Brunei was on my radar for a while but was repeatedly pushed to the bottom of the list. Unlike Bangkok, Beijing, and Dubai, it’s not a major hub and is not on the usual route from the USA. So I had to make an extra effort to plan and book my long-awaited trip to Brunei. I was excited to see places of interest as I keep seeing beautiful pictures and fascinating stories on the internet. There are plenty of things to do and see in Bandar Seri Begawan; I am sharing my sightseeing trips and story here.
I stayed in the capital Bandar Seri Begawan (BSB for short), for three nights and two days in a hotel close to downtown. Even though the hotel provided a complimentary city tour and few pickups to and from and around the city, it was still pretty easy to move around the city through the canals in high tide and on foot around the downtown area. Pretty compact and clean city, and the locals are very friendly and welcoming. Even walking along the beautiful Brunei river was as safe as it could get. Also, downtown was pretty safe at night and great to walk around and explore.
Best Things To Do And See In Bandar Seri Begawan
Visit Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque
Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque is a beautiful mosque located in downtown Bandar Seri Begawan and is a must-see if you are in BSB. The view this great icon is best seen from the Brunei River, especially at night. The mosque’s 52m minaret makes it the tallest building in central BSB; the Nearby Islamic Bank of Brunei building originally exceeded the minaret’s height, so the top store was removed by order of the sultan.
Explore Tamu Kianggeh Market
The Tamu Kianggeh Market is predominantly a fresh food market, with hundreds of small entrepreneurs, mostly Bruneian Malays and a few Chinese. Most are elderly local women, and a few are men—a great place to experience the local activities and their daily way of life. For visitors who wish to savor the delicacies of Bruneian cuisine, the tamu is the best place to go. Some visitors claim that if you want to sample Bruneian cuisine, Tamu Kianggeh is the place to start. Early morning is the best time to visit this canal-side open-air market. Early morning freshly cooked breakfast delicacies were Brunei Malay Kuih (looks like a pancake).
Visit The Water Village (Kampong Ayer)
Explore the traditional Brunei water village ( also known as Kampong Ayer Venice of East) and walk through the boardwalk and small bridges between the amazing collection of stilt houses in the water, the largest of its kind in the world. Thirty thousand people have lived on 8km of water village for over 1,000 years. You can taste local life, grab a cup of tea in a local cafe, chat with friendly residents, and communicate well. In addition, you could hail a taxi boat anywhere in the village.
Boat Ride Through The Rainforest
The nearby rainforest is teeming with wildlife and the rare Proboscis Monkeys, which have a natural feeding time just before dusk. Brunei is known for its pristine rainforests. Most hotels could arrange a Tutong River cruise, or you could plan your own. A boat ride through the mangrove forest will take about 40 minutes. The ride is quietly enjoyable when the speedboat cruises through the floating water villages and then through the picturesque rainforest with many stops. To watch the monkeys, crabs, lizards, and birds.
Early morning or late evening are the best times to find the natural inhabitants active and visible. It’s common to see mudskippers, monkeys, crabs, lizards, birds, and, if lucky, some rare inhabitants.
Spend And Evening In Gadong Night Market
The Tamu Pasar Besar Gadong in Bandar Seri Begawan, better known as the Gadong Night Market, is the place to visit when the sun goes down. It’s open from 4 pm until late and is a market selling fresh local food—an excellent place to hang out with an open food mind. Many choices, but mostly fried, BBQ, and smoked, could be seen from far away.
Right next to “The Mall,” I have taken a speedboat from the Mercu Dirgahayu 60, the Monument Near the downtown waterfront, to the pier next to the market and back to the same place late at night, relatively safely. If you are new to Brunei, it is a must to visit the place.
Where to stay in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
Jubilee Hotel is located in Bandar Seri Begawan City Center, and the hotel provides a free airport shuttle. Jubilee Hotel is a 15-minute drive away from the airport. It enjoys easy access to attractions, including the Water Village and The Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque. The private bathrooms have a bathtub and hot/cold shower.
You’re eligible for a Genius discount at Al Afiah Hotel! Located in Bandar Seri Begawan and with Hua Ho Department Store reachable within a 5-minute walk, this 3-star hotel offers a 24-hour front desk and a business center. In addition, guests can enjoy city views. Selected rooms are equipped with a kitchen with an oven and a microwave. At the hotel, each room comes with bed linen and towels. Royal Regalia Museum is 1.2 miles from the accommodation, while The Mall is 1.1 miles away. The nearest airport is Brunei International, 5.6 miles from Al Afiah Hotel.
My Opinion and Last Word
Have you been to Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei? Any cool tips to share?
loved being in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, and want to go back again. I hope my story has motivated you to visit Brunei.
Please leave a comment below! I’d love to hear from you to improve my knowledge.
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