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BRUNEI TRAVEL GUIDE: 15 Things to Do in BRUNEI DARUSSALAM (includes Free Attractions)

THINGS TO DO IN BRUNEI TRAVEL GUIDE BLOG

Brunei Darussalam may not be one of the top tourist destinations in Southeast Asia, but it has a "unique charm" that makes it worth visiting.


It took me three times to finally visit Brunei. The first 2 times were both failed and I'm not able to visit it. But finally, few months ago on my third try, we finally visited and explored Brunei. The best thing about this travel, we scheduled it during the celebration of the End of Ramadan or Hari Raya - which is a huge celebration in a predominantly Muslim country such as Brunei.


Brunei is one of the countries that is very close to the Philippines. It is located on the island of Borneo near Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysia. Bandar Seri Begawan is the country's capital and the primary gateway to the Sultanate of Brunei.

BRUNEI TRAVEL GUIDE: Top Things to do in Brunei Darussalam



WHAT'S COVERED IN THIS BRUNEI TRAVEL GUIDE BLOG?


Traveling to Brunei on a holiday is fun and exciting, but it may not be for everyone. It's a tiny country but has a lot to offer to its visitors. Whether it's your first time to visit Brunei or going back for a revisit, let me share to you my Top 15 Things to Do in Brunei - specifically in Bandar Seri Begawan. I hope this will help you in planning your Brunei DIY Itinerary.


1. Visit Jame' Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque


Address: Jalan Hassanal Bolkiah, Gadong, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
Opening Hours:
  • Monday-Wednesday & Saturday - 08:00 AM – 12:00 NN / 02:00 PM – 03:00 PM / 05:00 PM – 06:00 PM
  • Sunday - 10:45 AM - 12:00 NN / 02:00 PM – 03:00 PM / 05:00 PM – 06:00 PM
  • Thursday & Friday - Closed
Admission: There are no fees charged to visitors.

Notable for its 4 towering minarets and lavish interiors, Jame' Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque is one of the first must-visit sites that we visited in Brunei. It was built in 1988 and completed in 1994 in celebration of the 25th year of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah's reign. It is located in a huge complex with beautifully kept and well-manicured gardens. It also has a total of 29 golden domes which signifies as Sultan Bolkiah as the 29th sultan of Brunei. The mosque can accommodate 5,000 worshipers at a time, making it the largest mosque in Brunei. If you're visiting Jame' Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque, be sure to wear proper clothing, and visit it during opening hours. Non-muslims can enter the mosque except during prayer times.

How to get there: Take bus 01 which stops at the bus stop near the mosque.

BRUNEI TOURIST SPOTS TRIP BLOG

BRUNEI TOURIST SPOTS TRIP BLOG

BRUNEI TOURIST SPOTS TRIP BLOG

2. Explore the Historic Royal Regalia Museum


Address: Jalan Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien, Bandar Seri Begawan BS8611, Brunei
Opening Hours:
  • Sunday – Thursday - 09:00 AM – 05:00 PM
  • Saturday - 09:45 AM – 05:00 PM
  • Friday - 09:00 AM – 11:30 AM and 02:30 PM - 05:00 PM
Admission: Free

Located in downtown Bandar Seri Begawan, the Royal Regalia Museum was officially opened on September 1992. The museum houses several collection of the regalia of the Sultan and the royalty, crowns embedded with jewels, artifacts used for royal ceremonies, as well as exhibits related to the commemorations of the Silver and Golden Jubilee celebrations of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah's rule of Brunei. When visiting the museum, be sure to visit it during opening hours. We were not able to get inside since our visit coincides with the Hari Raya public holidays.

BRUNEI TOURIST SPOTS TRIP BLOG

3. Visit Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque


Address: Jalan McArthur, Bandar Seri Begawan BS8711, Brunei
Opening Hours:
  • Monday-Wednesday & Saturday - 08:00 AM – 12:00 NN / 02:00 PM – 03:00 PM / 05:00 PM – 06:00 PM
  • Sunday - 10:45 AM - 12:00 NN / 02:00 PM – 03:00 PM / 05:00 PM – 06:00 PM
  • Thursday & Friday - Closed
Admission: There are no fees charged to visitors.

Located in downtown Bandar Seri Begawan, Masjid Omar Ali Saifudden is a major historical site, a place of worship, and a popular tourist attraction in Brunei. Built in 1958, it is named after the 28th Sultan of Brunei and father of HM Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah. Dominating Bandar Seri Begawan's skyline, it is a symbol of the Islamic faith in the country and was built on an artificial lagoon along the banks of the Brunei River. With its marble minarets and golden domes, it is considered as one of the most beautiful mosques in Asia Pacific.

