PHLS Express is one of just two express bus companies in Brunei Darussalam, plying the Bandar Seri Begawan – Miri route twice a day. After accomplishing the overland ride from Kota Kinabalu to Bandar Seri Begawan last year, I decided to cover more of overland Borneo trip this time on the short ride to Miri from Bandar Seri Begawan.
However, on the day of my trip, the road at Waterfront Bandar Seri Begawan was closed for the Brunei Darussalam Regatta 2019.
There was, however, a staff which I stumbled upon while taking this photo, with him having an identity badge for PHLS Express, so I asked him where the bus was.
Due to the road closures at Waterfront Bandar Seri Begawan, the bus is parked along Jalan Kianggeh instead, just adjacent to the bus bay at Waterfront Bandar Seri Begawan.
The bus immediately visible when I turned left into Jalan Kianggeh from Waterfront Bandar Seri Begawan.
Approaching the bus staff sitting at the luggage compartment.
After passing him my Easybook printout, I headed to board the PHLS Express bus.
The PHLS Express bus at the temporary departure point at Jalan Kianggeh outside the Hassanal Bolkiah Theatre.
The interior of the PHLS Express Yutong bus. The bus was free seating on board with no seat number provided on Easybook or by PHLS Express.
I picked a rear seat on the bus as there was no one towards the rear.
The legroom available on the PHLS Express Yutong bus.
The headrest covers bore the advertisement of Easybook to book PHLS Express bus tickets.
The view of the PHLS Express bus from my seat.
There is an emergency exit row of folding seats with more legroom but no recline.
Getting the bus ready for departure after a short discussion just a minute before the departure time at 7.00am.
Departing from the temporary bus stop at Jalan Kianggeh.
Looks like all other buses are parked along Jalan Kianggeh too.
The 8.00am Jesselton Express bus to Kota Kinabalu is also parked here.
Passing by Teng Yun Temple.
Passing by the Royal Regalia Museum.
On the previous day, I walked around the city area to all tourist attractions except one – the Istana Darussalam.
However, I managed to get a glimpse of the Istana Darussalam from the PHLS Express bus, so now I can say that I’ve seen all of Bandar Seri Begawan’s downtown attractions.
Crossing over Sungai Kedayan on the Edinburgh Bridge.
Turning left to the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Highway after the Attorney General’s Chambers.
Heading on to the start of the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Highway.
Goodbye regular BSB roads.
Heading on Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Highway.
Heading under the Kiarong Roundabout on the underground bypass.
Passing by Gadong Night Market.
Turning left to the Tungku Highway.
Cyclists on the Tungku Highway on a Sunday morning.
Passing by the DST Headquarters.
Heading on to the Muara–Tutong Highway.
Along the highway, the conductor (second driver?) came around to hand me back an official company bus ticket after taking away my Easybook print out earlier.
Heading along the Muara–Tutong Highway.
Exiting at Tutong.
Passing through Bukit Bendera.
Passing by Tutong District Office.
Heading down to Sungai Tutong.
Passing by Sungai Tutong.
The bus slowed down to a crawl at this area to look out for passengers who wish to board at Tutong, but there were none.
Continuing on back to the Muara–Tutong Highway.
Crossing over Sungai Tutong Bridge.
Passing by the Public Works Department at Seria.
Turning right into Seria.
“Bahasa Melayu Bahasa Rasmi Negara”
Seria consists of many low-level housing styled like British barracks.
Approaching Seria Bus Station.
Reversing into a parking bay at Seria Bus Station.
The PHLS Express bus made a stop here at Seria Bus Station for a toilet break and to wait for the scheduled departure time from Seria.
Seems like there is another Brunei express bus company called MHS Express running on the Brunei – Pontianak route.
Seria has its own public bus system with purple buses too.
The main Route 1 is on the Belait Line.
The view around Seria Bus Station.
The Belait Line departing for Belait.
The facade of Seria Bus Station.
There are many buses on standby to depart for Bandar Seri Begawan too, terminating at BSB Bus Terminal.
The Seria – BSB Bus is in a white and beige livery.
The buses parked at the parking bays of Seria Bus Station.
Heading back to board the PHLS Express bus.
The PHLS Express bus departs from Seria at 9.00am sharp.
Passing by Plaza Seria.
Looking around Seria town.
Instead of heading back to the highway, the bus takes the local Jalan Tengah instead.
Passing by the flat houses around Seria.
