it was a monday when i started my trip to malaysia. my father dropped me off at the airport terminal, i then waited for a few minutes for the check-in counters to open and paid for the usual travel tax and terminal fees. the immigration officer asked about my e-ticket going back to manila, and politely asked me what my purpose is on visiting kota kinabalu. i told her i’ll just be touring around for a week in malaysia, and visiting some friends. she then questioned me if i have resigned from work – i told her no, that i’ll return to saudi in about two weeks and she can check the attached document at the last page of my passport which shows my unexpired work visa. she handed back to me my passport with a smile (i wish all immigration officers are like her!).
i took a light meal while i was waiting for my flight and when it was time, boarded the plane. the flight’s ETD was at 1555H but due to a number of planes falling in line to take off, we waited for an hour for our turn. i noticed it was drizzling outside. the pilot apologised about the delay because of ‘ traffic congestion’.
while reading the airline magazine, i saw this in one of the pages.
air travel to kota kinabalu takes about two hours. there was poor visibility at the airport when we were about to land for it was raining hard. the pilot announced that the plane might divert to labuan airport. good thing after a few more minutes the pilot informed us that we can land at kkia (kota kinabalu international airport). whew!
everything went smoothly for me at the immigration counter, then i got my passport stamped for a 30 day social visit pass. i exchanged some of my philippine peso money to malaysian ringgit at the forex booth, bought a RM10 sim card and paid RM30 taxi coupon for a driver to send me to my pre-booked accommodation where i will stay for two nights. this is how my room looks like at kota kinabalu, which i got for only RM80 a night.
it was already past nine in the evening and i was starving so i just dropped my bags in my room and looked for a place to eat. it was still raining and i found a small curry house restaurant near the place i was staying.
for RM8 ringgit that includes a grass jelly drink, this was my first malaysian meal.