#Shiplife Series: Life as a Crew Member on-board a Cruise Ship.

So what happens on a cruise ship? How does life on-board differ to life on land?  It really depends on what kind of lifestyle you were living in prior to being on the ship and I’ll help you answer some stuff you’re wondering about based on my experience!

Travel time to work

A little background story before I start. Your girl here has been living by herself for a while, even before starting work on the ship. I moved to the city when I was 20 years’ old to study and I’ve been living by myself ever since. Well technically I shared the house with my housemates but everything I do on my own. When I started studying I didn’t have a car so I relied on my own two feet and a lot of public transport to get around and even when after I bought a car I still prefer to drive to the train station and take the the train to the city. So that being said, the biggest difference for me  when  comparing life on-board vs. life on land is not really the distance.  Like yeah, I used to visit family every 2 months or so for maybe, 3 days and drive back to the city vs. only being able to go back home every 6 months but staying on for 2 months (they’re all sick of me now I think) but really, the time and distance to go to your workplace is huggeee.

I used to wake up at 6.45 a.m. and leave my house around 8 a.m. to drive to the train station. I arrive to work at 9.15 a.m. On the ship, I can wake up at 7.45 a.m. and be at the crew mess to eat at 8.30 a.m. and at work by 8.50 a.m. There was once when I was living alone in the cabin that I overslept and woke up at 8.40 a.m. I was in the morning briefing by 8.50 a.m., lol. So yes, your workplace is literally 5 minutes away when you’re on the ship vs. an hour away or something ridiculous like that. My roomie and I would complain that the crew mess is TOO FAR when really, it’s just a 5 minutes’ walk, haha.

 

Food choices

When I was working at home, I used to eat really badly because one, I was alone and too lazy to cook for one person, the better, more nutritional  meals were expensive and sometimes it is more convenient to just order fast food. I would buy nasi lemak (traditional Malaysian food consisting of coconut milk cooked rice and condiments) for breakfast, have Mamak for lunch (mostly rice, curry,  fried chicken and salted egg) and something simple like noodles for dinner. Some days I’ll scratch my head thinking about what to eat which right now doesn’t happen anymore because everything is done for you! We’re so spoiled, haha. The crew gets wholesome  food on board and while sometimes the food gets repetitive, it’s healthy  enough (if you want it to be). There’s always fruit and salad bar, we get soups (usually Filipino sabaw or some random Ukrainian/Serbian fare), rice and other stuff like fish, chicken, beef, sandwiches etc. We also get a pizza parlour everyday but not on every ship so if you like being pizzas, it’s a treat!

Activities on-board

The comments that I received before I left was either I  was going to “drink seawater and starve” or that I was going to “get so fat” but well. For those of you who are worried that you might not lead the same healthy lifestyle you had before you left, fear not! There’s the crew gym and also the passenger gym (for those of you with deck privileges) plus there’s always crew health initiatives on-board (eg. yoga, zumba, etc.)

We also have TV in our cabins so we don’t exactly “die of  boredom” on the ship not to mention lots of crew activities! There were crew bingo, karaoke nights, wine and cheese nights, latin disco nights, etc. plenty of stuff to keep you occupied. Back home, most activities calls for money, except maybe walks in the park and stuff.

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Chores

Like laundry and cleaning your room. I  used to do the same when I was living alone but heck, I only cleaned my room when I feel like it. As for the ship, we have crew rounds every week which meant that the room will have to be spick and span when the inspectors come around. The space is small and you do share the load of cleaning with your roommate so it’s not much but still. Apart from that, you don’t do much cleaning – you don’t even need to clean your plate after you eat.

Free time

Perhaps this is a little more substantial when comparing life on the ship and at home. I used to work a 5 day week and have weekends off to just chill and be lazy. On the ship, free time is a luxury and even a 30 minute nap is Godsend. Privacy would be another thing I would like to talk about. You get to be alone most of the time at home if you’re living alone but on the ship, you’re likely to be sharing the cabin with another colleague. Your space is also their space and while there’s always curtains around your bed to give you a little privacy, you basically most of  the time together.

