Friday, November 7, 2008

Relax in Brunei (7)

Our last night stayed in Brunei was a “Brunei by Night” tour. Actually we were the only two in the tour, so it became our private package, J.

This tour takes you to the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque and the Jame' Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque so that you can take night-view photos of these two gorgeous buildings, a water taxi drive on the Kampong Ayer (Water Village), a seafood steamboat dinner by the bay, and finally a shopping trip in the night market and the best shopping mall in Brunei – The Mall.

The Jame' Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque (nicknamed “Jame”, pronounced as “jami”) is the biggest mosque among the 103 in Brunei. Built with hundreds of millions of B$ donated by Bruneian ppl, it was sent to the Sultan as a gift, hence it was named after the Sultan (you can find the “Jame' Asr Hassanil Bolkiah” in his long titles). Its location is not quite good – isolated from major shopping and tourism areas, standing by the roadside like a lonely old man. So the best way to visit it is to join a local tour, otherwise you will take the risk that cannot find a taxi to take you back to your hotel!
The night view of Jame is like dream palace:
Jame01 Jame02 Jame03 Jame04 Jame05 Jame06
Every Friday afternoon, the Sultan will pick a mosque to do the pray (as long as he is in Brunei). If he comes to Jame, ppl will open the “Sultan-only” escalator for him, otherwise it is covered by canvas:
Sultan-only escalator

The Water Village (Kampong Ayer) is said to be the oldest and largest in the world now. Hundreds of cottages are connected by planks, and supported by pillars so that they can stand above the water. Within the Water Village, they have their own school, mosque, police station, and even a fire station! Ppl nowadays live in the Water Village also got cars and jobs on the land, only a few of them are still practicing the fishing industry.

To be honest, the water in the bay is both dirty and smelly, because some of the urines of the Water Village are directly expelled to the sea here. Luckily our “dinner by the sea” was in a air-con restaurant, so we could enjoy the night by the bay without any unpleasant smell.

The night market was quite disappointing. Most stalls were selling local vegetables, fruits and Malay snacks. Nothing quite special compared to Singapore.

Melayu Course #3:
"Kampong" means "village", "Ayer" means "water".

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