Archiv der Kategorie 'Brunei'

Bandar Seri Begawan

Bandar Seri Begawan is the capital of the tiny and oil-rich state Brunei. It’s not far from Miri in Sarawak, the long distance bus took about 3h. The city center doesn‘t real feel like the center of a south-east asian city: it has no narrow streets with tiny and chaotic shops but looks planned and almost has some business district feel to it during the day. We didn‘t feel at home there at first but the city turned out to have some interesting spots and we had 3 great days there.

We already caught a glimpse of two of the great mosques of the city from the bus and both are definitely worth visiting. You can‘t miss the elegant Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque right in the city center. It’s close to the water villages in the western part of the city center and makes an impressive sight both at day and at night, when it is lit in orange and green.

Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque

The Jame‘Asr Hassanal Bolkia Mosque is a 15 minutes bus ride from the center. It’s the largest mosque of the country and looks very impressive with the surrounding gardens and the golden roof. Non-muslims are allowed entrance outside of prayer times.

Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque at night

We were a bit lucky I guess because we arrived some days after the Sultan’s 65th birthday and thus got to see parts of the celebrations. I even managed to get a photo of the man himself! ;) He is a great hero and the city was paved with photos of him. You can check all the presents he was given by important people like the Queen of England in the Royal Regalia Museum (beware of the air con though, a pullover won‘t hurt in there — even though it’s hard to imagine wearing one on your way there).

It’s the Sultan!

A large and good night market with good and cheap food is held (daily it seems, but maybe it was related to the Sultan’s birthday) around Taman HJ Sir Muda Omar Ali Saifuddien, some small stadium-like open space used for official ceremonies directly in the city center.

Speed boat and water villages (Kampung Air)

When you get close to the waterfront boat drivers will offer you 1h tours of the water villages of the area for 20 Brunei dollars per boat (~12€, we went with 4 people). These tours are definitely worth it as you‘ll get a close-up view of this large part of the city and see the floating mosques of Brunei. They aren‘t exactly floating but built on stilts like all the other houses and buildings in the area including fire and police stations, schools and petrol stations.

Houses on stilts at the water village west of the city center

On our last day in Brunei we took the speed boat to Bangar for a great ride through a narrow maze of passages in the mangroves. We considered to go to the Peraayan Forest Reserve from there but everything was closed, most likely due to the Sultan’s birthday. So we had lunch and went back to BSB after a very short look at the small town.