Brunei: Bandar Seri Begawan (BSB)

After tea break at Jing Chew and our decision to engage Uncle Jun to play driver cum guide for our visit here, we were keeping our fingers crossed that he would take care of us! 
On our way to the city, Bandar Seri Begawan (known as BSB to the locals), we chatted with Uncle Jun, who speaks almost perfect English:
Uncle Jun, do you have to pay taxes here?
Wow!  Does it mean everybody is rich here?
“Okay lah but the Sultan is the richest!”
Hahaha!  Of course lah!
“You know?  Here, every citizen is given a house in a lifetime?  But the moment you get married, one of the couple must forgo his or her unit.”

“If you are earning B$3,000, you can actually own 3 cars here.  Our cars are tax free too!  Of course we have to pay interest for our car loan.  It is at 5%pa.”

“Yes, I am a happy citizen alright!  So are people I know!”

We stopped by at the Jame’asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque, which was on the way.
Uncle Jun told us that we could go into the mosque if we want but we had to register at the office.
No lah!  We just want to admire this place from outside.
He also said the dome shaped tops of the mosque are real gold and not painted with gold paint! 
Hah?  Really ah??
I must say this mosque is massively beautiful!
Dear cousin had to walk almost 1km to take this shot!
When we reached the town, we found the place extremely quiet lei – no cars, no crowd!
Sure this is the city ke?
“BSB has not much activities other than the offices.
If you want more actions, it is at Gadong.
I will take you there later, don’t worry…”
When you see this structure, you are at the Floating Village already.
Being one of the tourist places here, I did not find many foreign visitors too.
“You know why?  Because we ban liquors and night life here.
Most foreigners do not find our country exciting. 
They prefer to go to Labuan than come here.”
The main attraction at the Floating Village is to board a speed boat to tour the place!
When I saw the boat, the first question I asked was if they had life jackets.
The boatman I asked had to ask another boatman before ensuring me the other guy has while he did not!
B$5 per person, want to take a ride??  Don’t want?  Okay lah, don’t go lor!
It was one for all and all for one mah!
The Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque was just near by the Floating Village.
We already saw it when we were heading to the Floating Village.
Uncle Jun said this side of the mosque is not its best facade!
The other side is the best!
True enough!
We could see it being the Floating Mosque on this side of the building!
Dear cousin’s shot of it was simply magnificant!
You just have to catch this glimpse in the night!
Felt like Aladdin staring at his castle!!
Sure this is a mosque?
Just cannot resist beautiful building structures.
Yes, you can see the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque at the far end.
This city is clean and peaceful.
Uncle Jun could leave the car’s engine running and have a puff opposite the road!
Hah!  Can you believe it?!
And I did not even have a chance to see a police officer! 
Oophs!  Why am I complaining lah?!  Hehe! 
We visited the Istana Nurul Iman (palace) at night.
Could not see much also happy!
The guard actually ushered Uncle Jun to park at the road side of the palace.
Hmmm, really friendly guards to have for the palace…
The Brunei Sultan‘s and his wife’s picture was hanging in every shop we entered.
Err, will I get executed if I suggest Her Majesty to change her makeup artist ah??!
Uncle Jun insisted we visit the Royal Regalia Building.
“Free entrance and you can learn all about our Sultan.
Half an hour is all you need.”
We never liked musuems but obliged Uncle Jun,
the proud citizen of his country, to make the visit.
We had to take off our shoes before we stepped into the place.
But we saw their staff wearing shoes.  Why??
The moment we got in, a tourist guide was taking his China tourists to tour the place.
We tagged along saje.  Hehe.
Wah!  That guide really went lengthy with history lessons of the Sultan and whatever was at display.
He had everyone in suspense when he said that one of the Sultan’s brother looks like HK actor, Andy Lau!
Neh!  He is the best looking of them all but does not look like the superstar lah!
Saje, pulling our legs!
I was enjoying myself following him but his group of tourist was not keen to slow walk on the freezing floor!  Hahaha!
Ya lor!  The tour had to be cut short lor!
The above place was the only place we could take pictures lei!
Everywhere else was camera banned!
“Before we struck oil, we were poor.
The Sultan then was staying near the floating village, which was a fishing village.
We still have the old palace although it is now fenced up and nobody is staying there.”
This is the old palace!
Very well maintained, I say!
Wise Chinese says:
Never forget your roots!

Dear Labuan girlfriend said we must visit their 6-star hotel,
Yes, this was also an itinerary of our visit here!
Honestly, this hotel was indeed very, very beautiful.
I would not know about its services or facilities though.
Uncle Jun took us to the Jerudong Park, just to look around.
This place is dead in the day and would only come alive from late evening onwards.
“This place used to be free for all when it was first opened.
Now, since the royal family sold this, it is privatised and we have to pay an entrance fee.
Too huge and expensive to maintain.
It used to be very beautiful but sad to say many broken items are not replaced.
Brunei is a small place and we were there for one day only.  This time, for almost 24 hours, better than Labuan.  Hahaha!  We had successfully maximised our visit here because Uncle Jun sent us back to the hotel only about 10.30pm, fetched us the next morning at 8.30am sight seeing all the way before crossing over to Miri, Sarawak, at 3.30pm! 
He had taken good care of us throughout the trip!!!  Guess, crossing fingers worked!  Thank you, Uncle Jun, thank you.
Look for the next post about food in Brunei!!!  You think I will miss sharing food with you meh???   Hehe…. Coming soon…..

7 responses to this post.

  1. Wah. U've got a good driver and tour guide! Gold top? Aiseh… not bad leh this trip, you've explored a lot!

  2. Great pictures! I enjoyed reading this post along with the pictures and learning about a place I doubt I would ever visit.Have a great day.

  3. Casendra dear, people here are so similar to Malaysia's. Multi racial, multi cultural and multi lingual. As we moved around, we felt quite at home because we could communicate with them. Make it a by the way place to visit would be perfect. Stay a night and get someone like Uncle Jun to take you around!!! We were so lucky to bump into him! Honest!

  4. BellaVida, glad you enjoyed this post. If you feel you could not enjoy the place because you cannot knock some wine glasses, you will be happy to know it is not law breaking as long as it is not consumed publicly. Uncle Jun did say that one can bring in liquor from Labuan. Just declare it at the Custom and consume it indoors. Cheers!

  5. As a lawyer, that sounds to me like a very nice, lawyer's answer.

  6. My last trip was at least 6 years ago. The two of us could not find a decent place for our happy hour. So the hotel manager [Sibu guy] rented a car to us and gave us direction to the border town [I think Kuala Lurah or something like that].Wow! "sepuluh lima" [5 cans of beer for RM10 – dirt cheap]. A bottle of Black Label whisky I think was only RM35. After a few hours drinking with gwailos, locals and Sarawakians and eating curry biawak and other exotic dishes only cost us RM80/-.Before we cross over back to Brunei, we can buy 1 bottle each liguor and I think 10 cans of beer [why 10?]. Yum sing!!

  7. Thanks TFL for sharing your experience. Now I know other than Labuan "chow kwai" like you got other outlets to boost one! Hehehe… Yum Seng!!!

Have a Happy Day! ;D

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