Getting to London has never been easier

I’m just going to say it: I do not enjoy layovers.

The faster I can get to my destination the better.

So when Royal Brunei Airlines (RB) announced that it would be launching daily non-stop direct flights between Bandar Seri Begawan and London in October 2018, I jumped at the chance to plan my next Europe trip.

For now, it would take me 17 hours 5 minutes to get from Brunei International Airport to Heathrow Airport, which is approximately 11,270 kilometres apart. The 17-hour journey is inclusive of a layover in Dubai.

However, once the daily non-stop direct flights are up and running on October 28, the Brunei-London flight is expected to take 14 hours 35 minutes. That’s three-and-a-half hours shaved off!

I recently sat down with a group of well-travelled friends to learn more about how they stay sane during a long-haul flight.

And this is what they had to say:

1. Noise-cancelling headphones are a must

“They are a must-have item.”

This was something that every single one of the friends agreed.

“We would never travel without noise-calling headphones,” they said. “We get better sleep with them on.”

2. Bring some snacks

Even though you will be served meals during your long-haul flight, it does not hurt to have a snack or two stowed in your carry-on luggage.

“We enjoy a good snack, especially after taking a short nap. More importantly, it helps with improving our mood,” they said.

3. Download TV shows and movies

Bring your own entertainment onboard (Photos: Pexel)

Most airlines allow you to switch on your mobiles and tablets, provided you have airplane mode switched on.

While there is in-flight entertainment systems for passengers on most aircraft, watching your own shows is always far better.

“We would download one or two seasons of our favourite TV shows onto our phones or tablets,” they said.

“Couple this with your noise-cancelling headphones, and you’re all set for your long journey,” they added.

4. Don’t be a jerk

From their years of travel, one thing that they’re still learning is to “play nice”.

“When you are travelling alone, you have no say who is sat beside you, especially when flying in economy class. So the more courteous you are with the person sat beside you, the likelihood of you enjoying each other’s company increases,” they said.

“If you wish to remain silent for the entire flight, at the very least, just say hello,” they added.

5. Understand that some things are beyond your control

No one wants to admit it, but crying babies in planes are the worst!

“There is really no point swearing (silently in your head) when you hear the wailings of a crying infant,” they said. “Try to be understanding. We were all babies once. Just know that the parents of that infant is having a tougher time than you are. Just put on your headphones and forget about it.”

Do you agree with our list? Do you have any tips you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you.

For further reading, we recommend the following report by Traveller – ‘Air travel tips: 50 tips on how to make your flight perfect’.

Spend a Thursday morning in Tutong

“This is the best tamu in Brunei!”

This was what a retiree in his 60s from Brunei-Muara District proclaimed after I told him that it was my first ever visit to Tutong’s famous Thursday market, which is more commonly known as Tamu Tutong.

I arrived at the market, which is officially called Kompleks Pasarneka dan Tamu Tutong, at 8.30am.

It was a 50 minutes drive from the capital, Bandar Seri Begawan.

People would come to Tamu Tutong as early as 6am

“My friend …” he said, as he placed his hand on my shoulder. “You’re late! You may not have come at the right time, but at least, you came on the right day – Thursday.”

According to him, Tutong residents and people from other districts come as early as 6am to get their hands on the freshest produce.

He said, “There’s no other tamu (market) quite like this in Brunei.

“Take a look around and you will be surprised at how much stuff you can get here.

“In fact, most of what you see in other tamus in the other districts (Brunei-Muara, Belait and Temburong) come from Tutong.”

Although the tamu opens from 6am to noon, I could see some vendors packing up at 9am that morning.

When I asked them why they were leaving so early, they laughed and said, “It’s not early! We’ve sold everything, so why not go home?”

The people here are ever so friendly.

You can also find handicraft at the tamu
Why not grow some fruits in your own garden? You can get saplings from the tamu too

As I strolled around the tamu, I overheard people saying, among other things, “Oh! You travelled all the way down here too?”

