Brunei Darussalam Day 3: 45-Minute Free Viewing of the City | Istana Nurul Iman|Brunei Arts & Handicrafts Training Centre | Malay Technological Museum | The Empire Hotel & Country Club | Jame'Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque

It's our last day in Brunei, but I'm really looking forward to it because of the much awaited visit to the 6-Star rated hotel and the biggest Mosque in Brunei. These are the highlights of our visit in Brunei.

7:00am: Breakfast
Our flight back to Manila is not until 2:25am so we have more than enough time to explore of what Brunei has to offer. We started our day with the free breakfast at the hotel, again, not much to choose from, but well it's free so it's better than nothing.

8:15am: 45-Minute Viewing of the City
One of the reasons why we booked at Jubilee Hotel is the free 45-Minute of the City once during our stay. It's literally just a viewing and passing; the driver will not stop even if you want to take pictures.We carefully planned our itinerary and had to schedule everything.  We scheduled this free 45-minute viewing of the city early morning so we can have the rest of the day free to explore more of Brunei. Some of the attractions in this trip are new to us and I wish I can just go out of the car and take pictures. 

I got the chance, though, when the driver let us go out for a minute to take pictures of the biggest Mosque in Brunei, the Jame'Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque. I had to use a restroom so I took more than a minute and other guests got kind of mad because of that. Oh well, at least I had the chance to snap a few pictures before we left to go back to the hotel. To know more about this free tour, please visit: Jubilee Hotel & Plaza

9:25am: Travel from Jubilee Hotel to Istana Nurul Iman
We still have one more free trip, drop-off only for staying 2 nights in Jubilee Hotel and we have  the picked the Sultan's palace, Istana Nurul Iman.  After the other guests were dropped off at the hotel, the driver took us to the palace. There's no traffic in Brunei, even though almost all of them have cars, so we arrived at there after 10 minutes.

9:35am: Istana Nurul Iman
The palace is only open for public during the 3-day Hari Raya Aidil Fitri festivities at the end of Ramada. It's supposed to be drop-off only, but since we can't go inside, we begged the driver to just wait for us while we took a few pictures, and he agreed. To know more about our trip to this Palace, please visit: Istana Nurul Iman: Palace of the Light of the Faith

9:50am: Travel from Istana Nurul Iman to Brunei Arts & Handicrafts Training Centre
After several pictures, we headed back to the hotel, thanking the driver a lot. Much to our surprise, when we told the driver that we're going to visit this center next, he offered to drop us off there. He said not to mention about it to the hotel, and I told him even if they squeeze the life, out of me, I won't tell. After all his kindness, I can only say good things about him.

10:15am: Brunei Arts & Handicrafts Training Centre
The building where the center is located is currently under construction, but since the center is still open, we were able to see the handicrafts.Taking pictures is not allowed inside, and it made me sad, but I had to follow their rules. 

I tried to snap a few pictures secretly using my digital camera but the lighting is poor so I gave up. Their products are really beautiful and unique, but even though I want to buy, I can't because it's very expensive. Well, think about a dress with real gold and silver as the threads! For more info, please visit: Brunei Arts & Handicrafts Training Centre

10:25am: Travel from Brunei Arts Centre to Brunei Museum
The next attraction from our list of places to see is the Brunei Museum so after a while, we headed to the bus stop near the centre and wait for the bus. The museum is located outside of Bandar Seri Begawan and it takes about 15 minutes by bus to go there. Most of the passengers are male so I guess, women do not travel much. I can't really remember how we told the the driver that we're going to the Brunei Museum but he dropped us off there.

