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:
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:Back 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!
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