Showing posts with label Brunei. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Brunei. Show all posts


Light and Shade

I have guilty conscience, whenever I go through my photo archives (2 + years of captures!). Yes, I feel that I've created a huge backlog in preserving the memory. I intend to make at least a weekly post from the backlog. Here is a series of shots that has light and shade...

@ Jewellery Quarter Museum - Birmingham, UK (Yet to post photos from this Museum)

Somewhere in Reading, UK

Apartments in Choa Chu Kang, Singapore

Ancient Egypt - Universal Studios, Singapore

Dome @ Hassanal Bolkiah Mosque Brunei

Thorn shrubs @ Madurai, India

World War II Memorial @ Labuan, Malaysia (yet to write a post on this) 

Hoping to catch up, before my memory fades!


Shuttle Hope - Meet the Captian

We planned to stop over at Labuan Island (Union Territory of Malaysia), on the way from Brunei to Kota Kinabalu during our holidays in Borneo. It is a mere 1.5 hours journey by ferry from Brunei to Labuan and from there we had booked our flight (MAS Wings airline) to Kota Kinabalu. Since the day I visited the cockpit in an aircraft, I've been hoping to visit a ships' control room too.

Click on the images to enlarge

Shuttle Hope

Well, thatz exactly not a ship, but at it is a fairly big sized ferry that we took from Brunei to Labuan.

Loading vehicles @ Brunei immigration - Muara terminal

The first thing that I noticed as soon as I boarded was this chained staircase, meaning restricted area!

And, the urge to go up and take a look was too high, so I asked the one of the uniformed crew members if I could go up. "Wait mam, will check with the captain and come", he said. Within minutes, he came back and let me go up...

First I saw the captain- was not sure if he would let me in...

The Captain seemed to be busy, so I was hesitating to enter, but just then he waved at me to come in! Captain Nurniwan was soft-spoken and was not fluent in English. We managed to communicate with his broken English and my broken Malay! First off he said that Shuttle Hope was made in Japan and the capacity of this vessel is about 200 passengers and can take 45 cars at a cruising speed of 15 knots. "Got 2 engines, so can bring cars/buses from one side and drive through the other side" said the captain and walked me to the other engine in the rear...

Rear engine...

When he knew that I was from India, he commented that before heading this 'ship' he was working in large ships and used to go to ports of Kozhikode & Calcutta in India! With his permission, I started taking pictures of the gadgets and cabins in this deck.

When the captain showed me the 'eye' of the ship, I was fascinated and asked him "what can it see?"

The captain opened the GPS like EYE and said, "Look at that ship, now this 'eye' can 'see' and tell the name and other details of that ship", and we learnt that the name of that ship was Oriental! He further explained that "see this radar, can show if any boat or ship come in my way, especially during bad weather, and the transducer tells me the depth of the water and with this wireless phone can communicate with other ships or with ports..."

"How safe is this ferry, that too if it rains heavily or...?" for which the captain said, "don't worry, no tsunami in this part of the region and it is quite stable". Satisfied with this I moved on to take a couple of shots of the Brunei Bay...

Passengers boarding a small ferry

In this kind of ferries, you will be cooped up throughout the journey!

Now, I moved on to the other part of the captain's deck...

The Crew's kitchen...

For a 9 member crew, the kitchen seemed to be small, but well this ferry goes only on short trips, so it should be fine!

Shrill sound of the ferry's whistle prompted that we were about to start our I decided to go back to the passenger's deck and to my surprise, the captain was kind enough to offer any help if I needed!

Passenger deck

Coming down to the passenger deck, I realized that, practically we had the entire ferry to ourselves! Towards the rear end, I saw this...

Emergency plan showing the vessel's layout...

'Not bad' I thought, thatz why the captain had commented earlier that Shuttle Hope was safe, with all this elaborate safety measures!

You might also like to read/see pics of my other Borneo experiences...

Poring - Canopy Walkway Bridge
Aerial Views - Borneo
Water ways of Brunei - Air Kampung, Venice of the East
The Giant Flower - Rafflesia


Water ways of Brunei - Air Kampung, Venice of the East

Brunei, the first thing most of us remember is its oil and the Sultan who is one of the richest men in the world. The tiny country is in the Borneo island and has the same tropical climate as Malaysia. Abundance is seen everywhere and there is no income tax! The taxi driver who took us around commented 'RON 97 petrol is just 53 cents/liter, where as mineral water is $1 per liter'. Perhaps, it is cheaper to drink petrol in Brunei!!!

Let me come to the topic of this post, Brunei river spans through the country and here is a river view. Obviously, waterways is the major 'roadways' and 'water taxis' are common.

River view, besides Nurul Iman Palace

People who live in the Water village or Air Kampung, park their cars on the river bank and use the water taxis for commuting to their homes in the river!

River Bank

You have to flag down the boats, like how you hire a cab. Tourists like me, take these boats just to get a closer view of the water village life or take on long tours in the hope of catching a glimpse of Proboscis monkeys along the river bank. We just went for a water village round, as we had only a day in Brunei, because we had planed to go to Labuan and then to Kota Kinabalu.

Water Taxi

The boat man said that this water village was considered as the Venice of the East! Well, my husband who has been to Venice didn't see the similarity except the water taxi:) Whatever, it was a full fledged village, with all the modern amenities. Let's take a photo tour:)

Imagine speeding in this boat!

Such a Big School in the water!

Petty Shop

Taxi stand!?

Power cables

Dish Antenna!

Cute house

Road or lane


We met with a local and made small talk while we walked down the junction. As the sky was overcast, I asked him, 'how deep is this river? are you not worried about floods?' for which he replied, 'center of the river is deep, but near our houses, its shallow and during low tides you can even see the riverbed! This part of the river doesn't flood, may be in Belait area, there are floods...'

Dilapidated building

Grocery Shop


Venice of the East or not, it was a great experience!


Aerial Views - Borneo

I can never get bored with viewing the skies from an airplane, the shades of blue are amazing! These pictures were taken during our flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Brunei.

Click on the images to see enlarged views.

Shades of Blue

Shades of Blue

When I see the clouds, I just want to bend down and scoop them up.

Cluster of islands in Borneo

Brunei Bay view

Now, the following pics were taken on the way from Labuan to Kota Kinabalu, which are part of Borneo islands.

Smiley Faced Islands!


Last 2 pics were shot by my kid, I was surprised at her imagination and the angle at which she shot those pics.


Thirsty Rootbeer!

After a hot day of non-stop sight-seeing in Brunei, we took shelter @ Big Papa's for lunch. All of us were in no mood for chit-chat until we finished our grub. When we had enough strength, my kid's imagination was working overtime...

I guess, if rootbeer gets hot n thirsty it might dress up like this! Isn't this cute?

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