Kebabs, Kalamari & Koshary Pt I: Introduction

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2015 was a poor year travel-wise for me compared to the period between 2011 and 2014; starting a new job, getting married and moving into a new place all put travel on a back burner.

That’s going to change in 2016. Soon after settling into our new abode, I discovered on Google Flights some pretty impressive prices from Etihad. We are talking about return flights from Southeast Asia to Europe or South Africa for less than S$700. The catch: we will need to start in one city (e.g. Kuala Lumpur) and end in another (e.g. Singapore).

I consulted the missus on the dates and destinations. The post-Chinese New Year period seems a good time for both of us. My grandmother lives in Malaysia (Malacca to be exact) and since we will be at her place for Chinese New Year, departing from KUL works out nicely for us.

Istanbul is one of the cities where we can fly to and wife is keen to visit it after hearing many wonderful things about the city where I had spent 4 months back in 2009. Returning from Cairo doesn’t add much to the price so we decided to visit Egypt (the second country we visited in Africa) before returning from Singapore.

After seeing the prices fluctuated for a few months, we pulled the trigger when we thought the prices were at its lowest. Funnily, the price would drop another 10% the following week.

All for 1994.9 MYR (or ~S$680)

All for 1994.9 MYR (or ~S$680)

Cyprus lies between Turkey and Egypt and I’ve always been fascinated about the divided island. While there are flights between Istanbul and the Turkish part of the island, we might have issue leaving from the Greek side if we enter through Ercan Airport. The cheapest alternative between Istanbul and Larnaca is with Aegean Airlines via Athens, a very reasonable price of 64.60 USD each (booked on Priceline).

Aegean Airlines was once again the cheapest option between Larnaca and Cairo on our day of travel (109.10 USD each on Priceline) and we decided to build in a day in Athens in between the flights. Our accommodation were booked mostly one month before the trip and consisted of Airbnb, boutique hotels and chain hotels.

I will reach a personal milestone in this trip: Cyprus and Egypt will push the number of countries that I have visited past 50 and I am definitely looking forward to it.

A summary of our flights and stays:-

Flights
09Feb KUL-AUH EY413
09Feb AUH-IST EY097
13Feb IST-ATH A3993
13Feb ATH-LCA A3910
17Feb LCA-ATH A3913
17Feb ATH-CAI A3930
20Feb CAI-AUH EY654
20Feb AUH-SIN EY470

Stay
09Feb Airbnb in Istanbul
10Feb Airbnb in Istanbul
11Feb Airbnb in Istanbul
12Feb Airbnb in Istanbul
13Feb Hotel Opera Larnaca
14Feb Kemerli Konak Boutique Hotel Kyrenia
15Feb Kemerli Konak Boutique Hotel Kyrenia
16Feb Josephone Boutique Hotel Larnaca
17Feb Le Meridien Cairo Airport
18Feb Sofitel El-Gezirah Cairo
19Feb Sofitel El-Gezirah Cairo

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