Visiting Brunei, you’ll notice something very quickly: This place really isn’t set up to cater to tourists. There are upsides to that — we’re already planning to come back to do some scuba diving, because by all accounts Brunei reefs are remarkably unspoiled — but it makes budget travel options, especially ones in the capital, pretty thin on the ground.
So our recommendation, particularly if you’re planning on catching the 6 AM bus to Miri like we were, is to stay at the Jubilee Hotel, walking distance to everything there is to see in Bandar Seri Begawan:
Wandering down to the Brunei River is pretty much the most interesting of that everything; you can see on the map there on the north side you have the modern capital, on the south side you have Kampong Ayer “Venice of East” which is a 30,000 person water village and quite worth checking out:
There are river cruises you can book that take you up river and go looking for probocis monkeys and circle the village — but our recommendation is skip that, just wander along the wharf and in short order the water taxis will be offering you a personal tour, and little water taxis are much more suited to having a fun trip:
Particularly since judging by what we saw the proboscis monkeys hightail it immediately when they hear the bigger boat coming, but they are much more tolerant of a couple people drifting along quietly in a canoe, and proboscis monkeys are pretty amusing to watch:
That’s … well, that’s really about all there is to do in Bandar Seri Begawan. Stick around until after dark though, the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque is quite the sight at night:
And that is Brunei. An interesting overnight, but that was it for us: we were off to the Sarawak jungle bright and early the next morning, with our remarkably colorful transport operator:
… and we’ll have that visit report up next!