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  • Day53

    Bandar Seri Begawan

    August 23, 2019 in Brunei ⋅ ⛅ 33 °C

    Capitale de l'état du Brunei.
    Plutôt une petite ville tranquille.
    Pour notre dernière soirée alors que nous rentrions pris en stop par un couple local, ils nous ont finalement invités à dîner, puis stop par chez eux, passage au empire hotel puis tour en voiture aux terrains de polo et devant le palais du sultan. Une soirée inattendue mais mémorable !Read more

  • Day63

    Muara, Brunei, Darussalam

    February 18, 2015 in Brunei ⋅ ⛅ 82 °F

    February 17th.
    Brunei was a very interesting stop. As we sailed near the coast, we were reminded of the economic base of Brunei – oil. There were dozens of drilling platforms and many boats affiliated with them.
    The city is extremely opulent while also being rather spare. Brunei is one of only two total monarchies in the world. It is a little hard to get a real feeling about the Sultan, but he does have some pretty specific rules that are to be followed. One is Sharia, which was instituted in May. We attended a dinner at the Brunei Polo Club that was very nice. We were offered an array of delicious fruit juices as there is no alcohol served in Brunei. That was a change!
    The third photo is of a “stilt village” that is on the waterfront in Brunei. It appears somewhat ramshackle at first, but it is actually quite nicely restored, with the owners having an interest in preserving the village as it had been.
    The second photo below is of the Mosque that was built by the current Sultan. The third photo is of the interior of the dining room where we had dinner. The musicians that greeted us played a very haunting and rather mystical song.
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  • Day204

    Jame'Asr Hassanil Bolklah Moschee

    March 24, 2017 in Brunei ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    Bruneis größte Moschee ist einfach nur wunderschön!
    Das wir nicht rein dürfen, stört uns nicht. Denn der Anblick von außen, sowie das ganze Gelände sieht aus wie im Märchen! Die Kuppeln sind natürlich aus 24karätigem Gold und sogar die Sterne am "Gartentor"! Was für ein traumhafter Anblick!
    Für einen späten Lunch kehren wir zum Schiff zurück und sind nicht böse darüber! 36°C schaffen selbst uns, die wir ja seit Wochen an hohe Temperaturen gewöhnt sind! Nach dem Essen fallen wir auf eine der gemütlichen Chillareas und brauchen eine Pause.
    Im Hafengebäude schauen wir später noch nach Highlights in der Nähe, denn unser Schiff liegt bis 20.00 Uhr am Pier. Der Strand lockt uns schon, ist aber recht weit zu laufen und für mich ist das Baden in einem muslimischen Land an einem lokalen Strand nicht so einfach, Bikini ist nicht drin! Außerdem sind wir auch ein bisschen zu faul und so entscheiden wir uns für einen entspannten Resttag mit Gourmetessen am Abend an Bord! 😁
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    Janin Lehmann

    Vielleicht brauchen die in 2,5 Jahren mal einen neuen Landschaftsarchitekten ;)



  • Day96

    Day 96: Brunei!

    September 19, 2016 in Brunei ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    Unfortunately our plans for getting some shut-eye were fairly short-lived. Since we didn't actually have a door to our capsule, just a thin blind, we were constantly getting noise. People coming in and out of the quiet area, water pumps every time a nearby toilet flushed, people talking in their own capsules, a guy nearby that sounded like he was going to cough up a lung. There was even a child yelling at some point! In this kind of environment I was also a bit worried about my snoring keeping a lot of people awake, plus I tend to have difficulty sleeping when an early but important alarm has been set (mainly for fear of sleeping through I guess).

    So I didn't get much sleep. The last time I looked at my clock it was 11:30, and I definitely woke up at 4am as well as at several other points. So I was extremely bleary when our alarms finally went off at 5am. We quickly changed, packed and walked over to the terminal where they were already calling people on our flight as check-ins were closing soon. But we self-checked-in and skipped the line, so no problems. Again a long walk through the enormous terminal, and arrived at the gate 15 minutes before the scheduled boarding time. Shandos hunted down a small bakery with some pre-packaged pastries which we devoured.

    As usual the flight was a bit late but only about 15 minutes or so. We had a nice moment as well of sitting on the runway in complete darkness - the cabin lights are out, and it's 6:40am so not really any sunlight from outside either, and the only noise was the dull whine of turbines from outside the aircraft. For a few moments all was still, before the engines screamed into life and we charged down the runway for our twelfth flight of the trip, this time heading east back to Borneo, and to Brunei.

