If you are a Filipino, the most popular travel destinations in Asia would be Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Japan and South Korea to name a few. But if there is one country that I would want you to include in your Asian bucket list, it would be Brunei.
This tiny country has a lot to offer to its visitors. The architecture, the food, the culture and most especially their locals who are extremely kind, would make your stay one of the best! In my case, I stayed for just a day and have seen a lot of great sights. If time permits, I would definitely go back, stay for few more days and explore the rest of the country. I suggest that you stay in Brunei for at least 3 days and 2 nights.
For Filipinos, it would be such a breeze to go to Brunei. After all, we can stay here visa – free as long as we stay for not more than 14 days. With the size of the country, 14 days should be enough for you to go around, immerse and appreciate Brunei.
How to get to Brunei from Manila
There are multiple ways on how you can get to Brunei from Manila. Here are some of those.
- Non – Stop Flight from Manila
- Layover in Singapore
- Layover in Kuala Lumpur
Most of you would choose a non – stop flight, right? I totally understand. But for me, there’s even a better idea. Why not choose a flight which has a layover and have a glimpse of a totally different country?
AirAsia has one of the best rates for flights going to Brunei. They even have a great lounge to stay at when you are having a layover in Kuala Lumpur.
Where I stayed in Brunei?
I was fortunate enough to have been accommodated by one of Brunei’s premier hotels, Badi’Ah. This property is just 15 minutes away from the international airport. The rooms are very elegant and the staff is commendable. Since public transportation is not easy in Brunei, the hotel arranged my transportation that allowed me to go to the city with such a breeze. Once you are in the city, you can just easily walk everywhere.
If you’re on a budget, you can check this list of budget hotels in Brunei.
Free Things you can do in Brunei
If you know me well, you’d probably notice that I am a thrift spender! If I can avoid spending too much, I would. So when I went to Brunei, I instantly fell in love with all the FREE places you can visit here.
- The Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque – This is said to be one of the most beautiful mosques in the Asia Pacific. It would be a waste not to see it when you visit Brunei. And what makes this architecture beyond amazing? That would be its main dome that is covered in pure gold!
- Kampong Ayer – This is commonly known as the Water Village and has 39,000 people living in here. Some even call this as the Venice of the east. The Water Village in Brunei is said to be the most famous water settlement in the region.
- Gadong Night Market – The foodie travelers out there should not miss this popular Gadong Night Market. Get to taste local delicacies without going overboard your budget.
Oh, and if you miss eating at Jollibee, Brunei has different branches where you can satisfy your cravings for Chicken Joy! And yes, I had my lunch there.
Other Must Visit Places around Brunei
Since I had very limited time at hand, I was only able to visit few fascinating spots in Brunei. But if you will visit the country for few more days, here are some of the areas that must be included in your itinerary.
- Brunei Museum – The museum is just near the Capital where you can find a lot of Islamic art from the 16th This is the largest in the country. I always recommend travelers to visit museums because it is one of the best ways to know the country’s origin and culture.
- Andulau Forest Reserve – There are a number of tour operators offering a package that includes Andulau Forest Reserve. Enjoy the amazing sights and the ambiance which is far more different from the city.
- Ulu Temburong National Park – This park is protected since 1991 and the first one that was established in the country. You can find here the unspoiled jungle which is also known as the ‘Green Jewel of Brunei’.
- Pekan Tutong – You might want to visit this humble town and see a different side of Brunei.
- Labi – Get to see this area where it is made up of several Kampongs or villages. Don’t forget to try out their limau labi.
- Tasek Merimbun – This is the largest lake in Brunei located in Mukim Rambai and is surrounded by the 7800 – hectare Tasek Merimbun Heritage park.
- Kuala Belait – This is the second largest town in the country where you can find other great tourist destinations. They have the Silver Jubilee Park, Menara Cendera Kenangan, Kuala Belait Boat Club and Tudong Saji market to name a few.
How much money do you need for a short weekend trip to Brunei?
Brunei is actually an expensive country to visit if you are to compare it with Thailand or our very own, Philippines. But as always, you can stretch your budget if you know where to get cheap accommodation and food. At an average, the daily cost per person would be USD 35.
FAQ: Frequently Asked Question about Traveling to Brunei
1. What are the languages used in Brunei?
Apart from Bruneian Malay, English and Chinese Mandarin are widely used.
2. When is the best time to visit Brunei?
The best month would be January or the first months of the year. Try not to go there by November and December.
3. What are the type of foods in Brunei?
If you are fond of eating Chinese and Indian food, then you will have a lot of choices in Brunei. There are of course, western choices.
4. Should I drink tap water?
No. I recommend that you drink bottled water and use it even when you brush your teeth.
5. Are ATMs available in Brunei?
Yes, there are a lot of ATMs in the country. But make sure you avoid withdrawing cash at night.
6. Is it safe to travel to Brunei?
Yes, it is safe to travel around the country. However, it wouldn’t hurt if you are always alert.
7. Is tipping recommended in Brunei?
Tipping is not a common practice in the country.
8. Is internet connection good in Brunei?
There are a number of internet cafes in the capital. But in other parts of the country, it would be hard to find connection and it can be pretty expensive.
9. Can I haggle and bargain in Brunei?
This is not common in the markets of Brunei but you can always negotiate for taxi fare.
10. Should I bring my credit card in Brunei?
Always bring your card and some cash just in case there are no facilities to charge your credit card.
We partnered with AirAsia in making my Brunei trip possible. All opinions are based on my personal experience.
CAR RENTAL TIP: We always try to rent our own car when we travel, so that we can explore off-the-beaten-path places on our own schedule. Check out the best deals on rental cars for your trip and explore your independence!
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