Monday, March 6, 2017

Tokyo Marathon 2017: Day 1 - Flying with ANA

4am is an ungodly hour. Nothing can be a good enough reason to wake up at 4am. Unless...it was to catch flight to Japan! That's right, I was headed off to Japan again. This time for the Tokyo Marathon and I was travelling solo because I felt YOLO.

Anyway flight was at 8am and me being me, opted to catch the first KLIA Express train out at 5am so that I can arrive bright and muddafarking early at the airport to ditch my luggage and get some last minute stuff ie Panadol.

Only to find out that...the shop hasn't open. (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻)
(Walau...why you do this to me la...)


In the end, like any true Malaysian about to fly off, I parked myself at McDonalds and carboloaded away on a Sausage Egg McMuffin until it was time to pass immigration and enter the departure hall. There I found a Guardian that opened early to serve last minute people like me. 

I was flying by All Nippon Airlines, a vast upgrade from the usual AAX airline because for once in my life, I can afford it. Look ma, I am not that poor! Okay la I am still not rich enough to afford First Class on ANA or Emirates (life goals). Anyhoo, I met up with several of the Tokyo Marathoners from Malaysia in the departure lounge. Fun bunch. I think I quite like them and it usually takes me months to like people. 

Food! 
The flight was crazy full as though bonus just came in and everyone decided to last minute treat themselves to a trip to Japan. Ugh. I thought I could get a whole row to myself again like last year's trip to Kyoto when I flew on AAX. Irony. 

But oh my was the service just great. I could order any drink I wanted off the menu and every runner knows how important it was to stay hydrated before a big race. I drank a lot and needless to say, was grateful I had opted for the aisle seat. The air stewardess checked up on the passengers frequently and was very helpful.
Keeping myself entertained and connected with Travel Recommends. 
The entertainment system was great. I killed time on the flight, watching the Death Note movie and Criminal Minds. Best part was I could charge my laptop and iPhone on board the flight, ensuring that I had a full bar upon landing. And check out the view from the toilet window. Had I know what a view it was, I would have just locked myself in there for the whole trip. It was like getting the perks of aisle and window seats.

Toilet with a view
In true Japanese fashion, we landed at exactly 3:50pm in Narita International Airport. From disembarking to immigration to baggage collection and custom to buying my tickets for the NEX train (4,000yen return trip) and to actually boarding the train and taking off for Shibuya, it had all taken me only 30mins!
Fastest and less hassle free way to Shibuya and Shinjuku.
That was the fastest I've ever left a foreign airport and needless to say, coloured me impressed at Japan's famous efficiency all within the first few minutes of landing. I was definitely looking forward to my first solo trip to Japan.

Travel Tips:
Getting from Narita International Airport to Tokyo 
Narita Express Train (N'EX) stops at both Narita Airport terminals, Tokyo Station, Shibuya Station and Shinjuku Station and even Yokohama making it the most direct, time saving and fuss-free way to reaching the city. It's only about 1 hours 10 mins with a comfortable facilities (seats, wifi and toilets) on board.

It cost only 4,000yen for a return trip which is cheaper than buying both trip separately. As soon as you leave the arrival area, the counter is right in front and cannot be missed. An escalator next to the counter leds directly to the platform area where you can also get your JR pass sorted out. For more info, log on to http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/nex/

For a more budget-friendly option, consider taking the limousine bus which stops at selected hotels and stations around the city. Just pinpoint the nearest to your stop and purchase your ticket. Mind you that the trip can take about 2 hours due to traffic.

Read my Tokyo Marathon posts:
Day 1 - Flying with ANA
Day 1 (part 2) - Checked into Shiba Inu AirBnB
Day 2 (part 1) - Things to do in Shinjuku and Odaiba

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