My ASEAN travelogue will not be complete if I skip this grandiose sultanate state. It was my 3rd solo backpacking trip outside Malaysia and Philippines. I know there’s nothing much to expect in this rich majestic state. So, I just planned to turn this trip into a relaxing weekend trip. Yes, it is just an overnight trip.
This is the 8th country I have been to. But that every moment boarding on the plane, I still felt the excitement. I know, every trip is different.
Boarded on AirAsia flight, I arrived safely in Brunei International Airport. Oh before I forgot, it was on this flight that I discovered that tripod can be hand-carried. Damn it, I paid for a check-in baggage already. Thanks to that AirAsia ground crew.
The moment I touched down Brunei I couldn’t control my excitement. Yes, I was excited to be in Brunei but the other thing that got me excited was Jollibee. Yes, you read it right. Jollibee! After the immigration, I immediately looked for Jollibee. And I had it. Yummy burger, spaghetti and choco sundae. Holy God! They tasted like those in Philippines.
Having a full tummy, I immediately directed myself to the arrival area to find that purple bus. It is just a small airport as the front building was still under construction. I waited for the bus at the arrival area but nothing arrived. I couldn’t even see anybody waiting. I had nothing to ask. Even security guard. So I walked towards the highway. The arrival is on the level 2. I just found out that the bus was in level 1 (departure area). I saw the other passengers waiting for the bus.
The bus to the city is just simply a purple mini-bus. It costs only 1 BND to the city. I did not buy a Brunie sim because it is quite expensive (30 BND) so I can’t use my phone for GPS. I have done thorough research already so I know already where to go. The bus’ end of the route is the bus terminal. I was staying in Radisson Blu Hotel and it is just around a kilometer away from the bus terminal. When the bus arrived, I immediately grabbed a seat. There a lot of passengers. They were with me in that AirAsia flight.
According to some blogs, there are a lot of Filipinos in Brunei. They’re right. Some of those other passengers did speak Tagalog. I just smiled to myself. I felt great hearing those chats.
While travelling to the city, a couple asked the bus crew to drop them in the street corner to Jubilee Hotel. When I heard it, I need to disembark the bus with them. Radison Blu is just few meters away. I was right, before we approached that street corner I saw the Radisson Blu Hotel. Next to it is the Pusat Belia Youth Hostel. As mentioned above, I want this trip to be relaxing and pampering trip. So I chose Radisson Blu instead of Pusat Belia. The youth hostel seems good from outside but I just so worried that I could not get a bed as there is no advance booking. You need to walk-in to that hostel. Please do note that if there is a youth event in the city, they will prioritize the youth.
Anyhow, that Radisson Blu booking was done 20 days before my trip so I got a 30% discount. We’ll after being a member of Radisson Blu Hotel, it seems that 30% discount is normal. Anyhow, it was around 11 am so I was quite hesitant to go to the hotel for early check-in. But I didn’t want to have my backpack with me exploring the city while waiting for the check-in time (3:00 pm). So if they won’t allow me for early check-in, I’ll just drop my backpack and proceed with my itinerary. But, to my surprise, the allowed me for early check-in without any additional charge. Oh before I forgot, it was Ramadan season, so might be the hotel had less number of guests.
The hotel, as expected, was clean and neat. The reception staff was nice and accommodating. The room was not that spacious but I was on solo so there nothing to worry then. I didn’t find the hair dryer so I called the room service and it was fast. After checking that everything in the room was okay, I settled down and did some refresh. I was so excited to see that grandiose mosque and of course strolling the city.