Arriving in Brunei at 7am after a 10 hour flight from Auckland, we were exhausted. We should have given into a few hours nap but with only a day in the tiny sultanate, we foolishly stayed up to be tourists. Nothing was open that early anyway so we hung about the hotel for a couple of hours and had a swim in the pool etc. Really should have taken that nap!
Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque. Big, white, gold, in the centre of town. Truly dazzling in the summer sun. Don’t visit without your sunnies!
Our first meal was at Food Zone in the shopping complex by the big white mosque in town. Chinese Cuisine can be found here at a fair price. We ordered a Steamed Chicken Set, a Roast Chicken Set (both sets include chicken, chicken rice, pickles, sauces and soup), Sweet & Sour Prawns, Siu Mai (pork dumplings), Ha Gaw (prawn dumplings) and drinks.
A measly $24 ($19US) for the lot. Brunei dollar and New Zealand dollar are pretty dollar for dollar, meaning no maths for us.
With our internal clocks all out of whack, we found dinner beside the river at a place called Gerai Kianggeh. It is kind of like an outdoor food court and at about 3pm, completely empty. $13.50 ($10.60US) got the 3 of us dinner and drinks. 3 meals. 3 drinks. Bargain!
Nasi Goreng with Seafood.
Soto Claypot (Broth with beef and noodles).
Soto Chicken (Broth with chicken and noodles).
My Brunei Highlights:
Being a tourist in Brunei for 1 day doesn’t make me an expert by any means, but here are my favourite bits anyway.
1. Water Taxi cruise
This stylin’ dude took us on his boat to find proboscis monkeys in the mangroves, monitor lizards and around to the village on the river where he lived. At $20pp this was a nice way to spend an hour.
2. Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque
3. Jame’Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque
The next morning, with our body clocks completely out of whack, we were able to walk to this Mosque long before dawn to see it into the day. Magical.
No foodie visit is completely without some pretty market shots.
Many kinds of dried fish. You can smell ’em before you see ’em.
Brunei Tips (learn from our mistakes):
- Taxis are expensive so limit your taxi time by staying somewhere convenient. We ended up spending $100 on taxis for the day.
- Ladies must be respectfully dressed (covered heads, shoulders etc) when entering mosques, so keep a scarf or similar in your bag.
- If you fly in on an overnight flight, take some time out in the morning and get some sleep in a real bed. Nothing much is open in the morning anyway so you aren’t missing out on anything.