Saturday, June 24, 2017

ROYAL BRUNEI - KOTA KINABALU-BRUNEI-MELBOURNE TRIP

It was our first time traveling on Royal Brunei Airlines from Kota Kinabalu to Melbourne via Bandar Seri Begawan last Friday. BI826 departed from Kota Kinabalu on time at 16:35 and arrived in Bandar Seri Begawan 20 minutes ahead of schedule. 
BI826 was operated by an A320 with a configuration of 12 Business and 132 Economy seats.
Taxiing to the runway in Kota Kinabalu.
Airborne  ...  Goodbye, Kota Kinabalu.
The economy class cabin was a single aisle 3x3 seating arrangement. Surprisingly, there was no inflight service for this sector - not even water or juice during flight. It was my first time hearing the Doa Safar, the Islamic journey prayer, over the PA before we took off. 
It took only about 18 minutes to get to Bandar Seri Begawan,
 We landed in Bandar Seri Begawan International at 17:55. 
When we approached the transfer desk, it was surprisingly unmanned..
We found the "Transfer signage" and followed the long queue going through security check. It was a bit confusing for the first time on transit.  
The airport had plenty of space at the departure level and a clean image. The only setback was the lack of shops and restaurants. Free Wi-fi is available but restricted to 60 minutes. It was also difficult to get connected as there were too many users.  
The B787 aircraft from Bandar to Melbourne. 

BI53 was departing on time 20:00. After the welcome announcement, the Doa Safar appeared on the screen.
Refreshments included a package of peanuts with either juice or water and were provided after the seat belt sign was turned off. (Royal Brunei Airlines does not provide alcoholic beverages)  
Their economy class has a 3x3x3 seating arrangement for 236 passengers.I was told that they have 18 business class flat bed seats.  
On our way to Melbourne.
Meals were served after 90 minutes into flight. I opted for beef masala with vegetables and rice.It was well prepared. The other choice was pasta with chicken. After the meal services, the cabin lights were dimmed and no further service was provided. We landed at Melbourne Tullamarine airport at 04:45.

As there were not many passengers, the clearance of CIQ was prompt. We were out of the arrival hall by 05:20 and continued our journey to Melbourne city using Skybus.          
It was a comfortable ride. Skybus tickets can be purchased online and are valid for 6 months. It costs AUD18 per person from Melbourne airport to Southern Cross station in the city.




Friday, June 16, 2017

RAMADAN BAZAAR 2: ASIA CITY KOTA KINABALU

There are a number of "Ramadan Bazaars" located in the city of Kota Kinabalu. This time, we visited the one in Asia City. Most of the stalls were just opened for business giving me a good opportunity to take a closer look of the wide variety of  food and beverages.   
 The entrance to the Asia City bazaar.
Fried noodles and rice
BBQ chicken wings, satay and fish.
The heavy stuff.
Fried noodles, "chay kueh teow" and special white "mee hoon".
 
 The sweet beverages - best for breaking fast.

The "Ramadan Bazaars will be on untill 23rd or 24th of June. Other venues like the Gaya street, Sembulan open market, Tanjung Aru and Likas are worthwhile a visit especially for foreign visitors.      

Sunday, June 11, 2017

RAMADAN BAZZAR 1 : KINARUT

This year, Ramadan started in the evening of 26 May and expected to end on 24 June. Muslims around the world observe fasting during this period. "Ramadan bazaars" have been set up to sell food and beverages before sunset for the preparation of breaking fast.

We visited a "Ramadan bazaar" at Palm Square, Kinarut, near Kota Kinabalu a week ago. Unfortunately, it was drizzling. Food ranging from main dishes to desserts were available. 
 
 
    The stalls
 
The colourful beverages.
 
 
 
 
The main dishes.
 
 The desserts
We could not resist and bought these delicious cakes. They were superb!