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MIRI by bus to BRUNEI  

"Bandar Seri Begawan, or BSB for short, is the capital of the oil state of Brunei Darussalam. Around the center, in the Sungai Brunei River, a number of neighborhoods of wooden stilt houses can be found, Kampong Ayer. More than half of the residents of BSB live here. The city is also the home of the sultan, Hassanal Bolkiah, who is very popular with the people, his pictures adorn the streets.
After arriving in the evening, we look for a restaurant. We are surprised by the lively bustle in the town, with its multi-colored lighting. Youth, young couples, families, ... young and old walk from one market to another with mainly food stalls ... a very pleasant bustle! The people of Brunei are therefore known for having "eating out" as their main leisure activity. Children play with colorful balloons and balls, all kinds of lights, blow bubbles, eat giant cotton candy, ... The streets of the center are largely car-free every evening."

The Border Crossing

If you are in Miri, you should not miss a (short) visit to Brunei as it is close by. With a car, you should be in Bandar Seri Begawan within 2 hours. The bus takes longer. The total distance is approximately 157 km. But there are a number of border crossing formalities that can be quite tricky. Here's my experience crossing the border between Malaysia and Brunei.

Traveling by bus
The bus journey, which leaves from Miri to Brunei, is quite comfortable and cheap. There are two comfortable bus providers, with their bus services departing three times a day, one at 7:45 AM from the Borneo Express bus company and another at 8.15 AM in the morning and at 3:45 PM in the afternoon from the PHLS bus company.

There are two regular bus services daily, departing from Miri to Bandar Seri Begawan three times a day. The first stop is at the immigration post in Sungai Tujoh (also Sungai Tujuh). Here passengers have to walk through customs and immigration. You can then continue your journey with the Express Bus Service. To Bandar Seri Begawan. The delay at the border takes about 30 minutes.
The company - PHLS Express Bus - runs two buses a day from the Pujut Corner long distance bus terminal in Miri to Bandar Seri Begawan. There is no counter or representative at Pujut Terminal. You have to pay on the bus; the fare for a single ticket is approximately 50 RM (Euro 12.50). The bus departs from Miri at 8:15 AM and 3:45 PM (and from Bandar Seri Begawan at 7:00 AM and 1:00 PM). It's a fairly comfortable ride. Half way in Seria stopped again for fuel and here you can go to the toilet.
With the Borneo Express you have to get off at Temburong or the village of Kuala Belait.

The usual departure point for the buses in Miri is the Pujut Bus Terminal, from where a passenger can board the bus. The departure point in Brunei, where you can board, is at the Waterfont in Bandar Seri Begawan for those traveling on PHLS buses.

The bus

Traveling by car/taxi to Brunei
The roads are all paved and some parts are 4 lanes. You drive from Miri to the border control in Sungai Tujuh. This checkpoint is located approximately 30 km from the center of Miri. To achieve this border control, you have two options. You can first drive north along the coastal road to Lutong and before reaching Kuala Baram (Malaysia). There, turn right in the direction of Sungai Tujuh.
Alternatively, you can reach border control from Miri via Tudan or Permyjaya. Either way, follow the sign that leads to Sungai Tujuh (also: Sungai Tujuh) border control, or the slightly further away Kuala Belait (in Brunei). You still don't see a direction sign that says “Bandar Seri Begawan”.
Although sometimes referred to as Kampong Sungai Tujuh (or Tujoh), there is no permanent settlement in the area. The next place is called Kuala Belait. Sungai Tujuh, also abbreviated as Sg. Tujoh, is the westernmost point of Brunei.

It's a bit tricky. First, you have to pass through Malaysia immigration. You don't have to get out of the car. Just keep driving and hand over your international passport to the officer in the booth at the counter. If you want to stay in Brunei for three months or less, you do not need a visa. After your passport is stamped and returned, you will drive down a winding road that passes through Brunei Police Station. You are already in the Brunei side of the border. Don't stop at the police station. Just drive up the winding road and you will reach the Brunei Immigration checkpoint. Again, just drive on and hand your passport over to an officer at the counter. Here she will stamp the entry visa in your passport that will allow you to stay in Brunei for up to three months. Then you will arrive at the customs checkpoint.

Once you are done with the Brunei Custom, you are already on your way to Bandar Seri Begawan, about 127 km from the checkpoints. On Brunei roads, you will mainly see large cars with Brunei license plate numbers starting with B or K, referring to districts in Brunei. The drive to BSB takes approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes, depending on your driving speed.

Brunei: Kampong Ayer

Sarawak (also Miri)
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   Ben van Wijnen



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