Brunei

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Sub-Region: South East Asia

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Ideal duration: 1-2 Days

Best Time: January - May Read More

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"A Kingdom of Unexpected Treasures"

Brunei Tourism

The Nation of Brunei, also known as Brunei Darussalam or the ‘Abode of Peace,’ is a small country located in Southeast Asia. Wedged in the island of Borneo next to the Malaysian state of Sarawak, this oil-rich country is also bordered by the South China Sea. With an interesting culture, spectacular architecture, and matchless biodiversity, Brunei is a bucket-list destination that can be visited on an impulse! 

Most of Brunei’s attractions and museums are free to visit, making it a budget-friendly destination. The Muslim country is full of ornately constructed mosques and palaces that are sure to leave tourists gaping and marveling at the impressive architecture. The Jame Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque, with its 29 golden domes, is the largest in the country, while the beautiful arching towers and timeless Istana Nurul Iman palace is the embodiment of luxury. 

While the amazing water village of Kampong Ayer has its own charm, tourists looking to get away from the din of the city can head to the Ulu Temburong National Park, full of tropical forests and mangroves. Prepare to come face to face with curious mammals, vividly coloured birds, and many more animals here! Watersports enthusiasts can make a beeline to Serasa or Meragang. 

Bruneian cuisine is one of the country’s best-kept secrets - the national food Ambuyat (a sticky, savoury palm dip), eaten with a Bruneian chopstick called the ‘Canda,’ is an experience in itself! The seafood options, especially at the night markets, are a must-try. 

With a history composed of Islamic rule, British and Japanese occupation, Brunei is one of the most developed and cleanest countries in the continent. Interestingly, it is also one of the least visited countries in the world. The country is not for every type of traveller, though - there is not much of a nightlife, and alcohol is banned throughout Brunei. Nevertheless, one is sure to be wowed by the culture and aesthetic of Brunei - it is truly a Kingdom of Unexpected Treasures! 

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Architecture of Brunei

The rich kingdom of Brunei is replete with extravagant buildings and palaces built in vivid Islamic styles of architecture. The Sultan Oman Ali Saifuddien Mosque, with its rich golden dome, marble pillars, stained glass windows, and stately arches welcomes visitors, while the handsome pillars of the Jame Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque are picture-perfect. With an impressive 29 golden domes, manicured gardens, and four towering minarets, this is a great example of the Islamic style.

Another interesting addition is the Kampong Ayer Water Village, an entirely functioning village built on stilts over the water! The brightly painted houses are a sight to behold, and the water markets are a must-visit!

Culture of Brunei

Brunei is one of the most fascinating countries of Southeast Asia, with a rich history and local culture. One of the oldest monarchies in the world, the reigning Sultan’s lineage can be traced back to more than 600 years, reinforcing the unique culture of the country. R

eligion plays an important role in local culture of Brunei – Islam is the state religion, and is headed by the Sultan. A sense of community is well-entrenched in every local’s heart, with the philosophy of ‘gotong-royong,’ or ‘working together’ going strong. Bruneian people are known to be very friendly and welcoming to tourists – it is not uncommon to find tourists invited into homes for a delicious meal!

Brunei Ecotourism

While Brunei doesn’t have a raging nightlife, the country has a lot to offer to lovers of nature. The government’s ecotourism efforts have paid off stunningly – the exquisite Ulu Temburong National Park is one of the most untouched regions of East Asia, with rainforests dating up to 140 million years old.

Make sure to take a walk up a high canopy bridge to marvel at the breathtaking views of tropical rainforests stretching till where the eye can see. Take a boat ride and try to spot proboscis monkeys, spotted leopards, sun bears, and other curious mammals along the mangroves, or watch the majestic hornbill and the grey fishing eagle soar above!

Travel Tips for Visiting Brunei

  • While non-Muslims are not expected to follow Sharia Law, be sensitive to practices.
  • Keep in mind that all restaurants are closed throughout the country from noon to 2:00 PM every Friday, in accordance to Sharia Law.
  • Be very mindful while consuming pork in Brunei. It is banned in most places, and is available only at a few select cafés.
  • Alcohol is banned throughout the country except the local rice brew. Bringing alcohol into Brunei has a number of restrictions, so check the regulations accordingly.
  • While non-Muslim women do not have to wear hijabs, it is best to dress conservatively. Opt for clothes that cover the chest, arms, and knees.
  • Swimwear is allowed only in select beaches. Don’t wear crop tops, shorts, or rippled and sheer clothes.
  • Cover your head while visiting mosques.
  • Do not touch locals of the opposite sex unless they explicitly mention that it is okay to do so.
  • During the month of Ramadan, do not eat or drink anything in public during the day.
  • Do not speak insultingly of religion, the Sultan, or the kingdom in any way. This is considered very offensive, and punishable.

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Brunei Photos

Brunei
Kempong Ayer (Water Village) - Ancient Settlement in Brunei
Ulu Temburong National Park - First National Park Established in Brunei
Sunset View of Historic Landmark, Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque.

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FAQs on Brunei

What are the places near Brunei?

The top places near to Brunei are Kota kinabalu which is 219 km from Brunei, London which is located 11286 km from Brunei, Dubai which is located 6732 km from Brunei, Amsterdam which is located 10930 km from Brunei, New york city which is located 14910 km from Brunei

What are the things to do in Brunei?

The top things to do in Brunei are Jame'Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque, Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque, Kampong Ayer, Royal Regalia Museum, Bandar Seri Begawan Waterfront, Istana Nurul Iman. You can see all the places to visit in Brunei here

What is the best time to visit Brunei?

January to May is the best time to visit Brunei. These months are the dry season in Brunei, and the weather is not very hot with the temperature ranging between 23 and 31 degrees celsius. However, June to September is the high tourist season in Brunei. February and March are the driest months in the region, with rains from September to December which happens to be the low season. It rains for a total of around 2 to 3 weeks, with temperatures fluctuating between 22 and 32 degrees throughout the year. Although July 15th (the Sultan’s Birthday) attracts massive tourism, the end of the Ramadan season is also a great time to visit Brunei as gates to the Sultan’s palace would be open to both locals and tourists.
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What is not so good about Brunei?

Alcohol is banned, not much of a nightlife, not very LGBTQ-friendly

What is famous about Brunei?

Gorgeous Islamic architecture, lip-smacking local cuisine, tropical wildlife safaris, and vivid pan-Asian street markets

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