Have you ever been searching for a serene place to calm down and trying to get an inner peace of mind? Bandar Sri Begawan might be the answer for your wish! 🙂
In 2018, I had a chance to go for a short getaway to Brunei. Before i went there, people keep on telling me not to expect hustling bustling kind of city, little number of people, and the city practically sleep after sunset. Hearing those things i sort of reckoning my trip but anyway i decided to do it.
1. Flights : only by this trip i realise that there are not so many choices to go there. At the benefit of living in Kuala Lumpur, it’s just about right to go because there is a direct flight from Kuala Lumpur to Bandar Sri Begawan. ( around 2.5Hrs flight )
2. Currency : Did you know? You can use Singapore dollar just fine in this country. Fun fact >> there was an agreement between Singapore & Brunei that their money could be used interchangeably. I am not sure on the minimum amount, but based on my experience they accepted 5SGD.
3. Accommodation : Choose your hotel wisely. It’s true that public transport is one of the main challenge here. Bus only operates from 6 AM – 6 PM and taxi is rare to find. 😦 I would recommend The Brunei Hotel. The hotel located at the city centre near to the ferry and bus station. Other than that they have a free shuttle bus to certain places. In general, Price wise, hotel is quite expensive in Brunei 1 night stay will cost you around 90BND++. Oh, don’t forget to ask your hotel to arrange airport pickup. it’s the most convenient way.
4. Telco : Local SimCard is available at the airport. I couldn’t really recall how much it was. If i am not mistaken it was around 58BND. however, based on my experience the City is quite easy to be explored so you may not need one for local data if your hotel provide WIFI connection.
5. Culture & Religion : You will want to know more about this before you come especially if you want to consume some alcohol and smoke.
Time to go off dears! when i arrived i can’t help myself but feeling like in an arabic language test. The signage are mostly written in Jawi. They have it written in English too so please, don’t worry too much. 🙂 It was just exhilarating for me to see it everywhere. In Malaysia, i’ve found it in Malaysian Ringgit Bank Notes. In Indonesia, it’s rare to find.. honestly, i couldn’t recall i’ve seen one. I will update this later if i could recall it.
Okay, Let’s move on. The hotel was nice enough that they let me have my early check in. After i settled in a bit, i started my journey. Here we go to the Central Bus Station.
Central Bus Station
Their bus route is straight forward and easy to understand. The ride itself will cost you 1 Dollar for one ride. After you find your bus number you could just get in. Once the bus start the ride there will be a person who collect the money and give you the ticket in return. Fret not, you don’t need to have the exact 1 BND. They will be able to give you a change. Bus in Brunei is not a big bus. I can’t really describe it please refer to the picture below and please share – how will you call it?
Jame’ Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque
I fell hard for this mosque. It’s beautiful. It’s the serenity that i am looking for. I spent around 2 hours in this mosque. Please note that i stayed for a prayer so if you are not planning to do so probably put this Mosque within max 1 hour visit. Definitely worth a visit. Don’t skip it.
How to go here? Use Bus no. 01 or 20. It will stop at the gate. The frequency will be around once every hour. I wait like for 30 minutes while hearing bird chirping. Not smart enough to remember the time when i arrived T^T
I was hungry and hoping to have something to eat here…but i was in despair. This place is more into like a wet market where local bought their food staples. was it because my visiting hour? not sure. In the end i went back to my hotel and ate something nearby.
Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque
After stuffing up myself, i went to another mosque. It was very near from the central bus station. You could just walk and spending couple of minutes to get into your destination. At this walking session, i felt like i am melting down due to the heat. OMG! it was super hot which made it as a not-so-amazing experience to walk around. Anyhow, walking was the best option due to my location so there i was..walking and enjoying the scenery. Starting from the gardens up to the coronation arch before finally reaching the mosque. Once you walk down and getting nearer to the mosque, the golden dome will entice your eyes. The whole architecture is an entertaining scene for the eyes. I roamed around the area quite a while. You could refer below for some mementos from that place.
Gadong Night Market
Within this market you will be able to find some local delicacies. It was quite pack with lot of choices. It might be just me.. but since i lived in Malaysia and i am an Indonesian, the taste of food are similar to the usual taste back home. We are neighbouring countries anyway! :9
Learning from my 1st Day experience, i put more layers to combat the heat. I was so determined to have a walking trip along Brunei Darussalam Heritage Trail. For me, I started from Makam Raja Ayang – Timepiece Monument – The secretariat Building – Department of religous Affair – Royal Regalia – Lapau Lama – Chinese Temple
I would say that Regalia Museum was the highlights of all. It was a museum that kept a vast collection of the current King, His Majesty Paduka Seri Baginda Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu‘izzaddin Waddaulah. By Visiting this museum, you will know more about Brunei Sultanate and the life journey of the King about the education, marriage, coronation, and so on so forth. I was in awed by all of those collection especially for the Sultan’s Jubilee collection. This place made me wonder more about the country and the royal family, considering this place and the beautiful mosques which swept me off my feet. Anyway… the entrance is free and i would suggest you to go come inside.
I ended the herritage walk by passing Chinese Temple before going back to my hotel. It was an enjoyable walk. Bring umbrella, wear sunscreen, put on your sunglasses, and you may like it as i did.
Yep.. i will wrap it up over here as it was the time to go back. Thanks for the new perspectives that you offered Dear Brunei! Wish you were there with me to enjoy the serenity and the walk.