What to see for travelers in Brunei: features of entering the country
The tiny Sultanate of Brunei is not popular among tourists. The reason is the lack of information about this country due to its remoteness, and structure. In general, it is believed that there is nothing for travelers to do here. But this is not the case.
What to see in Brunei
Acquaintance with the "Abode of the World" (that's how the name of the state of Brunei Darussalam is translated) begins with its capital - Bandar Seri Begawan.
As Brunei is an Islamic monarchy, the main attraction of the city is the Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque at the Sultan's Palace. The building impresses with luxury: a huge central dome covered with pure gold, minarets are marble, and precious interior decoration shows off crystal chandeliers, Persian carpets, stained glass windows, columns, fountains, and gardens. Near the mosque, an ancient ceremonial boat of the Brunei rulers is moored.
The spectacle is worth seeing at least from across the canal surrounding the palace. However, three times a year the residence opens its doors to visitors.
Outside the palace, Brunei's capital is a tidy, small town that can be walked around in less than an hour. It is most convenient to travel by rented car or taxi boat.
Bandar Seri Begawan can offer its guests the following attractions:
A water town on stilts
The old town has the typical architecture of the region’s fishing settlements. One can learn more about the culture of local residents in the gallery named after the district — Kampong Ayer.
Gadonge Night Market
Another typically Asian entertainment offers the opportunity to taste local exotic fruits and get an unforgettable experience.
Malay Technology Museum
The exposition allows getting acquainted with the achievements of 7 ethnic groups living on the territory of Brunei from ancient times to the present day.
Everything related to the history of the state and the sea are stored here: ship samples, and artifacts from the coast of Brunei, and from the seabed.
Tasek Lama Park
The huge green space in the very center of the city surprises visitors with its picturesque views and majestic waterfall.
Hassanal Bolkiah Mosque
Named after the current ruler of Brunei, the mosque is a pearl of modern Islamic architecture.
Jalan Roberts Street
The most Instagrammable place in the capital is known for its colorful wooden houses. It is best to come here on Sunday when the street is closed for traffic.
Jerudong Amusement Park
Built with royal grandeur, this amusement park includes not only traditional attractions such as roller coasters. There is a water park, a luxurious garden, and a diamond monument.
In addition to historical monuments located both within the city limits and outside, Brunei is a great place for active leisure. Hiking, birdwatching, tours to natural parks and untouched parts of the country (mangroves, Katimahar Agri Park, Wasai Wong Kadir Park, Ulu Teburong Park), boat trips, river rafting, fishing in Tutong River, etc.
Located in the equatorial monsoon zone, Brunei is a warm and humid country. January is considered the coldest month. At this time, the thermometer shows +30°C. The rainy season lasts from September to early February.
Information for tourists
Brunei is a monarchy headed by a sultan. The dynasty of the current ruler is more than 600 years old. Therefore, it is not acceptable to discuss, question, or criticize the actions of the monarch. To admire his greatness one can visit the capital's Museum of Royal Regalia.
In addition, travelers should remember that:
The official religion is Islam. Although it is practiced by only ⅔ of the population, Sharia laws apply here. They provide a number of strict rules.
For example, you can pass something to another person with your right hand only, as the left hand is considered to be unclean. So when traveling in Brunei, pay attention to how you pass money for payment.
Every Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., all institutions are closed: Muslims go to the obligatory prayer.
Cigarettes or alcohol cannot be consumed or purchased here.
Locals try to be loyal and ignore the mistakes of tourists in the context of Islamic ethics. However, women are advised not to wear too tight or too revealing clothes, as well as clothes that "copy" men's suits. If possible, give preference to dresses with a below-knee length and without a deep plunge.
It is not allowed to celebrate Christian Christmas on the territory of the country.
The official language of the state is Malay. However, the colonial history due to which Brunei belonged to Great Britain is reflected in locals' English proficiency.
Almost every resident has his own car, so finding public transport is challenging. Also there are almost no sidewalks for pedestrians.
The official currency is the Brunei dollar (BND).
Most of the world's countries do not offer direct flights to Brunei. It is most convenient to get here from Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, or Jakarta.
Brunei allows visa-free entry for citizens of the EU, Great Britain, USA, Canada, Iceland, Ukraine, and a large part of Asian countries. Depending on the country, the period of stay without a visa varies from 14 to 90 days.
Standard package of visa documents:
- filled application form;
- travel ID valid for at least 6 months from the date of arrival and its notarized copy;
- two colored photos with white backgrounds;
- copy of outbound flight tickets;
- bank statement certifying solvency during the trip;
- confirmation of booked accommodation;
- complete contact details;
- receipt of the consular fee payment;
When entering Brunei, one must have health insurance (and a doctor's prescription if the purchase of regular medication may be required). Guests of the Sultanate are also recommended to register in the e-Register system.
The simultaneous stay of visitors in the hotel lobby not more than one person per 10 square meters of serviceable area is allowed.
Persons can visit hotels and stay there (outside hotel room) only if they wear respirator or face mask (including homemade mask), so that the nose and mouth are covered.
Hotel guests are obliged to keep the 1.5 meters distance.
Online check-in making in advance is recommended to avoid queues at check-in to hotel.
Meals in hotels are provided through meals delivery service to rooms upon prior order or at hotel restaurants situated inside or in open areas, provided the distance of at least 1.5 meters between seats at adjacent tables.
Not more than 4 clients are allowed to stay at the table (excluding children under 14 years old). Unless these tables are separated by a special partition;
Self-serve is not allowed.
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