Brunei Darussalam (literally, “The Abode of Peace”) is a tiny yet wealthy country in the northwestern coast of Borneo.  Brunei travel surprised me – its serenity, order, sense of space and grandiose structures and towering minarets adorning the city proper of  Bandar Seri Begawan (BSB) left me in awe!

Brunei has one of the oldest reigning monarchy in the world and is almost an absolute monarchy with Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.  The country has virtually low crime rate and has a high standard of living compared to its neighboring countries in South East Asia, not to mention a relatively high employment level.  Much of this is owed to the considerable oil and gas deposits of Brunei. Brunei Darussalam is divided into four districts:  Brunei Muara (home to Brunei’s capital –Bandar Seri Begawan also called BSB or Bandar), Tutong, Belait and Temburong.  I only had the luxury to tour Brunei Muara though.  Here’s my blog of  list of top tourist attractions in Brunei.  Will also post a Brunei Travel Guide blog soon.  Many of Brunei attractions are concentrated within the city center and can be reached by just walking or book hassle free Brunei Full Day City Tour + Water Village Tour with Lunch here.







When you hear BRUNEI TOURS there’s one structure that comes to mind – the majestic OMAR ALI SAIFFUDIN MOSQUE, known to tourists as Brunei Mosque, the most famous tourist attraction in this rich Islamic country.   This impressive structure with golden dome is a symbol of the strong Islamic faith of the Brunei people taking its inspiration from contemporary architecture and classical Islamic style.  This neck-swiveling mosque is located at the very heart of the Brunei capital city – Bandar Seri Begawan or BSB near the Kampong Ayer water village.  Non-Muslim tourists can enter the mosque, wear proper outfit. Hijab (headscarf that hides the hair, neck and ear, only the oval shape of the face is visible) as well as abaya and jilbab are available at the mosque’s entrance. Tourists can borrow the outfit to enter the Brunei Mosque.

brunei kampung ayer 1 (1 of 1)

Omar Ali Saiffudien Mosque Operation Hours:

Daily (except Thursday and Friday)- 8am – noon, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm, 4:30pm – 5:30 pm

Thursday – open to Muslims only

Friday – 4:30 pm -5:30 pm

Entrance Fee: Free


KAMPONG AYER water village was dubbed as the “Venice of the East” by the Spaniard colonizers and Brunei’s most important heritage, offering tourists a glimpse of Brunei’s old-fashion Asian charm.   It is the largest water village in Southeast Asia surviving hundreds of years.  In fact, even the government’s attempt to transfer its residents to dry lands by building modern housing schemes have failed.  The stilt houses with wooden walkways situated in Brunei River are linked villages, and can be reached by water taxis, its primary mode of transportation.


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You can book a Kampong Ayer Tour here  The Kampong Ayer Village Tour includes a visit to Kampong Ayer Cultural and Tourism Gallery, followed by a tea break at a private local home.





Brunei History Center is located along Jalan Sultan (jalan means street) and was established to do research, to collect, study, publish and exhibit the History of Negara Brunei Darussalam.

Brunei History Center Operation Hours:

Monday – Thursday   and Saturday – 7:45 am – 12:15 pm, 1:30-4:30 pm;

Entrance Fee: Free



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The circular ROYAL REGALIA BUILDING that is lavishly carpeted and made up of marble is also located at Jalan Sultan beside Brunei History Center.  It houses an extraordinary collection of priceless Royal Regalia, including crowns, silver sailboat courtesy of the Maldives, a magnificent coronation carriage (usungan) and a replica throne and also contains an exhibition of the life of the current Sultan.





The proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus) is a tangerine-colored, endangered monkey known for its unique long nose and endemic to the island of Borneo (Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia).  You can catch a glimpse of proboscis monkey by joing the Brunei River Cruise that will also cruise past the Istana Nurul Iman, the official residence of the Sultan of Brunei. The cruise takes tourists to a mangrove forest inhabited by kingfishers, mudskippers, egrets, herons and the rare proboscis monkey that usually comes near to the water’s edge in the early morning and at dusk time. Book a Brunei River Tour with Proboscis Monkey here 




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Tamu Kianggeh which is situated on the banks of the Kianggeh River in front of the Chinese Temple is the daily produce market in Bandar, Brunei.  If you wish to relish the delicacies of Brunei, this market is a good place to start, not to mention it is cheap. I went around and was happy to find some “Filipino Mangoes” being sold here.  Some Bruneian food that can be found here are sataypaislikingbelutak laplapkuih,etc.  It is also interesting to note that just like in Kota Kinabalu, there are many Filipino workers in Bandar Seri Begawan.





Brunei Museum is located along the Brunei River and like any other museums, it is rich with ancient artifacts. An interesting gallery here is the Oil and Gas Gallery  (Brunei is a country rich in oil and gas) and of course the highlight, the luxurious Islamic Art Gallery.  Along the way to Brunei Museum, you will pass by the Arts and Handicrafts Centre where they provide trainings for Brunei youths who are interested in Brunei traditional arts and handicrafts like weaving, basketry, bamboo-working, brass-casting and crafting of kris, traditional dagger.


