The best and worst hotels during our Thai visa run to Kuala Lumpur

Koh Samui Internatonal Airport
The nicest airport we’ve been in.

The time had come to leave Thailand and do a visa run. A lot of people take a bus through southern Thailand and into Penang, Malaysia or to Laos, but a 15 hour bus ride didn’t sound too alluring to us. Luckily we found out about Firefly Airways, one of Asia’s low cost airline. So for $30 each we bought our tickets to Kuala Lumpur and showed up at the airport.

free snacks at Koh Samui Airport

Kind of like the movie theatres in Bangkok, the airport on Koh Samui blew me away. An open air design, there’s lots of plants, free WIFI and more importantly, FREE SNACKS! That’s right folks, I’m dedicating 2 whole pictures to the awesomeness of this airport. Juice, coffee, donuts, croisants, this is the way to treat your customers. They obviously aren’t worried about the single penny like the cheap-ass North American airlines that order you the craptastic food that even food banks would refuse. Here they treat you like a respected customer, not cows on an assembly line waiting to be moved. Or worse, suspected criminals with full body scans, patdowns and the bullshit no-liquid policy they have. Service versus complete incompetence. Who would have thought that this business model could work?

Koh Samui Internatonal Airport
Luxury for a budget price? If the gate 6 sign wasn’t there, would you know this is an airport?

Landing in Kuala Lumpur we followed our Footprints guidebooks advice and went to the StayOrange hotel chain. StayOrange is the cheaper alternative for the Carleton Hotel Group. Much like the IBIS chain all over Europe is the cheaper version of Sofitel (and generally great). We had stayed at the Carleton as a treat when we were in Utrecht, and were looking for something comfortable with wifi access while we got our visas.

Carelton Hotel, Utrecht

Carleton Utrecht vs StayOrange Kuala Lumpur – just not the same.

StayOrange Hotel, Malaysia

We like Orange things. We own an Orange Loft (yes, painted all orange) and it was pretty small. All 485 square feet of it. We lived in it for 3 years in Calgary and were perfectly happy, so when I say that the StayOrange Hotel room is small, I have some context. About 2 feet wider than the double bed, there ain’t much room. But we’ve been traveling and used to small rooms, so that wasn’t really the problem.

Mold in our room at StayOrange, Kuala Lumpur
Is that dirt? No Betsy, it’s deadly mold. I guess they don’t want repeat customers, or healthy ones.
The problem is that the whole bathroom had mold in it. And not just a bit, but in every corner and crevace. A little bleach never killed anyone, but mold sure does. I know Carleton is trying to save money, but at $1 per gallon bleach is pretty cheap. I went downstairs to complain and they gave me a key to another room. Walking up to the 4th floor I looked around and was happy that it was disease free.
StayOrange Hotel, Kuala Lumpur
Strategically placed bag and quick action!

It’s a good thing that the room was so small, as the only place to put my backpack was against the clear glass window of the bathroom. I’m not sure who designed this room, but I always like a little privacy while doing the deed. Know how hard it is to concentrate, reading a book and take care of business when you feel like your in the zoo? Talk about performance anxiety.

Budget luxry at Citin Hotel, Kuala Lumpur
Funny thing is we’ve always preferred green over orange…

After a couple nights of the AC not working, and the workmen working outside our window at 6.30AM we decided to leave. Lucky for us we found another budget hotel called Citin Hotel, and man are we happy we found it. This was more like it, with a frosted door on the bathroom and a big comfy bed and pillows. Add in free breakfast and their recommendation to the best Indian food we’ve ever had, and it really gets 5 stars from us.

Pakistani food in Kuala Lumpur
Chai Tea, Tandori Chicken, Naan and more. For $2! My mouth still waters.

I know what your thinking – what about our Thai visas? This was actually the easiest part of the trip. We went to the embassy and waited in line for an hour and put in our application. At the time they were giving the visas for free, saving us $50 each or so, and it was super easy to do. Our big recommendation if your doing a visa run is to walk straight in and get a number before filling out the application. So many people would go get an application, spend 30 minutes filling it out and then get the number. We saved tons of time doing it this way.

If your doing a visa run into Kuala Lumpur, defiantly stay at the Citin Hotel. It was a great price (125 ringit including breakfast) and has excellent food next to it. But StayAway from StayOrange unless you like mold and watching other people take a shit.

I was not paid to write this review, but if somehow Citin Hotels is reading this please contact me! I’d love to stay at your hotel again for free!

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