Brunei, known officially as the State of Brunei Darussalamor the Nation of Brunei, has a total area of only 2,226 square miles. The majority of its population lives in the larger western part of the country, with about one-third living in the capital city, Bandar Seri Begawan (BSB). Brunei is mainly a Muslim nation and respect for the local customs is always appreciated.
Experiencing the culture and heritage of Brunei is the key to enjoying this destination, with a few surprises thrown in including five golf courses, some of them private. Many of the country’s mosques and other important Islamic sites feature beautiful Islamic arts including gilded Holy Korans, ceremonial items and intricate mosaics. There are also many natural sights throughout the country, including rainforest parks, beaches, islands and mangroves.
Bruneihas four districts including Brunei/Muara, where the capital BSB is located. Tutong is home to virgin forest and small-scale plantations. The western-most district of Belait is the center of the petroleum industry, while Temburong is in the isolated eastern district.
BSB is not only the center of Brunei’s commerce, finance and government, but has many interesting attractions to enjoy. The Arts and Handicraft Centre honors what the country was once known for including boat making, silversmithing, weaving and basketry. Visit the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque for insight into the country’s faith, and the Bruneian Kampong Ayer water village for its Asian connection.
Brunei-Muara, the housing district for the capital, is where you’ll find the Istana Nurul Imann, the home of His Majesty The Sultan and the largest palace in the world. It combines contemporary and traditional Islamic architecture. The Jerudong Park Playground amusement park has a roller skating rink, go-cart track, video arcade, shooting gallery and high-tech fun.
In Seria, the oil capital of Brunei also known as “Shelltown,” the attractions focus on the district’s main industry. The Oil and Gas Discovery Centre (OGDC) educates, as well as provides fun, by introducing visitors to science and engineering as it applies to the petroleum industry.
A half-hour drive from BSB takes you to Tutong and its natural beauty of Pantai Seri Kenangan beach, Ulu Temburong National Park and Tasek Merimbun lake. The Ruma Budaya cultural village showcases five ethnic Bomean groups. Eco-tours can take you to Temburong by boat to explore its rainforest.
Shopping opportunities range from traditional markets to boutique shops to major shopping complexes. Look for earthenware ornaments, gilded curios, brocade tablecloths, mats and door hangings.
Bruneioffers an array of international and local cuisine. Local food fuses Arab, Indian, Chinese, European, Malaysian and indigenous Bornean flavors. As an Islamic state, the sale of alcohol is banned, and the consumption of alcohol in public is prohibited by law. Non-Muslim visitors are allowed to bring up to two liters of alcohol plus up to 12 cans of beer every 48 hours.
Brunei International Airport is the main entry point to the country. Royal Brunei Airlines is the national carrier. BSB is a very walkable city that also has a comprehensive public bus system.
Bruneihas a tropical rainforest climate. The average annual temperature is 80.8° F.