Brunei is a very small but very rich independent country located on the northeastern coast of Borneo. Brunei is rich due to her oil reserves. The head of state is a Sultan, an absolute monarch. The country's official religion is Islam.
Ordinarily, I wouldn't think of bringing my family to Brunei, even though as Singaporeans we know and have read about Brunei. Well, let's just say that there isn't much to do in Brunei. But, hey, this is the only country in the world where we can use our Singapore Dollars without converting!
Anyway, here we are, in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. We decided to go with a ship organized tour, to the Water Village (Kampong Ayer in Malay) as well as the Brunei city. It was a cloudy day.
This picture taken from the 40-seater coach. You can see a crew member leading another group of tourists, on a ship-organized excursion.
And we depart the port on schedule. That is the Legend of the Seas. The port is a container port which didn't look very busy at all.
On the way into port, some of the houses. Brunei doesn't have a big population, slightly more than 400,000.
Not sure how much property costs in Brunei.
Taken while on the coach. The tour guide was a local, ethnic Chinese origin.
The coach passing by the Parliament House. Note that Brunei has an absolute Monarchy. This article by the Telegraph is an interesting read. Remember, when you Brunei, you cannot say negative things about the Sultan, the monarchy and the politics. Otherwise, you will have to bear the consequences.
These like like decent apartments.
Our tour coach stopped outside the Sultan's Palace. We would be going in to take a look from the outside. This was the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque.
The main Dome is covered in pure gold.
From a distance, it looks very nice.
We were following our guide. He was the chap holding the big small placard with a number. That number was our tour excursion number.
Yes, I remember now, we were on tour number 5.
The guide telling us more information.
See those boats? We would be boarding them very soon.
We have just alighted from our coach. We will be boarding our boat from this jetty.
The long boat has pulled up to the steps. Thankfully the river was not choppy, otherwise boarding the boat would be very dangerous.
I wondered whether we could all fit into the boat.
Good, they had life jackets. Better safe than sorry.
The boarding process was relatively quick.
The boatman was patiently waiting. Notice another boat behind.
We had boarded. They had life jackets for kids too. The boat could take the entire coach, more than 40 pax. That made things logistically easier. One boat for one coach.
The guide was talking to the cruise passengers.
We are on our way.
There was a yellow boat in the distance. Wonder what that boat was for.
That's the Sultan's Palace. It was not opened to public. So this was the closest we could get to.
That looked like a water pipe.
Bridges were built across the river.
We have finally arrived at a river house. All of us got off the boat and were invited into the house.
They had proper toilets and sanitation. Looks like they have built the sewerage system out to these river houses.
In the house, we got to sit down and enjoy some home-made snacks.
We were also served with some tea. It was a cool respite from the heat.
Many ceiling fans and standing fans.
Some of the 'kuehs'. These were not unique to us as we have similar cakes and tarts in Singapore.
I stepped outside.
I had a look around.
A closer look at the cakes.
Looked like cookies.
Some photos of the family.
There was this bridge just outside the house. Tempted to cross.
I went on the bridge. This is the view of the boat house from the bridge. I just realised that there were two long-boats visiting the house today.
My kid and her Grandpa, coming to join me on the bridge.
This was a half day tour. It was time to head back to the ship. The coach ride back took about 40 minutes and we were back very quickly.
The Brunei port wasn't a dedicated cruise port. It was a container port.
Oh, all aboard time was 3:30PM. Anyway, since we were on a ship's tour, there would be no issue with coming back late.
A photo of the port from the ship.
Oh yes, we headed to the Windjammer to get some ice-cream! A cool respite from the very hot weather.
Note the Ice Cream machine opening hours.
Very bright sun! Glad we were back on the ship.
This shot was taken from the Diamond Lounge.
Thanks for reading!