Relationships

You go to work and at most spend around maybe 60 hours a week with your colleagues but when you’re on the ship, you literally see each other all the time. You work everyday together, probably live together, eat together, party together, you get the gist. There’s definitely groups of people who hang out more often together but you can’t escape the fact that you need to live if not co-exist with the same people for long periods of time. You tend to make really close friends and sometimes enemies for others but oh well, people come and people go – if you really can’t stand someone, just remember that they  will leave too. Can’t say that for your colleagues working on land though, you just don’t know when they will leave, haha. Culture and upbringing are also a whole lot diverse on the ship as we are most of the time exposed to only the majority of  the locals where we come from but nope, it’s like a huge melting pot on-board. There’s so much to learn from each other and as long as everyone is considerate and respectful it’s easy to get along.

The little extras

When you live  with such a huge community there’s bound to be some unwritten rule or “mafia” business going on. Need a local SIM card? Looking for the noodle guy? It’s useful to ask around and know more people – it does help to have some connections on-board. As for going around the ports, did I mention shore excursion escorts? It’s basically a volunteer position which you can sign up for during your time off. If you’re selected, you  are able to go on shore excursions with the passengers – in exchange for a little bit of your time in helping out the shore-ex team. One of  the best ways to enjoy the ports as you literally go for free on the tours!

 

 

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#Shiplife Series: What to Bring on your Contract on-board a Cruise Ship

This was indeed the biggest question I had before embarking on my  first contract. Like how do I pack 6 months of my life into two luggages? Why only two? Well that is the number of bags allowed and covered by the company, any more and you probably will have to bear the additional charges, let alone be cursed by your roommate, haha.

So my main concern at that time was how big of a luggage should I be bringing? In the end I decided to bring two medium sized luggage, around 28″ each. It was sufficient but clearly I wasn’t bringing enough space for souvenirs and stuff. I would suggest bringing a large sized one (36″) and a medium one. I know, I’ve read tons of articles advising crew members to pack light but seriously, bring them bags. The smaller bag can always go into the larger one once you’ve unpacked and voila, you don’t take up as much space as you think. There’s also space underneath the bunk bed to store your luggage if you need to.

Once you’ve got your luggage figured out, these are the essentials (in my humble opinion) to survive your contract on-board. I wouldn’t ask you to bring your important documents like passport, medical cert etc. like come on, that’s general knowledge – don’t ever forget though!

  1. Obviously some clothing. Pack according to the itinerary you’re heading to. If you’re mostly doing hot summer ports of call, bring a light jacket and a sweater just in case the weather changes. Temperature on  the ship tends to get a little cold too with the A/C so it’s nice to have something warm and snuggly. Pack some casual wear for days out in port and maybe 1 or 2 pieces of dressier items for nights out (overnights maybe?) or the crew bar. Or even special occasions, you know how that happens. A note of caution though, don’t pack too much! I figured that I was pretty genius and packed everything and in the end I went shopping and bought more. So yeah. Don’t forget other pieces of clothing like your PJs, swimsuit (for the sea or maybe the crew pool / jacuzzi?), gym clothes, lots of underwear and maybe some shirts for your uniform (it depends if it is provided by your company or if you are required to get your own).

2. Toiletries! The mother of all necessities. I packed like, full sized bottles of the things I like to use and I was glad I did. If you’re not fussy, you can always buy some at the crew shop (shampoo, body gel, lotion etc.) but I like to use the things I like so I brought shampoo, shower gel, cleanser, moisturizer, etc literally everything to the ship. In the end I still needed to get myself tons of Nivea lotion though as my skin was cracking due to the dry weather. But yes, if you really love your products bring them if you think you’re not able to get them wherever you’re at. I had fun trying on some new stuff I found at the ports too so guess what, harharhar.

Bring your makeup! I ran out of foundation/BB cream, eyeliner and eyebrow pencil soon enough but as I wasn’t too picky with what I use I went and got some new stuff from the local drugstore. You get my gist. What I really regretted and what went through my mind throughout my contract was how I should have packed a luggage full of my go-to sanitary napkins. Just imagine having to be at sea, away from home and finding the hard truth that nope, not all sanitary napkins are the same. Just to divert a little, the ones in Europe are sort of thin – I don’t know.  What I know was that I could hear myself wishing that I brought 6 months’ worth of my favorite brand with me – screw luggage space, pads are important.

