Brunei Darussalam


Continuing from Doing Kota Kinabalu came the much anticipated visit to Gayana Eco Resort that took about 20 minutes boat ride from Jesselton Point Jetty (slightly longer than our ride to Manukan Island if my direction and navigation skills are anything to go by). If there’s one thing you’ll notice a lot in KK is the frequency of flights in and out of the airport. I could be wrong and at the risk of being absurd, it seemed as though a plane was flying over the apartment every 15-25 minutes or so. Marina Court aparment is located in the flight path so I had that impression. The picture below was taken at Manukan as a plane flew by. There are two parts to this post: The Landscape followed by The Marine Ecology Research Centre.

Despite the very wet weather the afternoon before, the weather cleared up over night and we had gray skies on the morning we made our way to Gayana. Half of the family members who had driven to KK had left and were on their long journey back home. This day the waters were calmer compared to just 24 hours ago we literally jumped off our seats given the rough waters and strong winds. Here, as you see, waters were calm enough to please the little boy in the boat.

Our visit coincided with a documentary Radio Television Malaysia (RTM) was producing of the resort and here we were filmed making our way there and there’s Linda (sales and marketing manager of Gayana) waving to us from across. She was recently in Brunei during the Sabah Tourism fair that was held at The Mall in Gadong.

↓ Expansion work in progress at the Marine Ecology Research Centre (MERC).
A common feature of the resort buildings is the thatched roof design that gives its a distinctive appeal of a “contemporary tropical style architecture”

↓ Dining at one of two restaurants: Alu Alu Seafood Restaurant and Fusion Poolside Restaurant
(see website for more information)

↓ Four types of rooms are available. Shown here is the Bayu Villas at RM1,460 per night
(see website for room rates)

The rooms are air-conditioned and luxurious with a spacious and elegant bathroom to match.

↓ Workers trimming the thatch roof of the new extension to MERC.

↓ Three scuba divers who had just returned from a morning’s dive making their way to the Gayana Dive Centre.

↓ My son Jamie sitting by the steps pondering the fate of the remaining of this long days and equally long nights how he’s been dragged from place to place and often denied of his Game Boy. If it’s any consolation, at least he has on a pair of genuine Crocs … the closest association to Marine life …  though I have a feeling that he’s the least bit genuinely interested in them.

Stay tuned for the next post on the Marine Ecology Research Centre.I hope to return to Gayana to check out its after hours illumination. I imagine it to be quite spectacular when the night lights are switched on.


Interested in other resorts?

Visit Brunei and check out our own Ulu Ulu Resort in Temburong, Brunei Darussalam.


  1. oh my god..its so gorgeous…i never knew KK had this…must visit for my next trip…were there sand flies or other pesky insects?


  2. Beautiful photos! It’s always so strange to me to see Christmas decor in a tropical setting… it gives me a very different feeling without the snow.. still you took some gorgeous shots 🙂


  3. shim….can I call u like this? May i know how did u shoot the 1st picture (a plane beside the sun)? can i did the same using digital camera?

    yr pic really great!


  4. Happy New Year.. A friend did recommend me to stay at Gayana Resort. This post is therefore apt and makes it more inviting to go. Definitely a must on my next trip to KK. Thanks for the post!


  5. Hi Jan

    They have certainly added a few bits to Gayana resort and it seems to have gone upmarket since I saw it last about 6 years ago.

    How was the actual research centre they did have excellent displays with some very good educational material and were doing a coral rehabilitation project. Good to see the old chalets are still standing. Will send you some of my old pictures

    All the best and Happy new year



  6. We went there the same time as you, and I don’t know, the place just left me feeling really disappointed.

    My family and I had the most terrible time at the resort. The food was overpriced and so were the rooms. The service was subpar and the place just left me feeling trapped. The water was constantly dirty (floating rubbish, beer cans, plastic wrappers) and there was an oily film on the water. The view of the shipping container didn’t inspire much either.

    The staff also failed to warn us about swimming in certain areas because of jellyfish, so I got stung quite a few times as well.

    Also, the design of the chalets means that all the other guests can see what you’re doing. I’ve been to all-chalet resorts before (Huvafen Fushi in the Maldives), and privacy here is really lacking.

    As for an example of how terrible the food was, the “pastry basket” for breakfast consisted of 4 slices of Guardinia white bread with packet butter and packet Heinz jam. The fact that it was a la carte and that the place was understaffed meant that our meal took forever to get to us and we had to ask for things like cutlery… and we never even got linen napkins.

    Wouldn’t recommend this place to even my worst enemy.


  7. @ Marcus

    Appreciate your very frank and direct comments regarding your stay at the resort. Not taking sides here but it did arouse my curiosity as to whether the decision to stay at Gayana was based on an a certain expectation having previously stayed at ‘Huvafen Fushi in the Maldives’? I’ve not been to the Maldives (would like to someday) but a look at the resort’s website and it becomes clear that Huvafen Fushi is a luxury spa resort whose main objective is pampering its guests.

    Gayana on the other hand is an eco resort whose central element of attraction is the Marine Ecology Research Centre whose main objective is the preservation and conversation of delicate marine life. I would personally place these two on opposite ends of the resort spectrum. Coming from Brunei, we have our own resort called the Ulu Ulu Resort that’s located in the heart of our tropical rainforest in Temburong.

    If I were served “Gardenia white bread with packet butter and Heinz jam” at Huvafen Fushi I would be justifiably upset. This isn’t to say that it’s acceptable for Gayana to serve uninspiring meals during your stay. I cannot comment with regards to other creature comforts as I have never spent a night there (some day I may revisit the resort for a more thorough review). Bottom line is, I see the situation as mismatched expectations. For instance, if someone came to me to have their passport photos taken, it would cost them $200 for a job that would only cost them $8.00 at the photo lab. Sounds absurd right but if the client insist and is willing to pay, I’d accept.


  8. elson_k

    shim….can I call u like this? May i know how did u shoot the 1st picture (a plane beside the sun)? can i did the same using digital camera?

    Call me Jan. This shot was a moment of opportunity and in KK especially at Manukan Island, opportunity like this aplenty as planes fly over the Island frequently. Be patient and you’ll catch this scene.

    I shot this with my EOS 20D and 28-135mm (also a digital camera), metered for the Sun and the plane is automatically underexposed and you get this silhouette. You can probably achieve this with your digital camera if it has enough reach. Good luck!

    Ee Shu

    oh my god..its so gorgeous…i never knew KK had this…must visit for my next trip…were there sand flies or other pesky insects?

    Nevermind KK, do you know what KB has that you don’t have in BSB? 😀 But yeah, a guy I met at a hair salon yesterday (I think he’s from KK) remarked that KK changed so much after he’d been away for just 2 years. And no, there were no sand flies or pesky insects when I was there and I seem to attract sand flies when I go to the beach (in any case, apply baby oil as sand flies seem to dislike).


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