Bandar Seri Begawan, with an estimated population of 140,000 as of 2010, is the capital and largest city of the Sultanate of Brunei. It is called simply as Bandar by the locals.
After touchdown at the Brunei International Airport, we went straight to Immigration section. We were cleared by the Immigration section in no time since Philippine passport-holders can stay visa-free for 14 days in Brunei. No questions asked.
We were also cleared by Customs. They only asked if we have with us wines or liquors. When you say none, they let you pass in a jiffy. We excitedly went out and asked the Customs police where the purple buses are. He said he doubts if the purple buses still service the airport since they are always empty.
We are not the type that easily gives up so we went upstairs at the departure area ( Note: Think of NAIA 2 and NAIA 3, taxi is cheaper if you hail them from the departure area.) We asked the very nice receptionist at the departure area if there are purple buses plying the airport route to Bandar Seri Begawan. She said yes there is and even called up our hostel for us and gave us a magazine guide to Brunei. She’s an angel!
We then waited at the airport lounge for the purple bus and talked to a Malay visiting Brunei too. Then voila, after an hour, the purple bus arrived. We hurriedly went out and hailed the purple bus. Fare is 1BND (the Brunei dollar is managed together with the Singapore dollar at a 1:1 ratio by Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). I paid 2 Singapore dollars for two (2) PAX.
The main bus station in the city is located in Jalan Cator underneath a multi-story car park. There are six bus routes servicing Bandar Seri Begawan area; the Central Line, Circle Line, Eastern Line, Southern Line, Western Line and Northern Line. The buses operate from 6.30 am till 6.00pm except for Bus No. 1 and 20 which are extended up to nighttime. All bus routes begin and terminate their journey at the main bus terminal. Buses heading to other towns in Brunei such as Tutong, Seria and Kuala Belait also depart from the main bus terminal and Taxi.
We then looked for our hostel, K.H. Soon Resthouse, which room we got for BND$ 35. There are so many Filipinos/ Filipinas in Brunei, aakalain mo na nasa Pinas ka lang talaga. Parang mas madami pa nga ang mga kababayan natin doon kesa sa native ng Brunei. Sadly, di familiar yung mga napagtanungan namin kung nasaan ang K.H. Soon Resthouse, tinuro kami sa direction ng Yayasan Complex. Yun pala 2 kanto away lang sa BUS STATION ng JALAN CATOR ang location ng hostel namin. Hay buhay! Ha ha ha!
Walang elevator yun hostel, sakripisyong umakyat sa taas, ‘ tas iba ang ground floor kesa sa 1st floor, sa 2nd floor ang receptionist so parang 3rd floor na siya sa atin. Nasa 3rd floor ( 4th floor na sa atin) ang room namin at sa labas ang C.R. pero madami at merong hot water, yehey! First time ko mag stay sa isang walk-up hotel. What an experience talaga! BND$35 a day siya, so mura na din pero meron pang mas mas mura pero medyo malayo sa center kesa sa location ng hostel namin na very central location talaga.
Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque is a royal Islamic mosque located in Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital of the Sultanate of Brunei. The mosque is classified as one of the most spectacular mosques in the Asia Pacific and a major tourist attraction.Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque is considered amongst the people of Brunei as the country’s major landmark.