This is certainly a must-visit site if you ever drop by Tutong on a Thursday morning.

Have you visited Tamu Tutong? Is this really the best tamu in Brunei? We’d love to hear from you.

 

Is this the best place to see a sunset in Brunei?

“I am going to take you to the number one spot in Brunei to enjoy a sunset.”

This was what a resident of Tutong District proclaimed as he told me to drive to the tip of Kuala Tutong past the Old Ferry Jetty.

I was sceptical at first.

We arrived at 2 o’clock in the afternoon.

The place that I visited to see the sunset is on the far left side of the map. You have to drive along a sandy road past the Old Ferry Jetty to get to the spot (Courtesy Google Maps)
You can park your car here before going on foot

“Why are we going here so early?” I asked my guide as I wiped the sweat off my face.

“I want you to see firsthand how this place looks early in the afternoon. When we come back here at around 6pm, I want you to remember how this place looked before the sunset,” he said with a smile.

This was how the area looked at 2 o’clock in the afternoon

While waiting for the ideal time for the sunset, I visited the Eco Ponies Garden in Mukim Lamunin, about a 30 minutes’ drive from Pantai Seri Kenangan. (See story: Enjoy authentic kampong cuisine at Eco Ponies Garden)

After spending an afternoon at Eco Ponies Garden, I returned to the Pantai Seri Kenangan at 6pm.

I was disappointed when I returned at 6pm. It was cloudy!
But 10 minutes later … this happened. It was truly a sight to behold!

What do you think? Is this really the best spot to enjoy a sunset in Brunei?

If you think there is a better spot to view a sunset in Brunei, we’d love to hear from you.

Would you like to have your sunset photos featured on the ‘Neue’ website?

All you have to do is:

(1) Follow WhatsNeue on Instagram and Facebook.

(2) Upload your sunset photo and tag WhatsNeue.

(3) Tell us where you took that photo in Brunei.

(4) Use hashtag #whatsneue in your caption.

So Brunei, are you ready to take on the sunset challenge?

Survival guide to going back to work after your vacation

“Why do I have to go back to work so soon?”

“How am I going to make it through the day at work?”

“I want to go on vacation again!”

These are things that people would normally say the minute they step foot in their office after returning from a holiday break.

Whether it’s a quick getaway to Miri or Kota Kinabalu or a two-week retreat to Europe, you will never be satisfied with the amount of time spent away from the office.

But alas, working is a fact of life for most of us.

Here are 5 tips to help you realign yourself energetically for your first day at work after the holidays:

1. Take things slow

Don’t try to tackle all your work all at once.

You may be feeling overwhelmed with the mountain of outstanding tasks that you have to do.

“It’s important that you keep your cool. Thinking about everything all at once can be overwhelming. Don’t abuse yourself mentally,” a top executive working for a private firm in Beribi, Gadong.

According to him, it’s important that you prioritise your work based on four categories.

“Top of your priority list should be tasks that are ‘important and urgent’, followed by ‘important and not urgent’, ‘not important but urgent’ and ‘not important and not urgent’,” he said, adding that this has helped him with his day-to-day affairs.

2. Unpack your luggage a day before work

Unpacking may not be fun, but it’s necessary (Photos courtesy of Pexels)

A well-travelled friend of mine strongly advises that you should not put off unpacking.

“Unpacking after a trip does not have to be big drama,” she said.

“First thing first … take all your dirty laundry directly to the laundry.

“Nothing will stress you out more than knowing that there’s a pile of laundry that you have to tackle after a long day in the office.

“Unpacking can also be therapeutic, where you get to look at all the cool things you bought from your vacation.”

3. Souvenirs for colleagues

“You will find going back to work easier when you have a bag of goodies for your colleagues,” said a colleague of mine who recently returned from Japan.

“Chocolates and other snacks would usually suffice.

“You don’t need to spend a fortune on souvenirs for your workmates.

“It’s the thought that counts.”

