I spent a lot on travelling this year.

In April, I flew to the States (LA and San Francisco) for three weeks, which burnt a massive hole in my pocket. Upon returning, I told myself : “Hey. That was an awesome, eye-opening, once-in-a-lifetime thing so it was worth it! Now you can focus on your job, earn money for the rest of the year and save for your next big adventure in 2016. ”

But seeing all the nice trip pictures on my social media feed – the sandy blue beaches, the foggy mountains, the bustling cities –  has brought out the travel itch in me. D: Since I can’t afford any more long haul vacations, I’ve decided to go for a short one: to Phuket, Thailand!

Before that there was one very important step: renewing my old Malaysian passport. I took half the day off to drop by the National Registration and Immigration Department (Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara) in Puchong Utama.  I heard the line here gets long real fast, so I came very early. Even then, I was fourth in line despite arriving at 6.20am (!) All the shops at the commercial building where the department is located were closed and it was dark, with loads of mozzies. I got bit like crazy.

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After an agonising 1 hour + (the line grew steadily longer) the doors finally opened just before 8am. I fell into line to Counter 10, where a nice Indian lady took my old passport and IC. I was given a blue form to fill up with my details before she issued me a number.

Once I got the number, I went upstairs via a side staircase to a waiting area (above). Number was called, I gave the form, passport and IC to the staff, then sat down to take a picture. Gone are the days when you had to take a photo at your local camera store – now everything is done on the spot, digitally. :) I also had to verify both thumbprints through a digital scanner, sign another form containing my details and print my thumbnail on it with ink.

Another counter will call you and issue the receipt. Collection is in an hour’s time. It was 8.30am. So….

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Breakfast! There was a comfy little mamak downstairs where I had Indomie Goreng topped with fried egg, washed down with a cold glass of iced Milo. Typical Malaysian breakfast at it’s finest. :)

Around 9.20am, I headed back next door to collect a new number from Counter 10. Went upstairs again, where it was called almost immediately. I showed the staff my receipt, signed more forms, and walah!

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Brand new passport, valid for five years. It costs Rm200.

Phuket, here I come! :)

 

Passport renewal has surely come a long way and it’s much more convenient now. I remember back in the days when I was a kid, the whole process took several days to do. Here are some tips to get yours done quickly:

  1. Arrive early. In my case, I arrived at 6.20am, took my number and submitted everything at 8.30am, then collected it at 9.30am. No hassle!
  2. Go chill while waiting. Have some roti canai or a teh tarik at the mamak. :)
  3. If you arrived late and there’s a long line ahead of you, bring a book or a powerbank for your phone so you can pass the time.
  4. Dress decently. It’s still a government office and short shorts/singlets are *technically* not allowed (although I’ve seen some places with lax rules). Still, you don’t want to get turned away, or worse, handed a sarong to cover up, do you?
  5. Bring: Money (RM200 – five year renewal fee), your IC and old passport. They will cut a triangle in this after they hand you the new one.
  6. You don’t need to bring a photo, they will take one for you on the spot.

There are a few places you can renew your passport at in Putrajaya, KL, etc. The one I went to was the Puchong Utama branch:

No.67 & 69, Jalan PU7/4,

Taman Puchong Utama, 47100,

Puchong, Selangor. (near Carrefour Puchong )

Open:

  • Mon – Thurs (730am – 1pm, 2pm – 5.30pm),
  • Fri (730am – 12.15pm, 2.45pm -5.30pm)