Brunei Darussalam – The Southeast Asia Black Gold Nation
Brunei Darussalam or known as “Nation of Brunei, The Abode of Peace” is a sovereign state located on the north coast of the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia. Apart from its coastline with the South China Sea, the country is completely surrounded by the Malaysian state of Sarawak.
Due to the strategic and unique location, Brunei culture is heavily influenced by neighboring country while successfully maintain as one of the richest nations in Southeast Asia during the reign of King (Sultan).
Religion & Culture
Brunei still maintaining the national tradition of the Malay Islamic Monarchy, the concept of Melayu Islam Beraja (MIB) which identifies Brunei as an Islamic Nation (with 90% population as Melayu Islam). Do expect a lot of Islamic Art Mosque or building surrounding the nation during the trip 😉
Masjid Omar Ali Saifuddien – Still considered as one of the most beautiful mosques in the Asia Pacific and named after Omar Ali Saifuddien III, the 28th Sultan of Brunei, who initiated its constructions.
Visitors are only allowed to have a sneak peek around the masjid only (at a limited time & date).
The mosque also serves as a symbol of the Islamic faith in Brunei and dominates the skyline of Bandar Seri Begawan. The building was completed in 1958 and is an example of modern Islamic architecture.
We are being told that this mosque is the place for daily worship in the capital city and serve as the main venue for any major Islamic event throughout the year.
Do you feel curious about the Brunei Sultan lifestyle? Join us and explore deep into The Royal Regalia Museum live!
Night view at the mosque is even more awesome (with all the great lighting on) but sadly we couldn’t get any better shot due to the bad weather!
Found a Traditional Chinese Temple amidst the city, although it has been quite some history on this building rest assure that it is being well maintained with all its flashy look (new paint) during the daytime!
Incense and fire (香火) wise are considered good despite it is a weekday and the temple is open to the public, feel free to visit and say your prayer if you need one. 😉
We managed to find The Saint Andrew’s Church (Catholic) dwell around the residential area in the capital city with a fancy blue appearance (we called it “The Smurfs” home, just kidding!)
There is a sign outside clearly states the worship time (mostly at night), you may join with their daily service and I am pretty sure that they are glad to have you in there!
Tour Around The City
The Ministry of Culture and Rites in Brunei – Has a very elegant feel of Islamic Art around the building, the wall consists with tons of small decorative marble (absolutely not made of kain batik) which produce such remarkable art.
The Mysterious Grave in the City Centre – The grave was said to belong to a lady by the name of Dang Ayang is actually from the Royal parentage. If one was to visit the grave, there is a broken tombstone which tells the story of the lady and who she was.
If you are curious enough, do drop by and visit the tomb during the daytime when it is open to the public.
Does this seems familiar to you as a fellow Malaysian? We have one right at Bangunan Sultan Abdul Samad while at Brunei here, they have this mini-sized clock tower which is actually cute!
Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium – A multi-purpose stadium in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam. It is currently used mostly for football matches. The stadium holds 28,000 and was opened in 1984.
You can clearly see Masjid Omar Ali Saifuddien (located behind) from this stadium and prayer voice echoing from the Masjid at daily basis.
A very long, wide and straight road in the capital city where you can truly feel the road manners from the Bruneians. They will stop their car meters away no matter how fast they drive whenever there is any trespasser (foreign blur visitor) on the road.
Imagine the same situation happens in our country, you will definitely become a flatbread (roti canai) within a niche of time! 😉
This sturdy stone clock in the middle of the road gives us the feel of going back to the 80’s, but somehow it successfully blends in the modern city and becomes an iconic stuff to visit.
Taman Mahkota Jubli Emas – Located near the famous Sultan Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Mosque with the stretch of about 1.2km along the Sungai Kedayan River. The park is a 12-hectare riverfront park equipped with facilities such as walkways, exercise equipment, playground for children, as well as a bridge to cross the river and jetty.
As part of the ‘green initiative’ for the capital, the park is beautifully decorated with some of the unique features such as the Baobab Tree which is directly imported from Australia and some other rare floral species.
The park also featured wide walkways as a perfect place for the public to stay fit through jogging or cycling in the afternoon.
Of course, if you are lazy enough to walk there are also bicycle to rent at the front gate.
We happened to witness a summon (saman) being issued by a police lady for an illegal parking in the city.
Notice the plastic wrap covering the summon paper? This is what our country should learn and adapt from the foreign ones, even the tiny things do make a lot of difference!
Venice of the East – Kampong Ayer
The Brunei City is surrounding with the river so you will be occasionally be greeted with these speedboat drivers asking if you want a ride to have a full glimpse around the city and Kampong Ayer.