4. Let the photos do the talking

Memories are made of these

If you’ve just returned from a theme park, chances are you may have forked over a pretty sum for a framed photo of you screaming with your loved one during a rollercoaster ride.

So why not take that photo to work and place it on your work station?

Alternatively, you could replace the desktop image of your office PC to one from your holidays. If this isn’t possible, select that image as your home screen of your mobile phone.

These photo will not only boost your mood, it’ll also give you something to look forward to i.e. planning your next holiday getaway.

5. Leave the office on time

Time is ticking … Go home!

As the saying goes: All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

There’s always tomorrow.

“Better to do your work slow and steady, rather than rushed but careless,” said a mid-level supervisor of a private printing company.

“I would rather work with a person who double-checks his/her work than a fast but careless worker,” he said, adding that success is the sum of small efforts – repeated day in and day out.

Do you have any tips on surviving the first day back to work after your vacation? We’d love to hear from you. You can e-mail your comments to lance.thoo@hoco.agency.

Are you buying the right tyres for your car?

Tyres are the most important component of your car.

It’s important not to cheap out when it comes to getting new tyres.

Q: Which types should I buy?

They have to be the right size and the right load rating.

You can choose a tyre with load rating greater than the minimum, but not less than that.

Q: Do you get what you pay for when you buy a premium tyre?

The short answer is ‘Yes’. Unlike tyres for heavy trucks, car tyres are not designed to be rethreaded.

Q: Tyres are designed with different tyres of tread, each of which is meant for different road conditions and driving styles. What are the 4 different types of tread?

(1) Directional (unidirectional)

Rotate directional tyres unless they are remounted.

(2) Symmetrical

Symmetrical tyre tread has the same pattern – continuous grooves and/or independent lugs – across the whole tyre. This type of tyre is the most common and found on most non-high-performance passenger cars because it is typically quiet and long-lasting. Also, they can be rotated in many different ways, which helps to prolong the life of the tyres and makes them more versatile.

(3) Asymmetrical

Asymmetrical tyre tread, most commonly found on sports cars, is a bit of hybrid in that it combines a variety of tread patterns for maximum grip on both wet and dry roads. Usually the inside and middle parts of the tyre will be designed for wet and/or winter traction, while the outside of the tyre will have large tread blocks for maximum cornering capability on dry surfaces. To ensure that the tyres are positioned correctly on the car (to maximise handling capabilities), the sidewalls are marked “outside only” and “inside only”.

(4) Directional/asymmetrical

Directional/asymmetrical tyre tread is the best of both worlds – it features the V-shaped pattern of the directional tread for discharging water away from the tyre and the dry weather traction of the asymmetrical tread. You should follow the same rules as directional tyres when it comes to rotation patterns. Vehicles equipped with different size tyres on the front and rear (staggered), prohibit the ability to rotate directional/asymmetrical tyres unless they are remounted.

Q: Are they steps that I can take to extend the life of my tyres so I don’t have to buy new ones as often?

Simple things like checking your type pressure to make sure they are properly inflated can make a real difference in how long your tyres last. Under- or over-inflated tyres don’t wear evenly and won’t last as long.

Q: How can I save more money on fuel?

Under-inflated tyres are one go the biggest causes of using excess fuel. This is because under-inflated tyres have higher rolling resistance, which means that it takes more effort from the engine to move your vehicle.

Q: Should I check the pressure of my tyres?

Yes! You should make it a habit to check the pressure of all your tyres monthly, including the spare. Even if you don’t see any damage, tyres can lose up to 1 psi (pound per square inch) every month. This can be accelerated by air leaks due to accidental puncture, leaks in the valve or valve cap, or by wheel malfunction.

Q: When should I do this?

For the best results, check your tyre pressure when the tyres are cool – before driving the car or if it has covered less than 3 kilometres at low speed. (Top photo courtesy of Pexel)

What factors are important to you when it comes to buying tyres for your car?