Tag Archives: Borneo

Backpacking South East Asia: Brunei – The Sultan’s Treasures at the Royal Regalia Museum

After visiting the Kampong Ayer (water villages) and having lunch at CBTL where Zaza met me, we then went to the Royal Regalia Museum, one of the must see places in the capital Bandar Seri Begawan (BSB).

Brunei-Royal-Regalia-Museum-Portrait.jpg
Royal Regalia Museum

The Royal Regalia Museum houses the “treasures” of the Sultan and the Sultanate of Brunei, ranging from personal collections of photos and memorabilias to gifts from various State leaders and governments. I guess you can say that just like in old times where the visiting envoys or monarchs or sultans/datus/rahas present exquisite gifts to the host, visiting State leaders or Ambassadors also present tokens from their countries as a gesture of “friendship” between countries. The collection included birthday gifts as well as anniversary gifts for the commemoration of the Sultan’s coronation.

Continue reading Backpacking South East Asia: Brunei – The Sultan’s Treasures at the Royal Regalia Museum

Backpacking South East Asia: Brunei – Getting In, Around and Out of Kampong Ayer

Day 4: Bandar Seri Begawan walkabout and actual Kampong Ayer exploration (part 3)

Note: The delayed Part 2 is on Yayasan and surrounding areas, Part 4 is inside the Kampong Ayer Cultural and Tourism Gallery, Part 5 will be the Royal regalia Museum and the Masjid Jame’ Asri Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah. Please bear with my slow writing and uploads!

After having breakfast and doing some walkabout and shopping at Yayasan (it’s raining so I had to stay indoors), I decided to go around the complex (actually get lost is a better term) and its nearby landmarks. After which, I noticed that a lot of time has already passed and so I really need to go to Kampong Ayer or else miss my chance of seeing the water villages.

Water Taxi Terminal
Water Taxi Terminal (Kampong Ayer a few seconds away!)

I’m not really a nature tripping fanatic so though it interested me to see the proboscis monkey, I opted to just spend my time inside the water village. So, since the Ates (Pinay!) from the souvenir shop, already informed me of the things I need to remember when going to the village, I hopped on to one of the water taxis waiting near Yayasan. I asked the driver how much it would cost and he said that it’s BND1 (PhP35). I knew that the fare should only be 50Sen but I was willing to let it slide. However, a passenger about to board the same boat said, “It’s only 50Sen.” Yun na! Hahaha Continue reading Backpacking South East Asia: Brunei – Getting In, Around and Out of Kampong Ayer

Backpacking South East Asia: Brunei – Masjid Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien (SOAS Mosque)

Day 4: Bandar Seri Begawan walkabout and Kampong Ayer actual exploration (Part 1)
Warning: You are about to have a Masjid overload

I had a great night with Zaza and her friends Narissa and Amal. There’s so many things I wish to share with you for my couchsurfing experience but that would have to wait a little while longer. Now, I wish to take you on a walking tour of Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital city of Negara Brunei Darussalam.  The day began by Zaza, after checking her young ones’ class attendance, taking me around the city center and showing me the places where I might want to visit. We agreed to meet after my walkabout, at around 2pm in Coffee Bean. I won’t have a way to contact her directly since I did not get a Bruneian SIM card. So, with that settled and her dropping me off at the SOAS Mosque, my six-hour walkabout began.

SOAS Mosque: First shot at first glance
Sultan Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Mosque: First shot at first glance

Continue reading Backpacking South East Asia: Brunei – Masjid Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien (SOAS Mosque)

Backpacking South East Asia: Onward from Kota Kinabalu to Brunei

Day 3: Kota Kinabalu-Labuan-Brunei via Ferry (the route most traveled)

Room 99 awaits!
Room 99 awaits!

After a great day and evening spent with Zuldee and Sally, I spent some more time chatting with the other guests at Sensi Backpackers. The Shanghai family is scheduled to leave the day after, just like me. We spent some more hours just chatting and me trying to convince them to come here in the Philippines. After that, my eyes and body finally gave in to the strong pull of the comfortable bed.

