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February 21, 2019, Brunei

Touch down in Brunei

Going on holiday to the kingdom has never been classier with the Royal Brunei Airlines new fleet

NIVANI ELANGOVAN

Nature, culture, cuisine and more — Brunei is a thriving travel spot two hours by flight from Singapore. With the launch of Royal Brunei Airlines’ new A320neo fleet last September, travelling to Brunei is now even more comfortable, convenient and entertaining.

With seven Airbus A320neos in the new fleet, the airline is now the owner of one of the youngest fleets in the world. It has an average fleet age of two years. The A320neo, said to be the world’s most modern, comfortable and fuel-efficient single-aisle aircraft, also boasts unmatched levels of in-flight entertainment.

Incredible sights and sounds

With more than 70 per cent of the country covered by jungles, it is no surprise that Brunei is a hidden paradise waiting to be discovered by nature lovers. Its jungles are some of the oldest in the world and are vastly untouched by development.

At Damuan Recreational Park, jog along quiet pathways next to lush shrubbery and stunning sculptures. The highlight is the gorgeous view that you can get from the park of Istana Nurul Iman — the official residence of the Sultan of Brunei.

For those seeking a challenge, the Bukit Shahbandar Forest Recreational Park hosts a variety of challenging forest trails. Easily accessible to visitors from the MuaraTutong Highway, the park extends over 70 ha of rolling terrain.

There is an observation tower atop the summit of the ninth hill at the park, providing clear views of the South China Sea and much of Brunei’s pristine rainforests.

You can also consider underwater adventures along Brunei’s 161 km-long coastline. The country’s diving spots appeal to two types of divers — the diving enthusiast-cum-photographer and the fearless wreck diver who will have more than 30 shipwrecks to choose from.

If you are keen on the macro dives, head to the Oil Rig Reef just west of Pelong Island. Part of Brunei’s efforts to be more environmentally friendly, the reef is a build-up of decommissioned oil rigs which have been turned into homes for hard and soft corals. Photographers will love the countless opportunities for wide shots of schooling fish, and macro shots of nudibranchs and tiny cowries.

For a taste of history, head to a World War II American wreck which is half an hour by boat from the Muara harbour. Perfect for advanced divers, the wreck is a minesweeper called the USS Salute that was broken in half during the war. Marine life at the site include schools of trevallies and fusiliers.

When it is time to wind down, check out Kampong Ayer. Named “water village” in Malay, the town is popularly known as the “Venice of the East”. Visitors can hop on a river cruise that takes them around the village or stroll along the interconnected bridges and walkways.

The world’s largest settlement on stilts, Kampong Ayer is home to some of the friendliest people — expect to be invited into strangers’ homes for a meal and chat.

Flight experiences like no other

Royal Brunei Airlines flies from Singapore 14 times a week, twice a day.

The airline has the world’s first single-aisle aircraft fitted with the Thales AVANT (Gen 5) in-flight entertainment system. There are more than 1,000 movie titles, TV shows and audio entertainment content to enjoy on demand on all of its short- and medium-haul flights.

The airline operates with five Boeing 787 Dreamliners for its long-haul flights.

Royal Brunei Airlines now flies to more than 23 destinations, including non-stop daily flights to London, Narita (next month) and Brisbane (in June).

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