Monday, March 21, 2005

Tawau - Semporna

Upon arrival in Tawau's small national airport, we are welcomed by an employee from the resort and immediately transferred to our hotel in Tawau: The Belmont Marco Polo. The fanciest hotel in town, with all modern amenities one might expect in a business class hotel.

Standard rooms cost 160 RM for two, including buffet breakfast. Cheap maybe compared to European price levels, but actually quite expensive when just around the corner you can e.g. get a meal for 2,5 RM from a night market food stall. Which is what I did straight away, trying out nasi campur, a plate of rice with all kinds of local dish samples. The outside world is quite a contrast really with the hermetic feeling of total isolation you have inside the hotel.

The next morning, our ride is waiting for us at 6:30 am, for the transfer to Semporna, a one hour drive through endless palm tree plantations. In Semporna, the minibus drives straight up to a comfortable speedboat, that zips us to Mabul island in less than 45'.

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