Where to go
Stroll along the refurbished waterfront promenade of Bandar Seri Bengawan, and take a water-taxi cruise to get the best view of the gigantic palace of Istana Nurul Iman. Visit the water village of Kamping Ayer, the largest stilt settlement in the world. See the gifts given to the Sultan at the Royal Regalia Museum, visit the Brunei Museum for art and history, and escape to Taman Peranginan Tasek Park for people-watching, picnics and long walks.
Experience the luxurious Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque, and the equally stunning Jame-Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque. Both mosques are best seen in the early evening. Shop at the upmarket Yayasan Complex and the huge malls of Gadong. Buy traditional handicrafts at the Brunei Arts and Handicraft Training Centre, and eat local food prepared fresh at the Night Market.
Spot proboscis monkeys at Pulau Ranggu and Pulau Selirong, view traditional Iban longhouses at Jalan Labi, and picnic on the pleasant beaches of Pantai Muara and Pantai Seri Kenangan. Take day hikes up Bukit Patoi and Bukit Peradayan, and ride the rollercoasters at Jerudong Park Playground. For a glimpse of pre-oil Brunei, visit the virgin rainforest of Ulu Temburong National Park. See the wildlife, walk the trails, and swim in the river. Take a longboat to enter the park, and climb up the canopy walkway for breathtaking forest views.
Brunei is a small country, and hiring a car is probably the best way to get around. Roads are generally excellent, and rental arrangements are easily made at reasonable rates. As a bonus, Brunei has the cheapest petrol in all of Southeast Asia.
Taxis can be more convenient, but forget about flagging them down due to their limited numbers. Instead, get your hotel to call for one, and agree on a price before getting on. A public bus network exists, but routes can be confusing and bus stops hard to find. Buses also stop running in the evenings.
Water taxis are cheap, common, and easily hailed from any waterfront station. For further destinations, get on a speedboat. Popular routes have scheduled timings; otherwise they only depart when full. To visit Ulu Temburong, you'll have to book a tour to arrange transfers, as the national park is only accessible by longboat.
Do's and Don'ts
Do remove your shoes when visiting a mosque. Women should cover their heads, arms and knees. Never pass in front of a praying person, or touch the Koran.
Do use your right hand, and never the left, to eat or pass food and objects.
Don't eat or drink in front of Muslims during the fasting month of Ramadan, as it's inconsiderate and disrespectful.
Don't insult or speak badly of the Sultan or the Royal Family.
Did you know…?
Brunei struck it big with the discovery of oil in 1929, and its production and export soon brought great wealth to this formerly sleepy sultanate. The Sultan of Brunei, one of the wealthiest people on earth, lives in a palace with 1788 rooms; all citizens pay no taxes and are entitled to free healthcare and education.
If Brunei had a national dish, it must be ambuyat. Made from sago starch, it is boiled in water and transforms into a translucent and gelatinous paste. This is twirled around a bamboo fork, dipped in sauce, and swallowed without chewing. Actually tasteless, ambuyat takes on the flavour of the sauce; popular sauces include chilli, peanut, binjai fruit, and even durian!
Images by Shuttlestock
Prices shown on this page are estimated lowest prices only. Found in the last 45 days.