Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Brunei, I Cannot Deny

Coming from Kota Kinabalu, Brunei’s arrival area is smaller than most international airports. Many thanks to our family friend Dolf  and Cecille, and their 2 wonderful daughters who took very good care of us during our brief but enjoyable stay at Brunei. They pampered us since our arrival, until our departure in the small but peaceful country.

Dolf took us first to the classic Jame’asr Hassanal Bolkiah Mosque (locally known as Kiarong Mosque) in Gadong area straight from the airport. With the premium marble finish and 24k gold-covered chandelier and ceilings, it is their biggest mosque that speaks of Brunei’s wealth. However, photo shoots are not allowed inside the mosque, so we could only take pictures of mosque from the outside.

Next stop is the Warisan mall complex fronting the more modern but equally magnificent  Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque near the Kampong Ayer water village. Since it was close to their sunset prayer time, we cannot enter their national mosque.

Unlike in Philippines, the malls here have much fewer people, and devoid of noise from people or shops’ audio systems. Heavy dinner was at a Thai-Chinese restaurant near The Mall, where Filipino waiters attended to us. Wife canvassed for the price of iPhone in The Mall, which is similarly-priced like in Manila. Prices in their Giordano shop are also same in Manila.

Breakfast was also very heavy with roti canai, durian cake, and other local dishes in a neighborhood coffee shop. First destination of the day was the luxurious Empire Hotel with its huge marble columns and very high ceiling. There are only a few people in the lobby and in poolside, so its very quiet. It is evident that they spent huge sums of Brunei dollar to build this 7-star hotel.

Last stop on our Brunei tour is the Regalia museum with life-sized display of the Sultan’s coronation 30 years ago. The sultan’s state gifts and gold ceremonial implements are for visitors to admire. Unfortunately, photo shoots are not allowed when viewing such opulence.

Before our departure, we had lunch at Jollibee in Brunei airport. Wife ordered chicken curry while I tried their version of nasi lemak below, which is a nice diversion from their usual fried chicken back home.

Bookmark this post:
StumpleUpon DiggIt! Del.icio.us Yahoo Technorati Google Twitter FaceBook