Tucked in the heart of Borneo, wrapped in a blanket of emerald jungles and kissed by the South China Sea, is the sovereign state of Brunei Darussalam – the Abode of Peace.
This petite but prosperous nation is an intriguing fusion of majestic Islamic architecture, pristine rainforests, and warm, gracious people.
The nation's heart beats in its capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, where the stunning Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque reflects on the waters of an ancient river. Royal palaces, stilt villages, and vibrant markets lend the city an appealing blend of tradition and affluence. Not far from the city's glitz, the Ulu Temburong National Park provides a stark contrast with its primeval rainforests that echo with the symphony of diverse wildlife.
Yet, beneath its wealth and modesty, Brunei nurtures a treasure trove of traditions, from the ornate art of silver and brass ware to the captivating beats of its traditional music and dance.
Citizens of many countries, including the EU, the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, can enter Brunei for up to 90 days without a visa.
The official currency is the Brunei Dollar (BND).
Malay is the official language. English is widely spoken, particularly in business and by the younger generation.
Internet and Communication
Wi-Fi is available in urban areas, hotels, and cafes. Progresif and DSTCom are the main telecommunications providers and offer prepaid SIM cards.
Bruneians are generally reserved and polite. Modest dress is recommended, particularly when visiting mosques or religious sites.
Savor ambuyat, a national dish made from sago, served with a variety of tangy, spicy dips.
Public transportation is limited. The most reliable way to get around is by car. Renting a car or hiring a taxi is recommended.
Health and Safety
Brunei is a safe country with low crime rates. Normal precautions apply. Medical facilities are of a high standard.
The trick to experiencing the natural splendors of Brunei is to venture into its rainforests. Embark on a river safari in the water village for a chance to spot the elusive proboscis monkey, a species unique to Borneo. As a cultural trick, take time to explore the local markets, which provide a fascinating window into Bruneian life and a place to sample authentic Bruneian cuisine.