10:40am: Brunei Museum
Our original plan was to visit the Brunei Museum, but when we inquired we were told that it's closed for renovation. At that time, it felt like we're given a slide of cake ordered not to eat it. So when one of the men told us that there's another museum near and offered us a ride, we accepted it without even thinking. And as soon as we're inside his car, I realized that we're all girls and nobody knows where we are at that time. And when he started taking pictures, asking us to be in the picture, I got so scared. I can tell that my other friend is scared too.
I looked outside the car and I can't see a single person or even a house so I was really terrified. And when we entered in a village-like place compound with guards, my feet and hands started shaking. I started praying, looking at my friend, while my other friend is oblivious to what were thinking. When I saw a building, i let out the breathe I didn't know I'm holding. There's really a museum! I'm really grateful, and was guilty of thinking bad about the man, but can you blame me?! I will never watch horror movies about girls traveling ever again! Know more about our adventure, please visit: Malay Technological Museum

10:45am: Malay Technological Museum
So we thanked the man and almost jump out of the car when we got to the museum. We found out that he's from Malaysia and just visiting Brunei. He's part of a tour with mostly men from Malaysia, he even introduce us to some of them. However, we still can't get over the fear so we just say hi and moved far away from them. We made ourselves busy visiting each display in the museum.

It's interesting and before we know it we forgot everything. We even forgot that we don't have a transportation going back to Bandar Seri. And when we're done exploring the museum, we went out without a plan. The road that leads to the bus stop is really far if we will walk, so when I saw this young man getting into his car, my friend and I approached him. We asked him if we can hitch-hike up to the bus stop and he's actually reluctant. We begged him and explained to him that we're tourists and did not arrange a transportation going back to BSB. We're still lucky because he agreed and when we talked to him, we found out that he's heading right to Bandar Seri. 

And after more begging he agreed to take us with him. He's a student and with little English, we were able to talk to him. Again, when you travel to Brunei, make sure to check if the attraction is open before going. And make sure to check the schedule of the public transport if you're going to commute. Otherwise, you will have to hitch-hike like what we did.

11:45am: Travel from Malay Technological Museum to Bandar Seri
We arrived at Bandar Seri safe and sound. We thank the young man and we really wanted to treat him but he seems like he's scared. Oh and later on we found out why he's reluctant in letting us inside his car. It's punishable if a man was caught with women inside his car, and they are not even related!

12:00pm:  Lunch at Kopi Bandar
We were glad that we were dropped off near the riverside where food stalls are located. After the traumatic experience we're really hungry. So we ate at the first restaurant that we've seen. It's a good choice though because the food in Kopi Bandar is really good. We ordered a lot and while waiting for the food, we talked about what happened and I didn't believe we can just laugh it off. A must when you eat in Kopi Bandar is the Teh Tarek and the fresh Lychee Juice. Make sure you ordered their fried rice too as it's to die for! Please visit: Kopi Bandar: My Favorite Restaurant in Brunei

1:05pm: Mircu Dirgahayu 60
After lunch we started walking back to the hotel for our afternoon trip, the much awaited visit to the popular hotel in Brunie. On our way to the hotel we passed by the Mircu Dirgahayo 60, a monument built to commemorate the 60th birthday of the current Sultan of Brunei. It's a git of the people of Brunei to their Excellency. Their way of showing gratitude for giving the people the best lifestyle. The people of Brunei currently enjoy free medical services, education, housing and they pay no taxes. I'm really kind of envious with this tiny country for being naturally rich and for having a leader that knows how to take care of his people. The monument is located not very far from Kopi Bandar.

1:30pm: Rest, and be a Little Crazy (LOL)
Our trip to visit the hotel is not until 4:00pm so we just stayed in our room, rest and be a little crazy. I like Jubilee more because they allowed us to stay in the room way past the check out time without charging us any. However, since we don't know what time we'll be back from this trip we have to check-out and leave our luggage at the reception.

Before we do that, we had to take a lot of pictures in the room LOL! We decided on staying inside the room because it's much cooler than staying outside. Brunei can really get hot and it's best to stay inside if you have nothing to do. After several pictures, we decided on checking out and wait at their cafe on the second floor. Jubilee Hotel, by the way, has a cafe and a restaurant.

I don't know if we're the only tourist guests but when we went to the cafe no one was there. Although, I saw a family staying in the hotel like they are living there. I had peek when the little kid open the door and ran out. I can see their things like they've been living there for quite sometime. We had ice cream while waiting for the our time to go, and let me tell you, their ice cream is really good!
4:00pm: Travel from Jubilee Hotel to The Empire Hotel and Country Club
We decided on visiting the hotel in the late afternoon so we can also observe sunset there and see the hotel at night. The hotel is located in Kampong Jerudong, 26 minutes away from Bandar Seri Begawan. It has become a very popular attraction for tourists. Another popular attraction nearby is the Jerudong Park Playground.We originally wanted to go there, but our time is limited.

