Labuan – paradise or not?

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We stayed one night at Beaufort, just to be able to plan and prepare for how to go and where to stay on Labuan. The ferries are going approximately every hour and it is not necessary to book ahead. We start early, arriving on the quay jut in time for the ferry to leave. But we needed a ticket and that took some time? First of all there was no rules or marking of where to park the car, so we tried just to park as long to the side as possible. Then we were looking for the tickets. The ticket booth inside was only for passenger going with smaller boats, and we were told that the ticket were sold outside.. But where? We couldn’t see any open ticket service any place. After som help, we find it, but it was turned away from where the cars entered, so no good logistics here. Then we needed to find where to pay our departure tax, inside the first ticket office. And then we could enter the ferry.

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Car Ferry at departure

Safety first it says in big letter, then so many signs about what you are not allowed to do. No smoking, turn of the engine, no passenger in the cars. Reality? Everyone smokes, including staff, passenger sitting inside the car with engine on during the entire trip (2,5 hours).

Approaching Labuan, it does not really look like expected for a tropical white beach island. We had read that it was a financial centre, and was expecting high buildings, but not all the big boats.

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First impression of Labuan

This is also a Duty Free island, so before heading to our resort, we stopped to buy some drinks. This costed us a parking ticket! Yes, we had parked to close to the corner, but after so many weeks I Sabah, seeing so many cars parked just in the middle of the road, we thought our parking was quite good. Now we had to find the police station first, in order to pay or parking ticket.

Finally reaching our resort we receive some good news. We are given a front view room, and even if the resort itself (Palm Beach Resort) is slightly outdated, the room(s) are huge with a really big balcony. Surprise number two, the restaurant serves quite good food. This will be a nice end to our Sabah experience!

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Great food at Palm Beach Resort

We have to take a swim in the ocean, even though there are warnings was both jelly fish and string ray. The water is so hot, probably more than 30 degrees. There is a nice beach bar as well, but we are heading towards the pool, and a nice drink in the pool bar. The next day we only relax in the pool, but at night we see that we have got quite many insects bite from sand flies. Strange, it was only the first day we were at the beach. Next day we decided to only be in the pool, not on the beach or at the sunbeams. Still we have got many, many more insects bits from sand flies, so for the rest of our stay we have to relax and enjoy the resort from our balcony instead.

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Night view from our balcony

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Our resort

And every morning we were served a splendid laksa soup by Peter, the egg and noodle chief. He told us that he used his grandfathers secret recipe, and the soup was just fantastic. Some nights he also served his Laksa soup on the beach, still really good. Labuan had many beaches, but after the attack of sand flies we were not very keen on going swimming on any of those. But a nice place to spot the sunset.

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Sunday afternoon at a public beach

Leaving Labuan and back on the mainland it was sign for how to get to the “survival island” known from television. But we had had enough of sand flies for a while, so not attempted. What we did try to manage, was a river cruise on Klias wetland. But all the tour company was only approaching groups / package tour from KK, so when we were arriving in the morning they were all closed, except one tour organisation. But they charged an extremely high price so we said no thanks. Instead it was lunch in Papar and watching Papars old railway bridge.

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The old Railway Bridge in Papar

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