Semporna & Tawau
We then found a rooftop bar later (one of very few in this town) which was on a hotel near the port called Seafest. We had a couple of beers here and then went back to the hotel to do some admin and get refreshed before dinner.
The main part of town is quite untidy and run-down during the day, but when we walked about in the evening, it came to life. Obviously, it’s Ramadan just now, so that would explain the more active evenings, with little market stalls and food vendors all setting up for the evening. We took a walk round the port, where the young locals all had their own buckets and pots with what must have been todays catch, so we assumed the all bought some, to try sell on for a few ringgits more… and it seemed to work as they were mobbed by the hundreds of Chinese tourists in the area.
Looking for somewhere to eat, we walked along the waterfront which consisted of half dozen seafood restaurants, none of which took our fancy. Well that plus the awful band/karaoke that was coming from one of the establishments there which could be heard all around the bay. We wandered back over towards the Seafest bar, as we noticed an Indian place below it which looked good, so we went there for some roti and fried chicken before heading back to our hotel.
We went back to the hostel to collect it for him, then he drove us back down to the Seafest hotel as he was staying near there. Deciding to go for a few beers, he joined us and we sat and chatted for a while about travelling and we got some nice food there too, before we headed back to the hostel to bed.
We were ticket number 2001 and all the others were mostly starting 1000+, so it wasn’t long before we get called to a window. The man clearly knew what we wanted, as he handed us some forms to complete and a letter template to copy and explained what we needed. Luckily, we are quite organised and already had copies of our passports, photos and the money to pay for it (although the US dollars we had were no good here, so had to go to an ATM for more ringgit).
But what we didn’t have was details of an outbound flight for when we leave Indonesia, I had read that some of them ask for it and some don’t, so we took our paperwork outside as Sadie started to fill it out, whilst I got on my phone searching for flights for a random date and destination in approx. 8 weeks’ time. As we hadn’t even decided what country we were going to, it was all a bit rushed but I found a cheap flight for less than £100 to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, so we just booked that one!
On returning to the office an hour or so later, we get called back up and get a receipt and sent to another window to pay the 205 MYR each, then we had to take that receipt back to the first guy to check and then told us to sit down again. We thought it wouldn’t be long now, as it had been about 4 hours since we arrived, and had read some people had been in and out in 3 hours.
But no, we sat for another 2 hours before being called up again, where we got issued a nice shiny insert into our passport, and off we went back to the hotel pleased that we are now good to enter Indonesia tomorrow for 60 days.