Brunei Darussalam, the ‘Abode of Peace’, is a tiny nation in Asia, located in Borneo island. Borneo is the world’s third largest island situated in Southeast Asia and is shared by the countries of Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia. Being overshadowed by its more popular neighbours, not many are aware of Brunei. Now that you know, the next time you book a trip to Southeast Asia, don’t forget to stop by! Note that the country follows strict Sharia laws and be mindful to not offend the local culture and traditions in any way.
Brunei Darussalam is officially an Islamic country, home to hundreds of gorgeous mosques and Islamic architecture. The capital Bandar Seri Begawan is known for its opulent mosques, lavish buildings and interesting museums. It is also home to Istana Nurul Iman, an enormous palace and residence of the Sultan of Brunei. With 1788 rooms and 257 bathrooms, the palace holds the record for the largest residential palace in the world! Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque, located on an artificial lagoon, is a splendid sight with a massive gold-plated dome and spotless white walls. Brunei’s other national mosque, Jame’ Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque, is the largest in the country and it boasts of 29 golden domes! Speaking of large, Bandar Seri Begawan is also home to the world’s largest floating village, Kampong Ayer, located on the Brunei river. Kampong Ayer is actually a group of over 40 smaller villages which are linked together by wooden walkways. You can take a water taxi ride to the village and stroll through this unique settlement.
Ulu Temburong National Park is another popular destination in Brunei, which can be accessed only through boat rides from the capital. Keep in mind that guided tours are compulsory and visitors only get access to 1 square kilometre out of its sheer 500 square kilometres of pristine rainforest. Once you enter the park, you can indulge in various activities ranging from a canopy walk to going for a swim in clear mountain waters. Among the diverse wildlife species found here are gibbons, squirrels, hornbills, rare exploding ants and over 400 species of butterflies.
Though Brunei is a small nation, it does offer spectacular sights for its visitors that make it a worthy destination. While the capital stuns visitors with its grand colossal structures, the Ulu Temburong National Park gives a glimpse of Brunei’s natural wealth.
Istana Nurul Iman, residence of the Sultan of Brunei holds the record for the largest residential palace in the world – it has 1788 rooms and 257 bathrooms!