Julia gets refused entry

Bandar Seri Begawan Travel Blog

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Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque

People i met here, who contributed to and improved my trip: Julia (Russia)

We were awake just after 6am so as to get down to the port in Kota Kinabalu and buy tickets for the ferry to Brunei. As it was the weekend we were greeted with bad news that the first ferry to Labuan was full, but we could buy a ticket to stand, which we did. As it turned out they put some extra plastic chairs in the first class lounge, so we sat there and played Ludo for the 3 hour journey. Once in Labuan we went to an eatery for some food whilst we waited for our connecting boat to Muara in Brunei. It was interesting to see that the duty free shops were selling beer for only 1 ringgit a can, when it can cost anything up to 8 in a normal shop.

Royal Regalia Museum
The government is clearly doing pretty well from the import taxes!

The 2 hour trip passed rather slowly, as the waves tipped the boat from side to side. It was pretty unpleasant and this would be strike 1 of our bad luck, with bad things normally coming in 3's. The second problem was that the bottom of our backpacks had got soaked in the luggage compartment, but still we were upbeat about the prospect of entering a new country. This is when the third killer blow struck. Customs informed us that Julia's transit visa was the wrong visa and that she could only enter and leave the country by air. After some umming and arrring and several phone calls they decided to refuse her entry. The stupid thing was that even if she had flown in, the visa would not have been valid as they said you needed 3 different destinations on your visa (starting point, Brunei, exit point) and she only had 2.

JL Sultan Street
The last boat was due to leave for Labuan in Sabah any moment and with no other choice, she had to board it, whilst i decided to go into Brunei and meet her on the other side in Sarawak.

After giving Julia all my money to buy her boat ticket, i realised that i had no money to get to Bandar Seri Begawan from the port of Muara. I asked where the nearest ATM was, but it was several kilometres away and also the bus from the port to the centre had already left. I decided my only option was to hitch hike, so started to make my way to the main road. Just as i was doing so, a very nice man pulled up in his car, said he had heard my problem and would give me a lift to a town with an ATM machine, where i could also get a bus to the capital.

Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque
It was really nice of him and turned my mood around.

Once in Bandar Seri Begawan, i checked into my hotel and decided to have a really quick look around, as it was already dark. My first impressions were good, as the city looked beautiful with all of its illuminations. I walked across the main field in the centre of the city to reach Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque, before visiting the Royal Regalia Museum, JL Sultan Street and Lapau Royal Ceremonial Hall. After walking through the night market and buying some food, i went to use the internet to check up on Julia's whereabouts. Typically my yahoo account had chosen to play up and it took several attempts to co-ordinate our plans to meet up in Miri on Monday. This achieved, i went to bed alone for the first time in 9 months, quite a strange experience.

Deats says:
Exactly, and to get a normal visa takes 2 months for some reason. To get a transit for some reason you have to fly - so why issue 30 days transit if you are flying!!! Stupid really
Posted on: Jul 19, 2007
portia says:
so you didn't need a visa but she did because she is Russian?
Posted on: Jul 18, 2007
Amanda says:
It's a strange entry to leave a smile on... I'm smiling only to acknowledge your day I guess, and that at least in the end everyone was safe and that you got to see the city lit up at night. That part is good news...
Posted on: Jul 18, 2007
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Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque
Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque
Royal Regalia Museum
Royal Regalia Museum
JL Sultan Street
JL Sultan Street
Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque
Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque
Opposite the Omar Ali Saifuddien M…
Opposite the Omar Ali Saifuddien …
Lapau, Royal Ceremonial Hall
Lapau, Royal Ceremonial Hall
Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque
Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque
Bandar Seri Begawan
photo by: cimtech