapore.
Firefly markets itself as a full-service regional airline and hence all frills are offered, including free check-in luggage and complimentary refreshments. However there are talks that Firefly will stop offering complimentary refreshments soon. Crew came down the aisle with snacks in a basket, offering a choice of peanuts, muffins and curry puffs! I had a curry puff and a muffin. Tasty and filling snacks.
A choice of soya bean milk and mango juice were offered. Both for me please! As the seatbelt signs were kept on (with hardly any turbulence though), no hot drinks were offered.
As mentioned earlier, the weather was rather good for flying. Not sure why the seatbelt signs were swithed on for almost the entire flight.
After the snack service, a crew came to me and requested if I could fill up a survey on the tablet. Sure!
Port Dickson, i think.
Near Port Klang.
Compared to the jet which only took 50min, the flight on the ATR72 was almost half hour longer. We soon started the descent into Ipoh.
Landing in Ipoh Sultan Azlan Shah Airport Rwy04.
A rapid taxi and parked at the terminal.
Disembarking and a short walk to the arrival hall of the small terminal.
No queues at the arrival immigration for foreigners and we were through immigration and customs in a couple of minutes. Bliss of arriving at small airports! Last shot of the aircraft after clearing immigration.
Only a maximum of 4 international flights a day to Ipoh, all from Singapore. There are also daily domestic flights to Johor Bahru.
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It was only a 10min cab ride from the airport to Ipoh Town, where we would be staying at Weil Hotel, a 4-stars hotel which is supposedly the best in Ipoh Town. Rooms are big and cozy, and location is very convenient to the famous eateries and sights in town.
Sights of Ipoh old town and the street art.
But of course, everyone goes to Ipoh not for the sights, but for the great food! Got some traditional biscuits from this pastry shop where the famous Kaya puffs are sold (and disappeared when the freshly-baked trays of puffs are brought out).
Dinner at the famous Tuck Kee restaurant. The Moonlight Hor Fun is oh-so-good, paired with crunch beansprouts and tender squid pieces, heavenly….
Late morning, tried the dimsum at Ming Court. Unfortunately, we were rather late and most of the popular items were sold out.
Teowchew-style beancurd at Concubine Lane.
Followed by delicious satay and duck egg fried kuay teow.
For this trip, I tried another famous tauge chicken kuay teow stall. The kuay teow was really rich and tasty, and chicken was very tender.
A popular supper place would be Tong Sui Kai (Sugar Water Street), where we went after a movie.
Supper of wanton noodles, curry mee, rojak, fried meat, interesting prawn cracker with soya sauce and nuts, and a mountain of fruits dessert.
Tried another recommended dimsum place, Chef Fatt, on the 2nd morning. Great dimsum!
And the last meal of horfun with chicken and tauge at the food center near the hotel before heading to the airport.
Singapore - SIN
Ipoh - IPH
It was a great flight on Firefly. Service was excellent by the cheerful crew members, complimentary refreshments were more than adequate for the short flight, and aircraft, though rather noisy, was well-maintained and comfortable. However, with competition heaing up in the turboprop market due to entry of Malindo, I guess it will not be long before we see Firefly cutting on the frills.
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