How to get to Brunei Museum and Arts and Handicrafts Center:

Take bus#39 (Eastern Line bus) – last bus leaves at 5:45 pm

Brunei Museum Open Hours:

Monday-Saturday 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM

Friday- 9:00 AM -11:30 AM AND 2:30 AM – 5:00 PM Admission is free.

Arts and Handicrafts Center Open Hours:

Monday-Thursday 8:00 AM- 5:00 PM

Friday and Saturday 8:00 AM – 11:30 AM and 2:30 PM – 5:00 PM





Photo by Empire Hotel/ Agoda

They say that a visit to Brunei won’t be complete without seeing the opulent Empire Hotel and Country Club. Visitors who aren’t hotel guests can tour around some of the complex in the hotel (there’s a free buggy tour during Friday from 10:00 am – 11:00 am), eat in the restaurants here (but be wary of the expensive price), but you need to pay BND 10 / PHP 351 / USD 14  to  swim in the pool.





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Malay traditions are Brunei’s cultural root, but Islam is its heart.  The most striking and the biggest mosque in Brunei is Jame Asr Hassanal Bolkiah Mosque, also called Kiarong mosque by the locals, is located in Kampung Kiarong.


How to get Jame Asr Hassanal Bolkiah Mosque:

Take Circle bus#01 and #55 from Bandar Seri Begawan’s bus terminal to Gadong.

Entrance Fee: Free


Ulu Temburong National Park
Photo by Baron Reznik

The Canopy Walk at Ulu Temburong National Park is of the popular attractions in Brunei. It is the first national park in the country and a protected forest. Day trips from the capital of Bandar Seri Begawan is possible. Book a Day Trip to Ulu Temburong National Park here




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The Istana Nurul Iman Palace is the house of the Sultan and the seat of Brunei Government.  The royal residence is said to be the biggest of its kind in the world, bigger than London’s Buckingham Palace, with about 1,788 rooms.  It is interesting to note that the architect of this elegant mansion is a Filipino National Artist – Leandro Locsin.




Another top attraction Brunei that I failed to visit is the Jerudong Park Play Ground, said to be the largest and most expensive amusement park in South East Asia funded by Brunei Government.




Beyond the Brunei Museum to Muara district are popular beaches in Brunei, namely  Muara Beach, Meragang Beach also called Crocodile Beach and Serasa Beach.  Muara Beach has a long stretch of sand and ideal for leisurely walk, however, most hawker stalls are open only during weekends (it’s a popular weekend getaway for locals).  Crocodile Beach is also good for leisurely walk and a good spot to watch Brunei sunset.  Serasa Beach on the other hand is a water-sports complex – tourists can do sailing, windsurfing, and water-skiing here.




Now moving north to Jalan Tasek Lama, about 5 minute walk from the Tamu Kianggeh is a small serene park called Tasek Lama Park.  The main attraction here is the small waterfall, there’s a playground for the kids and a garden.







Qing Yun Resthouse
agoda qing yun
Unit B26 delima jaya kompleks jasa awam block b simp62 kpg delima satu,
Kianggeh, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam



Apek Utama Hotel
agoda center
Simpang 229, K/M 2, Jalan Kota Batu, Kota Batu, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam


Palm Garden Hotel

agoda palm view
Lot 45328, Simpang 88, Kampong Kiulap, Kianggeh, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam



Easybox Budget Hotel
agoda eazybox




The Centre Point Hotel
agoda center
Abdul Razak Complex, Gadong, Gadong, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam



Star Lodge
agoda star
Lot 27192, Jalan Pulau Kubu, Brunei-Muara, Jerudong, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam




The Rizqun International Hotel

agoda rizqun
Abdul Razak Complex,Gadong, Gadong, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam


Radisson Hotel Brunei
agoda radisson
Jalan Tasek, Kianggeh, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam


The Empire Hotel and Country Club
agoda empire cover
Jerudong Negara BG 3122, Jerudong, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam








24264_351910964162_336201504162_3580676_6142279_nAbout the Blogger : Gael is a Filipina travel blogger. Her work has appeared in local and international publications.

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For advertisements, sponsorship and partnerships, you may reach her at gaelhilotinblog (at) gmail (dot) com.


  1. Ganda ng mga Mosques. Sayang abot kamay na to from Kota Kinabalu kaso short trip lng kami. Next time I wanna visit Brunei ren…

    1. honga nga eh, sana nag-extend pa kau kahet 3 days. lapet lang eh. mahal kase airfare sa Brunei kaya better sa KK ang daan. hehe

  2. Ganda ng mga shots mo Gael, sana makadaan kami dito this Sept kahit one day lang.

  3. thanks gael for sharing. next year punta ako dito!!! i like the second photo ganda =)

  4. ganda ng mosques nila.para ka na rin nagpunta ng middle east

  5. ang ganda ng mga architecture ng mga mosque!! sana mapuntahan ko din to

  6. i hate brunei. my girlfriend went there and came back pregnant with a fellow ofw.

    but i do love your photos 🙂

    1. awt! I’m sorry to hear that Oman. Now I know the story, the sunset and all. I used to ask Dom what happened kase your stories seems sad, but he doesn’t know din daw. hehe
      I’m sure there’s someone out there meant for you, you’ll find the one someday. 😉

  7. Gandwa pala sa Brunei. And they use words I’ve encountered in other SEA countries like “jalan” (Indonesia) and “kampong” (Cambodia). Kala ko nga may “belat” (Philippines) pa…Belait pala. :))

    1. hahaha natawa ako sa belat! =) sakto ang comment mu, I’m also reading your blog now. =)

  8. Gael, ang ganda. I was here in Brunei in 2008 and I loved the city. I wanna come back soon and this post really will make me wanna come back more ASAP! hehehe

  9. Your 2nd pic is outstanding! Very rich in color and the angle is terrific. The mosque looks very majestic. What camera do you use?

