Traveling to Brunei, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan!

Hello, I hope everyone’s been doing well 🙂

My apologies for not posting in March and April, but I thought I’d like to post one before my birthday next month^^

Anyway, recently I went to Brunei, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. Well, I know Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan are sort of a part of China, but considering that they use different currencies and different policies to enter each country – and surely for the sake of my country count so it looks as if I’ve been to so many countries! LoL – so let’s just take them as 3 separate countries. And with that, it means I have been to 28 countries! Yay!

Well, I know it’s just a transit in Brunei and it’s also just a one-day trip to Macau (from Hong Kong) but hey, it all was intentional, and I did explore some places too, so let’s just count them, okay?^^

My pics in the four countries 💗

So, why Brunei? Well, at first I didn’t plan to go to Brunei because the ticket was usually hella expensive. My original plan was either going to Hong Kong (and Macau) or Taiwan. I wouldn’t need a visa to enter Hong Kong and Macau, and I had my Japanese visa waiver, which I have used to enter Japan, so I wouldn’t need a visa to enter Taiwan. Once I decided on the destinations, I began hunting for cheap tickets and cheap but safe places to stay. And that’s where a transit in Brunei came up during the flight search. Well, it’s slightly higher, but spending one night in Brunei would be great ’cause I’ve always wanted to go to Brunei! I’ve also had a Bruneian friend I knew from when I was in Arizona as well, one I could consult with about my travel in Brunei, and who knew we could meet up! That’s what I thought.

And finally, I decided to go to both Hong Kong and Taiwan ’cause I read others’ experiences saying it’s cheaper to go to many places at once rather than going to only one place in a roundtrip. Macau was definitely a plus ’cause I had always planned to go there when I managed to go to Hong Kong.

And here came the “trouble”: First, I had actually notified my office of the dates I planned to take days off, but my boss seemed to forget it ’cause when I reminded them of it, they were surprised. So I told them that I’d work for 1-2 hours to check some work at flexible times during my days off. My boss was a very nice and kind person, and that was the least I could do, ’cause around those dates we had a part-timer resigning too ’cause she got a full-time job so I knew it must be tough for the office. I didn’t mind working 1-2 hours at flexible times ’cause I loved working with them, and I didn’t want my work to be piled up too much when I was back either. My only worry was that I’d have to bring my laptop and I was concerned with the weight limit ’cause I bought economy class, right? We know they only allow us to bring perhaps only 7-10kg to the cabin. So yeah. But well, thankfully this has not become an issue, thanks to my light-packing traveling skills^^

Alright, let’s review each.


Brunei is a gem! The place is beautiful. It’s on the same island as some Indonesian provinces, and it made me wonder if the Indonesian parts would be as wonderful. (I have never been to Borneo island ’cause the tickets for domestic flights in Indonesia were crazy but I have some friends who live there and told me how bad the govt treated the people there in regards to development, facilities, etc.). So I was so happy I got to set foot in Brunei. I got to meet my friend too. The people in the mosque we visited invited us for dinner ’cause I was a musafir, but we didn’t get to come ’cause we went to eat some Bruneian traditional food (it’s called Ambuyat and it’s so yummy!) and got so full. I also got to take a small boat cruising around the water village – Sungai Kedayan of Kampong Ayer. I was amazed that they have many schools above the water and nearby to each other. By the way, I got myself a useful mirror as a small gift. The only bummer was that I didn’t get to send myself a postcard ’cause by the time I got the postcard and wanted to go to the post office to get the stamp, it was already closed. Well, it’s the weekend, so… And oh, another amazing thing: When I exchanged my money in the airport, the rate was really really good, so no worries about money exchange in the Brunei airport 😉

Now, Hong Kong. It’s awesome! Actually I felt it a bit like Indonesia in a way. I mean, there were so many Indonesians (and many with hijab) living there! On my first day, I went on a walk and there was this mosque around which a lot of Muslim women gathered like “pengajian” that we had in Indonesia. It felt so like home, except of course Hong Kong had better public transportation and was cleaner and safer to walk around (at least imo). I ran into some Indonesian women and talked with them and they thought I was like them, i.e. housemaid working in Hong Kong. I was happy that they were kind and nice to me. I was proud of them. They stayed far away from home so they could send money to their family. ‘Cause for the same kind of work in Indonesia, they wouldn’t earn nearly as much. I met one who had already had grandchildren and been working abroad for 16 years (in Saudi, Taiwan, and now Hong Kong). She said she decided to keep working so she could give her grandkids some money. Boy, if only our govt could establish some policies to enable us to live decently and happily without having to work far away from home! But, okay, I don’t want to sully this post with such resentment. All I can say is Hong Kong was amazing. The only bummer was that I lost my Sabonen doll keychain. I’m not sure where I lost it, but I realized it wasn’t attached to my bag anymore when I went to the toilet in the Central station, when I was heading to catch my ferry to Macau. I’m getting a new one, but dang, I don’t know if it’ll be as cute. ‘Cause it’s handmade and customized. And oh, another bummer: they don’t provide bidets in their public toilets. Sigh.


