Monday, July 23, 2012


Alright, I'm going to spend this blog post introducing you people to Brunei. Also, the awesomeness of bro portmanteaus. (PortmantBROs? Heh heh heh. Ok, I'll stop now.) But first, go ahead and look it up on a map. I'll wait.

So (hopefully) you'll notice the capital of this tiny country located on the northern shore of Borneo is Bandar Seri Begawan. If you google image search that city, this mosque is the picture that probably comes up most often. It's gorgeous and conveniently located in the city center across from the main shopping center. While there's a bunch of other stuff to do, I just included pictures of the two major mosques because they're just so darn pretty.
 There are buses that come to BSB from most major cities on Malaysian Borneo and pretty cheap flights from KL. When you get there, ask for the youth hostel, Pusat Belia. It's really close to the bus station and only 10B$/night.
 The Bruneians are also SUPER FREAKING NICE. To the point of being creepy from an American perspective. Anytime I was standing at a bus stop, several people would slow down and ask if I needed a ride. And not in a I'm-totally-going-to-murder-you kind of way. I generally turned people down though. Better safe than dead!
Protip:  maybe not visit this Islamic country during Ramadan. Which I definitely did. And everything was closed or had really restricted hours. So, I really only got to see about half of the things I wanted to. But during certain times, you can actually tour the insides of these mosques. There are a couple of museums as well: the Brunei Museum is full of Islamic art and the Regalia Museum is really all you ever need to know about the sultan.
 There's also tours of the national parks that much make up a huge portion of this country. Also, definitely take a tour around the water village. These people live on houses that are on stilts in the river. There are schools and mosques and restaurants. The residents also open their homes to tourists. My water taxi driver took me to see a tree full of long-nosed monkeys too.
No, it's not the most exciting country in SE Asia. It's not the biggest or the prettiest or the most tourist-friendly. You can't drink and there aren't any beaches. BUT! There's some really cool architecture  and interesting history. So if you have a long weekend or a few days of your trip to spare, definitely check it out.

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