Labuan

Trip Start Apr 30, 2004
1
51
88
Trip End Jan 28, 2005


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Flag of Malaysia  ,
Monday, September 20, 2004

Fri Sep 17 - Day 135 Happy Birthday Steve
Feeling fit for some ferry fun we departed Kota Kinabalu in a long, narrow, torpedo speedboat and arrived 3 hours later in Labuan. The time had flown by as we watched a Jackie Chan Kung Fu movie in Chinese, with Malay and English subtitles.

Labuan is an island about 8km off the west coast of Sabah at the mouth of Brunei Bay. It's also about the easiest way to travel to Brunei from KK, which is one of the reasons why we we're here, the other is to visit the War Cemetry.

Labuan played a major role in the Borneo arena during WWII. The Japanese forces in North Borneo surrendered here at the end of the war, and the Japanese officers responsible for the 'death marches' from Sandakan were tried here by an Australian War Crimes Court.

Labuan is a federal territory governed directly from Kuala Lumpur, and today the main industry is petroleum gas installations.

Our flip flops are sticking to the ground it's so hot as we trudge from the ferry to a nearby cafe. Rene stays with the bags and I disappear for a whistle stop tour of the local available accomodation. Due to most places being full and the others being way too expensive we take a room at the Federal Hotel. Labuan is way more costly than KK so 57R gets us a worn out tired old room with pigeons nesting on the windowcill and cockroaches (I didn't discover that until night time, and didn't tell Rene till morning) under the bed.

Uninspired to stay longer than we have to in our room, we walk out in search for a by now, mid afternoon meal and the hidden delights of Bandar Labuan.

The meal was easy enough, but any delights were well and truly hidden. It's a compact and spotlessly clean place, with plenty of small duty free shops and one huge, half empty of shops, shopping complex, but that was about it.

The cloud had been building throughout the hot late afternoon and the inevitable thunderstorm arrived at dusk and continued well into the night. The rain was torrential, but didn't dampen the noise from the karaoke bar behind the hotel. The tone deaf participants may as well have been in our room it was so loud.

By 10pm it was over and we were gently persuaded to sleep by the soft cooing of the pigeons huddled together on the ledge outside our window.

Expenses (RM7 / pound): Boat tiickets 62, taxi 6, dep tax 6, lunch 10, internet 9, accom 57.75, alcohol 23
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