The Land Of No Fun
Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
284Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
To get from the Sabah region of Malaysian Borneo to Sarawak we needed to go through another country, Brunei. I was quite excited to be entering another country, even for only a day, so I had no qualms about the early start.
However we were all so tired that we overslept and only managed to make the boat thanks to Lars running to the docks, twice, to buy our tickets.
To get to Brunei we had to take 2 ferries. The first took close to 2 hours, an hour longer than I had expected, before we arrived on the island of Pulau Labuan. The ferry crossing had been choppy in places and 1 guy was so sick that the whole packed out boat could hear him. Lovely sound first thing in the morning. There was also some soppy Malaysian movie on the TV that seemed laughable to me as I couldn't understand it but some people were actually crying at the end!
On docking in Labuan we had to go through exit procedures for Malaysia before boarding the second boat, with only 5 people, to Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital of Brunei. Hadn't had any breakfast so a bar of Dairy Milk with cashews, fantastic, had to suffice.
On arriving at the dock we had to go through customs, where they asked us if we had any alcohol as it's illegal in Brunei! Illegal! Changed up all my ringgit to Brunei dollars and boarded the bus to BSB.
There is only 1 hostel in BSB so we had no choice but to head there and got lost a couple of times in the process. The dorm was reasonable for the price and had air con which is always a plus point. The hostel was a bit weird though. It seemed to be attached to a kiddies play park and had kids learning to swim in the attached pool.
Decided it was best to see the sights as we only had 1 day but there didn't really seem much worth seeing. We got chatting to an American guy, who looked stoned, who was in Brunei with his "team" and the conversation went something along these lines:
Us: What is there to do in this place?
Us: Cool? So how long have you been here?
Him: A week!
We couldn't understand why anyone would put themselves through the pain of staying in a place for a week with nothing to do! It made absolutely no sense so we left him strumming his guitar and walked into town.
It took us about 20 minutes to see the sights and we were bored stiff. There didn't really seem like there was anything worth looking at in the town. The only saving grace was the prospect of visiting the amusement park in the evening.
No where seemed open, it was Chinese New Year, so we had lunch at Pizza Hut, which was reasonable, before heading to the amusement park. It seemed weird that the only drinks on the menu were soft drinks, all totally watered down, and I only received half my order.
Walked to the bus stop and it was packed. Like an underground car park and it was full with about 500 men and no women. In fact I hadn't seen a single woman all day? Boarding the bus to the amusement park was a joke. 50 guys pushing trying to get on the same minibus but we managed to get on in the end. Paid the $1 they wanted and had no idea when to get off so ended up riding it all the way to the end. The LP said it was the final stop, well they lied. Waited around for a few minutes and they took us to the "silent park" as they called it.
The park had been built about 5 years ago and was apparently the biggest theme park in the world. Absolute crap! It was tiny, there were no people and only a couple of rides were open.
The park had obviously been built for people who have no other fun in their lives but even the locals don't come here anymore. There were only 3 rides open in the whole park! One of those was bumper cars. Not even a theme park ride but bloody fair ground bumper cars! Well we had to go on it to justify the entrance fee, not a lot, and drove in reverse for the whole time. Pretty good fun actually.
Couldn't believe that was the only ride open and eventually found the go carts that were apparently open. 1 bloody car between 50 people! This park was a joke! The only other ride that was open was the log flume and it was actually pretty good fun. Thought it would be the same as every other one I'd been on but half the ride was in reverse which made it much better! Going down the drops backwards, albeit only 1 drop, made it funny and we went on it twice in a row.
After all that excitement we decided to head back to the hostel. We had assumed before we left that it would be easy to get a taxi back but having seen how dead it was we now knew that wasn't going to be the case. We had to order a taxi at reception and got chatting to another bunch of travellers, equally unimpressed by the park, and secured a taxi back to Malaysia with them tomorrow. Result!