brunei street sign sultan

Should I Go to Brunei? 8 Points to Ponder

Well folks, this is my final post on Brunei before my blog travels back to Japan. It’s time to close the chapter on a country I thoroughly enjoyed 😦

Now you might be considering a trip to Brunei but perhaps you’d heard quite a bit of negativity and have some doubts. Yes, Brunei isn’t a popular spot to travellers and ironically it doesn’t do much to promote itself either. This happens when you have a lot of oil I guess 😛

So let this farewell post aid you in your decision. I’ll talk about why Brunei is worth going to and also why it isn’t from the viewpoint of others. Hopefully this mix of aye and nay will help you reach a satisfactory conclusion.

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Food War Ep. 3: Brunei’s Burgers vs Ramly Burgers

23 Feb 2013

Question: You know what I really think of some travellers who claim that they’ve ‘done’ Malaysia, thinking they’ve lived like the locals AND YET don’t know about Ramly burgers?

Answer: Their claim is simultaneously oxymoronic and moronic. Okay I kid about the latter part but you get the point. No one can truly say they’ve ‘done’ Malaysia without knowing its most famous burger.

Ramly Logo

Ramly burger logo. From its official website and online store,

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Empire Hotel and Country Club, Jerudong, Brunei Darussalam

Exploring Brunei’s Empire Hotel & Country Club..and the Tourist vs Traveller Debate

25 Feb 2013

I’ve always been a big fan of budget accommodation. It saves us money so we effectively travel longer and feels more adventurous than a ‘prim and proper’ hotel.

Many (though not all) backpackers share this sentiment actually – it’s their ethos that to travel ‘properly’, one must go budget. They condescend the person who stays at a luxury hotel, seeing him as too timid, pampered, stuck in his comfort zone and not really living it like a local.

Yup, it’s the ‘Tourist vs Traveller’ debate I hear you say. It’s strange and anti-Darwinian cos for the first time, relatively ‘cheap’ people who call themselves true ‘travellers’ get to look down on their wealthy resort-loving ‘tourist’ counterparts.

Being a backpacker myself, I sometimes wonder about it. Yes, most of my friends prefer starred hotels and yes, they miss out on a lot of adventure in the process..but are these ‘tourists’ really ‘inferior’ and not travelling ‘properly’?

As I write about my visit to the Empire Hotel & Country Club, I’ll elaborate on the answer from my point of view. Being Brunei’s top-rated and most prominent luxury hotel, it’s surely a tourist haven, from the viewpoint of a ‘traveller’.

Of course me being a budget guy, I didn’t spend a night there – I went sightseeing as a tourist. Or traveller, if you want to be kosher. Whatever.

What I saw upon entering immediately blew me away. It was grand, simply put. I couldn’t have expected less – this hotel has a 6-star rating!

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Review: K.H. Soon Resthouse


Question: If you’re a backpacker or budget traveller, what’s the highest price you’re willing to pay for a single private room, if you’re just too tired from all that booze, noise and intercourse in a shared dorm?

If in Southeast Asia, with the exception of expensive Singapore, the most I’d be willing to pay is USD 16-20. And even 20 to me is already on the high end. It’s even possible to get a big room for a lot less – I got mine in Magelang, Indonesia for only USD 4.60! (though I think it’s haunted, more on that in another post)

In Brunei however, I paid 25 USD (BNR 33) per night at K.H. Soon Resthouse, a seemingly budget hotel. Now to me that is a lot. So naturally the question would then be how much more, quality-wise, did I get?

The answer: Nothing more and a lot less actually.

K.H. Soon Resthouse budget accommodation in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam

I actually found K.H. Soon Resthouse by chance. Guess what made me think it’s a hotel? (hint: it’s not the signboard)

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Brunei Bandar Seri Begawan night panorama

Bruneian Streets, Bruneian Life

23 – 25 Feb 2013

Exploring the streets of Bandar Seri Begawan and Jerudong in Brunei, to me, was a trip back to of a life long gone, a life I once had.

I grew up in a small and close-knit town in Malaysia, see. Those days were filled with simple joys like genuine friendship, relaxing over the weekend and doing what I wanted to without worrying what lay ahead. This life as I knew it is now just a memory as I’m currently residing in soulless Singapore.

You could say that my three days in Brunei brought me back to where I was more than ten years ago. And I loved it.
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