Vibrant, yet peaceful. Modern and timeless. A fusion of majestic opulence and traditional respect. This is Brunei.
Text by Antonius Martono
Photos courtesy the Brunei Darussalam Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources
Located on the lush, emerald green northern tip of Borneo Island lies Brunei Darussalam, one of the richest countries in the world thanks to its vast oil reserves. But there is more to Brunei than just Rolls-Royces and luxurious extravagance; there are also unexplored treasures, deep traditions and untouched rainforest.
City of God
Though small in size, Brunei-Muara is of great importance to the nation as the district that is home to Brunei’s capital, Bandar Seri Begawan. As such, it is usually the first stop for any visitor — and one of the most memorable.
Bandar Seri Begawan is the commercial, financial and political centre of Brunei and a good start for those intent on exploring the country. In many ways, it is also the heart of Brunei’s cultural landscape, housing some of the nation’s most revered landmarks. The city’s breathtaking Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque is a stunning tribute to the nation’s deep-rooted faith, while the truly beautiful Bruneian Kampong Ayer water village offers a glimpse of the nation’s quaint Asian charm.
Seri Begawan was renamed after the Sultan’s late father, Sir Omar Ali Saifuddien, on 5 October 1970, its original name being Bandar Brunei. Begawan is a name given to Bruneian monarchs who have abdicated and comes from the Sanskrit word for “God.”