3. Medication. This is super important if you’re the type to fall sick easily but even if you’re not, be prepared! I know I get very painful menstrual cramps every month and depend on this one holy grail Panadol Actifast to feel better so I bought like maybe, 60 pills with me? (Don’t worry, I DID NOT FINISHED ALL OF THEM!) But yes, these are Godsend when you don’t feel good so please, don’t take this lightly. Bring any possible medication that you might need and if they’re over the counter types, it should be no problem but if they’re prescription drugs, do remember to inform the medical once you get on-board. Should there be any random drug search and if you so unfortunately was one of the people selected, the declaration will save your ass. Like really, I’m not joking. Anyway! I also brought with me a very typical Asian aunty remedy for bad days – MEDICATED OIL! I love, love, love the smell and the heat does help with little discomforts. Apparently my roomie also loves it and she’s Mexican, go figure.

4. Technology. This might not apply to everyone but in this time, everyone needs some  kind of tech to survive right? Maybe? I’ll admit, I was too ambitious and brought everything with me to the ship. Really. I took with me my laptop, cell phone, action cam, mirrorless cam, Kindle, HDD drive and various accessories (chargers, tripod and all that shit.) So. If you spend most of your time with gadgets, be it for work or maybe you just don’t like humans –  go for it. As for me, I love my tech. I wanted to  take photos and make  videos and blog and watch movies blablabla…it didn’t happen. What I really wanted to say is, bring whatever you need. I thought I needed my laptop. Wrong. Imagine paying for 660MB at $40 – you’ll be trying to save as much data as possible. I thought I would bring my laptop out during port days. Wrong again. There’s just too much to see and do and lugging a laptop around isn’t really convenient tbh. Most of the time I only used my phone for catching up and updating stuff on Facebook and Instagram. Photos too, which eliminated the need for the action cam and the mirrorless camera. Damn. As for movies, my company did really well on this and we constantly have new movies to watch on the TV so there you go. I only used my laptop for a record of two times during my first contract – I don’t think I will be bring it with me this time.

The kind of tech I would bring? My cell phone. Adapters. Especially when the ship has EU & US plug points but no 3 pin Asian ones. A hairdryer, power bank, electric jug kettle. Imagine wanting to eat noodles and you have no hot water. Or coffee. I would highly recommend a kettle if you can. My roomie also spoiled me for life as she brought along a handheld garment steamer (there’s always the iron in the laundry room though), hair curler & straightener, also a gel manicure set. Whatever rocks your boat but I’m a changed woman.

5. Little things from home. The stuff that matters of course. I know a fellow colleague who packed an entire luggage full of his favorite snacks. Bring your favorite type of coffee. Photos and trinkets. It may seem troublesome (that’s what I thought initially) but these little things do keep you grounded and sane. I placed pictures of my family and friends on the wall next to my bed so that I can be reminded of them.

20170622_212517Yep, just me and my wall.

There’s a couple more I would like to talk about but I’ll save it for another day. Til then, safe travels! 🚢

#Shiplife Series: Top 10 Most Asked Questions about Life On-board.

Questions that I’ve been asked countless times and I don’t blame anyone for asking them. It’s not widely shared and people are curious (they’re great conversation starters tbh.) so here goes! Everything is based on my experience so there might be some difference for others:

  1. How did you get this job?

Always a general favorite with the passengers on board. If you’re really interested, here’s the links Part One and Part Two

2.  Do you get to go off the ship?

Well, yes. Some of us are much luckier (for instance the boutique and the casino staff) and get more free time in general which gives us more opportunity to visit the ports of call. Other departments do get time off  on a rotation basis too so there’s definitely an opportunity for everyone to get off the ship.

3. Do you get days off?

No we don’t. Not officially though as it depends on the itinerary as well as the department you’re in. When I was working in the Regal during Baltic season we do have an overnight in St. Petersburg, Russia so it sort of counted as a day off for us in the boutiques. The Baltic was a great itinerary 🙂

4. How do you get to the ship?

Trust me, this is a pretty popular question as well. Many people are not really  aware of the complexity of cruise ship operations and this question always crack me up inside. Some assumed that I will get picked up in port by the ship or at least transshipped  from one ship to another until I reach my destination. Well, not really – we travel to meet our ships by flights arranged by our company. Yep, everything from flights to hotel lodging and meals arranged and paid for. We’re a pretty spoiled bunch.

