Semenjak AirAsia menyerang Yangon, MYANMAR dengan penerbangan tambang rendahnya setiap hari mulai Jun 2010, MAS mula terasa bahangnya. Laluan KUL-RGN (Yangon ialah nama baru bagi Rangoon) yang sebelum ini hanya popular dengan pelancong bisnes (business travelers), kini semakin kencang dengan pelancong kasual (leisure travelers) dan tidak boleh dipandang sebelah mata oleh strategis MAS.
Justeru itu, MAS membuka kedua-dua matanya dengan menambah penerbangan KUL-RGN setiap hari. Sebelum ini hanya 5 hari seminggu sahaja. MH740 berlepas dari KUL ke Yangon pada jam 10:05 pagi dan MH741 berlepas pulang dari Yangon ke KUL pada jam 12:15 tgh. setiap hari. Masa penerbangan ialah 2 jam 30 minit dan kadang-kadang 2 jam 45 minit.
Selamat datang ke Yangon, MYANMAR.
18 August 2010:
Early MH flight to Miri was an aging Boeing 747-400. Seated at 19A seat, I could see clearly stained metal patches on the wing, over the scratches window. The engine made some rattling noise when taking off but quietened down when cruising. The sky was cloudy but no rain. Most passengers felt asleep the entire journey over South China Sea, 33000 feet above at the speed of 800 km/h. After 2 hours 15 minutes I could see the shoreline with rivermouths full of muddy waters from the interior of Borneo. The plane was circling a couple times along the shoreline beneath which are at one side green plains and zig-zagged rivers and at the other side are muddy beaches. The pilot Jeff Azman went on air saying some problem at Miri Airport which did not concern us. He managed to land safely eventually. Airport terminal was a straight line building with 2 or 3 contact piers, just like Yangon International AIrport. Immigration was a breeze as I presented my intenational passport to the officer behind the counter, and she stamped the ‘visa’ on a blank page which allows me to stay up to 90 days on social visit to Sarawak.
Unlike Yangon arrival, nobody was waiting for me. This is my home country Malaysia and I was expected to know this country well. People speak my language and eat my foods, so whats the big deal. That what my new company thought, when I called them last week to tell them of my arrival date.
I went thru typical airport arrival procedures — immigration checkpoint, collect baggages, custom checkpoint, greet&meet area. After custom checkpoint, I exited to the greet&meet area. At your left there were many car rental counters and one of them was a taxi counter. Bought a coupon here, only Rm20 for 15 minutes drive to Mega Hotel in downtown Miri. Took and presented the coupon to the waiting taxi queueing for passengers outside the arrival hall. No taxi touts at this airport.
It took about 15 minutes from Miri Airport to Mega Hotel in the city center, along tree-lined boulevards.
Welcome to Miri, one of the youngest city in Malaysia.