There aren’t many hostels or inns in Brunei. Google could hardly even help. But I was able to get one – Brunei Youth Hostel (also known as Pusat Belia). The hostel does not have any website, I came across it in a review and I was able to get their email. It was also painful waiting for their email reply. Perhaps I got a reply after a month.
Fortunately I got a confirmation email from them saying that I was reserved a bed and that I will pay upon check-in. I was happy about the email. At least, I know I can stay here and avoid the pricier hotels. They are charging me B$10 a night while the cheapest hotel available, Jubilee Hotel charges B$50.
From the airport, I took a taxi going to the hotel. I just said to the driver to bring me to Brunei Youth Hostel. He doesn’t know where so I gave him the address and it was then that I learned that it is called Pusat Belia.
The hostel is a facility of the Brunei Youth Center. When I arrived at the Youth Center, I still have to check where the hostel it. I asked the guard around and he gladly pointed me to proceed to the farthest end of the compound where the hostel is. Unfortunately, the reception (at the ground floor) is closed already. I arrived a little past 5PM. There was a note in the window that the Officer-In-Charge will arrive at 7PM. I took it myself to get upstairs to see if somebody could help me. Unfortunately again, there was no one in the second floor where the rooms are. I am having the impression that the whole hostel is vacant and I am the lone occupant. The second floor has a small reception area where there are cabinets. I checked on the cabinets and they are open. I left my luggage and went out.
I went around to spend the 2 hours walking in the streets of Bandar Seri Begawan before I went back to the hostel. I immediately checked-in and was given my room. The room has 2 double-deck beds, carpeted, airconditioned and clean. The shower room and toilet are common which is located at the other end of the second floor.
There are few rooms available and the quarters for male and female occupants are separate. The hostel has a swimming pool but one needs to pay when using the facility.
Pusat Belia is located along the highway in downtown Bandar. It is walking distance to a night market, the Sheraton Hotel, Jubilee Hotel, Royal Regalia Museum, restaurants and the central bus terminal is about 10 minutes by walk.
Next day, I met other occupants of the hostel and they told me they checked-in without passing through the reception. The guard has advised them just to do so and pay upon check out.
I visited Brunei September 2010, 2 years after I started to share my travel experiences.