Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Brunei: What they don't tell you

Screw stiff travel guides, what people need in this modern world are real life, true to detail lowdown on tourist destinations! In true Ninin "honest-to-goodness" fashion, let me give part 2 (click here for part 1)of our TMF Brunei guide: what they don't tell you.

Even before reaching the country, I was already troubling myself with what to wear. Prior to the trip, I was told that you can't wear shorts or any short clothing in the Brunei because they are strictly Muslim. However, I was reassured by my friend that there are no clothing restrictions in Brunei so I happily packed my shorts for the trip. hehe

Well who would have thought my instincts were right! We felt harassed the first day we went out in shorts! My gawd, if they gave out gold bars every time our legs got stared at or stopped guys on the street, we'd be rich by now! It was an extremely different experience. To quote my friend, "I've never felt so scared of guys in my entire life!". That's how stressful the experience was! Never. Ever. Ever. Wear skimpy outfits in Brunei!
Check out the "fans club" at the back! I swear, it was like that EVERYWHERE we went!

Social Activities
Bandar Seri Bagawan is labeled the "peaceful city" for a reason... it is truly and literally peaceful-- meaning, it was a very, very quiet place. There hardly anything much to do when it comes to partying and going out in Brunei. The people are generally very quiet people, even their markets feel like holy places. There are no bars and party places in the country because 1) Alcohol is prohibited and, 2) loud music is not allowed. Eh? So what do the locals do for fun? Hang out in coffee shops! Yes, a bit weird but true! The peculiar thing however is, there's no Starbucks in the area! They only have Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (not that it's a bad thing)

For those who are used to the City, you might find this quality of Brunei a bore. But if you're looking to relax and get away from the City's buzz without totally going to the mountains/province, then Brunei is for you! (think of it as like the Hamptons--a rich man's take on the "provincial" life)

I've been to a good number of airports and for some reason, Brunei's airport disappointed me. I've always thought of Brunei as a very, very rich country. No wait, THEY ARE! But their airport is surprisingly small and does not look impressive-- at all. It was also disappointing that the shops close at a certain time. I mean, airport shops should be open 24/7 right?

For some reason, shopping is not Brunei's strongest point. Yes, there are big malls in the area but disappointing, they fail compared with the malls here in Manila. So don't go there if you plan to buy clothes, accessories or shoes-- you'll only get disappointed. But go there if you want a taste of the best instant noodles in town:
I filled my luggage with packs of these! They were probably wondering why I had so many instant noodles in my bag
Also, I suggest buying chocolates in Brunei! Chocolates are so much more cheaper there compared to the Philippines (and I think even with its other Asian neighbors). So again, I hoarded the chocolates!

The best place to go shopping in Brunei is the grocery. Seriously, there are many interesting food stuff on the shelves.

 Left: Mirinda Strawberry (which is really good!) and Kuih Mor (I don't know what that is but the taste is so addicting! The powdered sugar gave it oomph!

Giant Hello Panda!!! Yum!

So there you have it! Part 2 of the great TMF Brunei guide. Have a great time in Begawan! Cheers!

related posts:
Outfit post: Rosy 'neath gray skies

Disclaimer: The opinions stated here are those that were observed by a 22-year old girl from the Philippines. The author acknowledges that people's views vary across cultures. Apologies are given if some statements come off offensive to others. Thank you.


  1. Was wondering how you went around? Did you join a tour for the entire duration of your trip? if yes, which tour agency did you join?

    Would you mind sharing which areas are located near each other? I'm having a hard time researching coz most blogs don't mention 'how to get there"

  2. Thank you for sharing your experience in BRN .....
    I felt relieved after seeing your photos; looks like it's safe to wear shorts.

    1. Lol! I'm not sure if it's still the same case now as this was 2 years ago. Then, it was hard to wear shorts cause they weren't used to it so we got a lot of stares from people on the streets. Just try to steer clear of 'too short' shorts to be safe ;)


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