Day 23, Thursday 19 January 2012, Bandar Seri Begawan (Brunei) / Pulau Labuan / Kota Kinabalu (Sabah, Malaysia)
Woke at 3.30 am to the loud, proud and constant snoring of the third person in our four bed bunk room, surprisingly up until that point I had slept OK. We were up at 6.00 a quick, cold shower in the rather dodgy bathroom and then a walk down to the bus station to find a bus to the ferry terminal to get the 8.45 ferry to Pulau Lubuan, which is a Malaysian island. From there we get another ferry to Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, which is our final destination for the day. It appears we missed the express bus, though it was a bit hard to tell as no timetables were in existence ! We decided to get one of the local buses for the princely sum of $1 for the 25km journey (Eat that Auckland Council !) The bus took 50 minutes to get to Maura , where we were directed to get on another bus that went to the ferry terminal, this bus was possibly the slowest in SE Asia and seemed to take every possible back street in Mauru. We were getting a bit tense as it was now 8.30 and we had no idea of the immigration and ticketing process at the ferry. If we missed this one then we may not make the final ferry from Pulau Labuan and be stuck there for the night, which doesn’t sound appealing ! Once we made it to the terminal it turned out our taxi driver was wrong and the ferry was at 9.15, whew !!
The ferry was a standard small car ferry, similar to the one that travels to Waiheke, unlike the sleek speed machines I caught in Sarawak. Before we started the staff put an Islamic prayer on the DVD, hopefully that was not a sign of the state of the vessel ! we had a quite and uneventful hour fifteen trip across to Pulau Labuan in Sabah, Malaysia.
J – my French travel buddy for a few days.
We had a two hour wait until the ferry to Kota Kinabalu (KK) so had lunch and a walk around the shopping area. The island of Pulau Labuan is entirely duty free so I could not help myself and bought a 500m bottle of Grants whisky for about $ 8NZD. There was a great range of single malts and ridiculously low prices, but seeing as I had little space and was not planning on carting booze around I went for the smallest bottle I could find.
The ferry to KK left at 1 oclock for the 3 hour trip and was one of the sleek racing machines where you had to stay in the cabin. The movie that was played was Titanic 2 !!!! Inspirational stuff…
Another uneventful (thank goodness) ferry ride, a boring run as the windows were too high to see out of without really straining the neck so I just put the head phones on and completed three days of blog entries till the battery expired in my laptop.
We arrived in KK at 4.15 and thanks to the Canadians I met at Mulu, had a map of the town and could find our chosen hostel, Lucy’s Homestay where we checked in to a dorm for two nights. First impressions? KK looks nice, cleanest place I have been to in Malaysia…
Mooched around the hostel for a couple of hours then went out looking for some food. We wandered the night market for an hour so, definitely the biggest market I have been to so far, lots of pairs of $10 Nike and Adidas running shoes – this is the first experience of knock off on a reasonable scale.
We found a seafood hawker market down by the wharves and selected a fish for dinner, which was BBQ’d and served with rice and vege. Extremely fresh – very nice.
Had my first child beggar experience at dinner, that it was a very half hearted effort, a young girl walking past tables with her hand out. Sad.
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