Likes & Dislikes

Opinions

Brunei - Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque - Elter photo

“The mall was generally the only place with any life – otherwise the capital wasn’t just quiet, it was practically dead. In other cities the Chinatown at least is guaranteed to be bustling and colorful, but here even the 10% minority of Chinese descent were impossible to detect.

In terms of GDP per capita, Brunei is one of the five richest countries in the world, but according to the UN’s annual human development index report, it only just pips Hungary. Even of this I’m not convinced: Sure, public safety is good, nobody starves, education and healthcare are free, and almost everyone seems to have a fancy car, but this is still a brutal Islamic dictatorship, and socially it remains almost as conservative as, say, Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan. I’m very glad to have visited Brunei, and even more glad not to live there. (2018)”


Practicals

Transport

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Brunei - bus

Food

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Brunei - home-made seafood dish

Public safety

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Brunei - arrest - could not slip out of their hands - b.c. photo

Background

Brunei - national flag

Destination in brief

Brunei in brief 

Brunei is a tiny Southeast Asian country on the island of Borneo, surrounded by Malaysia from all sides except its northern coast on the South China Sea

Size: 5,770 km² (3,585 mi²)

Capital city: Bandar Seri Begawan 

Population (in 2020): 437,000 – 83% Muslim (mostly Sunnis of Malay ethnicity) – Islam is Brunei’s official religion 

Official language: Malay – but the use of English and Chinese is widespread. Brunei was a British colony until 1984.

Brunei is a sultanate, an absolute monarchy, the Sultan being the country’s head of both state and government. 

Official currency: Brunei dollar

Brunei is a safe destination for tourists. Its strict laws discourage potential criminals. 

The sale of alcohol is prohibited but non-Muslims (infidels) are allowed to consume alcohol in private (in hotels and some restaurants). They are also allowed to bring a maximum of 2 bottles of liquor and 12 cans of beer to Brunei.

Brunei’s climate is very humid (90%). Ideal travel timing: March-September. The rainy season is between October and February.   

It doesn’t make sense to plan for a longer stay than one day. The 12,000 tourists who visit the country each year do not spend more than 1-2 days there. Visiting Brunei is usually combined with a trip to the Malaysian part of Borneo (Kalimantan).

With a similar price level to that of Singapore, Brunei is rather expensive.

There are few worthy natural must-sees and even those are more interesting in Malaysian Borneo. Still recommended: jungle tour in the Temburong area

The main tourist sights are in the capital

Jame Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque, Royal Regalia Museum, Omar Ali Seifeddine III. Mosque (one of the biggest mosques in Southeast Asia), Hassanal Balkiah Aquarium, the incredibly big palace of the Sultan (to be admired from outside only) and Kampong Ayer, the world largest floating village 

Driving is on the left side

Most frequent surname: Haji

 

Nowadays

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People

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Brunei - school girl - Elter photo

Brunei - school boy - Elter photo

Brunei -Bandar Seri Begawan- market-woman - Elter photo

Attractions

Jame' Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque Mosque

Brunei - Bandar Seri Begawan - Jame' Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque Mosque - f.f. photo

Brunei - Hassanil Bolkiah mosque - Elter photo

Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque

Brunei - Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque - Elter photo

Brunei - Bandar Seri Begawan - Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque - promenade - Elter photo

Kampong Ayer

Brunei - Kampong Ayer - walkways - Elter photo

Brunei - Kampong Ayer - walkways - Elter photo

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