    We touched down at the very modern terminal building around 9am local time, where I finally used my UK passport! Citizens of the UK don't need a 20 USD visa on arrival while Australian citizens do, so I took advantage of that fact and saved us a few dollars. Still well behind the several hundred pounds it cost to renew, but I'll make it up I'm sure!

    Brunei is a very small country and the capital only has around 50,000 residents. One consequence of this is that there are surprisingly few taxis in the city, apparently less than 50! Our hotel had arranged a pickup and he was waiting right at the exit, but we also had to wait for a Mr Edward who was supposedly on our flight as well. We waited for nearly an hour (I had a second breakfast of KFC nuggets in the meantime) but Mr Edward never showed up; eventually our driver got the shits and we were off into the city.

    In this case, "city" is a bit of a misnomer as it's the smallest capital city I can remember visiting. It has the large majestic buildings and sweeping boulevards like Canberra and other purpose-built capitals, but the downtown area is only a few blocks, and the tallest building is about 12 stories or so. Sort of halfway between Bathurst and Canberra I guess.

    It's surprisingly wealthy too - there isn't rubbish everywhere like in Thailand, the cars are newer and better maintained, the houses look neat and trim, and there seems to be a sense of civic pride. Manicured lawns, fountains, gardens, that sort of thing. It reminded us a lot of the less-built-up areas of Singapore, or the older parts of Dubai.

    Our hotel is definitely a 1970s relic, with some fairly classic furnishings. The intro blurb in the guest info booklet says that it's a downtown budget hotel, and the word budget is underlined and bolded for emphasis which made me chuckle! But again, it's cheap, it's air conditioned, it's clean, walking distance to everywhere we need, and the wifi is mostly working. Plus breakfast and airport transfers - good deal!

    After checking in we headed out, first stop was the large mosque right on the river front. Very impressive with its white walls and glittering golden domes; we went inside but as usual with mosques there isn't much to see on the inside. Religious idols being haram and all that, plus non-Muslims were only allowed access to a small section right near the entrance, so we couldn't see up into the enormous dome.

    We wandered along the riverfront for a while before deciding it was time for an early lunch since our breakfast was at 6am, so we found a small shopping mall with local restaurants and essentially picked at random. Good food, though very similar to Indonesian and Malaysian cuisine (fried noodles, chicken broth etc).

    After lunch we crossed the river in a tiny speedboat to the floating village. This is the historic area of town, and was known as the Venice of the East since it was literally thousands of houses built on stilts right out in the river. Entire suburbs and communities exist there with everything they need - shops, post offices, schools, mosques, restaurants, even police stations and fire brigades! This is the way they have traditionally lived in Brunei since about the 13th or 14th century when the area was first settled.

    There was a surprisingly good museum about the village which we spent some time in, before wandering around the village itself. Some parts were very modern with ultra modern glass and concrete houses, and other parts were just ramshackle tin, wood and fibro dwellings, but all joined together by bridges, causeways and boardwalks, everything a metre or so above the river. Reasonably clean too, though there were a couple of areas where masses of garbage had accumulated.

    The locals are extremely friendly and don't get many Westerners wandering around, so everyone was very quick to say hello and show us their houses, shops etc. Since it was just after lunch time there were a lot of school children heading back to the schoolhouse for afternoon lessons. After a couple of hours wandering, rain was threatening so we decided to head back across the river and find a cafe to relax for a bit.

    We found a boat pretty quickly, and from the dock we had a good view of the Sultan's palace. Apparently it's one of the largest purpose-built royal palaces in the world, but completely closed to the public sadly. He's one of the world's richest men thanks to Brunei's oil and gas reserves, and boasts a ridiculously impressive car collection (sadly said to be rotting away as nobody is interested in doing upkeep).

    Back across the river we found a cafe with reasonable coffee, and just in time too as a tropical downpour started not long after we entered. We ended up staying here for an hour or so, using the wifi and waiting for the rain to subside. Not quite out of sights, but running low on stamina after a long day, we decided we'd retreat to the hotel for a bit.

    I had a quick snooze while Shandos did a few things online, and we headed out again around 5:30pm. Back to the same mosque, where the sun sets directly behind it creating a beautiful vista perfect for Instagram photos. With the muezzins calling the faithful to sunset prayers, we set off to a nearby food market where we had a local special dish called nasi katok - basically just a piece of fried chicken with a serve of rice and some very hot chilli sauce.

    Fairly exhausted after our long day, we headed back to the hotel. It's also worth mentioning that there is literally zero nightlife in Brunei, as it's a completely dry country. Non-Muslims are allowed to bring in up to 2L of spirits or 12 cans of beer every 48 hours, but you have to consume it in private as public displays of drunkenness can lead to imprisonment and caning. So with no beers to drink, we settled for a bottle of water and a block of Cadbury chocolate from the convenience store under the hotel. Off to bed for an early night.
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    Trish Forrester

    The old village sounds really interesting, actually the whole place does, and not one you typically see on the tourist trail!

