Negara Brunei Darussalam National Day: Abode of Peace

When we booked our trip to Brunei we had no idea that our first day is their National Day, until I started making the itinerary. Brunei National Day is always celebrated every 23rd of February. It is the the National Day of Brunei that was first celebrated in 1984. This holiday marks full independence from the United Kingdom in the same year.
It has become a popular holiday with the national flag a common sight in streets and on buildings. their mosques and offer prayers to celebrate the country's independence. And just in case you are interested on to know, the official name of the country is Negara Brunei Darussalam, in English "Sultanate of Brunei, Abode of Peace.
A large parade is held in the national stadium, and it has become a tradition for people to visit their mosques and offer prayers to celebrate the country's independence. We were glad that we were able to watch the parade. After the parade, we asked local teens for a few pictures. They're shy when we approached them but willing to have their pictures with us taken. I asked them if we can have a flag like what they holding and they gave it to us.

With the flag in our hands we headed to where the big event is happening.  It hasn't started yet but i can see that a lot of people are there. Waiting to have this moment to see their Sultan. We walked around the arena, waiting for something big to happen but still nothing so we moved around and took a lot if pictures. After a while we headed out. On our way out, we're given a free bottled water, which we are thankful because it's really hot. 
We walked inside the arena and i was amazed at how colorful it was. It's really hot at that time and noisy so we frantically descend the concrete stairs and sit under on the step under a tent , only to be told that tourists are not allowed in there. 
We stayed outside for a bit and then we saw the Sultan's convoy. I knew it's the Sultan's because the security started to gather around.  His convoy entered the arena and people started shouting. Cheerful and happy that their Sultan has finally arrived. 
We went back into the arena hoping we can see him but unfortunately we're too far from where his majesty's seat is located. I still tried to look but to no avail. I know my friend was trying too but after a while we decided to leave. 
And that's where our real adventure begins. We walked from the arena with no idea where we're heading or were the bus station is located. We tried to asked people but they can't understand us. We even asked the police and they were no help. So we started walking around the stadium figuring out how we can go back to the hotel. We tried to hitch hike again but most driver are men and they are looking at us like we gone mad. 
After almost 3 hours of walking around, we found this bus parked on the road and I felt like it's heaven sent. We asked the driver if it's a public bus and if it's going back to the city, but he just shook his head. We talked or rather begged him and with little English he said it's not leaving until late afternoon, but we can go inside.  
It felt heaven to finally able to sit and enjoy the cool wind from the bus' air con. And we're glad because we did not wait long enough and the bus left. When we arrived at the city proper, we saw fireworks, probably the signal that the celebration is over. 
If you want to travel to Brunei on their National Day celebration, make sure to arrange a car to drop you off and pick you up from the stadium to avoid inconvenience and exhaustion. And if you have enough time, please stay until they light up the fireworks. All in all, the celebration is very grand even though we haven't seen a lot of actions.

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