I arrived in Brunei's capital - Bandar Seri Begawan in the evening and although very tired I wanted to make the best of the time I had there (about 15 hours) as I may never get back.
Luckily the hotel arranged for a driver to take me to the Pasar Malam Night Market in Gadong. Everyone goes to the markets to get their dinner. On arrival the whole market was covered in smoke as they use BBQ's of all shapes and sizes to cook on. I was surprised at how many young children where arriving at the markets at 9pm to eat. Most kiwi kids would be tucked up in bed.
The driver then picked me up and took me to the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque so I could take photos of it all lit up. It is absolutely beautiful....in some ways it looks more beautiful on the oustide at night than during the day.
The next morning I woke really early with the roosters and walked the streets checking out the amazing Jame Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque, the posh advertising signs down the centre of the main roads, the water village, and the morning food markets.
You don't see large flashing advertising signs in Brunei, instead they have signs like this along the main streets.
The Jame Asr Hassanil Mosque is absolutely beautiful with the morning sun shining on it and the reflections in the water.
Brunei has only 400,000 people (oh and 90 mosques) and a large percentage of the population choose to live on the water in houses on stilts. I hired a water taxi to take me for a tour of Kampong Ayer (water village).
The village has schools, garages, fire stations, temples and a hospital for the water village. Many of the houses have gardens in pots on their porches. They travel everywhere by boat. I do wander how global warming will effect the village.
I wanted to return to the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque which I saw from the outside last night but did not manage to look inside the grounds and the temple itself. I had to leave for the airport in 45 minutes but the hotel arranged for the driver who was taking me to the airport, to drop me at the temple and then pick me up in time to take me to the flight. The hotel staff were just amazing!! I would not have achieved as much in such a short time if it wasn't for their help.
No expense was spared on the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque. One chandler alone was worth over 10 million dollars and there are many chandlers inside the mosque. You cannot take photos inside and I was amazed that females were allowed inside the main worship area given that there is a separate prayer area for the women.
More photos can be found in my photo gallery.