Transit to Bandar Seri Begawan – Brunei

Our thirty-five minute flight taking us out of Mulu landed in Miri.  From there we caught a Grab to the local bus terminal.  Our plan: Bus from Malaysia to Brunei.

We had some time to kill at the bus terminal so we looked around for some food (I have no shame.  I’ll admit it.  I’m a glutton.)

A big score!  Next to the bus terminal was a local market with a good mix of fruits and some local eateries.  We loaded up on some fried noodle and vegetables, all the while making frequent trips into the open air market to find interesting foods to consume.  Alyssa decided she needed more langset.  Sharleen found a new type of mango, Bambagan.  It had a thick skin, was more stringy and smelled a little like durian.

Bambagan Mango

Kylie bought and consumed a whole durian, with help from Sharleen for $1.25.

Kylie gets her Durian fix

We found a different variety of durian endemic to Borneo and we all had a taste.  It was orange/red in color, much less pungent, but little meat to eat.  I still didn’t like it.

We feasted for a good two hours until it was time to take the bus.

Boarder Crossing

Our bus departed at 3:45 sharp and the conductor distributed immigration cards. The bus conductor also made a point of asking us if we had any alcohol.  “No alcohol in Brunei.”  I found out later that it is a dry country.  The boarder crossing was a little stressful.  We had to exit our bus to go through Malaysian passport control and change bus.  We then had to stop at Brunei immigration for another check.  We could tell we were entering a more strict country by this note on the declaration form:

It was clear from this and all the “prohibited” signs around that we were entering a much more restrictive environment than where we came from.  Along with this restriction is a long list of others, including homosexuality, Christmas, speaking ill of the Sultan and his wife and blasphemy.  However on the plus side, they were the first Asian country to ban shark fin fishing.

Checking in

It was a long bus ride and we arrived in the rain at Bandar Seri Begawan around 7:40PM.  The bus dropped us off and left.  We had no Brunei dollars and knew only vaguely which direction to walk.

It used to be, if you traveled using hostels and guest houses, that you would arrive and someone would be at a desk to check you in.  No More.  They send you a electronic code to enter.  This was problematic as we neither had a phone, or a way to text without Wifi.

Fortunately, the good people of Brunei helped us out and we got into our awesome guesthouse.  AC, nice bathrooms, and comfy beds, and NO mosquitoes.  After showering I heard:

“I found something scary in the shower.”  I looked and found a six inch jungle millipede.  It wasn’t there before the shower.  And it certainly wasn’t from this place.  So someone had a hitchhiker with them for the last ten hours and didn’t even know it.  I wondered to myself what other surprises lurked in our luggage crevices.

Everyone showered and we went off to bed.  We started our travel day at nine in the morning and we got into bed around 11PM: A very long travel day.

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