24 hour Layover in Brunei


We flew to the Philippines with Royal Brunei Airlines, and somewhere along the lines they messed up our flights meaning we had the option of a long layover in Brunei, or cutting our holiday short by 2 days!! We chose the layover, and it was a great way of seeing a new country!

We weren’t there long, but thought I’d let you know how we chose to spend those 24 hours…

The airline had offered to pay for a hotel stay, dinner and breakfast for all the passengers affected by the changes, so upon arrival we took a mini bus to our hotel. Mulia hotel was pretty bang average, perhaps a bit dated with barely any guests, but our room was huge with a lovely big bed each – which is exactly what we both needed!

We landed pretty late, so by the time we were ready to go out again it was around 5:30pm, which sadly meant we couldn’t go to any of the beautiful rainforest (which from the photos I’ve seen looks like it would be worth a visit!)

Our hotel helped us arrange a driver to give us a 2 hour tour of the city, which we decided was the best way to see as much a possible in the short time we had. This cost around £15 each, which might seem steep but I thought it was worth it.

One thing that struck me about Brunei was how peaceful and clean it was! I honestly didn’t know what to expect before we arrived. It has a population of around 40,000 people in the whole country, and the taxi driver told me it would take around 1.5 hrs to drive from one side of the country to the other, so it’s pretty small.

He took us to a few mosques (including Omar Ali Saifuddin) which were really pretty. We didn’t go inside.  We also saw the river and the water village from a distance. The mosques were all so beautiful, topped with gold and covered in intricate tile designs.



We then had a quick look around the food market, but didn’t buy anything despite how incredible it all looked and smelt, as we just got out exactly the right amount of money from the ATM to cover the taxi ride.

This is what 10 Brunei Dollars look like:IMG_4400

I did feel a bit sorry for the taxi driver, as we were so exhausted from our journey from England that we probably weren’t his most enthusiastic passengers, and didn’t spend as long at some of the stop off points as I think he expected! (the good news is we just about managed to stay awake!)

I was very excited when the traffic was stopped to let the Soltan of Brunei’s son drive past!! (what’s the chances of us seeing him?!)

Here he is in his car:IMG_4371Back at the hotel we were having mad regrets from not eating at the night market when the hotel food arrived… I got the crispy noodles, and Christiana chose the Won Ton soup, then we both got a piece of chocolate mud cake, and I ordered an ice tea to use up the budget some more. It was all a bit disappointing.

Maybe one day I’ll go back and explore this intriguing country some more…


Do you have any great layover stories? Where did you end up and how did you spend your time? – Comment below!

& don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @shore_to_surface

Kampong Phluk Floating Village

My second visit to Siem Reap, Cambodia was at the end of October, which meant rainy season!

My Asia trip was booked mainly on impulse and a strong curiosity at the time to see more of the world that simply couldn’t wait, but maybe if I’d known it was going to be rainy season I wouldn’t have chosen to visit at this time. However now I’m glad I did… It’s less busy off peak, and the rain wasn’t so bad that it ruined my experience, but the main reason I’m glad I went around this time was I got the chance to visit the floating village of Kampong Phluk just outside of Siem Reap!

This was an incredible experience, which I would highly recommend to anyone travelling to the area around the rainy season!

I booked on a day trip with a lovely girl I met in my hostel (Lubd) room. Because only 2 of us wanted to go on that day we paid quiet a lot, but the price was for the boat, and could of been split across as many as around 8 people I believe.

After a tuk tuk ride, we boarded a larger boat to the village, then moved on to little rowing boats to look around the village.

The rowing boats were peaceful, and the colours on the houses and in the trees beautiful.

Rowing through the trees reminded me of that scene from Pocahontas when they’re travelling through Grandmother Willow’s branches!

I think the photos say it all:



30 BEFORE 30

If you know me chances are I’ve made you do THE LIST

One of my friends introduced me to the 30 before 30 idea a few of years ago. That’s 30 countries before you turn 30 years old. I sat there in the pool in Corfu recalling all the countries I’d been to in my lifetime, and came to the grand total of 15.

15 may sound like a lot, but her list was MUCH more impressive and I was keen to boost my numbers!

My biggest problem was that I’d repeated the same countries several times.

I’ve been to Greece every year of my life! That’s 8 years of living in Corfu, and 20 holidays to follow this. I’ve also been to Spain 4 times (Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Catalonia and Barcelona) so that could also only count as ONE country.

Forward wind to October 2018 and my tally has jumped to 25/30 countries! That’s 5 more countries to go, and just 1 year and 7 months to reach the target! (my friend is now on 42)

Here’s my list to date – the pencil italics are where I’ve been to a country more than once.

(One country which I’m still questioning is the Vatican. I’ve been but it just didn’t feel anything like another country!)

Want to do your own list? Here’s the rules:

  • You can’t repeat countries!
  • England & Wales count!
  • Stop overs do NOT count (so that cheeky 2 hour layover in Dubai can’t be added to your total sorry)
  • Islands don’t count as a new country (sounds silly but I’ve heard more than one person ask, for example if Spain and Tenerife can count as 2 countries)

Once you’re done send me over your lists! I’m genuinely curious to see them and find out all the exciting places you’ve been!