After a 3 hour delay landed in Brunei at around 8pm. After a quick questioning by customs to make sure I wasn't smuggling any alcohol into the dry state I made my way to the APEK Hotel. First impressions of Brunei, leaves me thinking how quiet the place is hardly a soul to be seen, yet also very affluent, lots of nice cars on the roads.
Took a taxi from the airport as the public buses stopped running at 5:30. Checked into the hotel some time after 8. Went and grabbed some food at a local cafe and went to bed early.
Got up early and set about exploring Brunei's Capital City. Started off by persuading a taxi boat to drive me around the huge stilt villages that hug the shores of the river the city is built on. Known as the Venice of the East, it was easy to see why. The stilt villages ran for miles in all directions, complete with schools and shops. All the while high speed speedboats were whipping around here there and everywhere ferrying people to their destinations.
Next port of call was a meander around the main shopping area. The heat was really getting up, so I took refuge in the main city mall - nice, but no different to any other mall I'd seen. It did afford me the opportunity to sort out some flights on the Internet and grab a couple of books (Beowulf and Grendel) & (Sword of the Storm - David Gemmel). It took a couple of hours to sort out my flights, but i looked out and managed to get everything sorted (flights to Mulu National Park included, i was worried I was going to miss that), ended up costing about a 120 quid, but I reckoned it was going to be worth it.
Taking note I only had a day to see all the city I set out into the heat of the mid afternoon sun. I made up my own walking tour (for fitness reasons as much as anything!) of the main sites. Taking in the two very impressive mosques, before walking over to the Sultan's Palace. The mosques were both mightily impressive with huge golden domes towering into the sky reflecting the suns rays, surrounded on all sides by elaborately decorated minarets. I was only able to glimpse the tops of the roofs of the palace, all I could really see was that it was big. I spent a good hour trying to find a way to walk all the way around before giving up as night had fallen. I made my way back to the hotel around 7, stopping off in town to grab some food along the way. As i was walking through town the call to evening prayers went out across the city, and for a moment i could almost picture myslef in ancient arabia. Before dinner i stopped off to get a few night shots of the central mosque. All in all I'd walked something in the region of 8 miles, which is by far and away the most exercise I'd done in a long time!