Journey to Mount Kinablu
Papar Travel Blog› entry 10 of 23 › view all entries
August 8th, 2008 – by: andytite
One of the reasons we had to start so early was the sheer number of borders we had to cross. Now, border control in Asia is definitely much more stringent than in Europe (in-fact only America, with it's less than welcoming evil-organisation-under-a-mountain feel is worse) and what I'm used to. Normally a flash of a passport, and a grin can get you anywhere. Here, there were forms.
We needed a passport. We needed immigration forms. The car needed a passport. The car needed immigration forms. One form to leave Brunei, one to enter Malaysia. Then, due to a geographical quirk, repeat the process. Four forms, four stamps. Then, as if to add a smooth, creamy layer of insanity to beaurocracy gone made, you have to complete a form, AND have your passport stamped to move from Sarawack to Sabbah. That's like getting your passport stamped to move from England to Wales, or North Dakota to South Dakota. Barmy.
Along the way we also had to encounter the worlds most pointless car ferry, that crossed a river no more than twenty metres wide. Still it was cheap - but added to the delay. What I did like about the journey was to get a view of the countryside, seeing some of the extreme poverty of the region close up, though it's tempered by more outlandish, large and impressive settlements as you near the tip of the island. Papar itself was small, quite new and smart looking. An interesting way to see the country, but I was concerned that my legs were aching before I'd even reached the mountain itself.
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