There are 4 countries in the world that require a visa to get into Brunei, who would of thought Australia would be one of them! But upon visiting the Sultans museum where he has gifts from different countries we realised there were no gifts from Australia, that must be why we need a visa!! Someone send him a present!
For our fellow travellers reading this blog, you can get a visa on arrival but the customs officers arent very happy about the extra stamp and paperwork they have to do! We were told it would cost us B$20.00 each for a visa (which you need Brunei dollars for) but lucky from being in Malaysia for 2 months we could read enough Malaysian to figure out you can also get a transit visa for 72 hours for B$5.00 which is all you need to see BSB
Visa's aside we really enjoyed Brunei. There isnt much there to do but i think its worth the stop over if you are travelling from Sarawak to Sabah or visa versa. We stayed a day and a half which was enough to see everything there.
On Friday night when we arrived we travelled out to one of the suburbs, Gadong, to visit the famous night market. It was huge and had so much yummy cheap local food (my favourite part of travelling!)
On Saturday morning we visited the mosque in the centre of Brunei. It was nice but its hard when you dont know what you are really looking at once you are inside. Later that day we travelled out to another mosque we had seen when we went out to Gadong the night before and it was massive and so beautiful im really glad we went out there. It looked to be quite new, it had the beautiful tiles and marble floors. We kind of tacked ourselves onto the back of a Chinese tour group and actually got to go into the wash room and into the big prayer room upstairs. It was much nicer, bigger and more interesting than the mosque in town.
We also visited the Royal Regatta Museum (where all the presents were), the king must be given so much stuff! We spent most of the morning there looking at all the gifts and royal things.
On sunset we took a boat ride out to Kampong Ayer which is the village on water. 30,000 people live in these villages over the water and there are 11 schools, a police station, a couple of fire stations and everything these people need out there. It was really interesting. Our boat driver was really nice and took us to his house and introduced us to his Grandparents and Parents and relatives and showed us around. That was really cool. He also informed us about the happenings of the Royal family and how the next day was 'shake the sultans hand' day.
When we went out to get breakfast the next day it seemed the whole of Brunei had come to shake the kings hand. Everyone was in their traditional dress and there were performances and dancing etc going on. We decided to hang around for a couple of hours and catch the later ferry out. We got interviewed by the paper, which was pretty funny!
Later that day we caught the ferry to the island of Labuan to connect to Kota Kinabalu. But there was no connection that day so we had to stay in Labuan. Labuan is a duty free island, but thats about all it has going for it, cheap beer! There was absolutly nothing to do and at about 7.00pm the power went out and everything closed, so we caught the 8.30am ferry out the next day!
We are now in Kota Kinabalu. We are here until the 2nd August when we fly to the Phillippines. We hope to climb Mt Kinabalu in the next couple of days.
I will attempt to post some pictures of Borneo so far this afternoon