The Land Of No Fun

Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
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Trip End Ongoing


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Where I stayed
Youth Hostel

Flag of Brunei  ,
Monday, January 30, 2006

We were on a stupidly tight schedule in Borneo which meant we had to fly back to KL from Kuching, at the complete other end of the island, in only 4 days time. In this time we also wanted to visit the huge caves in Mulu national parks but that seemed highly unlikely given how difficult it is to get there.

To get from the Sabah region of Malaysian Borneo to Sarawak we needed to go through another country, Brunei. I was quite excited to be entering another country, even for only a day, so I had no qualms about the early start.

However we were all so tired that we overslept and only managed to make the boat thanks to Lars running to the docks, twice, to buy our tickets.

To get to Brunei we had to take 2 ferries. The first took close to 2 hours, an hour longer than I had expected, before we arrived on the island of Pulau Labuan. The ferry crossing had been choppy in places and 1 guy was so sick that the whole packed out boat could hear him. Lovely sound first thing in the morning. There was also some soppy Malaysian movie on the TV that seemed laughable to me as I couldn't understand it but some people were actually crying at the end!

On docking in Labuan we had to go through exit procedures for Malaysia before boarding the second boat, with only 5 people, to Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital of Brunei. Hadn't had any breakfast so a bar of Dairy Milk with cashews, fantastic, had to suffice.

On arriving at the dock we had to go through customs, where they asked us if we had any alcohol as it's illegal in Brunei! Illegal! Changed up all my ringgit to Brunei dollars and boarded the bus to BSB.

There is only 1 hostel in BSB so we had no choice but to head there and got lost a couple of times in the process. The dorm was reasonable for the price and had air con which is always a plus point. The hostel was a bit weird though. It seemed to be attached to a kiddies play park and had kids learning to swim in the attached pool.

Decided it was best to see the sights as we only had 1 day but there didn't really seem much worth seeing. We got chatting to an American guy, who looked stoned, who was in Brunei with his "team" and the conversation went something along these lines:

Us: What is there to do in this place?
Him Nothing.
Us: Cool? So how long have you been here?
Him: A week!

We couldn't understand why anyone would put themselves through the pain of staying in a place for a week with nothing to do! It made absolutely no sense so we left him strumming his guitar and walked into town.

It took us about 20 minutes to see the sights and we were bored stiff. There didn't really seem like there was anything worth looking at in the town. The only saving grace was the prospect of visiting the amusement park in the evening.

No where seemed open, it was Chinese New Year, so we had lunch at Pizza Hut, which was reasonable, before heading to the amusement park. It seemed weird that the only drinks on the menu were soft drinks, all totally watered down, and I only received half my order.

Walked to the bus stop and it was packed. Like an underground car park and it was full with about 500 men and no women. In fact I hadn't seen a single woman all day? Boarding the bus to the amusement park was a joke. 50 guys pushing trying to get on the same minibus but we managed to get on in the end. Paid the $1 they wanted and had no idea when to get off so ended up riding it all the way to the end. The LP said it was the final stop, well they lied. Waited around for a few minutes and they took us to the "silent park" as they called it.

The park had been built about 5 years ago and was apparently the biggest theme park in the world. Absolute crap! It was tiny, there were no people and only a couple of rides were open.

The park had obviously been built for people who have no other fun in their lives but even the locals don't come here anymore. There were only 3 rides open in the whole park! One of those was bumper cars. Not even a theme park ride but bloody fair ground bumper cars! Well we had to go on it to justify the entrance fee, not a lot, and drove in reverse for the whole time. Pretty good fun actually.

Couldn't believe that was the only ride open and eventually found the go carts that were apparently open. 1 bloody car between 50 people! This park was a joke! The only other ride that was open was the log flume and it was actually pretty good fun. Thought it would be the same as every other one I'd been on but half the ride was in reverse which made it much better! Going down the drops backwards, albeit only 1 drop, made it funny and we went on it twice in a row.

After all that excitement we decided to head back to the hostel. We had assumed before we left that it would be easy to get a taxi back but having seen how dead it was we now knew that wasn't going to be the case. We had to order a taxi at reception and got chatting to another bunch of travellers, equally unimpressed by the park, and secured a taxi back to Malaysia with them tomorrow. Result!
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Comments

zafirah
zafirah on

Brunei
When Jerudong Park was first opened, entrance are free and a lot of people came there until when they decided to not make it free, the population of people who came there began to decrease and resulting a quiet boring place and the reason why only a few amount of rides open.

If you ever wanted to come to Brunei (which I bet no) for a proper visit, I reccomend you to visit Kampong Ayer (water village) and some of our mosques. I am not sure what's so interesting about those places but I always see tourist going there. And for a hotel, I reccomend you Empire Hotel.

Also, if you like nature, you might want to visit some of our green reserved forests.

:)

faddeo
faddeo on

Brunei
i quite agree with you. I probably will feel the same way like u. as a local, i think WE need to do something.

an oil/gas producing country, i think we are capable of investing all those money for the country's develpment in tourism and business in particular.

ive watched and read countries on how they promote their countries. one example impresses me most is Dubai, UAE. they have a unique sense of style in terms tourism and is one to watch in the 21st century. believe it or not... it was a DESERT!

so for Brunei, it all started with a large bunch of forest. i think Brunei has got a real potential in tourism as well. personally, i always want to know what are they (whoever concern) trying to achieve in this country. Because every decision can make a difference.

Its a peaceful country i can say... but too peaceful is too BORING!! bring some investors in. analyse and study the consequences. How do u want this country to be. how the locals want it to be.

sorry... got carried away here. but the authors right! ;)

rbisset
rbisset on

Brunei
I may have been a bit harsh looking back on what I've written but I really had no idea what there was to do there. My guidebook only had 4 pages on Brunei!!

I'm sure there are some other sights to see outside the city and the country probably merited a couple more days. I think the fact it was Chinese new year and everywhere was shut didn't help matters.

s. chua abdullah on

When you decide to come back to Borneo, (maybe Brunei?). give me a call. If you enjoy nature, i'd be happy to bring you on a trekking experience.

Brunei, is after all, A Kingdom of Unexpected Treasures.

I hope you'll give our country a second chance.. :)

Wally on

you should have come many years ago when the park was free. lots of people coming and all the rides were opened. Those were my childhood happy memories days. it was the only free theme park in asia. just googled the old time pictures of the jerudong theme park. you missed a lot dudes.

Wally on

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerudong_Park .... http://98.130.112.56/talkback/?p=6

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