    1. hi Angela. thanks! =) it’s Nikon.

  10. hi ga-el!
    the 2nd photo is outstanding. may araw din sakin tong brunei! hehe

  11. Among Southeast Asian countries, Brunei seems to be the one that’s rarely visited and thus remains a bit of a mystery (hardly any news comes out from there). I’d like to add this as a side trip if ever I go to Borneo.

  12. dami mo nang countries napuntahan gael! I remember Brunei was our country sa second year high school na pinapareport ang grupo namin. dami kong research na ginawa pero wala na masyadong naaalala! lol. ganda ng mga mosque nila! 😀

    1. hahaha kuya, 2nd year na ako ngayon, ginagawan ko parin ng research ang brunei.

  13. In Brunei, it’s all gold this and gold that. Pwede ng isangla. 😀

  14. we passed on the water village when we went to brunei back in 2005 enroute to auckland, new zealand. maliit pa kasi si gabby noon, 4 months pa lang and we’re not sure of the water taxi though. nakakatuwa lang kasi puro airconditioned ang huts and houses sa water village despite they’re on stilts and above water, ayos ang supply ng kuryente!

    nakaikot din kami sa loob ng royal regalia museum and my the most remarkable on display for me there was the golden chin rest. yung bang patungan ng baba ng royalty pag napagod na sila sa parada, haha! pati iyon ginto! and of course, the 24-hour airconditioning of the sultan’s mosque. kakaiba! i also find unforgettable, that empire hotel na puro ginto din. no we didn’t check in there, kasama lang sa city tour.

    fabulous captures here, gael! ang husay particularly the 2nd photo!

    1. yeah Doc, nagulat din ako. an dameng naka a/c na house sa watervillage. sosyalan, hehe

  15. Love the last photo a lot. Madaming magagandang kwento ang mga pinsan ko ng tumira sila dito. 🙂

  16. I never knew anything about this place ..for the first time i m hearing this place ..mosque looks great .Thx for the information

  17. Gael,

    this post is super helpful and timely for me because i am visiting there on September 1-4 with five family members. with your post i am pretty much done with my only problem is hotel because either you have a very expensive or a very cheap one.brunei doesn’t seem to have something in between within BSB or maybe i wasn’t looking at the right places. i remember you gave me some suggestions on FB but couldn’t find the links now.would you mind sharing it again. thanks


    1. Hi Atty. I’ll pm you nlng. I have a list po of midrange hotels. Wala pa akong post eh. I stayed at KH Soon Resthouse, it’s near the HSBC building and the bus station and fronting the posh Brunei Hotel.

  18. are these mosque in Brunei allows taking pictures of its inside architecture… they’re all admirable.

    1. no Ian. no photography allowed inside.

  19. Sobrang late. Dream ko din ang Brunei puntahan at pag sinasabe ko sa mga kakilala ko yun, nagtataka sila. Ewan kung baket. 🙂

  20. Hello Gel, Can I ask kung anong magandang itinirary sa brunai then paano puntang Kota Kinabalu..punta kasi ako mag isa sa April 2 then From Kota Kina balo back to manila sa April 6.thanks Gel

  21. hello po.. ang ganda po ng pics.. wanna ask po sana if pwede magamit yung mga pics niyo magkakaron po kasi kami ng presentation about brunei.. i’ll give credits po sa pics niyo sa day of presentaion namin.. salamat po

    1. no prob, basta for personal use lang sa subject mu. 🙂

  22. Planning a trip to Brunei in two weeks time. Thanks for the info Gael! hong gondo naman ng mosque na yan.. 🙂

  23. Hi,

    Me and my 2 friends will be travelling to Miri next week. We are bound for Brunei come July 6-8 probably. Can you suggest me a “kinda” cheap hotel? What I found here in the net is so expensive, and we are on a very tight budget 🙁

    Help please.

    Will greatly appreciate your help!

    Cheers. 🙂

    1. Hi,

      I’m planning to go to Brunei next month, in what Hotel did you stay? Any suggestion please?

  24. how to book a city tour? how much? what are cheap accomodations?

  25. Hi,

    I always visit your blog whenever we have out of the country tour with my barkada. Super helpful sya. 🙂 Thanks for that Madam!

    Anyways I just want to confirm if we can really use the pool in the Empire Hotel and Country Club as long as we pay 10 BND kahit di kami guest ng hotel? Thanks for your help!

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