5. Where  do you live / what kind of  living arrangements you have?

We live on the ship, just like the rest of the passengers with majority of the crew on Deck 3 & 4. Below sea level? Yes. Porthole? Just for some officers. There are some that lived on Deck 7 & 8 as well, most of the time it depends on the rank and the place where you work. Majority of us live with a cabin mate. Yes, we have a bathroom in the cabin – it’s not really as communal as you think. Some crew might have 4 to a bathroom ( 2 rooms sharing) but I lived pretty comfortably.

6. How long do you work / what are  the working hours like?

A  typical contract will be 6 – 8 months for majority of the crew on-board and a  normal working day will be around 12 hours. That being said, I never really worked 12 hours a day, 7 days a week for 6 months. I only work from the time the ship is sailing which is typically 5-6 hours on a port day and maybe 10-12 hours on a sea day.  

7. Where have you traveled to?

I’ve been pretty blessed to be able to visit so many places during my first contract as I started in between seasons (East Caribbean – Dominican Republic, U.S. Virgin Islands, Jamaica, etc. and the Baltic – Denmark, Russia, Sweden, etc.). In between I had the transatlantic crossing  through Portugal, Belgium, France and also dry dock in Germany…let’s just say the list is pretty substantial for 6 months. 

8. Do you have to pay for your traveling expenses / any expenses on the ship?

All our traveling expenses to the ship will be covered by the company. As for paying for stuff on-board – most of the bills come from buying drinking water, the crew bar, some perfume or skincare  you need, snacks and necessities from the crew shop and maybe an occasional dinner or two from the specialty restaurant on the ship.

9. Do you get to choose the ship?

Nope, the deployment is arranged based on the needs of the ship and the availability of headcount. You can always try to request but let’s just say it might take a while or it might never happen.

10. What made you come to work on a cruise ship?

The classic question, lol deserves a classic answer. There’s a million ways to travel and when there’s a chance to see the world and work at the same time with most of your expenses paid for – this is not a chance you let go off  easily. 

#Shiplife Series: Things to consider before working on a ship.

Let’s face it. Most people are intrigued by the idea of working at sea. For us seafarers, it’s routine to be asked about life onboard, be it from passengers or friends and family.

Speaking from my own perspective, which might differ from the rest – these are some of the points to consider before applying for a cruise ship job: 

1. Being away from home for at least 6 months.

Most contracts range from 6 – 9 months and this means long days without seeing your loved ones and being in familiar territory, eg. Your bed.

2. Sharing a small space with someone.

Most positions on the ship requires you to share a cabin with a roommate. If you enjoy being by yourself, this might be a little challenging.

3. You have other duties apart from your regular job.

This means that not only am I working on retail but I’m also a stairway guide during crew and passenger drills, I have embarkation duties and yes I also work the x-ray machine sometimes.

4. Nobody cleans after you.

Unless you pay the cabin steward to do it for you. But yeah, you do your own laundry, clean your cabin…you get the idea. The company offers complimentary laundry for uniforms but sometimes it’s easier to dump everything into 1 load. 

5. You don’t get days off

Like how can I even forget this super important point? Most people react with horror or sympathy whenever they hear this. Crewmembers do not get days off. We do get shore leave and hours off though. 

Most retail and casino staff tend to have the “easiest life” apparently as it is dictated by law that we’re not allowed to operate when we dock. For this itinerary that I’m in currently, we have an overnight in Russia so yes, there’s a day off for me!

These are the 5 basic points and yes there’s plenty more considering how different people are but still. Signing off now because I want maybe a 30 minute nap. 

Naps are a luxury.

#Shiplife Series: Training on the Ship.

It’s been 12 days since I’ve left Malaysia to join the ship. Time has passed so quickly that I was just living in the moment, one day at a time and everything seemed so vivid yet so blurry that I’m beginning to question the reality of things, haha. I guess that’s how I will sum up shiplife at the moment. You live in the reality and your reality is your life onboard the ship. Everything else outside is somewhat irrelevant.

The company has been really lovely to us and took care of our needs pretty well. We had a pickup from the hotel in Honolulu to the ship and there were people at the immigration point waiting for us to bring us to the ship. We got to the crew office and the managers from our department took us to our rooms and once  everyone arrived we were handed over to our trainer.

