Brunei Darussalam Travel Guide
Embarrassing admission: we kinda, sorta forgot about Brunei. Like, we forgot it was still a country and instead thought it had gone the way of "Burma" (now Republic of Myanmar) or something. That is, we had forgotten about Brunei until it popped up on our seatback television, on the Airshow map of what we were flying over, going from Hong Kong to Denpasar-Bali.
There it was, in all its itty-bitty glory, in all its 400,000+ population surrounded by Indonesia and Malaysia and we were flying through its itty-bitty airspace.
The explosion of low cost carrier routes throughout the Asia Pacific region of late has been good for some, but not for others. In particular, the tiny nation of Brunei, which used to receive quite a lot of through-traffic with passengers taking advantage of pretty cheap Royal Brunei Airlines flights, has noticed its airport getting a bit emptier recently.
But never fear, the airline has a plan! A recent agreement between Royal Brunei Airlines and the Brunei Tourism Board means that passengers transiting in Brunei, with a minimum four-hour wait for their ongoing flight, will be offered a free city tour of Brunei.
Included on the city tour will be sights like the historical water village of Kampong Ayer, several main mosques and the royal palace. If you've "been there and done that," you can swap your free tour for a free meal at the airport departure hall's Coffee Garden. Whether or not a whirlwind city tour can be enough to tempt you to fly Royal Brunei remains to be seen, but we just like that such a cool idea is out there.
We wouldn't be surprised if this move was inspired by, or perhaps ordered by, Prince Azim of Brunei. He's been known to shower celebrities with random gifts and must own oodles of BMWs already. Royal Brunei Airlines is offering frequent flyer miles to Royal Skies members who buy BMW cars. Prince Azim could scoop up a few dozen jalopies and be off on a trip in no time. That or he could take a private jet.
The deal goes like this: for every $10,000 you spend on a new BMW, Royal Brunei will give you 1,000 Royal Skies miles. That's a pretty measly promotion; you could earn almost 7000 miles on a $1000 economy-class round trip from Brunei's capital to Brisbane, Australia, but would have to spend about $66,000 on a BMW for the same mileage benefit. We've heard good things about Royal Brunei, and BMWs are cool, but putting them together in such a way isn't all that hot. File it under funny but not terribly useful, perhaps along with Air Tahiti Nui's vampire promotion.