BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, NEGARA BRUNEI DARUSSALAM – This is our Brunei side trip from our main vacation from Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.
We’ve taken a 15-minute AirAsia flight to Brunei.
Before leaving KK, we have already exchanged some BND cash.
Once we have arrived in Brunei, we went up to the Departure Area to catch the Eastern or Circle Bus Lines. Fare to the city center is just 1 BND.
We just told the driver to drop us off in Pusat Belia. This youth center is not easy to miss since it is a big red building on the left side of the road. Brunei motorists drive on the left side of the road so no need to cross the street.
The rate is 10BND/pax/night in Pusat Belia. It is in the end part of the Youth Center. You will pass the gym, internet cafe, swimming pool and the mini playground. We arrived with no one in the reception since our flight was moved early. A number was posted in the board to call the contact person but fortunately I did not have to use my roaming mobile since the person-in-charge went back for something in the reception area.
The male and female dormitory rooms are on separate wings of the building.
Below is the contact details of Pusat Belia:
Pusat Belia Youth Centre:
Supervusor: Mohd Firdaus Abdullah (8873066/8958086)
Asst Sup: Yahya HJ Bakar (8844433)
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam hotels/accommodations recommendations:
After checking in, we decided to roam around BSB. Brunei’s capital is really just a small area which can be toured on foot. We first checked the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque. This is magnificent at night. We went around the mosque and we were able to see the surrounding Water Village across the mosque.
We went straight after in Yayasan Complex and had our dinner in, where else, Jollibee. We have met a fellow Filipino working as crew in Jollibee. His name is Jomari. It has been 4 years since he has been working here. It is a bit late already so some shops are already closed in Yayasan Complex. It would be a great idea to buy souvenir shirts in Giordano since it will be more cheaper that those sold in the local souvenir shops.
After that we went to a local shop at the end of Jalan McArthur. We cannot communicate with the locals since they cannot understand English. We were just happy people-watching while they are focused on soccer projected on the big screen.
Going back to Pusat Belia, we have seen a Chinese Temple on the opposite side of the road.
In the morning, we visited the Tamu (Open Market) beside an estuary. A good place to see some locals doing their usual morning shopping. We have eaten our breakfast in Jalan Cator named Restoran Seri Mama. Again, the crew here are Filipinos. This is across Pizza Hut.
After our breakfast we hired a water taxi. We talked to the first guy we have seen near the river. His name is Midon (+67 38 625 726). He speaks an okay English. Not too conversant but enough to give us proper tour of the Kampong Ayer (Water Village). He gave us a rate of 30BND for 5 pax for the Water Village and Proboscis Monkey Tour. We added 5BND as a tip.
Some highlights of this tour will be seeing a wild pair of Proboscis Monkeys eating on top of the trees. It took us a bit of a chase to finally see them but it was all worth it.
Kampong Ayer is a different experience as well. We saw their school and the students studying inside rooms elevated from the water. We saw some local police on their police boats. And the most shocking of all is a Shell Gas Station on the side of the river servicing the boats.
We went back to Jalan Cator to get to the city center bus terminal. You can either use Bus 01 or Circle Line to get to Jame’ Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque. We were able to meet an Australian backpacker here. You can enter the mosque for free. I was wearing shorts at that time. Girls will have to get the black robes before they can enter.
This mosque is really colorful and beautiful. You can also tell that the mosque is well maintained. Really a good photo-op for the whole group.
After this, we went straight The Mall in Gadong District to eat lunch. We use the same Bus 01.
We used Bus 01 to Royal Regalia Museum after we had lunch. If this bus is taking long to arrive, you can use Bus 20 to go back to Bandar (City Centre).
Royal Regalia Museum houses the gifts from dignitaries to the Sultanate of Brunei. This is where we have bought most of our souvenir items.
We just walked back then checked-out from Pusat Belia (by dropping the key in the box in the receiving area) then rode the bus for the last time to the airport.
Our Brunei side trip was just really short. But this one is really fun and full of surprises. Even with a short time, we managed to see some of what Brunei has to offer.