Boy oh boy, my travels to Malaysia started out as a bit of a bloody nightmare with my first flight to Jakarta being canceled and putting the next two in jeopardy. This is not the way you want to start the day. I was completely blindsided because kiwi.com failed to inform me of the cancellation so you might want to avoid that booking agent. Kiwi.com claims they weren’t informed so someone is lying.
It was the second straight flight that was canceled on me in Indonesia. Now, fortunately, I managed to figure out a new strategy taking me back to Bali, then on to Kuala Lumpur, and finally to Tawau before a ninety-minute cab ride to the backwater town of Semporna before taking a boat to the tiny island of Mabul.
The boat part will follow a three-night stay in the shabby little town of Semporna which, if it were a perfume, would be given the name “Eau de Raw Sewàge.” The place is as hot and humid as Labuan Bajo on Flores Island, but without the charm. Here you are sometimes no more than a wallet with legs.
Case in point. I booked a snorkel trip which wasn’t even a proper snorkeling trip at all. It was a dive trip where they were going to just dump me on an island for six hours. When I realized this the case in the morning. I canceled my trip. Not only did the operation refuse to refund my money, but they wouldn’t even the rental on a set of fins I hadn’t even used.
I let them know that I would be hanging onto their $50 Mares fins until they came to their senses. After all one good theft deserves another. Actually, I hope they do try and screw me over, they’re a nice set of fins in excellent condition. So nice, that I may take them to Mabul Island to use for diving for snorkeling and then just return them when I’m back in Semporna.
I returned to the shop the next day to see if there were any new developments and was surprised that the guy on the desk said it would be okay to keep the fins!
HIPPO SCUBA INN – This cheap hotel was an alternate choice that I was glad to have made since my other reservation was in a place that didn’t have air-conditioning. This is not a place you want to be without it. You can find a nice place with air and ensuite bathroom in Semporna for 35-40 dollars.
SCUBA JUNKIE – Scuba Junkie conveniently has an office in Semporna so I can sort out my time on Mabul Island.