Bus, Boat, Bus, Bus, Border, Bus

May 4, 2009 · 1 comment

In my last full day in Kuala Belait the three of us planned to do a walk to see a waterfall but unfortunately Gunnar didn’t feel too well so we had a long lay in and relaxing day instead, popping out during a movie to take pesky Esky for a beach walk in the opposite way to before to check out the local beach-based hotel which had a nice view.

Gunnar, me and Esky on the beach

Gunnar, me and Esky on the beach

The final day I headed off to Miri which is the closest city/town in Malaysia. I went by bus, Gunnar dropped me off at the bus station at around 11am, I assumed the bus came every hour but was told the next one is at 1.30pm. So I decided to relax a bit with a book at the bus station. There was a small colourful mosque nearby which I took a picture of whilst waiting.

Kuala Belait yellow mosque

Kuala Belait yellow mosque

A handsome young Brunei boy (maybe aged 2 or so) kept me entertained by wearing shades and being interested in my camera, whilst I ate a small lunch (containing rice, spice and a bit of chicekn) I bought of a local seller at the bus station.

Even kids in Brunei need cool shades

Even kids in Brunei need cool shades

Eventually a bus came and an attendant waved for me to get on, it seemed a lot smaller then I anticipated, the same size as the other buses here for general town commuting.
We drove for all of 4 minutes to the waterside and got off, turns out we need to get a boat across the river then another bus.

Small Brunei boat crossing the river

Small Brunei boat crossing the river

The next bus journey was in a horrific old metal box, and I was a bit annoyed at no air conditioning because my ticket fee included ‘air con fee’. They really are inventive here in what they charge for. This bus was old and metal rivetted plates made it up and although very airy and spacious looking there was virtually no leg room so I was just doing the splits on the seat to fit my knees in, it felt like being on a battle ship. Luckily this bus ride only lasted another 5 minutes to another bus station where we swapped buses again.
The next bus was more like a normal bus and air conditioned, I was a happy bunny again and assumed this was the last bus, but 20 minutes later and we made it to the Brunei-Malaysia border where we got off to depart Brunei, drive around the corner, get the entry stamps for Malaysia and then again swap bus for the final stint, I guess this swap was more purposeful though in terms of use of vehicle inside the country they are each registered too. The last bus journey was just under an hour and before 3.30pm I had made it to Miri, no accomodation booked, no map, just my own sense of direction.
So I turned left and walked for about 30minutes and found myself seemingly at the end of the city, Miri is actually the 2nd biggest city in Sarawak, to me it seems a similar size to Sandakan.
I passed a chinese temple on route back towards the main city.

Chinese Temple in Miri

Chinese Temple in Miri

Turning back and walking for another hour or so I went into a travel agent to ask for tourist information, which as it turns out is about 10seconds walk from the bus station. Luckily I managed to get a crude papercopy of a old map and found I was in the more central area now with a lot of places to stay. The average price for a night seems to be about 100RM. I asked in a few if I could get internet in my room, they nearly all say no, and for 100RM without internet and breakfast I thought was a bit too much (currently 100RM is about £20 or US$30). One hotel had internet in lobby, so I sat outside on my laptop and searched for cheaper accomodation that I should have booked earlier but left it to late around Sues. I finally found a guesthouse for 20RM with breakfast and wifi in room, so another contribution for my laptop paying itself off (unfortunately the wifi wasn’t working I realised once I got their though). Really any traveller out there without one is missing out on the most convinent time and money saving tool I have.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Gary August 9, 2010 at 5:29 PM

Amazing sites! I would so love that adventure!!!
Gary´s latest blogpost – How To Decorate Inflatable Tent Poles

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