Trip to the Sultanate of Brunei 2012
All travel reports are translated electronically although minor improvements are sometimes made.
Trip to the Sultanate of Brunei 2012
My trip : from the Malaysian border in Sarawak, through Belait and Tutong, to Bandar Seri Begawan and Muara.
I came to the Sultanate of Brunei from Sarawak (East Malaysia) and to the capital of the country. This very small, rich country for most tourists is only transit, the kind of country specific on the list and getting an exotic passport stamp. There is not much to see here, but the Sultanate of Brunei was a nice experience for me. Most travelers expect Brunei’s copy of Dubai, but the country is quiet and peaceful, and the BSB is also a quiet capital with nice coastline, promenade villages and some impressive mosques. The people here are also not high. I will even admit that they are very nice and helpful.
From the Malaysian border to the capital of Brunei, Bandar Seri Begawan was about 100km. When I arrived I immediately found the room, because the bus driver blew me off the coast. I stayed in the dorm for only $ BD10 and although it was the cheapest room with all the conditions were very good. After drowning in the country, I was expecting high prices and was actually more expensive than Malaysia, but the average meal cost me only $ BD3-5. Still, there are $ 1BD ready meals at the bus stations.
Bandar Seri Begawan
Most of the time I spent in the capital of Bandar Seri Begawan, where is the most tourist attractions. BSB is a small, quiet town that can easily be walked on. The centerpiece of the center is the river where you can see the village on the promenades, to the small shopping center, to the magnificent and very impressive mosque of Omar Ali Saifuddien. Below I will describe the most interesting objects in the very distant capital of Brunei, Bandar Seri Begawan (BSB).
I am definitely not a fan of Islam, but some Islamic architecture was beautiful and worth seeing, provided that all monumental mosques remain in Brunei and will not be built in Europe. As the most spectacular mosque, with a stone boat on its own, artificial pond and among the gardens, I recommend the Omar Ali Saifuddien mosque built for $ 5mln. Its gold domes in the shape of onions and 44 meters of minarets are visible from many parts of the city. I walked around and I admit that this is one of the best objects I have ever seen. A huge stone boat on the backdrop of the lake, and a huge, mosquito-lit mosque is a spectacular tourist attraction. This mosque was established in 1958 and was named after the sultan’s present father. I would highly recommend this wonderful property.
The Museum of the Sultan’s Insignia is also not overlooked, which answers the question very well; what to give someone who has everything. It is a round white building, also finished with a dome. In the middle are richly decorated clothes, expensive items like vases, swords and caskets. There are also pictures of the Sultan and his family, as well as a huge, royal barge drawn by models of decorated soldiers. From the center, the most beautiful museum in Brunei is made in the form of several marble corridors, supported by white pillars. Much of the museum is also home to gifts from other countries. The Brunei Sultan got interesting items from Arab leaders, such as gold-plated and noble knives. I also liked the silver model of Angkor Wat from the King of Cambodia.
From Queen Elizabeth II, the Sultan of Brunei got a green vase that was not the most beautiful, and I think that the grandma Betty could do bettter. An unforgettable experience was the world’s largest village on the Kampung Ayer. It is a huge undertaking, given that there are 20,000 people living in 28 villages. There are residential houses on concrete balconies, terraces, gardens and a mosque. Unfortunately, there were no farm fields as it was on Inle Lake in Burma, but it was very interesting. In Kampung Ayer there is also a water school and a mosque. It is best to visit the whole village on a motorboat, as the driver is accompanied by the entire village, and flows to the mangrove forest near the observation of nature, and long monkeys (Proboscis monkey). I would like to add that my favorite longnosed monkeys, the proud symbol of Borneo Island, are very interesting to observe, and as a curiosity I will tell you that this species does not eat bananas. During the expedition I also saw a mangrove snake, herons and mangroves, of course.
For 1.5h drivers try to take around $ BD50, but you should bargain. I just paid $ BD20 for this pleasure. The Kampung Ayer villagers like to call “Venice of Asia”, but I assure you that it is not in Venice. The next day I went to see the biggest mosque in Brunei, namely Jame`Asr Hassanil Bolkiah. I personally liked the previous mosque because of the lake and the marble boat, but it was also magnificent and richly decorated. The Jame`Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque was an exquisite art of Islamic architecture but especially beautiful from the inside. There were fountains, marble in sand and decorated prayer materials. This is an object that takes some time because it is huge. The mosque enters through the decorated gate, and then through the alleys of palm trees and long corridor, we reach the great gateway of Islamic architecture. Both mosque walls and minarets are decorated with mosaics. I got there from the center by bus no 1.
From there one man took me to the official residence of the sultan, Istana Nurul Iman. It is the largest royal palace in the world, which even frightens its size. I don’t know why the sultan has such a huge palace, because it has 257 bathrooms and 1788 rooms. Istana Nurul Iman Palace is three times larger than Buckingham Palace. Unfortunately, you can not get inside because the property is closed and you can not even see it from the outside because it is covered by stains. To see it better I went to the other side of the street where I climbed up, and from there I saw better the golden domes of the palace.
I also went to the Brunei museums, which are located near each other, in a distance of about 6.5 km from the BSB center. These were the following: Islamic Art Gallery where as the name implies I watched the indigenous art of Brunei. There were other canvases, decorated knives, vases and the Koran in honor. Also interesting was the Gallery of Oil and Gas where it is shown how these resources are extracted from the ground. There was an interesting exhibition called “Life under the masts,” which showed sea creatures under masts. In the same building was the Gallery of Traditional Culture of Brunei, where all the countries of South-East Asia were presented, taking into account their culture, population and other data.
In the next building there was the Malay Museum of Technology, which was devoted mainly to village exhibitions on bamboo bales and models of people working on the river. Besides being on BSB strolling along the coast, I was also in the shopping center of Yayasan Complex where you can see the mosque of Omar Ali Saifuddien, and in the Chinese temple. Brunei is also a good place to taste Chinese and Indian dishes and so I sat down once in the local pubs. I also went to a hairdresser from India for only $ 4BD. I was also at the local fruit bazaar where I watched monkeys.
I admit that in Brunei I loved hitchhiking which I used many times since people are very nice and helpful. I have crossed the Brunei border many times. First came from Malaysia (Sarawak) and then again from Malaysia, from Labuan Island. The airport and seaport of Muara are well known.
For those who have more time and money I would recommend a trip to the Brunei enclave called Temburong, where the Ulu Temburong National Park and the Peradayan Nature Reserve are located. Of course this is pure rainforest, a walk through the high canopy above the height of trees, and another encounter with beautiful nature. Unfortunately, this pleasure costs $ BD235 for two days with transportation, overnight stay and full board. It is a close encounter with nature, although in neighboring Malaysia we pay a lot less. I will add that there is a way to do this on your own, but the cost of parks will not be avoided and on Temburong is dependent on the hitch.
Summary of Brunei
Brunei Darussalam (Brunei Darussalam) is recommended as an interesting stop in the country at the end of the world, which a respected traveler can not miss. On the other hand, I would not go to Brunei alone, as there is not much to see. Two days in full blame unless someone wants to go to the jungle for the next two. Anyway, I recommend Brunei as a new, interesting travel experience between Malaysian Borneo. This is definitely a very interesting experience.