Non-Muslims can enter the mosque, except during prayer time. When visiting the mosque, visitors are advised to adhere by the dress code when visiting places of worship. For men, it is important to wear long trousers or pants, short-sleeved shirts are okay. Women should cover their hair and arms, ankle-length skirts or pants are required.

How to get there: Take bus 01 and alight at Bandar Seri Begawan terminal. From the terminal, walk for about 5 minutes to Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque.

BRUNEI TRAVEL GUIDE BLOG 2018

BRUNEI TRAVEL GUIDE BLOG 2018

BRUNEI TRAVEL GUIDE BLOG 2018

BRUNEI TRAVEL GUIDE BLOG 2018

4. Enjoy Bandar Seri Begawan Waterfront and Park


Address: Bandar Seri Begawan City Center near Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque

This is a public park facing Brunei River and near Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque. It is a popular place for locals who want to engage in physical activity, enjoy the sunset, or just to lounge and enjoy the view and the cool breeze coming from the river. From here, you can also see Kampung Ayer community on water or take a water taxi to visit the village.

THINGS TO DO IN BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN BRUNEI

THINGS TO DO IN BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN BRUNEI

THINGS TO DO IN BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN BRUNEI

5.Take a Motor Boat and Cruise along Brunei River


From the waterfront, you can rent a motorized boat that will let you explore Brunei river. The boat rental costs $20 BND (₱978.53 PHP / $13.24 USD) per boat for an hour of exploring which includes a visit to Kampong Ayer and to the mangroves where you could see Proboscis Monkeys.

Travel Tip: The boat can accommodate 4 to 6 persons, it's better if you have companions with you to share the cost.

WHAT TO DO IN BRUNEI TRIP BLOG

WHAT TO DO IN BRUNEI TRIP BLOG

WHAT TO DO IN BRUNEI TRIP BLOG

WHAT TO DO IN BRUNEI TRIP DIY ITINERARY BLOG

WHAT TO DO IN BRUNEI TRIP DIY ITINERARY BLOG

6. Visit Kampong Ayer


Known as "the largest water village in the world," Kampong Ayer is located opposite Bandar Seri Begawan. It is a huge community on water with an area of 10 square kilometers and an estimated population of 20,000 people. It is a fully-functional community composing of 42 villages with structures such as schools, shops, mosques, restaurants, police station, hospital, and more. Believed to have been inhabited for several centuries, Kampong Ayer is a unique national heritage of Brunei that is worth a visit.

How to get there: From the waterfront, take a water taxi that will bring you to Kampong Ayer. In our case, since we rented the boat, this is already included in the tour.

WHAT TO DO IN BRUNEI TRIP DIY ITINERARY BLOG

TOP THINGS TO DO IN BRUNEI

7. See the Proboscis Monkeys at the Mangroves along Brunei River


Brunei is home to a large population of Proboscis Monkeys. With our rented boat, the boatman brought us to the mangrove area for us to see these monkeys in the wild. Proboscis Monkeys (also known as Benkatan) are endemic to the Southeast Asian island of Borneo. They have long nose, protruding belly, and thick reddish-brown hair.

WHAT TO DO IN BRUNEI TRIP DIY ITINERARY BLOG

TOP THINGS TO DO IN BRUNEI DIY ITINERARY

TOP THINGS TO DO IN BRUNEI DIY ITINERARY

8. Visit Istana Nurul Iman Palace


Address: Jalan Menteri Besar, Bandar Seri Begawan BA2112, Brunei

The Istana Nurul Iman is the official residence of Brunei's royal family and the seat of government of Brunei. Completed in 1984 with a total cost of around US$ 1.4 billion, it is considered as the world's largest private residence in terms of floor area; thus, earning it the title of "world's largest residential palace." Interestingly, it was designed by Filipino architect and National Artist of the Philippines for Architecture awardee Leandro Locsin. On the other hand, the palace's interior was designed by Khuan Chew, Design Principal of KCA International, who is known for his works which includes Dubai's Burj Al Arab.

Aside from being the residence of Sultan Hassnal Bolkiah and his family, the palace is also used for all the State functions of the government of Brunei. It is not open to the public but you can take photos from the outside. If you want to enter the palace, it is open to the public during the annual Islamic celebration of Hari Raya Aidilfitri or the festival at the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

How to get there: From the bus terminal in Bandar Seri Begawan, take a bus with Jalan Istana route for $1 BND (₱35.28 PHP / $0.66 USD).

Brunei Budget Travel Guide for First Timers Itinerary
At the gates of Istana Nurul Iman

Hari Raya in Brunei meeting Sultan Bolkiah and the Royal Family
Outside the reception hall of Istana Nurul Iman

Brunei Budget Travel Guide for First Timers Itinerary
The very beautiful holding area inside the palace

9. Meet the Royal Family of Brunei during Hari Raya


The best time to visit Brunei is during the celebration of Hari Raya Aidilfitri. This is the main reason why we planned our trip this time in Brunei. For 3 days during Hari Raya, the doors of the Royal Place is open to the public. People are given the chance to meet and shake hands with Sultan Hassnal Bolkiah and the members of the royal family to give their Hari Raya greetings. More to that, guests at the palace were also treated with a delicious meal, and were given a gift and a greeting card from the sultan.