Now, Macau! It’s…small? 🙈 I mean, it’s such a small island, but it’s surely nice. I managed to visit perhaps almost all the free tourist attractions using the buses (the main casino-hotels provided buses from the ferry terminal for tourists by the way!). I also got to meet a nice couple from my own country. We stayed together for a while, taking pics of each other. I was happy to meet such nice people. And I hope I can have a husband who can travel with me too in the future! ðŸĪēðŸĪēðŸĪē And by the way, Macau had these places that resemble other famous places like The Parisian Macao, The Venetian Macao, The Londoner Macao, etc. They had the replicas of Eiffer Tower, Big Ben, and so forth, and I was like, “Man, I’ve been to the real places. LoL” What a snob! Hahaha But what’s interesting was, I got to enter the Casino. Well, I was wearing hijab, the only visitor with hijab, so I wasn’t sure if I’d be allowed to enter. So I asked one of the security guards, but she didn’t understand English so she asked her colleague in the hotel to help me (it’s The Parisian, and it was so grand!). They both were so nice and they asked me where I was from and if I was above 18. Apparently the casino was owned by the US and they restricted who could enter and gamble in their casinos. I was allowed in after showing my passport. But taking pics/videos wasn’t allowed. I walked around and saw people playing/gambling. To be honest, I didn’t get how it worked, but it was fun just watching. Hhe Another thing that I noticed from Macau was the immigration officer. Oh my God, they seemed so “lazy.” Perhaps the laziest I have ever encountered. LoL I mean, when I got into their post, they stayed leaning back to their chair. They didn’t even touch their PC keyboard with their fingers. They used my passport. And when they returned it, they just slightly threw it to me. I was like, “Do you not like your job that much?” LoL But that’s not an issue for me, ’cause I didn’t really seek their respect. As long as I was allowed in without much drama, then I was happy. ‘Cause all I wanted to do was just sightseeing. But anyway, it’s such a worthy one-day trip from Hong Kong 😉

Can you read the writing on each pics?

Now, Taiwan! Taiwan was amazing! I reserved a bed in a hostel and shared the room with 5 other female travelers to save money. Next to the hostel were restaurants that sell halal beef noodles, which was great so I didn’t have to be concerned about food. At first I was confused ’cause I couldn’t seem to navigate my ways around while using Gmap. Then I realized that they used the right lane – like the US – and that helped me to get to the right bus stops and all. Well, the public was a bit overwhelming, though. ‘Cause they’re so many, and they weren’t always on time. I’ve got my Taiwan card to tap when I got on and off the buses, though, so no problems. I just needed to make sure the balance was enough for the ride (though it’s quite troublesome to top up ’cause I could only do it by cash).

A lot of my Taiwan adventures were impromptu ’cause I pre-set some destinations in my plan, but I when I got there I was quite surprised to find that I could visit them just in a day or two. I wanted to visit the shooting location for the ever famous Taiwan drama: Meteor Garden, like I did when I was in Barcelona. I didn’t really watch the drama, though, ’cause at that time it was broadcast at night in my country and my Mom didn’t really allow me to stay late to watch TV. Not just because I had school in the morning, but because we were poor; watching TV until late would mean paying more for the electricity bills and we could not afford it. I remember loving the main lead, Jerry Yan, though. But, oh, after I checked, the shooting location was actually quite far from Taipei, the city I flew to and stayed in. It was around 3-4hour ride by bus, so I decided that it wasn’t really worth it and perhaps I could visit another time (hopefully!).

Bonus pic of my bragging: By the time I posted this, I’ve been on my 1467day Duolingo streak!

