My time in Miri eventually came to an end and I decided to make my way to Brunei, another country to tick off my list. I took the early 8am bus straight to Bandar, the capital, which was a super smooth journey, consisting of two very quick and easy immigration stop offs. When I arrived in Brunei, I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was. I checked into K.H Soon Guesthouse which my friend Willem was staying at, and turned out to be the cheapest at $18 per night. I spent the day walking around Bandar with my very helpful, borrowed, guide book, and took myself to some of the most beautiful sights including the Mosque which is situated right in the city centre. When I say city, It is the smallest and most compact city I have ever been to which made it very easy to get around and see in one day. With luck continuously on side during this whole journey, I found myself chatting with a local woman from Brunei who had a small business with her husband, taking people on trips down the river to see the Kampong Ayer floating village, the proboscis monkeys and the other exceptional wildlife on offer so close to civilization. I agreed to go with Wann and her husband Mark for a two hour trip, one hour by myself, before we would pick up some others to take the wildlife section of the tour further downstream. It was a scorching day and I was very excited to spend it with locals on the river. The first hour was great, touring the Kampong Ayer village aka The Venice of Brunei, the Kampong Ayer museum and meeting many of Wann’s family members who were extremely friendly and welcoming -typical for Brunei communities I was told. I felt in great hands as we chatted and mingled with her family and when we returned to the boat, we travelled downstream to pick up a lovely couple who joined us for the rest of the wildlife trip, where we saw lots of proboscis monkeys, crocodiles, monitor lizards and many other animals. The sun was beaming down on us as we laughed and chatted together about our travelling experiences. We were so happy to have found this great tour and It was one of the biggest highlights of Brunei for me, by far. That evening, I made my way to the city centre again to check out the really nice night markets. I walked around in awe, as I watched families gathering to play sports and eat street food together in the cities open park with the magical backdrop of the beautiful Mosque. Tourists and locals walked around the markets sampling the street food while some sat and chilled in the park or by monuments near the Mosque. I sampled some street food before randomly spotting Willem from across the street in the local coffee shop. We chatted for a few hours there before heading back to our guest house and planned to leave to Kota Kinabulu the next morning via an 8hour bus journey. The next day, we set off at 7am and after 8 stamps and 4 border crossings we arrived in K.K as it’s locally known as. When I arrived in K.K, I said goodbye to Willem who was staying at a different hostel. When I took my taxi to Borneo Global Backpackers, I was a bit confused as to why wer drove so far out of town, and into a sort of industrial estate. Not what I had imagined! When i checked in, the guy was not able to help me when I asked about tours to Mount Kinabulu or The Tip of Borneo, which made no sense considering they doubled as a tour agency too.
It wasnt long before I met Anna, a german girl from my dorm who seemed to have a lot in common with me.We chatted for a while and decided to take the 20 minute walk to the bus station the next morning together, where I would go to the tip of Borneo by local bus and she would go to Mount Kinabulu. The next morning, having been woken up by the torrential rain outside, Anna and I looked out and realized that today may not be the right day to go. Disappointed, as it was my only day In K.K, i decided not to dwell on it and would opt to wait it out and instead check out the city. Later on when the rain eased, we walked into town, where we went our separate ways, a short but sweet new friendship which I had learned a lot from. I had given her tips on yoga and studying her Teacher training in India while she advised me on places to go in Bali. It was great! The day was spent walking around the city which didn't impress me much, before ducking into a coffee shop out of the heavy rain. Fed up, I took a taxi all the way back to the hostel where I stayed for the evening and looked forward to getting to Singapore the next day. K.K was not what i expected but had it been nice weather, and had I been prepared for a mountain climb on this trip I think it would have made it better. As Anna said, people think when they travel that they have to do everything but they don't realize that they can always come back and do the things they've missed, if you really want to, you will. This gave me the closure I needed for Borneo and I was sure I would see Mount Kinabulu and The tip of Borneo one day.
It was onwards and upwards and next on my list was Singapore!