If I have any complaint about Brunei, it’s around the tours. There used to be a government funded tourist information counter in the post office, but that closed down and now one of the tour companies provides information ‘free of charge’. Of course, that information includes details of the tours they offer themselves. I don’t know how tourists would find the other tour companies unless they take some time to wonder town or guidebooks happen to mention them.
I took a tour that had been discounted to less than half the original cost because I tagged along with a Dutch family of 9 who had already booked. The guide, Zizi, was very friendly and knowledgeable and the boatman had incredible eye-sight, so I got my money’s worth, but if Brunei wants to build the ecotourism industry to replace the oil exports when they run out, they need to create better value.
As it was, I saw more in three hours than others see in 1 hour at almost the same price and it was worth the money at the discounted price. We took a speed boat down the river, stopping to watch Proboscis monkeys jumping into the water from 3m up, squirrels playing in the tree tops, monitor lizards, herons, igrids and even baby crocodiles with jaws 2 inches long. The boatman was trying to catch one to show us up close, but the guide stayed at the other end of the boat ‘because where the babies are, mothers are not far…’