The Immigration Officer [My Trip to Kota Kinabalu]

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Since my trip to Seoul, South Korea, I made a promise to travel more within Asia this year. So when Cebu Pacific came out with another Seat Sale for tickets to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, I didn't think twice about booking it. This time will be different because I'll be traveling with a friend/former colleague.

One tip for non-frequent flyers like me: preparation is key! It seems like I didn't learn anything from my Korean trip because I made arrangements for this trip on the 11th hour. The hotel reservation was booked a few days before our departure. Heck, I didn't even pack and buy dollars until about 2 hours before I went to the airport.

Of course, there is money changer at the airport but the rates are lower compared to the banks.

At the airport, we paid the travel tax (1820php) and terminal fee (750php) after checking in at the Cebu Pacific booth. Surprise! The tickets we bought were 'lite fares' with no baggage allowance.

(TIP: Always check if there's baggage allowance before booking! This tip will be especially important to those who don't know how to travel light.)

Then we headed to the immigration booth. Once again, I remembered what my friend Karin said on my last trip: 'Don't appear too excited when talking to the immigration officer. Don't smile a lot. Just be nonchalant.'

At first I didn't understand why this is necessary. After I've read a couple of blog entries here and there, I now know exactly what Karin was trying to warn me about.

And so I gave my travel companion the exact same advice. We stood right next to each other while being interviewed by the immigration officers. The lady I spoke to was super nice and smiled a lot. Unfortunately for my friend, hers was a total b*tch. She asked her a lot of questions about why she is taking this trip, what is the nature of her job, how long we're going to stay in Malaysia, etc.

(IMPORTANT TIP: Always bring your company ID and probably a certificate of employment too. Immigration may ask for proof that you are still employed here and not traveling to look for a job.)

I thought the immigration officer was never going to finish asking all her questions. At one point, my friend sipped on her Coke Zero in the middle of he conversation and the b*tchy officer said, 'Mamaya ka na kumain ha!' (You can drink that later!)

So I was thinking: Will I be traveling alone? Again?

Fortunately, the immigration officer ended the 'interrogation'. We laughed out loud as we left the booth and headed to the passenger waiting area.

Drama at the start of the trip: priceless!

- Posted using BlogPress on my iPhone

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