Call it glitz, call it glamour, after spending years abroad, the term ‘nightlife’, to me, coined busy streets blanketed in neon lights, bustling faces to-and-fro, ear-drummingly heavy basslines, and the vices that leave you forgetting-it-all the day after.
So, after making the journey back to Brunei, my many nights have been quiet ones, just the occasional neighbour’s crackling Karaoke sessions. Aside from little-to-no noises heard at night, I’m growing to like this new “nightlife”.
What constitutes the Bruneian ‘nightlife’? Well, of course, aside from it having to be dark outside, the Bruneian ‘nightlife’ is everything you enjoy in the day, but just in the blissful hushed surroundings of nightfall.
An ode to the serene ‘Goodnights’ of Brunei, here are three categories that peddle in the night.
#1. Late Night Supper
The clock hand strikes 12 midnight, your stomach rumbles and churns … “Feed me!” it says.
Gadong’s Night Market
Under the nights’ sky, this Night Market is hard not to notice. A football-field-sized sheltered market, from night snacks to full-fledged dishes; cold-perspiring drinks over grilled soot, one can not help but fill their noses with a cloud of different smells, though a night-market, the stalls close before midnight!
Bali Pit Stop
A Javanese haven for all tummies that crave Indonesian delicacies in the still of midnight.
Located in Kiulap, this eatery caters a mouth-waterfalling selected-menu, with an ambience that transports you straight to an antique Balinese hideaway, for a moment till you’re done with your supper, like a pit-stop.
Opens from 9 am to 4 am.
Semporna, or a literal translation for ‘Perfection’, quirks the mix of a local-fusion menu, accompanied by a bar-selection of drinks, a den I would personally call a ‘mamak’, but not at all alike. Is your stomach on empty? Make your way to any of the Semporna branches for their “Evil Midnight” menu, what’s that you ask? You’ve got to experience it yourself.
Midnight menu from 10 pm to 6 am.
#2. Night’s Venture
I Yearn for Adventure – at Night!
Brunei’s very own Jurassic Park! Minus the Dinosaurs, and the CGI, […] but there’s a McDonalds! Though they close their gates around 11 pm, a land of thrills and excitement awaits you behind the doors of Jerudong’s Playground and Musical Fountain, plus, the queue won’t be so long.
Thursday: 4 pm – 11 pm
Friday: 3 pm – 11:30 pm
Saturday: 10 am – 11:30 pm
Sunday: 10 am – 11:30 pm
Pristine Mosques of Brunei
In the glimmer of dusk, the orange tinge of the setting sun refracts off the domes of Mosques in Brunei. A sight that is envious of the Mosque’s night-time glow. The Omar Ali Saiffudien Mosque, along with the Jame’ Asr Hassanil Bolkiah both release a glow as if emanating a day’s sunlight.
Waterfront (which has since been renamed to Dermaga Diraja Bandar Seri Begawan)
The flat waters of the Brunei River make for an excellent breeze walk through the night, find yourself lost in the panoramic sights of Brunei’s urban landscape while a towering Sungai Kebun Bridge lights-up the pitch dark, do watch out for joggers and bicycles while you hold on tight to your cold fizzy drink.
#3. Board Game Communes
Scrolled your way down here too quick? Not a fan of the great-outdoors? Do you rather the comfort of four-walls? Then boy, do I have some spots for you!
Games & Lattes
Take a step into Games & Lattes and you would feel like you’ve entered a new dimension, the dimension of board-games that is. Stay cosy, bring a friend, pick out a game or two and check-mate the night.
Opens from 11 am to 12 am.
Ner Dee Cafe
View this post on Instagram
New games to try out on your next #gamenight⠀ …⠀ THE LADY & THE TIGER Inspired by the classic short story "The Lady or the Tiger?" by Frank R. Stockton, each game offers a unique experience. Five amazing games, packed into just eighteen unique cards! -BGG⠀ …⠀ INSIDER Do we really have free will? Who decides this? Are we controlled by what we hear and what we see, even while thinking we decide freely? Insider is a game that deals with these questions. -BGG⠀ …⠀ GHOSTBLITZ Action-reaction, eye-hand coordination…that’s what you need to master in this game. Be the fastest among your group of friends. Laughters guaranteed!⠀ …⠀ KITTENS IN A BLENDER This fast-paced card game has players working to save all of their own kittens before the unthinkable happens. But sometimes the only way to save your precious litter of kittens is to let those curious little cats learn the lesson of why you should never play in a Blender! -BGG
Much like the above-mentioned cafe, Ner Dee is a Board Game cafe with a minimal touch to design. Your nights will be spent warm with close-friends and families, away from the cold-cold of the night. And a punny’ name to boot!
Let’s Hear It From You
Now, after seeing all these places, some may be beyond excited to give these locations a proper night-time visit, but I’m sure there are STILL going to be some who cringe at the thought of Brunei’s ‘nightlife,’ it’s not as out-of-the-world as what you may think, you’re enjoying the company of people in a safe and healthy commune, that’s a win-win for me.