According to legend, Brunei was discovered by a group of fourteen brothers travelling in search of a new place to live. And now, it’s your turn to it’s your turn to visit Brunei – surrounded by Mother Nature’s finest work, it’s a place where religion and royalty rule. If you’re thinking of travelling to this small nation, here are five of Brunei’s must-see attractions.
Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque
The most striking image of Brunei, the Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque in Bandar Seri Begawan is an impressive starting point for your trip. Surrounded by an artificial pool the mosque is one of Southeast Asia’s most beautiful places of worship – it’s also one of the most Instagramable attractions in Brunei.
Jame’ Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque
The second of Brunei’s grand mosques, Jame’ Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque, is the country’s largest. Built for the sultan and to honour his dynasty as the 29th ruler, the mosque is adorned with 29 golden domes that dominate the skyline. The interior of the mosque is just as lavish as its exterior, with sweeping staircases, supersized chandeliers and ornate stained glass windows, it’s a real feast for the eyes. Remember to look out for the sultan’s own personal lift at his private entrance to the mosque.
Providing a truly unique experience, Kampong Ayer is an enchanting floating village. A century ago, half of Brunei’s Malay population lived in Kampong Ayer, now, the village consists of more than 40 settlements all connected with a maze-like network of wooden boardwalks. The timber houses are painted green, blue, pink and yellow, making the homes as vibrant as its residents. Visitors can spend hours here strolling through the village and experience what life’s like living on stilts.
Royal Regalia Museum
The palace of Istana Nurul Iman is only open to the public during the annual Islamic celebration of Hari Raya Aidilfitri, so, for an insight into the opulence of royal life, head to the Royal Regalia Museum. From a giant chariot used for his silver jubilee, to the countless glistening jewels, the museum houses exhibits illustrating the sultan’s up-bringing, education, marriage, travels and subsequent rule. It’s easy to spend hours marvelling at the regal items.
Ulu Temburong National Park
Opening in 1991, Ulu Temburong is Brunei’s first national park. Spanning 550 squared kilometres, only 1% is open to the public, making it a well-protected area of ecotourism. Visitors can hike along jungle trails, get views of the rainforest from canopy walks and get up-close-and-personal with some of the wildlife. Take a dip in the natural pool formed at the bottom of the Ulu Mutong waterfalls, or even go white-water rafting along the Temburong river.
Brunei is a melting pot of experiences waiting to be discovered. Thanks to its tropical climate, you can travel to Brunei throughout the year, and enjoy temperatures in the high twenties. October to December is the rainy season, but the rain brings lower levels of humidity.