Bandar Seri Begawan, affectionately referred to as ‘Bandar’ by the locals, is the capital city of the sultanate, and hosts some of Brunei-Muara District’s most prominent tourist attractions as well, including the Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Mosque and Kampong Ayer! The city also lies along the Brunei River, and you can spend an entire day walking around to explore its charms and historical marvels.
‘Darussalam’ was added to the country’s name by the third ruler, Sultan Sharif Ali, revered in history as the first Sultan to build a mosque in the country and governing according to Islamic principles. The term, which is Arabic (and consequently, so was Sultan Sharif Ali!), means ‘Abode of Peace’.
Oil & Gas
In 1929, oil was first discovered in Seria, in the Belait District, and marked the start of the economy’s upward trajectory for Brunei. In 1991, that first oil field produced its billionth barrel and a monument was built near the original site to mark the achievement! Thanks to the oil and gas industry, the people have enjoyed significant benefits such as practically free healthcare and an affordable housing system.
If one Bruneian word could express a plethora of emotions, it would be ‘Bah’. It can be used to say yes, as a greeting, as a way to express frustration, or even resignation, depending on the tone of one’s voice!
Sunny with a chance of showers would be the best way to describe the weather in Brunei. Clear, blue skies are pretty much a daily phenomenon, but do take note that the wettest months are from October to January and from May to July. An up-to-date, daily forecast of the weather can be found here.
When Brunei was discovered by a group of brothers looking for a new home, led by Pateh Berbai, he’d exclaimed, “Baru nah!”, loosely translated to “Now we’ve found it!”, which is the origin of the country’s name.
Brunei has a rich Islamic heritage, and its practices are regularly observed by the people as the country’s official religion. The nation has some of the region’s most beautiful and iconic mosques, with ancient artifacts of the country’s history. Muslim visitors and non-Muslims are welcomed to experience the Islamic religion through the lives of the people here!
National Philosophy (Malay Islamic Monarchy)
When Brunei celebrated its independence, it affirmed its identity as a Malay and Islamic state governed by a monarchy. The philosophy of the Malay Islamic Monarchy, known as ‘Melayu Islam Beraja (MIB)’ in Malay, encapsulates Brunei’s culture and beliefs in a nutshell, with Malay traditions, Islamic laws and values and a mutual respect between the monarchy and the subjects.
Location & Population
Brunei has a population of 421,300, with an incredibly colourful mix of cultures! The country has four districts and is located on Borneo island, between the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak. It also has a 160km long coastline of sandy beaches, all of them a perfect spot to gaze at Brunei’s golden sunsets.
Language and Culture
The official language of Brunei is Malay, or Bahasa Melayu. However, English is also widely spoken here, so no need to worry about a communication barrier! Each ethnic Malay group also has its own native language, and the different cultures coexist harmoniously through a healthy respect and tolerance for one another.
Brunei celebrates National Day on February 23rd, in the very place that it declared independence: the Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien, right in the heart of the capital. It’s also one of the best times to visit Brunei, as the city truly comes alive for the annual National Day celebrations!
Brunei’s national dish was borne out of a period of hard times. ‘Ambuyat’, which is made of sago from the rumbia tree, was a staple food during World War II, when rice and meat were too expensive. Nowadays, it’s served in several restaurants as a local delicacy with sauces on the side and eaten with a form of wooden chopsticks called ‘candas’.
ABODE OF PEACE
Brunei Darussalam boasts a colourful exhibit of fascinating customs and rich nature, with a contemplative respect for religion as well as reverence for its ancient sovereignty, and we’d like to invite you to experience it all, right in the heart of our home!
Brunei enjoys a healthy economy and political stability, which is largely thanks to the abundant oil and gas reserves, allowing the people to enjoy a comfortable way of life.
Legend says that Brunei was discovered by a group of fourteen brothers, travelling in search of a new place to live, which would be the beginnings of today’s Brunei.
Brunei is a tightly-knit, conservative community filled with warm politeness, evident in the way we speak, dress and carry ourselves. There also are hidden wonders in the vast expanses of the rainforests!