I woke up at about 6am and readied my stuff. I grabbed some breakfast too, and got myself some baon fruits (an apple and an orange), free! :p Before I left, I bade Sally goodbye (she told me to wake her) and promised that I’d see if I can come back to Kota Kinabalu before she returns to London (December 18). Unfortunately, I did not hold future at my hands and as much as I wanted to return and visit the Kota Kinabalu National Park, I no longer can. (If you are reading this Sally, I’m sorry! Come visit me instead! Hehe)

Anyway, if my camera time tag is correct, I am still having my bread toasted at 6:45am. The ferry that would take me from Kota Kinabalu to Brunei, passing through Labuan Federal Territory of Malaysia, is set to leave at 8am. Meaning, I should have been on my way at that time already instead of having two toasted bread with butter (more of margarine actually), strawberry jam and orange marmalade. So, I had to rely on my long legs and even longer strides to get me there before the departure time. I even made some stops actually, taking snaps here and there (I think I ended up erasing those here and there snaps when I ran out of memory somewhere in Vietnam).

One of the snaps here and there that survived the cut!
One of the snaps here and there that survived the cut!

I think it took me about 20 minutes walking from Sensi to Jesselton. It probably helped that I have been to Jesselton the day before for my Sapi Island Hopping Half-day Tour. I bought my ticket (sorry, I’ll try to juggle my memory to remember from which counter it was purchased) and paid the terminal fee. I asked for the cheapest ticket available (economy ticket), priced at RM53 + RM 3.6 for the terminal fee at Jesselton.

Off to Labuan!
Off to Labuan!

I figured, we’d all get there anyway. Besides, it’s an air-conditioned cabin whether you choose first-class or economy. Perhaps they got a better view though. Or they would be served a meal or something. I really didn’t know and I didn’t care so much. What mattered to me at that time was that I can save some bucks. :p Continue reading Backpacking South East Asia: Onward from Kota Kinabalu to Brunei

Backpacking South East Asia: Selamat datang, Kota Kinabalu!

Day 1: House-Trinoma-Dau-Clark-Kota Kinabalu

The flight was at 4pm so I took my sweet time preparing back at my place in Novaliches. Perhaps too sweet. It was already 10:40 when I flagged a passing FX and by 11:30, I boarded a bus from Trinoma going to Dau Bus Terminal. I planned to take a jeepney ride to SM Clark and then take another jeep passing through the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) but, as I arrived at almost 1pm already, I feared I might make the wrong jeepney (little is still known about this route) and not have enough time if ever the horror stories about power-tripping immigration officers are true. I’ve already lost one day due to the storm and I certainly don’t want to miss my flight and delay my trip any longer.

It was, I believe, a good thing then when I saw a sign, written on what seemed like a torn carton, that read: “Shuttle: Dau to Clark Airport AIRCON” (or so I remembered). I walked to the sign and asked the drivers around. They called for a man, probably in his 50s or 60s, who’s like the conductor/dispatcher. He told me there are already two passengers and we need to wait just for two more. Fare is P100. I think it’s quite steep but acceptable. When I agreed, he ushered me into the left side of the terminal wherein an airconditioned shuttle is waiting. Of course, the AC was not yet on.

AC Shuttle to DMIA (Clark Airport)
AC Shuttle to DMIA (Clark Airport)

There, I met Zuldee, a Sabahan guy on a weekend vacation here in the Philippines, visiting his Filipina girlfriend Ning (if my memory is correct). I smiled at him and asked, in English, if he’s going to Kota Kinabalu. He just smiled and nodded. After some time, Ning stood from where she was smoking and climbed back to the shuttle. She asked me what I’ll do in KK and translated it to Zuldee after. She explained to me who they were and we just chatted some more. Continue reading Backpacking South East Asia: Selamat datang, Kota Kinabalu!