    Trish Forrester

    I was thinking while reading this that you are getting a good feel for how long it will be till a downpour. You have managed to find reasonable places to shelter for a while just in time!

    Peter Baldwin

    A friend of ours used to work for Royal Brunei Airlines and he assured us the sultan has his own personal 747. Peter met him a couple of times when he visited Australia,

    10 more comments
  • Day45

    BSB Port

    February 14, 2019 in Brunei ⋅ ☀️ 32 °C

    Bandar Seri Begawan = A Blessed Port: a particularly nice place to be for a few days, very compact and with somehow particular charm.

    Although, my time here is over - flying to KL in a few hours where I'm gonna meet a travel buddy with whom we gonna have a "cruise" around Spice Islands of Indonesia. Molukku and Raja Ampat - we're coming🤧Read more

  • Day204

    Brunei Darussalam

    March 24, 2017 in Brunei ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    Heute sollen es die Highlights von Brunei sein und weil das Land nicht so groß ist, reicht offensichtlich ein halber Tag 😉, denn solch eine Tour wird vom Schiff angeboten und das machen wir mit!
    Das kleine Land liegt auf Borneo und ist eingequetscht zwischen Sarawak (Malaysia) und dem südchinesischen Meer. Es ist nur etwas mehr als 5.000 km2 groß und 450.000 Menschen leben hier, hauptsächlich Moslems. Das ist unser Pech, denn heute ist Freitag und daher sind die Moscheen für Besucher geschlossen. Aber auch wieder Glück, denn die Straßen sind sehr leer.
    Freitag ist wie unser Samstag und kein wirklicher Arbeitstag, die Geschäfte haben erst ab 14.00 Uhr geöffnet und zur Schule muss hier heute auch Keiner. Dafür ist der Samstag ein Arbeitstag und erst am Sonntag ist wieder frei.
    Borneo ist ein reiches Sultanat, all das viele Geld kommt vom Öl und vom Gas (an den Tankstellen sehen wir wie billig das Benzin ist! Autos übrigens auch und daher hat jeder Einwohner durchschnittlich zwei davon!).
    Der Sultan hat vier Frauen und 12 Kinder. Und er "ist ein Guter", denn er gibt von seinem Geld ab: Ausbildung und die komplette medizinische Betreuung inklusive aller Medikamente sind kostenlos. Sogar der Flug nach Singapur sowie die dortige Versorgung wird bezahlt, wenn es notwendig ist (+ einer Begleitperson!). Auch die Wohnhäuser werden subventioniert.
    Alles was wir sehen ist sehr, sehr ordentlich, sauber und gepflegt! Nichts sieht hier wirklich asiatisch aus - uns kommt es sehr arabisch und fast wie aus 1001 Nacht vor.
    Und - das lernen wir schnell: Hier IST alles Gold was glänzt!
    Ein Bus bringt uns in die Hauptstadt Bandar Seri Bagawan und zum ersten Fotostopp: Prime Minister Office Building Complex mit Moschee - ein sehr imposantes Gebäude, wirkt ein bisschen steril und wie ausgestorben, aber auch schön.
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  • Day204

    Royal Regalia

    March 24, 2017 in Brunei ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    Das Royal Regalia ist ein Museum und zu sehen sind zuerst einmal etliche Fotos des Königs in jeder Altersstufe und in allen "Lebenslagen" mit und ohne Familie. Interessanter sind die wichtigen Gegenstände für die Krönungszeremonie des Sultans: goldener Thron, goldene Krone, goldene Katze, goldenes Schwert, goldener Schirm und noch so allerlei goldene Dinge. Zum Beispiel eine goldene Hand, auf die der Sultan sein Kinn stützen kann, denn die Krone ist richtig schwer! Benutzt hat er sie allerdings nie.
    Wir sehen noch viele schöne und (auch weniger schöne) Staatsgeschenke - aus Deutschland können wir keins entdecken!
    Unsere Zeit im Museum ist schnell um und Dirk schafft es gerade noch, die goldene Kutsche, mit der der König nach der Krönung durch die Stadt gefahren ist, zu fotografieren! Alles andere durfte sowieso nicht aufs Foto - alle Technik musste am Eingang in eine Box! Übrigens mussten auch unsere Schuhe draußen bleiben.
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  • Day204

