They say Brunei is a boring country, and I respectfully disagree with those who say so. Often known as the Abode of Peace, it is a Southeast Asian country located on the north shore of the island of Borneo, but there is so much more to discover about it. Together, let us learn more about this silent country full of hidden treasures as we tour the most popular bucket-list sites.
When you arrive, you will land in Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital of Brunei. The city is a photographer’s dream come true, with two of Southeast Asia’s most gorgeous mosques and a vast floating village on the Brunei River. It has been beautifully planted with plenty of trees and pedestrian space, and the roads are smooth and well maintained. The ample signage in Arabic writing, the prominent portraits portraying Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah’s bearded figure, and the transparent domes of the mosques, some gleamingly gilded, are all clues that you’re in Brunei. You may learn about the travel resources I use and how to sustain a life of travel by clicking here.
Sunrise at Luagan Lalak
The breathtaking grandeur of the Bornean sunrise is found at Luagan Lalak. The lake, located near the Labi Forest Reserve to the west of Bandar Seri Begawan, is stunning. A set of boardwalks traverse the surface of the freshwater wetland. Around the park, there is a network of footpaths and wooden bridges. To arrive in time for sunrise, leave the city around 4:00 in the morning to see this stunning occurrence. You’ll have to travel more than an hour from Bandar Seri Begawan.
The Most Magnificent Mosque in Brunei
It looks like it’s floating in a pool from a distance. The magnificent, gold-domed structure gleams in the tropical light when you get near. A mirror reflection of the majestic edifice may be seen in the adjacent lagoon. The Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque, named after Brunei’s 28th Sultan, is routinely voted one of the country’s most stunning tourist attractions. A model of a 16th-century royal barge can be seen on the exterior. Italian marble, British chandeliers, and Saudi Arabian rugs are used inside. Brunei’s crown jewel is a Southeast Asian architectural marvel.
Gems of Green
Ulu Temburong National Park, formed in 1991 and covered 549.1 km2, is the country’s most famous natural protection area. Trees that are hundreds of years old leap into the air, connected by canopy pathways that provide views of the enormous forest. This park, located in the rainforest, is well worth seeing. Safaris can be enjoyed here, particularly on the rope bridges. Trails lead to secret waterfalls and natural ponds across the sweltering jungle. When combined, it creates one of Brunei’s most attractive spots for enjoying the best of nature. There is a stunning view of the park from which you may snap fantastic photographs.
The Luxurious Sultan’s Palace
The Sultan’s official house is more than four times the size of the Palace of Versailles, making it the world’s largest residential palace. There are 1788 rooms and air-conditioned stables for the Sultan’s polo ponies, gold door handles, and 257 bathrooms. During the three-day Hari Raya Aidil Fitri celebrations at the end of Ramadan, the palace is solely open to the public. Taking a water taxi trip is the greatest way to see it on the other 362 days of the year. Filipino architect Leandro Locsin designed the palace with combined Malay (vaulted roofs) and Islamic (arches and gold domes) architecture with the sweep and luxury of an airport terminal. Khuan Chew, the architect of Dubai’s Burj Al Arab, designed the crystal teardrops in the royal reception room, the serpentine oak ceilings above covered pathways, and the glass ceiling elements in the big dining hall.
The Venice of Asia
Because of its unique appearance, Kampong Ayer is one of Brunei’s most beautiful locales. The enormous town comprises more than 40 different settlements on stilts over the Brunei River. Some people rarely travel onto the land because they have their mosques, shops, and schools. Take a ferry ride and stroll around the decrepit boardwalks to get a peek of a bygone era. According to some estimates, the community stretches back five centuries and is home to more than 13,000 people. Take the most outstanding pictures from the Waterfront in the early evening, just before sunset.
Gateway to Brunei’s Rich Cultural Heritage
From Bandar Seri Begawan, Tasek Merimbun is around an hour drive. Brunei’s largest wildlife refuge, a recreational center, and a site for research and teaching is both a natural and cultural heritage of the country. It is the home of the ethnic Dusuns and Brunei Darussalam’s Black Lake location. Brunei’s most attractive spots include the ‘S’-shaped lake, often missed. Consider a deep blue surface with bright green lilies dotted throughout, surrounded by dense jungle. Various species, including a rare type of fruit bat, thrive in the tropical flora that grows among the greenery. The boardwalk or a boat ride is the ideal way to take in the calm of the lake.
Spectacular Brunei’s Sunset
Muara Beach, Brunei’s golden beach, is about 30 minutes away from the city. Palm trees hug the South China Sea, and the incredible multi-colored tropical sunset may be seen here. Join the local picnicking families for a peaceful stroll across the park before the big spectacle at dusk in the afternoon. And when the sun sets, watch the city calm down with your loved ones.
The Islamic religion is practiced in Brunei. If you’re traveling during Ramadan, the holy month, make sure to dress modestly and adhere to local customs. All year round, Brunei is hot and humid. September through January is considered the wet months. However, an intense rainstorm can strike at any time. Avoid drinking water from the tap outside of the leading hotels. Use a lot of sunscreens to keep your skin safe from the humid weather and drink enough water. There will be no alcohol available, but if you believe you will be missing it, you may bring two bottles of wine/spirits and up to 12 cans of beer. You won’t be able to drink it in public.
These are only a few things of what Brunei has to offer. So, what exactly are you waiting for?