I was excited, though. ‘Cause I got to hike and the view on top was beautiful. I got to soak my feet in the “hot spring” too. And I got to visit the grand mosque in Taipei too! I’m not sure if there was some kind of event going on, but it was so lively when I went there. There were many food stalls, clothes, etc. There were many visitors too. It’s awesome. I didn’t really get inside, though, ’cause I was on my period and wasn’t praying. But guess what? When I was traveling around Taiwan, I found something interesting: in general, their public toilets didn’t provide a bidet. And the only ones that did provide a bidet had a sign saying, “Muslim friendly toilet.” Man, it got me so stoked. I mean, I know Muslims aren’t the only ones who keep such high level of cleanliness and sanitation. So it made me wonder why they specifically put such a sign for the toilets with bidet. But guess what? When I shared this story with my Japanese friend, they got confused when I showed the pic of bidets and asked how to use it. Well, can’t really blame her. Toilets in Japan are of a different level. They’re too sophisticated and expensive. I wish I could have one. Hoho

And by the way, I ran into a kind Japanese girl in my hostel. She looked surprised when I spoke Japanese. But she was really nice. She shared her liquid detergent with me when I was about to do my laundry. The thing was, I had already prepared powder detergent for my laundry in this trip. But I found the washing machine in my hostel allowed only liquid detergent. Jeez. But well, other than that, we didn’t really interact. Hhe

Something else I wasn’t prepared for in Taiwan: They didn’t allow visitors to bring in food, fruit, and such from outside the country. If you brought some in and didn’t declare, you’d be fined or given some penalty. I had some Donner and oranges left from my Hong Kong trip and had to throw it away. Dang, now that I think of it, I could’ve just eaten it instead of throwing it away. But I guess the trip took a toll on me. I couldn’t think straight ’cause I was so tired. It was night, and all I wanted to do was to get into my hostel soon, clean up, and sleep. I’m sorry for throwing the food and fruit away 🙏

I admit that maybe I didn’t really plan this trip through or not as thoroughly as my previous trips. I was so busy with work and I didn’t have much time to prepare. So I guess I was more flexible with my destinations this time. I just went with the flow and browsed or thought about where I wanted to go on the day or the night before. I did save some must-visit spots for me to explore, though. But when I was there, I realized that there were so many places I wished I could have visited if only I had more time. But my schedule was tight and it was only around one-week holiday with all 4 countries to visit. So yeah, I kinda gave myself more space to wander aimlessly. But I was happy with this too. ‘Cause it allowed me to see unpopular spots that people might overlook. But I guess that’s more like my thing: seeing how life in another place is. So just wandering around and observing what the people do, what the locals do, etc., many more things beyond touristy stuff.

Everyone’s background when they go to Singapore.

Bonus: A short transit in Singapore
Actually I didn’t plan to transit in Singapore as I have been there several times already. But the cheapest ticket I could get came with a long layover in Singapore, so why not, right? I exchanged the remaining money I had from Hong Kong (HKD) and Taiwan (TWD) with SGD ’cause I have already had the coins and small cash for my collection and I thought it’d be more likely for me to visit Singapore again than to visit the previous two countries. It’s a bit a hassle, though. ‘Cause the baggage storage in Changi didn’t allow me to leave my laptop, so I had to use the baggage storage in Jewel. Then I rushed to the city. Literally just having some lunch at China Town, then heading to Merlion park, taking pictures as many as I can, then rushing back to the airport to catch my flight back to Indonesia.

Gosh, it’s tiring but it’s fun. I mean, I left home on Friday night to catch my morning flight on Saturday. Then when I landed back in Indo on Sunday night, I went straight home and started work right on Monday morning. It took about 4-5hours to get to my home from the airport thanks to the corrupted govt that couldn’t provide better public transport to travel around within the country. So yeah, my traveling schedule was packed. But thanks to my Indonesian card provider I could travel abroad just fine without having to worry about internet connection. (Yeah, their network in my country kinda sucks, but thankfully their roaming service works great abroad). And thanks to my Indonesian bank, I just needed to tap, tap, and tap the card so I didn’t have to worry about not having enough cash. I was worried about running out of balance in my account, though. Wkwkwk

Special notes: This song was the thing that got me determined to go to Hong Kong. I’ve come to love Bondan & Fade2Black more than I used to and I fell in love with this song. The music and the lyrics are beautiful. Then I learned that this music video was shot in Hong Kong, and I was like, “Yeah, let’s get to those spots in this MV.” But of course by the time I got to Hong Kong, I got too perplexed with the many options I didn’t get to check out all the places as I didn’t have much time. And I was traveling solo, so I couldn’t always have someone take my pic on every spot I wanted. Yeah, it’s an excuse, but gotta let it go, ’cause after all, I’m still happy I did this trip ðŸĨ° If you have time, though, perhaps you can give it a listen. Hope you like it like I do âĪ

PS: My tagline for this trip is: Wearing cheap clothes ’cause my tickets were expensive ðŸĪŠ

PPS: I’ll try to post shorter and more often in the future, but I can’t promise ✌

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