A Kingdom of Unexpected Treasure...Brunei Darussalam!

Travel Date: February 22 -25, 2014
I was scheduled to have my first out of the country trip in 2010 to Macau, but due to a typhoon we decided on cancelling the trip. I was not very eager to travel to other countries at that time because I wanted to explore more of the Philippines. However, when my friend saw a ticket sale via Cebu Pacific going to Brunei Darussalam, and asked me if I wanted to come, I said yes.

I have never been to any countries before and I didn't know that time, that Brunei is not very popular for tourists. Not because it's not a beautiful country, but because it's very laid back and not a very tourist friendly country. I said not tourist friendly because it's difficult to travel from one place to another, except if you're walking.

I'm really excited for this trip, except of course for flying, because I'm scared ever since my first time to fly. It was traumatic because of the turbulence - it was like the plane was going to fall from the sky.

Anyway, fast forward to our trip, it was smooth  - and i slept my fear the whole night. When I woke up, the plane is on it's final approach.

We only waited a couple of minutes until our passport was stamped a tourist visa. After that, we walked out to meet the hotel's driver.

Our round trip ticket only costs us Php1, 442.44 ($28.00) via Cebu Pacific, and that's one of the reason why I said yes to this trip. It's very cheap considering the limited flights there.  We departed Manila at 11:40am and arrived Brunei at 1:40am. When we got out of the airport it's already 2:00am and I can't see people or cars outside. I'm also very sleepy so I can't even remember much about how their airport looked like. Getting Around Brunei

After many exchanges of email with my friends on where we should stay, we agreed to book at Jubille Hotel. Not only because it's cheap but also because it's near some of the attractions in our itinerary. Free hotel pick-up from the airport is only until 11:00pm only, after that there's an additional charge of B$10.00 or Php347.00 ($7.79) per trip.  The driver was very helpful and let us see a little of Brunei at night along the way. We booked the Executive Suite good for 4 people with 2 bedrooms/living-dining room/bathroom/kitchen and can accommodation 2 more extra beds for B$170.00  or Php5, 903.00 ($132.45) per night. Inclusive of the rate are:
  • Free breakfast
  • Free airport pick-up from 7:20am – 11pm (1 trip).
  • Free transfer to airport from 7:00am – 10:30pm (1 trip).
  • Complimentary return trip 1 destination of your choice per night’s stay based on listed destinations only: *Royal Regalia *Water Village, *Brunei Museum *Brunei Arts and Handy Craft Centre *Jami Asr Mosque *Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque *Tasek Lama Recreational Park. Early booking is required. Subject to availability of the hotel driver.
  • Wireless Internet in room (free)
    Extended c/out time till 1pm.
  • Plus bonus!!  Free 45-minute over viewing (passing-by) of the city- once only during stay. Subject to availability of the hotel driver.
We arrived at the hotel at around 2:00am and they let us checked in already. At first I was hesitant because in their website it says and additional 1 night will be charged if we check in after 12:00am. Not only that they let us check-in early, for free, but they also upgraded our room to Family Suite at no additional charge. The hotel staff are very friendly and helpful. Where to Stay in Brunei?


The only transportation I'm happy during our trip was the hotel's free pick-up and the free viewing of the city, aside from that nothing. Brunei is a very rich country and almost all of the people have their car, blame that to the cheap price of gasoline/oil in the country. Brunei does not have a train system and only has limited taxis, so it's really difficult to travel to other tourist destinations without a car. They have a very systematic bus system, but  they only stop at designated stops near the tourist attractions, and from there you will have to walk. Brunei is a Muslim country so you will not see a lot of women traveling via a public transportation. We're all women and it's very difficult for us to get on the bus because most of the passengers are men and does not care if you're a woman.

Only in Brunei have I ever hitched hike twice and tried once. We didn't know that time that it's not acceptable for women to be in the same car with men if they are not married. Maybe that's the reason why some of the drivers didn't stop when we tried to hitch hike. The first driver that stopped for us was from Malaysia and the second one was a student who hesitated when we asked, but we begged him so he let us ride with him.

Good thing the hotel has free 45-minute viewing of the city, with that we didn't have to worry about transportation. On our last day, we arranged a tour with the hotel's driver, on his day off, since he owned the car and he's nice. For the day trip, he only charged us B$20.00 or Php694.50 ($15.58) per trip. If you are planning on visiting Brunei, make sure you talked to the driver or the hotel to arrange a tour, they are quite helpful.

