Chris Kolka's Trip To Brunei

Bandar Seri Begawan Travel Blog

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June 18th, 2010

A friend of mine, Chris Kolka from Brisbane, Australia, visited Brunei for only 3 hours during his stopover here.

Let me share the story about how I met him:
I met Chris on the plane on June 4th, 2010, while both of us were on our flight to Bangkok, Thailand. I was visiting my friend, Chanatda, and he was going to attend a wedding in Koh Samui. Anyways, we chatted during the whole 2 hours + flight and I told him about Brunei since he was curious. And since he was going to stop in Brunei on his way back, why not get a transit visa and let me show him around?

Back to the story...

His flight arrived in Brunei on June 18th, at 4.35PM, and since there were other flights arriving close to his arrival time, such as from Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu and Singapore, and since he had to check-in his bags for the next flight before being granted a transit visa, it was about 5PM when he finally came into view.

He recognized me among the crowds and came up to me and greeted me. I was with my boyfriend, Athari, and before I have the chance to introduce them, they were like shaking hands and saying "Hi, I'm Chris!" and "Hi, I'm Athari!"... Haha..

So, we went up to my car and Athari drove. I was thinking so hard about where to bring Chris since the weather wasn't that pretty. It was drizzling but the sun was still up. We drove up to the main city itself, the CBD, or BSB. We wanted to get a boat ride, but due to the drizzle and the choppy waters of Kampong Ayer, we didn't.

Chris is an architect, so I thought he would be interested in our Kampong Ayer, so called "Venice of the East". We parked our car at the Tarindak D'Seni compound and took some photos. We then drove around the city and stopped infront of SOAS Mosque. He's awed by the architecture. I can't blame him. Even a Bruneian like myself is awed. Hehe. He wasn't allowed to enter, though, since there was a notice saying that non-Muslims are not allowed inside. I thought non-Muslims are allowed inside as long as they dress accordingly. Anyways, we wanted to drop by at the Royal Regalia Building but it was drizzling and the time was ticking by. His next flight to Brisbane was due at 9 PM, hence he needs to be at the airport by 8PM.

Next, we went to see the Royal Palace, but too bad, we weren't able to see it from the entrance. A boat trip is the only way to see the palace clearly, besides going into the area...  After the palace, we went to Jame Asr Mosque in Kiulap. Chris was very fascinated by the mosque and recalled that even the mosques in Morocco couldn't compete to those in Brunei. He took some photos, and we went back to the car.

Since it's already dark, we wanted to bring him to dinner before sending him to the airport, but I wanted him to see Gerai Gadong, so we made our way to Gadong. We parked the car and walked among the stalls. It's nothing like the stalls you find in Bangkok, though, but it's good enough. One would be able to see stalls selling vegetables and fruits, and some stalls selling clothes, accessories and cheap perfumes. And of course, food stalls! We passed by many stalls, and Chris said the scent is very aromatic and definitely the stalls are cleaner than those in Bangkok. He had a taste of Puspa (as called by Athari), while I called it ABC. Haha. I introduced him to the wonderful "Tongkeng Ayam' or in English "Chicken Ass", which was barbequed in honey. Oh so Yummy! I chose some traditional Bruneian delicacies for him to bring back, such as Kueh Bahulu, Kueh Sapit and Kueh Cincin.

After visiting the night market, we went to Aminah Arif in Serusop for some real Bruneian meal - the ambuyat. Ambuyat is this gooey sticky stuff you eat with different side dishes. Ambuyat is made from the sago tree, and it's tasteless and so not appealing. But mixed with the 'cacah' or dippings, it's very appetizing =)

So, I believe Chris enjoyed ambuyat very much, and also sambal belacan. Haha.

10 after 8, Chris arrived at the airport, and we bid our farewells. It was a short but interesting trip for Chris, I assume.

Next time, he'll tour us around Brisbane =)))
yani_istora says:
Posted on: Jul 06, 2010
fransglobal says:
At least I spent longer than three hours!
Posted on: Jul 06, 2010
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photo by: cimtech