Negara Brunei Darussalam – the tiny oil-rich Sultanate on the northwestern coast of Borneo – is known chiefly for its huge reserves in oil and gas, and for having one of oldest monarchial systems in the world.
But Brunei is also an intriguing land of great natural beauty, blessed not only mineral riches but a wealth of lush virgin forest. Just 5,765 square kilometers in size, the majority of Bruneians live in only few areas – the remainder of the Sultanate a great tangle of jungle housing a typically Bornean array of flora and fauna.
Brunei too, is renowned or the ornate splendor of her mosques, public buildings and palaces.
The Sultan, who is also Prime Minister, lives appropriately enough in the largest palace in the world – the magnificent Istana Nural Iman. With 1,788 rooms,
the palace in the capital city of Bandar Seri Begawan is roomy enough to be both homes to royal family as well as the office of the Prime Minister.
Twenty five kilometers northwest of the capital is Jerudong Park, site of the most exclusive golf club in Asia, four polo fields and a magnificent children’s theme park. The multi-million dollar fairyland entrances children and adults alike with its range of rides, stimulators, playgrounds, the world’s best musical fountain and other attractions, not least of which is free admission!
Kampong Ayer, the world’s largest water village, and the birthplace of Brunei, is full of historical and cultural interest.
Around 30,000 people live in this bustling collection of some 2 village, a fascinating conglomeration of stilt houses, markets, mosques, schools, medical clinics and even petrol stations, all perched on stilt over the Brunei River.
How to get there
Royal Brunei Airlines’ flights depart from major destinations in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Australia for Bandar Seri Begawan.