Brunei exceeded my expectations. All the forums and guidebooks say the same thing: it’s so small, you can see everything in one day. It’s true — Brunei is small and if you move fast enough, you can see the major attractions in one day.
I was lucky enough to meet a Filipino family staying in the same hostel. Since it was their third day in Bandar Seri Begawan, they took me under their wings and we explored BSB and surrounds together. They showed me where to buy cheap food and water, and how to travel cheaply (by bus, only BN$1 per ride).
We share the belief that traveling is also a vacation. No need to wake up at the crack of dawn, no need to rush through everything in one day. We had no choice but to take it easy last Wednesday anyway; it was Hari Raya, a public holiday.
We were amazed at the number of Filipinos are living in Brunei. It’s funny when we’d be speaking to each other in English then finding out later on that we’re all Filipinos. The bayanihan spirit is very much alive as they go the extra mile to help us.
The Bruneians are quite exceptional too. They’re friendly and generous. Earlier we were just asking a local about how to go to the Kampung Ayer Cultural Gallery, he volunteered a friend’s boat, including his friend’s son and his son to take us around the water village and up the river.
After the water tour, he then volunteered to drive us to Kota Batu and then to Muara — places we wouldn’t have thought to visit since it was far from Bandar.
In my travels, I’ve come to realize it’s not just the landmarks and experiences that make a destination memorable. It’s the people that you interact with that makes the trip amazing. After this, I think I’ll be making a bigger effort to come out of my shell and be friendly.