It was a complete  whirlwind from that point onwards – getting our uniforms,  going for training, getting lost around the ship, getting our crew IDs, flu shots…it was really nice of the company to  organize the training for us, especially those who are new to ships. We learnt our emergency signals, what to do during a fire or when we feel sick as well as stuff about the company. We also made plenty of friends and it was really nice to find people you have things in common with. Kinda sad that we’re all transhipped to different ships now, some of them are still together but well,  not me.

I’ve read some horror stories about the food in the crew mess and let me tell you, the food in my ship was amazing, at least to my  standards. I often have to fuss about what to eat and this is a nice change from having to settle my own meals  to being fed with yummy, proper food. I’m trying to take less portions as I am in danger of getting fatter and fatter.

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One of the meals I had in the staff mess.

The ship that I was in is relatively small and could hold about 2600 passengers. It wasn’t super hard to navigate once you know your way.

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The Wardroom or officer’s bar. Apparently staff are able to come here as well. I never went, only during our training.

 

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Some of the activities planned for the officer’s bar.There’s also a calendar of activities for the crew  recreation room which I didn’t take a photo of.
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Casual top which I probably will not be wearing in future as my role requires formal wear on a daily basis.

I’ll be going on my new ship tomorrow and I’m pretty nervous about it. What if I get a horrible cabin mate? What if everyone’s nasty? Well no point worrying plus the itinerary is going to be awesome. I’ll be doing Caribbean for 2 weeks and will be sailing off to the Baltics from April onwards! Perhaps I should focus on that thought…

#Shiplife Series: Flying to Honolulu!

This is going to be super backdated because I’ll most likely post this only by the time I get to my hotel in Miami, which is on the 10th of March, 11 days after I first got on the cruise ship.

You guys will just have to deal with it, haha. I will hardly get any internet unless I’m in port. Or if I spend $40 on 660 mb which I might someday.

So just an update here, I hopped on the plane on 27 February 2017 to get to Honolulu to meet my ship. Spent about a day just taking plane rides and waiting in transit – first one was Penang – Hong Kong which took about 3.5 hours, Hong Kong – Tokyo (around 4 hours) & Tokyo – Honolulu which took another 6 hours. Add in the waiting time during transit which took around 5-6 hours…it was crazy! I hate being on long flights especially the feeling of not being able to move around. Plus I can’t really sleep when I’m travelling especially without a bed so yeah, I was dead beat by the time I landed in Honolulu.

So I got detained. Well, sort of.

I walked into immigration at Honolulu and boy was I blown away by the number of Japanese tourists doing the same thing. Seriously, it was around 10 huge lines of just people queuing to get their passport stamped. I was kinda freaked out that I might miss the guy that was waiting to pick me up that when I saw one of the ushers I told her that I’m a seaman and whether I could go to the counter. She opened up the line for me but oh well, the lady at the immigration counter brought me into the holding room. Apparently, all seamen that flew in that day was also detained until we could get clearance.

It wasn’t something too serious as long as your name is on their list and you can answer their questions. Pretty straightforward stuff like which ship you’re joining, when you’re leaving the US – just to make sure you’re not planning on jumping ship, pun intended. I was good to go after spending about 30 minutes in the room.

I had a bit of a problem looking for the guy picking us up and asking the people around didn’t help at all. Finally located him standing outside and awhile later with an Indonesian uncle, we were finally shuttled off to our hotel.

Check in was prompt and immediate but to my utmost horror the lady at the reception said that I will be sharing the room with someone. I’ve read about room-sharing from crew stories so I wasn’t at all surprised, just a bit worried that my roommate will be a nasty one. She came a little after I showered and settled down and turned out to be a girl from China. If you know me well enough, my love for China ends at their “ma lat spicy fish” & dumplings. I don’t really care for their people as they scare me off. I was pretty horrified that I was placed with a Chinese girl for my Mandarin is atrocious but oh well, we all just have to wing it.

It was a tad awkward at first but we were so tired that we just sort of slept the day away. She went out to get some water and got me a bottle which was really sweet of her. We both missed lunch but had Bubba Gump Shrimp for dinner together. Little did I know it will be the first of the many dinners to come, haha. I thought I’ll just be stuck with her for a night but turns out, we’re roomies for the rest of the training. I’ll say more on that in the next blog post, catch you guys later!

 

#Shiplife Series: Applying for a Cruise Ship Job – Part Two

Hey lovelies!