    Water Village

    March 24, 2017 in Brunei ⋅ ⛅ 31 °C

    Seit über 1.300 Jahren gibt es am Brunei River ein Wasserdorf. Heute leben hier über 30.000 Menschen in tausenden von Holzbauten unterschiedlicher Art. Es ist eine Ansammlung von Wohnhäusern, Restaurants, Shops, Schulen, Moscheen, Krankenhaus ..., eine richtige Stadt. Miteinander verbunden sind alle Gebäude durch einfachste Holzstege ohne Geländer, Straßen gibt es nicht.
    Leider haben wir auch hier wenig Zeit und können nur ein Mini-Bruchteil anschauen! Wir besuchen eine Familie in ihrem Langhaus und werden freundlich mit Tee und Gebäck bewirtet. Wir dürfen uns umschauen und bestaunen den riesigen Wohnraum (passen zwei Busladungen rein) und die wieder mal einfachste Küche.
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  • Day43

    Bandar Seri Begawan

    February 12, 2019 in Brunei ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    Once you arrive to an Islamic Absolute Monarchy - where would you go first? I went to a mosque - the biggest one in Brunei Darussalam - Abode of Peace - adorned with golden leaves and situated in the middle of an artificial lake. So this has been my introduction to 90th country I set my foot in. Next stop is Kampung Ayer with more stories to follow😉Read more

  • Day77


    March 1, 2018 in Brunei ⋅ ⛅ 90 °F

    The Sultanate of Brunei is like a modern fairytale. As recently as WW2 this northwest corner of the island of Borneo was like a thousand other little tropical islands doing little besides fishing. Then in the 1960’s oil was discovered. Immediately the Sultan of Brunei was the wealthiest man in the world. He has remained so. His personal net worth is well over $20 billion. There are beautiful palaces, mosques, and homes all over the place, and all of them have been built since the 1960’s. All are modern, though incorporating traditional themes. Despite this modernity, however, the analogy of the fairy tale continues. Not only is there no income tax here, but quite the contrary, every subject receives a monthly allowance from the government. Elderly (over 60) and disabled persons receive additional allowances. Education and medical care are free. Well, almost free. They do charge you one dollar to go to a doctor, or to the hospital, or to the dentist. However, if the excellent hospital here cannot treat your condition, the government will fly you to another hospital anywhere in the world that can treat your illness—totally free of charge. The best college students here are chosen to go to the best universities in England, their tuition, housing and fees are all paid by the government. A paid housekeeper is provided, and, oh yes, the government provides each student $5000 per year “pocket money.” In addition to this, every other year the sultan pays to fly each Brunei student home to see the family. The average family in Brunei owns 3 cars. Automobiles and homes can be financed by an interest free government loan. There is Sharia law in this Muslim country and alcohol consumption is non-existent. Perhaps it is because of this very forceful approach to violations of law, crime here is extremely low. Drunk driving offenses do not exist, and though traffic is heavy at rush hour, it moves quickly, smoothly and with no traffic accidents that I could see. We saw no evidence of drugs, gangs, or homelessness. There are no graffiti on the streets. Our guide says that no one locks cars or houses because no one ever steals anything. We did not hear a single siren over the course of the day. We visited a water village whose homes were quite different from the modern homes being purchased by most growing families. The families living on the water have inherited their homes. Many of these families have lived in these dwellings built on mangrove pilings for over a thousand years. Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, the site of a modern fantasy come to life.Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Brunei Darussalam, Brunei, Broenei, Brunae, ብሩኒ, بروناي, Bruney, Бруней-Дарусалам, Бруней, Burinɛyi, ব্রুনেই, བུ་རུ་ནེ།, Brunej, Brunej Darussalam, Brunei nutome, Μπρουνέι Νταρουσαλάμ, Brunejo, Brunéi, برونئی, Burnaay, Brunéi Darussalam, Bruneyi, Brûnei, Brúiné, Brùnaigh, બ્રુનેઇ, Burune, ברוניי, ब्रूनइ, Brouney, Բրունեյ, Brúnei, ブルネイ, ბრუნეი, ប៊្រុយណេ, ಬ್ರೂನಿ, 브루나이, بروونای, Bruneium, Burunayi, Broenai, Brineyi, ບູຮໄນ, Brunėjus, Bruneja, Брунеи, ബ്രൂണൈ, ब्रुनेई, ဘရူနိုင်း, ब्रुनाइ, ବ୍ରୁନେଇ, برونای, Buruneyi, ब्रूनै, Brunêi, බෲනායි, Burunei, Buruneeya, Брунеј, புரூனேய், బ్రునై, ประเทศบรูไน, Brunay, Pulunei, برۇنېي, Бруней-Даруссалам, Brunän, Orílẹ́ède Búrúnẹ́lì, 文莱, i-Brunei