Thursday, September 29, 2016

Adventures of JPE: Borneo 2016 - Brunei Darussalam

I had a great experience in the islands of Kota Kinabalu. I enjoyed the city as well, with its laid-back atmosphere and natural ambiance despite some big establishments. It was my time then to leave the place and head to my next destination, which just lies near Sabah; I was bound for the oil-rich country of Brunei.

Situated at the northwestern coast of Borneo, this tiny nation is divided into two sections by the Malaysian state of Sarawak. Its capital is Bandar Seri Begawan, which spans an area of 100 square kilometres. Travel between Kota Kinabalu and Brunei is easy, with a lot of options either by land, water, or air.

Just like Singapore, the city can be explored in a short period of time and the sights here mainly includes mosques, parks, and shopping areas. On my one (and a half) day trip in Bandar, I saw most of its notable landmarks.

Kota Kinabalu to Brunei:

I woke up on my third day in Borneo at the same hostel in Kota Kinabalu. I got up at five in the morning, took a shower, packed up and head to the city park where the long-distance buses were lined up.

At seven I bought my ticket to Brunei and wait for the bus to leave the city in an hour. It was a long journey of nine hours until I arrived in the waterfront of Bandar Seri Begawan at 5 o’clock in the afternoon. I alighted from the bus and walked a short distance to Jubilee Hotel and there I checked in. I got the keys in Room 513.

After I unload my backpack, I took a short rest before going out to change money. I asked the hotel receptionist about the location of the nearest money changer and he handed me a photocopied map of the vicinity where I would find them. I stumbled upon a shopping mall, which turned out to be the famous Yayasan Complex and there I found what I was looking for.

After receiving my Brunei Dollars I walked around the mall and found a familiar face. Guess what? It’s the happy and smiling Jollibee, a fastfood chain loved by Filipinos back home. I ordered chicken strips and it really tastes like the local fried chicken.

After dining, I headed to the magnificent Sultan Omar Ali Saiffudien Mosque, the famous icon of Brunei. Somewhere on its parking area I found the perfect location to take its photo, and after taking too many shots, I went inside and looked around. I really appreciated its beauty and the ambiance of solemnity was present.

There were not so many tourists inside, and I could count them with my fingers. As the dusk approached, I went back to the same spot  where I took pictures and captured a better image of the mosque. Then their prayers began, as I could hear the song through its speakers.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Adventures of JPE: Borneo 2016 - Brunei Darussalam