Despite being a local road, the speed was still bearable as there were not much things between towns and the road was very straight.
Approaching a distinctive roundabout.
Entering the Kuala Belait & Seria Municipal Department area.
Kuala Belait seems to have bigger houses than Seria.
A standalone Starbucks Coffee building in Kuala Belait with parking lots.
Approaching Kuala Belait Bus Station in front of the clock tower.
Entering Kuala Belait Bus Station.
Making a brief stop at Kuala Belait Bus Station.
Looks like the Belait Line bus is quite fast too, having arrived before my bus.
Stretching my legs around Kuala Belait Bus Station as there were a few more minutes to departure.
The facade of Kuala Belait Bus Station.
Kuala Belait seems rather quiet with no traffic in sight at this downtown bus station.
The Kuala Belait Clock Tower in front of Kuala Belait Bus Station.
The Belait Line bus boards some passengers heading for Seria.
Re-boarding my PHLS Express bus before departure time from Seria at 9.30am.
Departing from Kuala Belait Bus Station at 9.30am sharp.
Passing by the KB Wet Market.
Passing by the Maritime and Port Authority of Brunei Darussalam.
Passing through Kuala Belait town.
Heading out to the Seria By-Pass.
Approaching the Rasau Bridge Toll.
The Rasau Bridge Toll might be the only toll booth in Brunei as roads everywhere seem to be free to use.
2 counters serve in each direction.
Exiting from the toll booth.
Looking back at the toll rates from the other direction.
Crossing over Sungai Belait on the Rasau Bridge.
Heading through the forests of Brunei at Sungai Teraban.
Approaching Sungai Tujoh Border Post.
Turning into the immigration checkpoint towards Miri, Malaysia.
The car checkpoint seems rather empty here.
Stopping at the bus lane at the right side of the checkpoint booths.
Immigration is conducted in a separate building in front of the bus bay. Toilets are available here too.
Heading into the building for outbound Brunei immigration. The bus conductor goes in first with the passenger manifest before an immigration officer comes out for dedicated immigration for the bus.
Once done with immigration, the exit is through the other door.
Heading back into the bus after Brunei immigration.
Heading back into the bus as everyone was in the toilet. (I went before immigration.)
Departing from Sungai Tujoh Border Post.
A DAMRI bus from Pontianak, Indonesia arriving in Sungai Tujoh Border Post with a rather full bus load of passengers.
The bus made a stop just at the entrance into Brunei for the conductor to pass some documents to an immigration officer, perhaps for the next entry into Brunei.
Heading on to Malaysia.
The bus took a side road before this fence while all cars went ahead.
Passing through the bus lane.
There was a sharp bend to slow down cars just before the actual border, which the bus probably can’t pass through, hence the use of the bus lane.
Crossing from Brunei to Malaysia.
And… I’m back in Malaysia once again.
Some shops between the border posts, but in Malaysian territory.
Ah, the Malaysian customs jam is familiar.
Luckily, there is a dedicated bus lane here too at Sungai Tujuh ICQS.
The welcome sign into Sungai Tujuh ICQS was an LED screen.
Heading to the bus checkpoint of Sungai Tujuh ICQS.
Here, everyone alighted for Malaysian immigration.
Immigration took place at the counter for the driver on the road rather than in the hall by the side of the road. Following which, everyone was ushered into the building for a health interview, with the officer checking on my overall trip, my travel history for the past few days, and if I have any diseases. This might be the strictest entry into Malaysia I’ve ever experienced.
Once the interview was done, it’s back into the bus.
Immigration took place at this counter for all passengers.
As I was the first to reboard the bus again, I went around to check out the various seats behind. Here’s the huge amount of legroom available on the emergency exit row fold-down seats, though the seat doesn’t offer any recline.
Departing from Sungai Tujuh ICQS after everyone had reboarded.
Heading out of Sungai Tujuh ICQS.
The post for exiting Malaysia to Brunei.
Heading out of the immigration complex into Sarawak, Malaysia.
Heading to Miri city centre.
Approaching the Batang Baram Toll Plaza.
Interestingly, there’s 3 languages here rather than the usual 2 in Malaysia.
The toll fee at Batang Baram Toll Plaza.
Heading up the ASEAN Bridge.
Crossing the Baram River on the ASEAN Bridge.
Heading down from the ASEAN Bridge.
The roads here are of a local road standard unlike Brunei.