Sabah: Kota Kinabalu – Entry

Yeah, yeah! We are going to Kota Kinabalu! No, we are not climbing Mount Kinabalu but we are definitely going there to “meet” the mountain! Sabah, here we come!

The scenery from the plane after it left the ground from the LCCT Terminal.
Beautiful, right?
The plane was flying beside the rising sun!
The scenery just before the plane landed at KK International Airport.
Yup!  We boarded the Air Asia!
From the plane, we walked a few steps into the Immigration!
Malaysian Passport?  
But we are Malaysians wor!
Oh, just show our MYKAD ( Malaysian identity card). 
Yah, I passed him my boarding pass too.

The officer passed me back my MyKad, the boarding pass and the above!
What is it?
It is a permit to enter and remain in Sabah for 90 days from the date of entry.
Huh?  Why do we need a permit to enter part of Malaysia?
The following are printed on the “permit”:
Social Pass
1) issued for free
2) to be used within Sabah
3) is not a work permit
4) must be produce at the Immigration upon departure
(yes, DO NOT lose it!)
5) valid for 90 days only
Hey!  We are Malaysians from the West visiting the East mah!
Isn’t this 1Malaysia?
Isn’t East Malaysia and West Malaysia; MALAYSIA???
Why do we need such document??? 

Step out of the Immigration counter and you can collect your luggage!
In fact, we saw the other end of the belt as we were walking into the building.
I was tempted to take a “ride” on the belt into the building! 
Imagine bypassing the Immigration check and get caught!
This is how the airport looks like!
Another few steps and we were out of the building!
Out of the airport into the vehicle that took us around!
It will be cheaper if you could pre-book your driver and vehicle.  Pay only one price!  The price includes cost of vehicle, driver, petrol and parking (if any).   The driver eats on his own (feel free to treat him for a drink or even a meal or two) and finds his own accommodations.  There is no extra charge for “overtime” but you could tip the driver for his good service at the end of the days!!!

We wanted a driver because we did not want to tire ourselves with driving and finding our way.  Also, it is always good to have a local to take you to the local places to eat and shop.  A good driver can be a good guide and someone who can bargain prices for you!
However, do not just rely on him.
Have your own itinenary and discuss it with him.
He could give good suggestions too but you have to be specific and ask questions.
In other words, know what you want to do, where you want to go and how the arrangements going to be.
Have a local (or google) map so that you know the locations of the places for better planning.
Please note that the common language here is Bahasa Malaysia (with their local slang) although many can speak English. 
Even Chinese looking people may not be able to speak Chinese although there are many who speak Mandarin and/ or Cantonese.

Our (very accommodating, reliable and drive safe) driver,
Paul @ 012-8278090.
Want to know more about this part of the Borneo Island
Look out for more!

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Hi there. I'm rina..i'm planning for a trip to KK. While searching for info, I came accross ur blog. Ur experience is very interesting. I'm planning to do the same. U suggested that it's better to charter a driver instead of driving ownself. I was wondering, can u share a bit ur experience with the driver that u chartered? So that I could use it as a reference for my tripthank you in advance 🙂

  2. Hi Rina, Nice to know that you are going to KK soon. I would say that as long as you have an itinenary (know exactly where you want to go and what you want to do) and a map (via Google map) to know where you are, you could advise/ consult your driver for your whole trip. It is not wise to leave your driver to plan your whole trip for you. Do allow your driver to give suggestions / recommend some places which are not included in your itinenary but interesting to be included if they are on ( or by) the way. Be nice to people and people will be nice with you but must bear in mind that you (or your group) are in control. You must negotiate his fees first, to your expected amount. Once agreed, pay him some advance first so that he has money for petrol, parking etc. Pay him the balance on the last day and if you are very happy with his service, do give him a big tips! Recommend your friends to him too so that they would get his good service too. Let him know that so that he will know those people are recommended by you. Hey, feel free to check anything else with me, okay? All the best to you! Hope you could share your experience with me when you are back. Have a wonderful trip!Cheers!

  3. Didn't you learn about history at school? When Sabah was invited to join Malaya to form Malaysia in 1963, one of the conditions made by Sabah was that they would retain control of immigration matters in the state. Thats why you need passport or MYKAD to enter Sabah.

  4. Anon, there is nothing wrong with checking MYKAD but a social pass valid for 90days? If one overstays, will one be deported from Sabah? Just mind boggling and see no logic for that piece of document! Sabah is part of Malaysia, right? 1 Malaysia??!

Have a Happy Day! ;D

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