the fp is things-to-do
Things to see and do in Brunei
Brunei TourismAddress: Jalan Menteri Besar,
Bandar Seri Begawan,
Telephone: (673) 238 2822/32.
Attractions in Brunei
Bandar Seri Begawan Waterfront
The waterfront of Brunei's capital, recently turned into a handsome pedestrian promenade, is a great place for a watery stroll, especially in the evening. Signs point out sights of historical interest, and restaurants offer local and "exotic" food and drink.
Bandar Seri Gegawan
Discover the finest view in Bandar Seri Gegawan, the capital, from the minaret crowning the golden-domed Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque, which stands in the middle of its own artificial lagoon.
Billionth Barrel Monument
Witness the continuing importance of oil to Brunei's economy - the Billionth Barrel Monument near Kuala Belait is a testament to it.
The sultanate's national museum has sections on Islamic art, traditional Bruneian culture and natural history. Highlights include 9th- and 10th-century ceramics and blown glass from the Near East, and a life-size diorama of a Malay wedding.
Empire Hotel & Country Club
See the architectural masterpiece that is the Empire Hotel & Country Club (www.theempirehotel.com), set in acres of tropical gardens at the doorstep of one of the oldest rainforests in southeast Asia. Its golf course has views over the South China Sea and it is Brunei's only beach resort.
Istana Nurul Iman
Said to be the world's largest residence of any sort anywhere in the world, this 1788-room palace is home to the sultan and his family. The interior can be visited only during the three-day Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations at the end of Ramadan but the exterior can be admired from the Brunei River.
Jame'Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque
Brunei's grandest mosque, built in 1992 to celebrate the current sultan's silver jubilee on the throne, features intricate terrazzo tilework on the outside and spectacular opulence inside. The complex is especially magical around sunset.
Jerudong Theme Park
This once-extravagant amusement park has lost most of its rides to bankruptcy but has recently recast itself as a family-oriented theme park with plenty of performances, gardens and fountains - fun for children and adults alike.
Built on stilts along the banks of the Brunei River, the sultanate's largest water village is an ideal place to get a sense of Bruneians' traditional way of life. After taking a water taxi over from downtown Bandar Seri Begawan, visitors can stroll among colourfully painted houses on wooden boardwalks.
See the hot springs and waterfalls, along with remote forest communities and more longhouses, in the Belait district, near Kampong Labi. River safaris up the Belait River are the best way to experience these.
Kampung Ayer Cultural & Tourism Gallery
Opened in 2009, this museum offers an interesting look at the history of the water village of Kampung Ayer and the crafts traditionally practiced there. A viewing tower affords panoramic views of the bustling Brunei River and the centre of Bandar Seri Begawan.
Spot the splendid traditional longhouses in the Temburong district, an area with large tracts of virgin rainforest.
Malay Technology Museum
Just down the hill from the Brunei Museum, this institution illustrates life in both a Malay water village and a Dayak longhouse. The displays are not the newest but are interesting if you'd like to learn more about local culture.
Several stretches of sand suitable for sunbathing are situated not far from Brunei's main commercial and ferry ports. Food stalls make picnicking easy and delicious.
Oil & Gas Discovery Centre
Brunei's main centre of oil and gas production is home to a museum (www.ogdcbrunei.com) dedicated to the extraction of petroleum, source of the sultanate's extraordinary riches. Sponsored by Brunei Shell, the centre has educational programmes featuring science and engineering.
Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque
Named after the father of the current sultan, this magnificent mosque boasts dazzling golden domes, a 44m-high minaret, sparkling chandeliers and fine carpets. Completed in 1958, it is surrounded by a lagoon that creates dazzling reflections after sundown.
Pulau Selirong mangrove
The largest island in Temburong District, much of it covered with mangroves, has been turned into a wildlife sanctuary where visitors can often spot endangered proboscis monkeys. To get there, book a tour in BSB; it takes 45 minutes from Muara by boat. Other wildlife includes macaques, kingfishers and eagles.
Royal Regalia Museum
The finest, most dazzling royal bling is the draw at this museum, which features the sultan's coronation parade on the ground floor and bejewelled gifts from world leaders upstairs.
Tasek Merimbun lake
Drive out to Tasek Merimbun, Brunei's largest lake. Located in a hill resort in the Tutong District just over an hour's drive from Bandar Seri Begawan, peaceful picnicking, birdwatching and jungle trails await.
Tomb of Sultan Bolkiah
Check out the other royal sites, including the ancient Tomb of Sultan Bolkiah, the fifth sultan, known as the 'singing admiral' for his love of both music and conquest, and the Royal Regalia Building in the heart of the capital, home to a collection of ceremonial objects.
Try out traditional sporting activities, such as gasing, a game involving highly polished giant tops, and kite flying.
Twelve Roofs House
Once the colonial-era home of Brunei's British high commissioners, this hillside structure now houses exhibits illustrating the sultanate's "special relationship" with the United Kingdom. The evocative photos include views of Brunei a century ago.
Ulu Temburong National Park
Enlightened conservation practices have left Brunei's Temburong District with one of the largest tracts of unspoilt rain forest anywhere in Borneo. The small section open to visitors has a vertigo-inducing canopy walk. Access to the park is by motorised longboat.
Find more beaches at Muara, Serasa, Kuala Belait and Lumut Beach near Tutong, where watersports are popular.