Flying Royal Brunei to KL & Melb

  As mentioned above in the title.
I am going to share about my experience flying with Royal Brunei.
So I flew with Royal Brunei Airlines on my previous trip back to Malaysia for Chinese New Year. It was a last minute booking as I was still indecisive on whether to go back or not,
but till I made my decision.. every freaking flight fares has increased as it was the end of the year. And yes. Everyone travels during the month of December – January.
Especially parents who come over to visit their kids in Melbourne, to attend graduation and etc. Anyway, to cut thing short…

I was in dilemma to fly either Royal Brunei Airlines or Garuda Indonesia.
As both of this airlines were offering great deals at that point.
So after reading other reviews all around the Internet, I finally decided to go for Royal Brunei. I was very excited in the beginning because I have not fly with this airline before and while I’ve heard good reviews about it from other so I decided to give it a shot.
I mean after all, the Brunei’s king is one of the RICHEST IN THE WORLD.
So, how bad can their official airline be.. isn’t it?

I took a night flight, like I always do.
Had a full flight that time and my hope of getting two seats all for myself went down the drain. But lucky thing was, I had my favourite window seat. A quick camwhore picture of myself before everyone comes in and thinks that I am a weirdo.
Oh. And since Brunei is an Islamic country, they do prayers first before they depart.

Had chicken baguette as supper on flight, not very appetizing.
I had a few bites and that’s about it. Then, the next meal would be breakfast before we touch down at Brunei. Wasn’t appetizing as well and they didn’t serve any bread roll like every other airlines would do. Also they don’t have much choices of drinks on board,
All they ever offer are just orange and apple juice aside from coffee and tea.

Reached Bandar Seri Begawan after a long 7 hours flight.
Stopped by as I need to do a transit before my next flight back to KL.
Since I’ve not been to Brunei, I am always excited to see how it looks like.
Whenever I have the thought to stop by at that particular country, people would ask me,

” What to do in Brunei? Its just a small country. “

Well yes, true enough. Its a small country. In fact, much smaller as compared to Singapore. But yeah, I am always curious what would my neighbouring country would be like. So since I had 7 hours transit in Brunei before my next flight back to KL,
I decided to give it a go and registered for a free transit city tour.
The tour brings us around the city and to be honest,
most of the building looks pretty much the same to me.
I meant, the architecture and design of the buildings of course.
But yeah. It seems like a peaceful and quiet town to live in.
And before we head back to the airport.
we were brought over to this market-alike place to indulge on some local food.

The food there is pretty much similar as the one we had in Malaysia.
But one difference would be.. they are so much CHEAPER.
I had a meal, 2 dishes (vegetable & chicken) with rice for only 2BND.
It was relatively cheap for a proper meal – I was impressed.
And so, I bought another pack of 10 pieces banana fritters for 1BND.
So cheap.. so so cheap.. SO DAMN CHEAP I want to go back there for the food again!

After the city tour, there is still like balance of 6 hours to wait before my next flight.
Let’s just be frank. Brunei airport is pretty lifeless.
So what I could do was just to go online and randomly talking to others who is doing transit as well. But I was fortunate that I met another Malaysian-hongkie family who lives in Melbourne, so I managed to kill some time chatting with them.

Hopped on my next flight to Kuala Lumpur and was served Nasi Lemak.
One of the three meals that I am most impressed with.

Overall, I would rate my experience to fly with Royal Brunei with 5/10.
The flight was alright but perhaps, the food serving part needs improvement.
I guess I’ve put on too much expectation that I was dissapointed for a bit.
But this wasn’t the part that upset me the most.. It was the airport itself that makes me feel unpleasant throughout my flying journey with Royal Brunei.

On my flight back to Melbourne from KL,
I had 17 hours transit in Brunei so I decided to get out from the airport.
When I got to the taxi stand, I found out that it was like 45BND one trip to bring me to the place I wanted to. It was so expensive that I then decided to just have my dinner in the airport. As I mentioned earlier, not much restaurant around so yeah.
I settled down for their local fast food – Jolibee.

Had my meal, watched American Idol on StarWorld for abit and etc. Until it was time for me to head back to the transit hall because I’d booked a day transit room.
There were no one on the immigration check and counter when I got there.
So I just walked pass through until I was suddenly stopped by a police woman.
She was questioning me non-stop as if I committed some crime.
And I was repeatedly asked,why do I need to get into the transit hall when my flight is 10 hours later. I got slightly annoyed so I raised my voice for a little.

Like excuse me,
Which freaking airport in the world actually leaves their
immigration check and counter empty?

I have certainly never seen one. What if someone wants to be in the departure hall earlier? Do we have to wait for the police or immigration officers to take their time to walk to the counter? You wouldn’t expect the tourist, which happen to be a visitor to your country to wait, do you? Then, I was made to wait for half an hour before someone bothers to appear at the counter.

The immigration officers was then telling me,
“I came here specially to chop your passport to let you in.”
Aww. I am so touched you actually came… NOT!
No way this is going to make me smile and then again, I repeat myself to them.
” what kind of airport actually leaves their immigration check and country empty? ”

Saw how empty Brunei airport can be during the night?
This has to be the first time I am all alone in the departure hall in an airport.
No even a single soul is seen around and all the shops are closed.
Possibly I could just walk around naked and no one cares.
After passing through the immigration, I checked myself into the day transit room.
It was fairly cheap – just 5BND per hour. As I don’t want to spend like 45BND (single way) to get a taxi out to the hotel out in the town,
I thought I might as well just stay in the airport.

The service that they provided was not too bad, the room came with complimentary towel and bath soaps. It was clean and doesn’t look dodgy to me so all was fine.
Though the wall in the room was pretty thin that I could hear people’s conversation outside. But aside from that, everything was alright and I had a good night sleep.

I woke up at 8am the next day and I went out to the departure hall to look for breakfast.
Walked over to the one of the cafe nearby, I was standing at the cafe’s counter for almost 15 minutes and there were no one there to serve me.
Being grumpy and hungry, I was pissed that I walked away.
Beside that cafe, it was just Coffee Bean that was available on the other side.
So I went over but guess what I saw the moment I walked in?

The Coffee Bean’s staffs were both resting on the sofa and sleeping.
Yes, I repeat myself. They were SLEEPING.
Somehow they managed to notice I was around.
so one of them walked over to the counter to serve me.
And you thought sleeping while on duty was bad enough for Coffee Bean’s staffs?
It was worse when the staff herself don’t know how to prepare the sandwich that I want.
She was referring to the ‘how-to-do’ list and was so slow on getting the sandwich done.
I wasted another 10 minutes of my life waiting for my breakfast to be done.

So clearly If I had a choice, I wouldn’t want to pick to fly with Royal Brunei Airlines unless I desperately have to. The flight was alright but to the fact that the transit hours is so long in between and the services in the airport was that bad, I don’t think it would be a perfect stopover. I would rather pay that little more to fly other airlines. Say Singapore Airlines, maybe? It never fails to make my flying  journey comfortable though. I had a pleasant flight with them on my way to Taiwan last 2 weeks. Will update again on that the next time. As for now, this is all that I have to write about Royal Brunei Airlines and Brunei, as a country overall.

Stay tuned.