READ MORE HERE: The Day I Met and Shook Hands with HM Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei and His Royal Family


10. Wander, Eat and Shop at The Mall Gadong


Address: Jalan Gadong, Simpang 137, Bandar Seri Begawan BA1511, Brunei Darussalam
Opening Hours:
Friday - 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM and 2:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Saturdau - Thursday - 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM

The biggest mall in Brunei, The Mall Gadong is a shopping and entertainment complex where many locals go to shop, buy groceries, eat, watch movies, and hang out.

How to get there: To get here, you can also take bus 01 which stops in front of The Mall Gadong.

FIRST TIMERS TRAVEL GUIDE BLOG TO BRUNEI

FIRST TIMERS TRAVEL GUIDE BLOG TO BRUNEI

11. Visit Teng Yun Temple


Address: Jalan Sungai Kianggeh, Bandar Seri Begawan BS8811, Brunei
Opening Hours: Open daily
Admission: Free

Brunei as a predominantly Muslim country, seeing this Chinese Temple makes it a stand out from the rest of the mosques in Bandar Seri Begawan. Even though it's quite small, it is still worth checking out because is it the only Chinese temple in Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital of Brunei

WHAT TO DO IN BRUNEI TOURIST SPOTS

12. Take a photo of Perpuspaan Main Gate 1968


Location: Bandar Seri Begawan near Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque and the Waterfront

This unique gate was built as a memorial to commemorate Sultan Hassnal Bolkiah's coronation day in August 1968. It was originally located at Kampong Sultan Lama before it was transferred to its current location near Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque. In 2016, Perpuspaan Main Gate 1968 was gazetted under Brunei's Antiquities and Treasure Trove Act of 1967.

THINGS TO DO IN BRUNEI TRAVEL BLOG

13. Have a Taste of the Local Dishes


When visiting Brunei, do not forget to try their local dishes. Skip the usual fast food chains, and go to the restaurants to try their local food. Brunei dishes are often spicy, and are commonly eaten with either rice or noodles. Must-try are Beef Rendang, Nasi Lemak, Nasi Goreng, Salted Prawns in Coconut and Curry, and Mee Goreng. Meals at the restaurants cost around $3 BND (₱105.85 PHP / $1.99 USD) to $7 BND (₱246.99 PHP / $4.63 USD).

THINGS TO DO IN BRUNEI TRAVEL BLOGTHINGS TO DO IN BRUNEI TRAVEL BLOG

THINGS TO DO IN BRUNEI TRAVEL BLOG

THINGS TO DO IN BRUNEI TRAVEL BLOGTHINGS TO DO IN BRUNEI TRAVEL BLOG

14. Souvenir Shopping


It's hard to find souvenir shops in Brunei. I recommend that you go to The Mall Gadong. Outside the mall, there are a few souvenir shops where you could buy ref magnets, key chains, souvenir t-shirts, and other local products that makes a nice souvenir or pasalubong to your family and friends back home.

THINGS TO DO IN BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN BRUNEI

THINGS TO DO IN BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN BRUNEI

15. Enjoy the sunset


End the day with a beautiful sunset in Bandar Seri Begawan. The best spots to see the sunset are from the Bandar Seri Begawan Park and Waterfront, and from the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque.

THINGS TO DO IN BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN BRUNEI

THINGS TO DO IN BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN BRUNEI

THINGS TO DO IN BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN BRUNEI

There you have it! My 15 Top Best Things to do in Brunei Darussalam! Enjoy, have fun and discover the best of Brunei! Plan your trip now!


Cheap Flights to Brunei


From Manila, Cebu Pacific Air and Royal Brunei Airlines have direct flights to Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital of Brunei. Other airlines such as Malaysia Airlines and Air Asia also have flights from Manila to Brunei with transit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

To search for cheap flights to Brunei, I highly recommend booking via Traveloka.com - one of Southeast Asia's leading travel booking sites. I've been using it in my travels for more than 2 years now and I can assure you that you'll always get the best deals, promos and discounts on flights!

CLICK HERE TO SEARCH FOR CHEAP FLIGHTS TO BRUNEI

Best of all, you could get more discounts by using their weekly promo codes. Always check the "On-Going Promos" tab on their website or in the app. Traveloka App is available to download for free on Android and iOS devices. Download the Traveloka App now!

ALSO READ: How to Get to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia from Brunei Darussalam?

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