10 more days to go til  #Shiplife! I’m super psyched yet super stressed out with all the packing I have to do! Haven’t done much but everything has to go! Plus I’ll  be working during the weekends to provide a handover to the girl that will be replacing my role. Sooo tired but sooo much to do and so many people to meet before I leave!

I’ll be having a farewell dinner with my colleagues later in the evening, followed by dinner & drinks with my uni mates on Saturday night. Plus another few dinners with friends on Sunday & Tuesday! Ending it all with a bang with our annual dinner on the 23rd – as well as my last working day!

So here’s the second part of my cruise job application experience!

 

I’m  feeling a little bit delirious thanks to the lack of sleep,  still plenty  to do and loads to buy. Cheerio & I’ll update again soon!

#Shiplife Series: 14 Days to Go!

Two more weeks. 14 Days and I’m freaking out because who wouldn’t?

I’m allowed 2 pieces of luggage so long they’re within 62″ linear. So I went and bought another medium sized Delsey luggage (equivalent to a 24″  I think). After putting the two bags together, I felt they might be a bit too big for a teeny sized cabin.

Take away one bag and I’m left with a very full suitcase (could be over the limit of 23 kgs even). How?! I don’t want to bring something too bulky and make my room mate hate me. But the  guidelines did say 2…(huge dilemma here). People online advised to pack light (eg. bring a rolling duffel, not too many clothes etc.) but a rolling duffel most lightly won’t be as durable compared to the standard luggage plus since I have no idea which ship I’ll be transferred to once  I finish my training – it might be somewhere hot or cold so I’ll need like summer wear & sweaters.

I’ve been slowly putting stuff into my “To Bring” pile and it’s definitely getting bigger. Plus so much stuff I’ve yet to buy – work shoes, stockings, belt, medicine etc. Oh lordy!

On top of that I’ll have to pack everything as I’ll be leaving KL at the same time which adds a huge chunk of stress to my already stressful situation lol. Okay, super sleepy and tired after stressing myself over I’m just going to sleep now.

Talk about being excited.

#Shiplife Series: Applying for a Cruise Ship Job – Part One

Hi guys!

Just made a video on my experience in applying for a cruise ship job. This is just the first part  where I shared how it all happened so do watch if you’re interested!

It gets kinda lengthy due to my rambling which is why I split the whole thing into parts, wouldn’t want you guys to bleed from your eyes and ears!

Do drop me a note if you have questions, would love to hear them. Cheers!

#Shiplife Series: Getting a US C1/D Visa in Malaysia – Part 1

Hello guys, happy 2017!

It’s almost February and I’ve been super busy – I thought I was going to die. No kidding.

Thought I’ll do a little summary of the whole US Visa application process and my experience so that those of you who are keen on applying can get some idea. Do take note that it might differ from one person to another and this post is mainly based on my own experience.

So to backtrack a little, I was offered a position on a cruise ship and one of the requirements is to have a valid US C1/D visa. The application is entirely on my own expense and the whole process to be conducted by myself. As the C1/D is a crew transit visa, I will first need to prove that I am indeed a crew member of a ship. I was provided with a letter of employment from my company that affirmed my role and the need for me to have a US visa.

First step was to complete the online visa application by filling up the Form DS-160. It’s basically all your personal details and a few questions regarding your purpose of visit. Do make sure to check out all the different visa types on the website before selecting your choice – the usual tourist visa is B1/B2 but there’s also different ones for work, study, etc. Be really sure on the visa type you’re applying for as I believe you are not allowed to change once it has been confirmed for processing.

You’re also required to upload a photo – be sure to check the requirements! I was pretty worried that mine would be rejected so I went and paid for a studio shot, MYR 16 with a digital copy. Expensive I know but it’s the city and at least I get a peace of mind, haha. Once that’s done, submit the application and pay the visa application fees via bank counter (Ambank), bank transfer or via Jompay. I did mine via electronic transfer and kept the proof of payment for reference. Total damage was USD 160 ~ MYR 672 at the point of my application. Do take note that your application comes with a code that you’re supposed to reference during payment.

Once that’s done and your payment has been received, you can schedule your appointment for the visa interview. My payment was received on 2 November 2016 and the earliest available date was around 1 month later so please allow ample time when planning for your travels!

I’ll be sharing my experience on the interview in the next post!