As Brunei is right in the middle of Borneo Malaysia it seemed fitting to take a short visit to this tiny place. You can get a plane there which is quick and easy but expensive when on a budget.
The other option is to get on a bus. This was my choice of transport and although I spent a small part of that watching Ip man (it’s a great movie), being driven in and out of immigration check points was not fun. If you look at a map of where Brunei is situated you will see it is split into two parts. If you are coming from Kota Kinabalu then you will have to go in and out of Brunei and Borneo getting your passport stamped too many times. It is a long drive and tiring so plan ahead and be prepared.
After I arrived in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei’s capital, it was no surprise to find a lack of budget options. This is what most of my research told me.
Hello bed bugs!
It is at these times when you have been travelling the whole day, sweating and having not eaten very well, that you hope for the remainder of the day and night to run smoothly. When I arrived in Brunei the only real budget option was fully booked. This is the Youth Hostel that is not far from where the bus drops you off. I reluctantly went to the second option which was, K.H Soon Resthouse.
After showering and venturing outside I got back to my room very tired and ready to sleep. To my horror as I lay down I felt myself being bitten by something. The last thing anyone wants when they are tired are bed bugs or mites…even when in a budget room (this room could have been cheaper). I could not believe my eyes at the party these little things were having (I have a video but I look really distressed…I will save you the visuals) and was succumbed with the kind of feeling I imagine a child gets when they just want to sleep. Although I have been in many hostels and slept in hammocks and sleeping bags that was my worst bed I had (nearly) slept in.
When I told the man at reception that I could not sleep on the bed and asked for the nearest and cheapest hotel I realised that I was in such a panic and sounded like a child. I was reminded, once again, that people are good and don’t want you feeling crap.
South East Asia’s random act of kindness: 8
The man at reception didn’t need to but he looked at me with concern. He told me not to worry and said ‘I have a special room.’. The ‘special room’ looked the same as mine but the most important difference was that, the mattress and bed frame were new. I was so thankful. It was definitely special. Little things matter greatly. Little things like a bed to get a good nights sleep. I was thankful to have another option. A lot of the people I saw on my travels do not have that option or luxury.
Chilling in Brunei
Brunei is small and has the same options in terms of excursions as Borneo (seeing the jungle and sanctuaries). It is a very quiet space that had little to offer apart from a nice walk in an unfamiliar city and water village.
The Water Village – Kampung Ayer
Enjoy the sight of Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque
Learn about Brunei’s history at the Royale Regalia Museum
If you like all things royalty and golden the Royale Regalia Museum pays tribute to the Sultan and Royalty.
Tiang Yun Dian – Chinese Buddhist Temple
If you click the link it will take you to learn a little bit about the history of this temple which is the oldest Chinese temple in Brunei.
Happy Light Travellers main past time in Brunei
Although there were more museums and palaces I could have visited, Brunei felt like a sleepy city, so I spent most of my time walking around, drinking a cold drink and doing this…chilling out!
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