Theme Week Brunei – Bandar Seri Begawan

Saturday, 29 May 2021 - 12:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
Reading Time:  8 minutes

Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque © Daniel Weiss/cc-by-sa-3.0

Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque © Daniel Weiss/cc-by-sa-3.0

Bandar Seri Begawan (formerly known as Brunei Town) is the capital and largest city of Brunei. It is officially governed as a municipality (Malay: bandaran). Bandar Seri Begawan has an estimated population of 100,700, and including the whole Brunei-Muara District, the metro area has an estimated population of 279,924, over half the population of the country.

Brunei International Airport serves the whole country. It is located 11 km (6.8 mi) from the town centre and can be reached in 10 minutes via the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Highway. Royal Brunei Airlines, the national airline, has its head office in the RBA Plaza in the city.

The Istana Nurul Iman palace is the residence of the sultan of Brunei. It is located 3 km southwest of the city centre. Its name is taken from Arabic, meaning “Palace of the Light of Faith.” The palace was designed by Leandro V. Locsin and built by the Filipino firm Ayala Corporation, mixing Malay and Islamic elements in the building architecture. It contains 1,788 rooms, with 257 bathrooms, and a banquet hall that can accommodate up to 5,000 guests. The palace only opens to public during the yearly three-day Hari Raya Adilfitri celebration.

Located in Jalan Kianggeh, the Lapau (Royal Ceremonial Hall) is used for royal traditional ceremonies. It was here that the sultan Hassanal Bolkiah was crowned on 1 August 1968. The interior of the Lapau and sultan’s throne are decorated in exquisite gold. Within the precincts of the Lapau is the Dewan Majlis where the legislative assembly used to sit. Official permission is required by visitors to enter this building. With the completion of the new legislative council building in Jalan Mabohai, the Lapau will soon become a symbol of the sultanate’s constitutional history.

Water taxis awaiting passengers near Jalan MacArthur © Kurun/cc-by-sa-3.0 Ceremonial Ship beside the Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque © Kurun/cc-by-sa-3.0 Jalan Masjid Omar Ali Saifuddien © Kurun/cc-by-sa-3.0 Kampong Ayer © Kurun/cc-by-sa-3.0 Kampong Ayer © Kurun/cc-by-sa-3.0 Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque © Daniel Weiss/cc-by-sa-3.0 Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque © Kurun/cc-by-sa-3.0 Street in Gadong, one of the main commercial areas © Kurun/cc-by-sa-3.0
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Water taxis awaiting passengers near Jalan MacArthur © Kurun/cc-by-sa-3.0
Among the oldest non-residential palaces in Brunei, the Istana Darussalam (palace) was where the Begawan sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin III resided and where Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah was born. It is not open to the public.

  • Brunei Museum (Muzium Brunei) – Located on an archaeological site at Kota Batu about 5 km (3.1 mi) from Bandar Seri Begawan, this museum is the largest in the country. It was established in 1965 and has occupied its present site since 1970. Officially opened in 1972, the museum focuses on Islamic history, natural history, Brunei artefacts and customs, ceramics and the oil industry of Brunei, which includes the processes of drilling and refining, the history of the petroleum industry and a map depicting current oil fields.
  • Malay Technology Museum – The museum was officially opened in 1988.
  • Royal Regalia Museum – Located at Jalan Sultan, this museum is devoted to the sultan Hassanal Bolkiah. The main gallery displays the coronation and Silver Jubilee chariots, gold and silver ceremonial armoury and traditional jewellery encrusted coronation crowns. A collection of documents that chronicle the sultan’s life up to the coronation, together with the constitutional history gallery, is also housed in the same building.
  • Brunei History Centre – Located at Jalan Sultan next to the Royal Regalia Museum, the centre was opened in 1982 with a misson to research the history of Brunei. Much of that work has involved establishing the genealogy and history of the sultans and royal family. The public display has a wealth of information on these subjects, including replicas and brass rubbings of tombs. A flowchart giving the entire lineage of the Brunei sultans may be found at the entrance.
  • Brunei Stamp Gallery – This recently opened attraction is located inside the post office building in Jalan Sultan.
  • Bumbungan Dua Belas – This “House of Twelve Roofs” is located in the Jalan Residency. It was built in 1906 and was formerly the official residence of British residents and high commissioners in Brunei. It is one of the oldest surviving buildings in Bandar Seri Begawan. It now serves as a gallery that exhibits the long-standing relationship between the sultanate and the United Kingdom.
  • The Arts and Handicrafts Centre – Located at Jalan Residency, it was opened in 1980. Brunei’s fine arts and crafts tradition dates back centuries and is part of the nation’s proud heritage. The Arts and Handicrafts Centre conducts courses in silverware, brassware, woodcarving, songkok-making, weaving and basketry.

The city’s suburb incorporates nearby Kampong Ayer (water village), in which houses were built on stilts. It stretches about 8 km (5.0 mi) along the Brunei River. Founded 1,000 years ago, the village is considered the largest stilt settlement in the world, with approximately 30,000 residents and 2,000 houses. The term “Venice of the East” was coined by Antonio Pigafetta in honour of the water village that he encountered at Kota Batu (just east of city’s central business district). Pigafetta was on Ferdinand Magellan‘s last voyages when he visited Brunei in 1521. Brunei has a number of shopping areas, including the following:

  • Gadong Central is where many shopping complexes, shops and restaurants are located (e.g., The Mall Gadong, Western fast food restaurants and Ayamku, the local fast food chain). There is also a night market called Pasar Malam Gadong.
  • Serusop Complex, few small shopping malls and shopping complexes can be found near Brunei International Airport.
  • Rimba, a medium-sized mall with Giant supermarket.
  • Tungku-link Commercial Complex, various shophouses and local and Korean restaurants, textiles shops, carpet.
  • Beribi Complex.
  • Kiulap Commercial Precinct in Kiarong, Kiulap Mall, private colleges, banks and various restaurants from local to Pakistani and Korean restaurants.
  • Abdul Razak Complex and Seri Complex in Jalan Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha, Batu Satu.
  • Aman Hill Shopping Mall located at Sg. Tilong.
  • Huaho Mall, Kg. Manggis.
  • One City Mall, Kg. Salambigar, Sg. Hancing.

A water taxi service known as ‘penambang’ is used for transportation between downtown Bandar Seri Begawan and Kampong Ayer. Water taxis are the most common means of negotiating the waterways of Kampong Ayer. They can be hailed from the numerous “docking parts” along the banks of the Brunei River. Fares are negotiable. Regular water taxi and boat services depart for Temburong between 7:45 am and 4 pm daily, and also serve the Malaysian towns of Limbang, Lawas, Sundar and Labuan. A speedboat is used for passengers travelling to Penambang Ferry Service and from Bangar and Limbang.

Here you can find the complete Overview of all Theme Weeks.

Read more on Bandar Seri Begawan, Wikivoyage Bandar Seri Begawan and Wikipedia Bandar Seri Begawan. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.






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