Brunei & Malaysia Trip 14-21 June 2014

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My journey began driving to the airport on a very cold June winters day.

My flight was around 1pm and we got to the airport a little bit early. I exchanged my AUD$ into Brunei $. I go through customs and immigration and tried to navigate through the stalls of duty free.

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I arrived at my gate with half an hour to spare before boarding. I sit at the gate and take a few pictures of the Royal Brunei Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner I would be on for the next 6 or so hours. They finally called us to board and lucky me, I had n one sitting next to me. I would get some room to myself 🙂 The flight wasn’t that full anyway.

And off we went.

The flight was ok, a little bit restless during the end, but I’m sure being trapped in a confined space and doing nothing will do that to you. I watched about three movies and had a fish meal as my father requested when he booked my flight.

As the sun was setting, we made our descent into Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital of Brunei, and as I looked out of the window as we were landing, a plethora of sun glistened beautiful golden mosques.

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I stepped off of the plane and I felt the humidity hit me. I loved it. I hated the cold so I welcomed this summery goodness.

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Dad greeted me in the arrivals lounge and we went off to the hotel and then we walked to this delicious seafood restaurant. I had amazing chilli crab and rice and iced tea tarik (milk tea).

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The next day we got a boat to the other part of Brunei to where dad lives and works. Everything was so peaceful and serene, a lovely part of the region.

The next day we went over to a town called Limbang in Malaysia (just over the border) so dad could have a hair cut and some lunch. Dad got a whole fish and I got Hainan Chicken Rice.

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After a few days, my father and I road tripped it over the border to Malaysia to a cute touristy town called Kota Kinabalu (KK) about a few hours drive away from where dad stays in Brunei. It was amazing. We checked into the hotel we were staying at it overlooked the gorgeous ocean and islands. We walked around the the markets and restaurants until we decided on the local ‘Aussie Bar’ even thought they had nothing ‘Aussie’ on the menu except for the beers.

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I chose a mediocre chilli crab again accompanied by the most amazing prawn fried rice. Delicious. I washed it all down with a lovely iced lemon tea.

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We then ventured past this waterfront open air massage stall. It was there that I had found a new found love in massage. I was the best scalp and hand massage ever. We then headed off back to have a well needed sleep.

I woke up next morning and headed to breakfast at the hotel buffet. It had an array of everything you could ever think of. They had the typical hotel buffet offerings such as eggs, toast (not bacon as Malaysia is a predominantly an Islamic country), but they also had Asian offerings of rice congee and fried noodles, chicken and sambal.

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After we stuffed our faces with food, we walked to the jetty and caught a speed boat to one of the islands off the coast. It was paradise. The sun was shining, the water was so blue and so clear. I wanted to just lie there forever. While dad spent the time swimming, I just laid back on the shore and watched people zip line from the neighbouring island to our island. Something I must do before I die, literally “island hopping’ at its most adventurous 😛

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When our speed boat made it back to the shore, I ditched dad and went shopping at the nearby shopping mall. I bought dried mangosteen, dried durian and matcha green tea Kit Kats. Happy with my purchases, I ventured back to the hotel where I met back up with dad and went off to dinner. We ended up eating at a pop up street seafood restaurant where we ordered Asian vegetables in an oyster sauce, three of the biggest prawns you will ever see in your whole life, some fried squid and a gorgeous whole fish in a curry sauce and a side of rice. An amazing meal complete with drinks that came up to a grand total of AUD$17. So cheap and delicious!

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The next day, we road tripped it back to Brunei and I was so exhausted I just fell into bed and slept of the rest of the day.

The next day we got up early because dad had booked an up river trip on a long boat to the local national park where we would go on a gorgeous and picturesque canopy sky walk above the rainforest followed by natural fish pond and waterfall visit.

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We got in the car and headed to Batang Duri, where our our guide, a young local boy, would guide us down to the long, narrow long-boat. I sat in it with my camera and phone. One slight movement would make the boat wobble which scared the hell out of me as I was sure the boat would tip and we would all fall in. The boat trip through the meandering river rapids took about twenty minutes.

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We finally reached a stopping point where a few long boats and their captains were waiting their tourists return. Our guide took us through probably what felt like 1000 steps up through the rainforest up to the base of the canopy walk bridge. My legs burned so much and I had to stop every chance I had to catch my breath. Once we reached the base, we climbed and climbed the tower to get to the top.

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Once we were at the top, what a magnificent sight it was. I could see the rainforest canopy as far as the eye could see. It was gorgeous! I am so glad I am not scared of heights, coz we were pretty high up. We walked and walked and took as many pics as possible. The only downside I could think of was the incredible heat from the sun and the humidity of the rainforest was killing me. I am glad we packed ample supply of water to stay hydrated.

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We stepped those 1000 steps down and got ourselves back on the boat which propelled us to a river bank where the guide told us to walk a bit inward through this small creek system where we found a gorgeous fresh water waterfall and when you’d wade into the pool, little tiny fish nibbled on your feet, no unlike the countless fish spa places that you see on the streets in Thailand.

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We then journeyed our way back and by the next day I literally found it so difficult to walk. My legs hurt so much! That was definitely the most strenuous work out I have had in a very long time.SONY DSC SONY DSCSONY DSC

The next day was the day I would be flying back to Australia. Dad drove me across the four border checkpoints and took me to a massive shopping mall to shop at to my hearts content before take off. I ended up buying some shoes, a lot of beauty face masks and creams and a few bracelets. Then, just as the sun was setting, he took me to The Empire Hotel, which is a hotel and golf course owned by the Sultan of Brunei. It is the most luxurious hotel I had ever seen. Golden everything. Literally ;).

And then Dad dropped me off at the airport. A big hug and kiss, and then I was off….but things didn’t go according to plan……………………………

Our flight was delayed three hours. I was so mad. I was already tired and having to wait three hours was hell. Not to mention the airport was under renovation and there was no air conditioning. In Brunei. Where its hot ALL THE TIME. But I shouldn’t complain. At least our flight was not cancelled. By 7am the next day we arrived into Melbourne International Airport.

My trip to see my father was great experience and I had a great time in Brunei and Malaysia and I absolutely cannot wait for my next trip to the motherland, Thailand this October!

Until next time, love and kisses, Zoe 🙂

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