4:30pm: The Empire Hotel & Country Club
This 6-star hotel is really beautiful! Even though it's become a very popular for tourist, you have to bear in mind that it's indeed a hotel and there are areas that are for guests only. The staff are friendly and we've meet a couple of Filipinos working in there. It's really a grand hotel and if you're planning on visiting make sure you stay until it gets dark to see how the lights turn this hotel into a beautiful sight. We were able to roam around for a couple of hours and we only saw 3 guests.

Two of them were swimming in the pool, and one old man just walking around. We even asked him to take pictures of us, and he's very friendly. We also asked one of the staff if he can take pictures of us near the pool, which he did but he told us after that the area is restricted. Well, at least he still took our pictures. There's nothing much to see here actually, but it's worth the wait until it gets dark. Please visit: The Empire Hotel & Country Club: The Most Elegant Hotel in Brunei

7:00pm: Travel from the Hotel to Jame'Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque
The driver just dropped us off at the hotel and we just arranged with him the time he's should pick us up, and that's 7:00pm. So even though we want to leave, we can't. There's nothing much to see here actually, if you are not planning on eating. So we just took our time exploring the hotel. And at exactly 7:00pm, we went to the hotel's exit to wait for the driver. He's going to bring us next to the biggest Mosque in Brunei.

7:20pm: Jame'Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque
The Mosque was built in 1992 to celebrate the 25th year of the current Sultan's reign. It is the largest Mosque in Brunei and it's four terrazzo-tiled minarets dominate the suburbs of Bandar Seri Begawan. It's certainly noticeable even from afar with its 29 golden domes. These 29 golden domes represent the 29th and current Sultan of Brunei.
We've already seen this Mosque during the 45-Minute Free Viewing of the City but I'm still glad we visited that night. It is beautiful during the day, but it's more beautiful at night. It really looks like gold flames from afar. Again, if you to Brunei and already seen the Mosques or other attractions in the morning, make sure you see them again, if you can, at night. They really turned into a beautiful sight. Read more by visiting: Jame'Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque: The Largest Mosque in Brunei

7:50pm: Travel from Jame'Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque to the "The Mall"
We've told the driver to wait for us in the parking area for 30 minutes while we explore this Mosque. I really wished we can go inside, I wonder if this is as grand as this outside, how much more inside. After 30 minute of admiring the structure of the Mosque we headed to the night marker near "The Mall" to have dinner. We told the driver to pick-us up after an hour.

8:15pm: Dinner at "The Mall's Food Court"
The night market has limited food so we decided on walking from there to the "The Mall" to have dinner. Before we find a restaurant to eat, we decided on doing a short window shopping. After a while, we went the mall's food court to eat. We've meet again Filipinos working there and they gave us free Teh Tarek, I can tell that they are really happy to see a fellow Filipinos. All in all, the dinner is good. Please visit: The Mall's Food Court

9:30pm: Travel from "The Mall" to Jubilee Hotel
On our way back to the hotel, we passed by this street and I can't help but take a picture when I saw another Jollibee store. I guess I really do miss Manila! Inside the car, I took more pictures of buildings  that I find interesting. I had to because, I don't know when I'll be back to this country again. Traveling is a little expensive for me so I have to make sure to go to a different country first before going back to where I already been to.

10:30pm: Travel from Hotel to Airport 
Travel from Jubilee Hotel to Airport for our 2:25am flight back to Manila. We still have enough time but we don't want to be late. All in all, I enjoyed our trip to Brunei!!

For more of our (mis) adventure in Brunei, please visit:
Brunei Darussalam Day 1: Tamu Kianggeh | National Day Celebration | Tamu Selera | Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque

Brunei Darussalam Day 2: Royal Regalia | Tasek Lama Recreational Park | Kampung Ayer | Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque


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