Brunei is a small country in Southeast Asia covered in tropical rain forests. It is famous for its beautiful beaches, picturesque hills and magnificent mosques.
Things to do in Brunei
Mentions of a powerful feudal state on the territory of modern Brunei are found in ancient Arabic and Chinese sources. Local rulers were active in trade with their neighbors and controlled some of the islands in the South China Sea.
Today Brunei is a dynamically developing state. The well-being of the inhabitants is provided by oil and gas fields, the oil refining industry, and agriculture. In recent years, the tourism industry has been advancing. Modern roads, hotels, entertainment centers have been built.
The main architectural sights are concentrated in the capital Bandar Seri Begawan. Foreigners are attracted by well-preserved houses of the colonial period, Islamic mosques, government palaces.
The sunny beaches of Brunei are covered with golden sand and are well equipped. The coastline stretches for 161 km.
The best beaches are:
- Muara Beach,
There are changing cabins, children’s pools, rides, cafes. Tourists go water skiing, windsurfing and kayaking. The coral reefs of Brunei attract divers from all over the world. Plunging into the water, people watch leopard shrimps, seahorses, moray eels, barracudas, study sunken ships and underwater rocks.
A trip to Brunei is not complete without a visit to the rainforests. Lush jungle covers 70% of the territory. There are various hiking trails in the national parks. On the way you can see rare birds, monkeys, butterflies, see local waterfalls, fast rivers and lakes.
In Brunei, tourists are waiting for interesting excursions, museums, entertainment. Cinemas, indoor skating rinks, and spas have opened their doors in shopping malls. And in city parks, water parks, playgrounds and carousels have been created for entertainment.
Mosque of Omar Ali Saifuddin
The mosque in the center of the capital is named after the Sultan of Brunei, Omar Ali Saifuddin. The complex, designed by an Italian architect, was built in a lagoon on the banks of the river. The height of the mosque is 52 meters. Marble minarets are decorated with golden domes, the prayer hall is decorated with arches, graceful columns, mosaic glass, and the floors are covered with carpets from Saudi Arabia.
English crystal chandeliers hang from the ceilings. Fountains are installed in the courtyard, flower beds are equipped, fertile gardens are planted. The mosque is considered one of the most beautiful in the Asia-Pacific region.
James Asr Hassanal Bolkiah Mosque
In 1994, a majestic mosque was erected in Bandar Seri Begawan with four minarets decorated with blue mosaics. The gilded domes glow brightly in the sun, and in the evenings they are illuminated by built-in lanterns. The rooms are decorated with Arabic ornaments, handmade carpets, marble columns. Especially for the Sultan, an escalator is installed inside.
Today, this mosque is the tallest in Brunei. In the yard there is a swimming pool with a fountain for ablution, an orchard, gazebos for relaxation.
In Bandar Seri Begawan, the official residence of the Sultan rises on the banks of the river. The huge multi-storey palace in the Islamic style attracts with vaulted roofs, golden domes, marble columns. Inside are the personal chambers of the ruler, the throne room, rooms for audiences, the office of the Prime Minister.
There are 7,000 Sultan’s cars in the garages, many of them custom-made. During the year the palace is closed to the public. Guided tours are available during the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr. In a three-day period, 110 thousand people manage to visit the residence.
The Palace of the Royal Regalia is a beautiful architectural complex. The central building is crowned with a massive shiny dome with oriental ornaments. Inside there is a museum that stores the royal regalia and exhibits used in the celebration of the anniversaries of the monarchs.
Visitors are shown the ceremonial dress of the Sultan, weapons for official ceremonies, a crown studded with precious stones. An important place is occupied by the golden chariot, in which the ruler rode through the streets of the city in 1992 to celebrate the Silver Jubilee.
The National Museum in Bandar Seri Begawan introduces the history of the Sultanate, the customs and culture of the local population. Numerous exhibitions are shown in the spacious mansion. The department of ceramics, ancient weapons, archaeological finds is popular. Guests can see ancient treasures raised from sunken ships, armor instructed with gems from the times of the Great Moghuls, national clothes, rare copies of the Koran.
The Kiangge river flows through the capital, which is a tributary of the Brunei River. One of the largest markets in the country, Tamu Kiangge, is open on its shore. Trade comes from kiosks, stalls and directly from motor boats moored off the coast.
Tourists buy local vegetables, fruits, fresh fish, edible ferns, medicinal herbs, and spices. In small coffee houses in the fresh air, chefs prepare dishes of national cuisine. Souvenir and antique shops, flower tents work nearby.
In the vicinity of the capital there is a unique attraction — Kampong Ayer. This is a traditional village on the Brunei River, built on stilts. The floating settlement was founded several hundred years ago. Neat houses are connected to each other by concrete and wooden bridges. For those who wish, there is a water taxi.
In the village of Kampong Ayer, all the necessary infrastructure has been built: schools, shops, mosques, markets. Cozy bungalows, local restaurants, souvenir shops are equipped for tourists.
Nature and entertainment
Not far from Bandar Seri Begawan is Brunei’s hidden gem, Lake Lugu. The pool of clear fresh water is surrounded by hills with lush vegetation.
There are good beaches along the coast. Tourists come here to sunbathe, swim, fish, dive, row, kayak, snorkel. On the beaches you can hire a sports instructor and rent special equipment.
Public park at Bandar Seri Begawan
The embankment of the capital is a popular place for recreation. Paths for pedestrians and cyclists are laid near the shore, benches and lanterns are installed.
In 2017, the embankment was surrounded by a coastal park with an original design. It has green lawns, flower beds, landscape compositions of trees and shrubs. In the evenings, all corners of the park are brightly lit. Kiosks with local snacks and bicycle rentals are available on site.
An hour’s drive from the capital, one of the natural attractions of the Sultanate, Vasai Bedanu, hid in a dense tropical forest. This is a stunning waterfall that falls off a cliff into a picturesque lake. Falling water sparkles in the sun, shimmers with different colors of the rainbow and looks very beautiful. You need to go through the forest along a narrow path to the waterfall.
Amusement park in Jerudon
Jerudon is home to the largest amusement park in Southeast Asia. It offers all kinds of attractions for all ages. A large area is occupied by a water park with swimming pools, multi-level slides and labyrinths.
Among the greenery, high-speed attractions, a Ferris wheel, traditional carousels for kids, and playgrounds for active games were placed. Musical concerts and official events are held in the park. For guests, they show interesting performances and arrange fireworks.
Ulu Temburong National Park
In the eastern part of Brunei is the Ulu Temburong National Park. The untouched jungle is the center of eco-tourism in the country. Ferns, palm trees, figs, tropical flowers grow in the forest. Gibbons, pygmy squirrels, vipers, hornbills, black and yellow giant butterflies live on trees.
A suspension bridge over the tops of trees is very popular with guests of the park. The steel structure rises up to 50 meters and provides an excellent view of the surroundings. The easiest way to get to the park is by boat or boat.