If you are interested in the boat ride then you will need to head over to the Jetty and wait for your turn.
*We are being told that normal price for full round trip is around $10-15 Brunei Dollar so make sure not to become an innocent slaughter lamb during the trip! 😉
Dozens of speedboat will be approaching (like the shark sense blood) if there are tourists at vicinity which actually can be quite annoying (with all the asking and offers) if you are just planning to have a short walk around the jetty.
Avoid an eye contact with the boat owner or keep a distance away from the border would help in this case.
The whole “Venice of the East Trip” is consists of visiting Traditional Malay Houses aka Rumah Air Papan and monkey tribe which stay inside the forest (behind those houses).
We skip this particular trip as it isn’t worth the time and money (since we are born from similar hometown).
If you are curious enough about water village lifestyle, no doubt this would be a good trip for you to experience it.
We recommend Piccolo Cafe as the best cafe situated around to enjoy the scenic ocean view in Bandar Seri Begawan.
Local Dry Market – Tamu Kianggeh
Tamu Kianggeh – A place for locals to buy and sells freshly harvested crops of the day ranging from fruits, vegetables, herbs and seafood.
Most of the food and ingredient that you put into your mouth during meals in Brunei are originated from here so it is wise to explore this market on the first hand! 😉
Not much stall open during our day of the visit, might due to our late visit at around 2.00 pm, only left vegetable and fruit stall which are still active in the business.
If you are worried about not having enough fibres intake (fruit) for the next few days of the trip, now is your chance to buy directly from the sources.
You can bring any types of fruit into the hotel except durian so be smart with your decision making. 😉
The locals called this Kembayau (Wild Olives) usually soak in boiling water and consume which has a remarkable effect in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.
Some even pickle these wild olives and serve with white rice as famous local delicacies.
Durian Hutan (Wild Durian) is well known for its long and sharp thorn and orange coloured peel. The durian meat texture is very soft and mushy with 100% guaranteed sweet taste.
Tempurang (Gac Fruit) also known as Baby Jackfruit is notable for its densely orange fruit containing rich contents of beta-carotene and lycopene.
Gac fruit has very little taste (like avocado) which is not sweet at all and has a very mild taste and mushy texture.
This is not Langsat but instead “Duku Langsat” is a far superior version of Langsat fruit trait which has a bigger and sweeter fruit meat. Price wise are abit more higher compared to the ordinary langsat.
Marang (Tarap) shares a similar appearance like Jackfruit but it definitely has a different story in term of taste and texture. The pulp of the fruit is plain white soft and mushy which has a delightful fragrant aroma, sweet and nutritious.
The locals also value the seeds from the fruit. Roasted, the seed has a firm texture, nutty, not too oily and has a taste reminiscent of chestnut.
Tamu Kianggeh is located in downtown Bandar Seri Begawan and is open daily from 6.00 am to 6.00 pm, recommend to have a short trip here to recognize some local eating culture.
We also managed to savor The Best Durian Milkshake at a local cafe in Bandar Seri Begawan on our way out from Tamu Kianggeh.
Nature Residents Around The City
A permanent residence at the side street of Brunei, guess birds over here is too comfy to make eye contact with the human until it wouldn’t even react while you get close to it.
Good job and nicely done sir pigeon, “bird score – 1 while human score – 0” from the game of staring each other! 😉
A live scene from The City Vandalism Culprit, Brunei are well known for its nation cleanliness right after Singapore in Southeast Asia. Look what these naughty fellas have done to the city, these mongrels deserve a summon (saman) at once!
Happy Bees around Taman Mahkota Jubli Emas, seems like a baby sucking on their milk bottle. Cant resist but keep staring at them for minutes and start wondering if those flowers taste like honey? 😉
Fun Facts About Brunei:
This is what you need to know while travelling in Brunei
- All restaurants in business on the main street are certified Halal
- Business sign has an additional Perkataan Jawi beside as translation
- Shops with multi-selling purpose (electrical shop can also be selling clothes and sundry goods etc)
- Majority Bangla running shop or stall while real Bruneians working as office or gov servant
- Most restaurants closed around 4.00 -7.00 pm
- All restaurants are closed for solat at Friday 12.00 – 2.00 pm
- Strictly non-illegal entertainment nation (gambling, liquor, clubbing)
- There are some local Brunei Chinese who can only speak Malay Language
- Common Brunei women dressing are long enough for Tutup Aurat
- The only non-tax nation (no EPF, SOSCO, GST, Water and Electrical Bills) in Southeast Asia