After our Singapore fling, Phyless and I hopped the short 800 mile trip over to the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace. With a population of less than half a million, it is the only sovereign state located on the north coast of the island of Borneo and, apart from its coastline with the South China Sea, it is completely surrounded by the state of Sarawak, Malaysia.
Once we arrived we visited some of the most beautiful sights of the small nation including the Dewan Majlis or Parliament House, Pantai Seri Kenangan (literally translated as the “unforgettable beach”), and Phyless tried out the kebaya, a traditional blouse-dress combination worn by many women in Brunei.
After the fashion show Phyless and I visited the Taman Tasek, a forest reserve in the middle of the city which has a natural waterfall in the middle of a lush forest. Following a few leisurely backstrokes in the cool waters, we took a boat three kilometers west of Bandar Seri Begawan’s city center, past the Istana Nurul Iman, the residence of His Majesty The Sultan.
Visiting the largest residential palace in the world, with golden domes and sweeping roof lines, we hoped for an opportunity to greet His Majesty and members of the royal family but, sadly, it was not Hari Raya so we were out of luck.
Finally we ended up at our target landmark – the Billionth Barrel Monument. Built to commemorate the billionth barrel of oil produced by the onshore Seria Oil Field at the S1 site (where the first well that was dug about 70 years ago), it was designed by a local architect. Seria, is known as the oil town of Brunei due the first discovery of oil in the area.
Phyless and I had our picture taken in front of the monument in a moment of irony – a monument to oil by two fuel gauges on full! Thank you, VMAC, for this hilarious and amazing opportunity. Sure hope the truck fleets back home aren’t missing us too much – we’ve still got full tanks and lots of vacationing ahead of us!