Sunday, 3 March 2013

Labuan & Brunei trip – 3 Mar 13

We woke up at 6.45am and packed our bags for check out. Then we had complimentary breakfast at the hotel. The breakfast is ala carte with a choice of scramble egg, nasi goreng and fried mee. I ordered scramble egg and the plate comes with toasted bread, scramble egg, hotdog, harsh brown and baked beans.
Breakfast corner @ Deli cafe
Choice of drink
Choice of breakfast
The Scrambler

While waiting for the tour bus, I requested to the receptionist that we would like the bus driver to drop us at Royal Regalia as we didnt get to visit it yesterday. We started the tour at around 8.15am. Other than the 3 of us, there is another German couple joining this tour.
Arts and Handicraft Centre

Kampong Ayer is a water village where there are 39,000 people residing here. There are 4,200 structures including homes, school, mosques, clinics, a police station and a marine fire station. This is the world's largest water village.
A school at Kampong Ayer
These cars belong to those people living in Kampong Ayer
Kampong Ayer

Yayasan Shopping mall is the biggest shopping mall in BSB but it look big enough for us though.
Yayasan shopping centre

Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque is built in an artificial lagoon on the banks of the Brunei River. A marble bridge leads to a structure in the lagoon meant as a replica of a 16th Century Sultan Bolkiah mahligai barge. It was built to commemorate the 1,400th anniversary of Nuzul Al-Quran (coming down of the Quran), completed in 1967 and used to stage Quran reading competitions.
Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque
Islamic court
Supreme court

Istana Nurul Iman palace is the official residence of the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, and the seat of the Brunei government. It is the largest residential palace in the world. The palace contains 1,788 rooms, which includes 257 bathrooms, a banquet hall that can be expanded to accommodate up to 5,000 guests, a mosque accommodating 1,500 people. The palace also includes a 110-car garage, an air conditioned stable for the Sultan's 200 polo ponies, and 5 swimming pools. The palace is not open to the public except on the annual Islamic celebration of Hari Raya Aidilfitri.
Istana Nurul Iman
Damuan Recreational Park
Dogs are not allowed

Jame' Asri Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Mosque is the largest mosque in Brunei. It is built to commemorate the silver jubilee of the current Sultan.
Jame' Asri Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Mosque

After the tour, the driver drop us at the Royal Regalia. Opening hours: Sun - Thu 9am - 5pm, Fri 9am - 11.30am and 2.30pm - 5pm and Sat 9.45am - 5pm. Last entry is 30min before closing. We have to remove our shoes before entering Royal Regalia. Then we have to leave our bags at the lockers as no bags, cameras and handphones are allowed. The galleries consist of Royal exhibition gallery (Coronation of the Sultan), Silver Jubilee Exhibition, Gifts from various countries and History and Development of Constitutional of Brunei. The place is huge and we spent almost 1hr viewing the exhibits.
Royal Regalia

We left Royal Regalia and walked to the bus terminal to take bus to Brunei Museum. There are 2 bus from the terminal to the museum - Bus 11 or 39. While waiting for the bus, a taxi driver touted is and quote BND10. My sis bargain to BND9 but the taxi driver does not accept so my sis rejected him. I'm actually ok as we do not know how long we have to wait for the bus. Shortly after that, bus 39 came and we board the bus. We checked with the bus driver if the bus is going to Brunei museum and the bus driver will inform us when we reached. The journey takes 5min only.
Airlines in Jawi script
Bus terminal
Inside the bus

Brunei museum opening hours: Sun - Thu 9am - 5pm, Fri 2.30pm - 5pm, Sat 9.45am - 5pm. Last entry is 4.30pm. We have to leave our belongings at the locker as it is not allowed in the museum. There are 6 galleries - Islamic Art gallery, Petroleum gallery, Natural history gallery, Brunei Traditional Culture gallery, Archaeology and history gallery and Brunei independence galley. We skipped the Islamic Art gallery as we ain't interested in the exhibits. There is temporary exhibition on Japan samurai and akitdo. We spent about 50min in the museum.
Brunei museum
6 galleries

I received sms from Air Asia that our flight back to KL is delay by 1hr. I calculated that we would have to rush to clear the immigration and check in for the flight back to Singapore as there is only 1hr in between. We waited for almost 15min for the purple bus back to bus terminal and a car stopped and offered us to take us to bus terminal. We asked how much and he replied BND5. A guy from England is also waiting for the purple bus and we hitch ride the local car back to BSB. The local drop us at Yayasan mall and we can settle our lunch here.

We walked around and there are Jolibee, KFC and a food court inside Yayasan mall. We were pondering between Jolibee and KFC. In the end, we had our lunch at KFC. The price of the set meal is about the same as Singapore. However the set here comes with rice. We rested till it's time to return to the hotel for the airport transfer.
KFC lunch

On the way walking back to the hotel, we passed by KH Soon Rest House. I did planned to stay here but the tripadvisor reviews on this guesthouse is not good. To my surprise, Brunei Hotel is exactly opposite the guesthouse.
KH soon rest house
Brunei Hotel
Tamu Kianggeh

The journey from the hotel to the airport is relatively short which tooks about 20min.
A new government building
Ministry of Defence
A hypermart and shopping mall

The check in counter was not yet open when we reached the airport. We walked around and there was not many shops. The airport is currently under expansion and some parts of the airport were sealed. There are few airlines flying to BSB and I saw check in counters for Royal Air Brunei, Singapore Airline, Malaysia Airline, Thai Airways and Air Asia.
Expansion of the airport
Departure hall

Finally we are able to check in yet the immigration counters are not open. Unlike Singapore, the immigration counters do not operate around the clock. The counters open when it's boarding time for flight departure. We went to coffee bean outlet inside the transit area since there is wifi here. The security check is located at the departure gate hence we couldnt refill our water bottle although there is a water cooler outside the departure gate.
Transit area
Scone for tea break

The plane didnt land until 5.50pm and all passengers were waiting inside the departure gates. The sitting area in the departure gate is too small to accommodate all the passengers and some have to stand. It's around 6.15pm when the plane finally take off and I was very worried that we couldnt catch the flight at 8.40pm back to Singapore.
Departure gate
Royal Brunei Airline

We felt hungry during the flight intend to purchase in flight meals. To our disappointment, no meals were available except cup noodles and tidbits. We decided to have our dinner after we landed at KL LCCT. By the time the plane landed at KL LCCT, it's already 8.30pm so there is no way that we can catch the flight. After we cleared the immigration, we quickly went to Tiger Airways to enquire if they can put us on the next flight back to Singapore. They replied that the next flight is full. We quickly went to Air Asia sales counter and enquired for available flight. Luckily there are seats available on the last flight back to Singapore. We have to spend extra S$110 to secure the ticket.

After purchasing the tickets, we had dinner at Old Town White Coffee. I ordered Ipoh Lum mee which cost RM10.50 ~ S$4.50. 

After our dinner, we proceed to check in and clear the immigration. We purchased mineral water from this shop inside the transit hall as it is selling at the cheapest price compared to other shops. (RM1.50 ~ S$0.60)
Cheapest mineral water sold in LCCT

Finally we landed at Changi Airport at 11.30pm. A trip which is being screwed up...

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