Where is Brunei? Is that even a place?
A small country located on the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia, Brunei lies in peace with small population and remains unknown to many. It was my first out-of-the-country destination and unlike many others, I did not go there for a travel vacation or leisure. I went to Brunei for a very personal reason but just like many others, I had that same concerns of traveling to this little country (eg. The Sharia Law, being non-muslim, transportation, etc) especially it was my first time and I was going solo trying to find that puzzle piece.
This won’t be an entry about the reason why I went there (you can skip the tissue paper) nor I will provide you with itinerary because I suck at that and don’t do itineraries for my own travels.
Don’t worry, I did not know about Brunei, too.
I was scared especially with all the things that I read on the internet on how strict they are in there – that you have to wear hijab (tudong) every single time. Some people say that it is not a good place to go for non-muslim.
As stubborn as I am, I did not care. I always believe in “you’ll never know until you’re there” so to Brunei I went. The moment I walked out of that plane, I knew I was inhaling the air of peace. No chaos at the airport. Nope, not everyone is in their hijab. I knew right then that I’ll keep coming back to this small country in Southeast Asia especially when I am in search for some peace of mind.
So here are the reasons why I keep coming back to Brunei:
I can not speak for everyone but I came from the hustle and bustle of Manila so an empty place is a good place for me to unwind.
I stayed at a hotel in the center of the town of Kuala Belait. On my hotel window, you’ll see no one and I mean, not one person outside. All you’ll see is how clean the place is.
If you’re being stressed from the corporate or city life and just want an escape where no one will bother you, go to Brunei.
Brunei is empty. It is nowhere near to being crowded. I remember when I went out on a date with my brother and his girlfriend at the rooftop restaurant, I was just looking down. He asked me, “What are you looking at?” I said, “I am waiting for people to come out. There’s no one outside. Zero.” Readers, I am not exaggerating. It is true. I’ve been to Brunei several times and I still get amazed when I get to see people outside.
It is clean and green! You can feel it. When you get there, you’ll know that no matter how cold and hot the weather is for you, the air you’re breathing is clean. The surroundings are clean. The houses are clean no matter how many pets does a household have.
Photo by Shuk of shuksterrr
This is one thing I admire about Bruneians. They do not have traffic jams (well, they do when there’s a huge downpour), but they still give way and follow even the simplest road sign. There’s not much traffic lights, but accidents are very seldom and it’s a big news if there’s any. The population is very limited so streets are not congested with vehicles, but that’s not an excuse to be an a**shole on the roads for Bruneians. They make sure that they use their roundabouts accordingly, follow traffic lights, give way whenever they can, use signals, etc. I’ve been to places where if it’s an empty road, red light won’t count. In Brunei, everyone follows the road rules. Well, if not everyone, let’s say the majority.
Photo by Dewi of tropicalbudha
I’ve seen a lot of beautiful sunsets back in the Philippines. I love sunsets and I knew we got great ones way back home so I was shocked and suddenly fell in love with Brunei’s sunsets paired with lovely trees along empty roads or the quiet shore.
People of Brunei
Photo by Shuk of shuksterrr
People of Brunei are one of the most “chill” people I’ve met. Some say they are one of the laziest but I am in no position to talk about that as I haven’t seen them at work. Bruneians are so laid back. They are okay sitting at the backyard jamming on some music with friends. You can also bring them to parties. Bruneians are respectful for whatever religion you belong or do not belong to. They understand the diversity that this world has and they are willing to help. It is actually a thing in Brunei to pick up and drop off friends as public transportation is not accessible. In addition to this, most people in Brunei speak and understand English so it is not much of a challenge to communicate with them.
These are just few reasons on why I keep coming back and why I love Brunei. I know the country may not be for me to live in now as there’s not much to do but for me, it’s always a place to go back to when all you want to do is breathe some fresh air and enjoy the nature with a group of good people.
Do you have a place that you always go back to? Tell me about it!