BEWARE of the people who will tell you to ride with them to a certain tourist attraction because they will charge you too much. We've met a fellow Filipinas when we were there and we're expecting that they help us, but they over charged us B$20.00 or Php694.50 ($15.58) to get to the stadium. On our way back to the city, the bus fare was only $B1.00 or Php34.72 ( $0.77).

Oh there's one more thing that I love when it comes to transportation in Brunei, NO TRAFFIC!!😂  and they drive fast there so you don't have a reason if you're late!

People in Brunei are friendly, but they are no help when it comes to asking about directions. Because of the language barrier,  people tend to walk away if you try to approach them to ask for direction. We were frustrated because even the policemen were no help and we had to figure out where we have to go. There was one time we had to walk around their huge stadium to figure out where the bus stop is going back to the capital Bandar Seri Begawan. We tried approaching a couple of people we saw, but they turned away every time we try to speak. I was so tired I sat on the grass along the highway while my friends tried to hitched hike, and people are looking at us like were crazy!

Never visit Brunei on any of their national holidays because all shops are closed and no transportation at all. We visited on their National Day Celebration, which we regret by the time we tried to find a bus or hitch hike to go back to the hotel. It's a big day celebration and in Brunei, when they celebrate the National Day, only the coffee shops are open. The buses stop operation until the celebration is finished. And since no taxi, it's really difficult to find a ride going back to the hotel. If you are still going to visit the county on that day, make sure to arrange a transportation with the hotel's driver. To know more about their national day celebration, please click here.

Brunei being one of the richest countries in the world their currency exchange is B$1.00 to Php36.00. You might  be surprised when they give you a change with Singaporean dollar, don't fret because it's accepted in Brunei. B$ has the same rate as S$.

We're leaving in the Philippines and you would say their weather is just the same with ours. I would agree with you, but keep in mind that you will have to wear long sleeve, pants and a shawl when you walk around Brunei, so it's hotter. You will sweat a lot. Make sure you wear a thin, but not see through clothes to feel comfortable. Always bring an umbrella or a hat to protect you from the sun.

Be very careful when you visit a Muslim country because their culture is a lot different from ours. Bruneians respect and love their king very so don't say anything against him to avoid trouble. Don't wear a revealing clothes, and make sure you bring a shawl to cover your face when you visit mosques. Well, wherever you go, be respectful. Brunei's Do's & Dont's

Business Hours:
Business hours in Brunei is from 7:45 a.m. to 12 noon, and from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m Monday to Thursday and Saturday, with Fridays and Sundays off. Some of the hotel's restaurant follow this business hours, so make sure you check so you can plan ahead for your food at night. It happened to us, good thing there's a mini grocery store at the ground floor of the hotel so we bought instant noodles, for dinner "UGH" !!

Tourist Attractions:
There's not much to see in Brunei, but if you love historical sites, museums, mosques, then you will love it there. There's no night life, that I know of, because it's not allowed there.
4 Must See Attractions in Tutong District, Brunei Darussalam!

28 Must See Attractions in Brunei-Muara District, Brunei Darussalam!

14 Must See Attractions in Belait District, Brunei Darussalam!

8 Must See Attractions in Temburong District, Brunei Darussalam!

Your should already known that Muslim countries don't serve pork, although there are black market where you can get one. We have tried the local food in Brunei, and most of them are good but some are not. Local food stalls don't have English translation of what they sell, so just look around you and if you see someone eating a food that looks good, then point at it and they understand. Just be very careful ordering food that you are not sure about the taste or you might regret it. We ordered a vegetable balls and it was not good at all 😝! We didn't try their popular local dish, so when you go there, do try and tell me if it's good 😜.

On our last day, we went to Jerudong Mall and we saw a lot of Filipinos working there. They look happy seeing us that one of them gave us free "Teh Tarek", the popular drink in Brunei.

With all the (mis)adventures we had during this trip, I still loved it. That's when I realized that I love vising historical places, mosques and local parks.

If ever I go back to Brunei, I'll go to the country side and not the city!

I'm still trying to remember what other information I can share with you, but these are all for now. I will just update this when I remember😀!

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