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Friday, October 8, 2010

DO-IT-YOURSELF LABUAN, MALAYSIA


DO-IT-YOURSELF LABUAN, MALAYSIA


If you are in Brunei and planning to have a day trip to Labuan, Malaysia, you can do it yourself!
We took the earliest bus from the bus terminal in Bandar Seri Begawan ( the capital and largest city of the Sultanate of Brunei) to get to the main ferry terminal in Brunei - the Serasa Ferry Terminal in MUARA before 7:30 a.m. Good thing that buses normally left at 8:00 a.m. because they usually wait for another 30 minutes to get more passengers. Yes, as many as possible but they sail even with only one passenger aboard. The terminal is about 25 kms. from Bandar Seri Begawan. 
Getting there: There are purple buses (No. 38) linking the ferry terminal with  Bandar Seri Begawan. Earliest Bus leaves at around 6:40 a.m. The shuttle costs B$2 per person and takes about 40 minutes to an hour to arrive at the ferry terminal from the bus terminal in Bandar Seri Begawan. Or you can just take a tour van / taxi. Bus leaves the terminal even if there are only (4) four passengers like in our case.
Please note that you need to pay a tax  or "cukai kepala" to get out of Brunei. Currently slated @ B$2 per ferry ticket. Inquire at the counter or travel agents if you didn't get the tax coupon when purchasing the tickets.
There are five (5) scheduled Ferries that leaves Brunei to Labuan, Malaysia everyday. With additional service on weekends. Ferries from Brunei to Labuan usually take about an hour to an hour and a half. The ticket price is B$15  for adults plus a B$1.00 terminal fee. Child is B$10.

Note: Always bring your passport with you. I am not connected in anyway to the above travel agents nor I was given any commission whatsoever. I just thought some of you might like to call to double check about the schedules. Please leave a comment if you like me to edit the picture so I could take out the name and contact # of that travel agent. Thank you.
Unlike the KK-Brunei direction, there is no two-ferry "package" nor can you book tickets in advance.

A single journey ticket from Labuan to Brunei will cost you 35 Malaysian Ringit.  There are two ferries on a daily basis. One leaves at 8 AM, the other at 1:30 PM.

The ferry is air-conditioned. It gets a bit cold inside the ferry so better bring a light sweater. There's a TV in front playing a comedy series in Bahasa language. 

At the arrival hall of Labuan are flyers and counters for renting cars or motorbikes which are popular choices for foreigners who would like to explore the city on their own. Rental of a motorbike costs around 30 ringgit per day. Rent for a Proton Gen-2 car would cost you some 70 ringgit, which is not bad for driving around Labuan in style. You will also see lots of paper ads for different guest houses in Labuan.
There's a lot of Filipinos in Labuan especially at the duty-free stores. They work there either as cashier or saleslady/ salesman.
According to a Pinoy who showed us around Labuan, some Filipinos are undocumented workers who arrived in Labuan as tourist. There is rampant forgery of work permits and identifications cards (ICs) in Labuan. The outflow of Muslims from Mindanao to Sabah was welcomed by Malaysia. Human smuggling become lucrative and corruption becomes rampant in recent years.
Please be warned that a lot of Filipinas ended up in prostitution dens in this little island town of Malaysia. Some even allegedly end up in drug trafficking. This is so sad. I hope the Philippine government would do something about this.
Going Back from Labuan Malaysia to Brunei:

The Labuan Ferry Terminal is an international port. So, you would have to go through the immigration counter if you are going to or coming from Brunei.
  
The terminal is small so getting lost is not an issue. The ticket counter is just next to the arrival hall.

Both ferries in our Brunei to Labuan and  Labuan to Brunei journey were not full. 

Lots of vacant seats are available. The toilet was pretty nasty though. It has a flush but the toilet looked so unsanitary. And the smell inside the ferry is not something you’d really like. It smells like crude oil.  The ferry ride lasts for just less than an hour and a half.

Upon arrival at MUARA Terminal in Brunei, you have to line up for the immigration again. And then you would have to have your things go through the Customs’ X-Ray.  I saw some Ferry Terminal police officer and security guards watching a Tagalog teleserye dubbed in Malay. They were watching Jericho Rosales. Lol!

There's a bus waiting for passengers outside MUARA Terminal, Brunei. We immediately boarded the bus that brought us back to the city center of BSB. Muara belongs to a different district. BSB is also in a different area, so expect around 40 minutes to an hour of travel.  Fare is B$2

Enjoy!


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