Location : Tawau Town, Tawau Division, Sabah, Malaysia.

Tawau is the third largest town in Sabah after Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan.

All thanks to the kind invitation from our friend in Tarakan, Mr Ivan Kansil, this trip was made possible. Our sincere appreciation also goes out to the North Kalimantan Tourism team that sponsored the trip.

Familiarisation trip, destination, exploration, North Kalimantan, Kalimantan Utara, travel guide, Trans Borneo, 婆罗洲印尼游踪, 北加里曼丹打拉根岛
Thanks to Mr Ivan Kansil (right)

If only there was a direct flight from Kuching to Tarakan, much time and money could have been saved. We had to fly to Kota Kinabalu and connecting to Tawau to stay overnight so we could catch the 11am express boat to Tarakan. The RM450 air ticket was not worth the 40 minute flight. So we rather took the 4hr boat ride costing RM160/pax each way. That was quite a sum of money saved for 2pax round trip!Ferry terminal, Express Boat Ride, backpackers, Imigrasi, Immigration checkpoint, information, International, port, Tawau, Transportation, travel guide, Trans Border, 穿越婆罗洲游踪, 马来西亚沙巴, 斗湖轮渡码头Trying the new Tawau port for the first time got me quite curious and excited. The old port next to the fish market was a big disappointment as I recalled the mess it was in when we did the same trip years ago. But now everything was orderly although the crowd was still enormous.

transportation, Indonesia, feri, backpackers, destination, exploration, Pekan, town, Tourism, tourist attraction, Travel Guide, cross border, 探索婆罗洲游踪, 马来西亚沙巴, 斗湖轮渡码头
This new terminal is clean and orderly now.
Express Boat Ride, speedboat, destination, Imigrasi, Immigration checkpoint, North Kalimantan, Kota Tarakan, wharf, Sabah, Tourism, Transportation, travel guide, Border crossing, 婆罗洲马来西亚, 沙巴斗湖轮渡码头
Ticketing counter

Express Boat Ride, speed boat, backpackers, Imigrasi, Immigration checkpoint, Tarakan, MV Tawindo, port, Malaysia, Tourism, Transportation, travel guide, Borneo, 跨境婆罗洲马来西亚, 沙巴斗湖轮渡

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Basking at the port

Each adult passenger was allowed 10kg max. Anything more was chargeable like 1 ringgit plus per kg. Stevedore service was available and chargeable too upon requested.

Ferry terminal, Express Boat Ride, speedboat, backpackers, Immigration checkpoint, Kalimantan Utara, Indonesia, Kota Tarakan, port, Malaysia, Transportation, Border crossing, Trans Border, 沙巴斗湖轮渡码头
10kg for adults 5 kg for children

Express Boat Ride, backpackers, destination, Imigrasi, information, International, Kapal Besar, Tarakan, MV Tawindo, wharf, transportation, Trans Border, Borneo, 探索婆罗洲沙巴游踪, 马来西亚斗湖轮渡码头Immigration cards were sold at RM2/pc at the management office and if you fill it in yourself you save another RM3.

Ferry terminal, Express Boat Ride, backpackers, Imigrasi, information, Kapal Besar, MV Tawindo, port, Malaysia, Tourism, Transportation, Border crossing, Borneo, 跨境婆罗洲游踪, 沙巴斗湖轮渡码头
Port management Office where you buy immigration card, compulsory

Entering the air-conditioned immigration room to stamp our passports was a relief away from the noisy and humid exterior. We dragged our luggage a further 100m on the shaded concrete pier in order to board the express boat. Express Boat Ride, backpackers, destination, Imigrasi, information, International, Kapal Besar, Tarakan, MV Tawindo, port, travel guide, Cross Border, Trans Borneo, 跨境婆罗洲游踪, 沙巴斗湖轮渡码头speedboat, Express Boat Ride, Immigration checkpoint, International, Kapal Besar, Tarakan, MV Tawindo, port, Malaysia, Tourism, Transportation, travel guide, Border crossing, 探索婆罗洲马来西亚, 沙巴斗湖轮渡码头 It was packed to the max as only one boat was operating on alternate days. Normally, it was one trip everyday but because another boat was under repair, the frequency was decreased to once every two days.  Something travellers need to note when making travel itinerary.

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Schedule for this particular boat
Familiarisation trip, backpackers, Kalimantan Utara, Kapal Besar, MV Tawindo, wharf, Sabah, Malaysia, Tourism, Transportation, travel guide, Trans Border, Borneo, 穿越婆罗洲游踪, 马来西亚沙巴斗湖
Top deck of boat allowed for passengers to have their cigarettes
Ferry terminal, Express Boat Ride, Speed boat, North Kalimantan, Kaltara, Pelabuahan Malundung, port, Sabah, Tawau, Tourism, Transportation, travel guide, Border crossing, 跨境婆罗洲沙巴斗湖, 印尼北加里曼丹
Skipper’s room where your pop mie would be cooked and served

Budget hotels are aplenty in Tawau. We have never made advance booking for hotels through the years we came here.

Arrived at Tarakan

Ferry terminal, Express Boat Ride, backpackers, exploration, Indonesia, North Kalimantan, Kapal Besar, Kota Tarakan, MV Tawindo, Pelabuhan Malundung, port, Tourism, travel guide, Trans Border, Borneo,
Container crane near Tarakan port
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Berthing after the 4hr ride
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Unloading of goods
Ferry terminal, Express Boat Ride, backpackers, exploration, Kaltara, Pelabuhan Malundung, wharf, speedboat, Tourism, Transportation, travel guide, Trans Border, Borneo, 探索婆罗洲北加里曼丹, 打拉根岛轮渡码头
Short section of the pier where there was no shade. Best to waterproof your luggage in case it rains heavily
Ferry terminal, Express Boat Ride, backpackers, destination, exploration, Kaltara, Kapal Besar, port, wharf, travel guide, Cross Border, Borneo, 探索婆罗洲游踪, 印尼北加里曼丹, 打拉根轮渡码头
Shaded plank walk to the immigration of Tarakan

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Express Boat Ride, speed boat, International, Indonesia, Kapal Besar, MV Tawindo, port, Tawau, Transportation, travel guide, Border crossing, Trans Borneo, 跨境婆罗洲游踪, 印尼北加里曼丹, 打拉根岛轮渡码头
Still messy after all these years
accommodation, FAM Trip, backpackers, destination, exploration, Kaltara, Tourism, Trans Borneo, 婆罗洲印尼游踪, 北加里曼丹打拉根岛
Finally, relaxing at Segiri Hotel

Next…..Part 2 In and around Tarakan

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