Cycling from Senadin, Miri to Sungai Tujoh, Brunei

Unlike my typical “Penang” oriented posts which you often see, I’ve decided to write something a bit different. As most of you already know,I’m currently studying in Curtin Sarawak. While Curtin Sarawak is located in Miri, it is located in the Senadin township, which is somewhat equidistant from the Brunei Border at Sungai Tujuh and the Miri City Centre. Thus, on a fine day, 20 minutes of traveling will take you to the Miri City Centre or to a totally different country, Brunei Darussalam! Since it’s so near, why not…errm…cycle?

bicycle baram bridgeMy two and a half year old baby,brought for the ride of her life

And well that is exactly what I did, and for those daredevils out there in Senadin and Curtin Sarawak who want to get some “out of the country” fun, this is something you’ve gotta do while you’re still in Senadin. Well the journey starts from our well known Senadin Roundabout, where you can either take the road that leads to Curtin Sarawak or the one which goes straight in front of Tenby International School and goes all the way till a traffic light. This post will talk about the shorter route which takes the road in front of Tenby and winds its way to Brunei.Taking the road infront of Tenby ( a three o’clock turn at the roundabout if you are coming from Curtin Villa) cycle straight and in 2.5 kilometers you should be at a traffic light at at T-junction.
13461276_10209476838178580_318497162_oThe straight road infront of Tenby International School. Leads to a T-junction.

At the traffic light you can take either left or right.The right takes you to Emart Supermarket while the left turning, which I call “the highway to Brunei” takes you to the border. Take the left and continue straight. This section leads you past the buildings and development into a wide grassland area. Here, go straight, and do not take any turns either to the left or to the right and soon enough you will be at another traffic light in about 5.5 kilometers. Do be aware while cycling along this section, as many heavy vehicles frequent this route. The traffic light is a four way junction where it leads straight, left or right. Take the right turning and follow the road for about 3km, and you will see the ASEAN Bridge.

ASEAN BRIDGEGoing up the ASEAN Bridge. BRUNEI here we come!

This bridge which was completed in 2003 crosses the Baram river. Before this bridge was built, cars (and bicycles) used to wait long for the ferry before being brought across the river. Times have changed and now its less than a minute’s drive on the bridge, across the river.

Anyway, as the road winds up the ASEAN bridge, its a bit of a challenge and strain for your legs. My bicycle gave me a hell of time going up the bridge, with all sorts of noise and a broken pedal as well! Going down however, was a well earned reward! And oh yeah don’t forget to take a stop at the top of the bridge to appreciate the beauty of the mighty Baram River!

Baram River

The Baram river in all her might!

baramselfie

A tired BARAM-FIE on my return.

You will soon see go through the ASEAN bridge toll and find yourself at another roundabout. No payment required at the toll, be it for Bruneian or Malaysian cyclists (the perks of cycling).

brunei tollASEAN bridge toll

At this roundabout take a three o’clock and you will come to the Malaysian ICQS Complex, which is the Malaysian Immigration Office. Make sure you are not carrying anything “unsafe” or “dangerous” like guns, knives or what not. If you plan to, be ready for the consequences.

malaysia immigrationsThe Malaysian Immigration Complex or ICQS.

For bicycles, we can follow the Car Immigration Tolls and do not need to get down and go into the Complex to get our passports stamped. (If you don’t mind the weird feeling of queuing up with cars back and front that is. Trust me, its all the more fun!)

MALAYSIAN IMMIGRATIONBicycles need to take the exit for cars and motorcycles.

After this you will come to Miri’s very own version of “MINI LABUAN”. A duty free area which has one shop selling cheap booze and cigarettes. While you might be tempted to get a few bottles or a carton of cigarettes from the lone shop which sells these delights, do this only when you are on your way back from Brunei! A long wait at Brunei Customs or even a hefty fine awaits those who are caught red handed, bringing in any of these “illegal” things into Brunei, so keep your temptations at bay for your return trip. Passing through this duty free zone will bring you to what I call the “GATES OF SARAWAK”. At this point, you’ve come about 14 km from your start in Senadin, and you’ll soon enter the “GATES OF BRUNEI”, an inconspicuously built orange and white wall bordering either side of the road. When you’ve passed this point, you’ve officially rode your bike into International Territory!

GATES OF BRUNEI

Bon Voyage Malaysia and into the orange and white “GATES OF BRUNEI” I go.

Along the way however there is a small by path after the Duty Free Area, which takes you to a beach that straddles Sarawak and Brunei. A huge cement structure divides Malaysia from Brunei, however it is possible to walk across both countries here! border between malalayssiaTaking the photo from the Malaysian side, you can see the barrier which separates Malaysia from Brunei. That building is part of the Brunei Immigration.

And i’m sure many of you have seen those photos where you could stand between two countries and take a photo, right? Well you do not need to go too far, as you can do it here at the Malaysia-Brunei border! The barrier which separates both countries on the beach becomes mere short poles towards land. If you intend to venture in to Brunei through this point, don’t venture in too far without an official entry permit.

FEET BETWEEN TWOTwo feet, in two nations.

 

borderfieThat’s me in two countries, spontaneously.  My left hand is in Brunei while my right is in Malaysia.The poles behind indicate the separation between Malaysia and Brunei.

Take a picture or two and follow the road which winds into the Brunei’s  Sungai Tujoh Immigration Toll. Similar to the Malaysian toll, you and Ms Bicycle can queue up with the cars.

BRUNEI IMMIGRATIONAnd yet again that awkward wait behind a car at the Brunei Immigration.

Once you’ve got your passport stamped, continue out of the Immigration Complex and finally you are in Negara Brunei Darrussalam! There is a “Welcome to Kuala Belait” signpost just beyond the Immigration where you can take your much needed International Selfie. (Be ready for awkward stares and smiles from all those passing through the border.  The picture is definitely a worthwhile reward to your trip.)

SELFIESelfie selfie photo photo sendiri! Finally in Kuala Belait, Brunei Darussalam.

At this point you’ve come an estimated 16 km from your starting point in the Senadin Roundabout. From here you can continue on till Kuala Belait town in Brunei which is still about another 15 to 20 kilometers or return to Malaysia. I chose the latter, as a Brunei stamp on my passport and a selfie was all I wanted! #graduationgoals #bucketlistgoalchecked

passport choppedBack home in Curtin Village with my passport stamped.One off my bucketlist!

passport stampsIf you are West Malaysian or a Foreigner, be ready to devote a full one page for your trip.into and out of Sungai Tujoh,Brunei.