1. Bandar Seri Begawan
Known simply as BSB, Bandar Seri Begawan is home to one of the most lavishly decorated capitals you’ve never heard of.
With only 50,000 residents, it serves as a little example of how the value of oil may alter global dynamics.
The town of Brunei is home to magnificent, if slightly gaudy, sights like the gold-tipped Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque and the colossal Istana Nurul Iman, which holds the world record for the largest governmental building on earth. The town was transformed in the last century from a seaside trading town to the gilded epicenter of drilling and the home of the great Sultan of Brunei.
The Brunei Museum also features amazing Islamic artifacts, while the malls in Gadong offer a ton of shopping opportunities.
2. Ulu Temburong National Park
Ulu Temburong, Brunei’s famous Green Jewel, is tucked away in the eastern exclave of the nation.
It is regarded as a model of state-sponsored conservation and is a true hotspot for ecotourists and wildlife enthusiasts.
It encompasses an enormous 550 square kilometers of ancient rainforest and is home to unusual species including colonies of swinging gibbons and rhinoceros hornbills.
Safaris on specially built rope bridges in the canopies, which provide a distinctive perspective atop the old growth forest, are available to visitors that travel here.
3. Kampong Ayer
In Bandar Seri Begawan’s central business district, right in the center of the Brunei River, lies a solitary neighborhood that might be considered a travel destination unto itself.
It is sometimes referred to as the “water village” and is made up entirely of houses that are raised slightly above the waterways.
Many are connected to shaky boardwalks and are home to content local families who like showing off for unforeseen guests.
From the banks in BSB, a water taxi must be flagged down in order to go to Kampong Ayer.
4. Pekan Tutong
Pekan Tutong, also known as Tutong Town in English, serves as the central location for the whole Tutong District, which is located just to the east of Bandar Seri Begawan on Brunei’s northern border.
It has a couple top-notch guesthouses and a number of renowned schools all close to the South China Sea.
However, Seri Kenangan’s golden sand beach is unquestionably the main attraction.
One of Brunei’s best spots for sun, sand, and sea is without a doubt this dazzling, broad beach, which hugs the Tutong River’s course and is home to attractive beach bars and seafood eateries along the way.
5. Kuala Belait
On the far western tip of Brunei, this oil-fed village of nodding donkeys provides a glimpse of contemporary Brunei as it rubs elbows with Malaysian Sarawak.
It is bustling with businesspeople who have traveled great distances to look for petroleum underneath, and it is also the location of the well-known teapot roundabout.
Additionally, it has its own seashore, which reaches its peak at the amiable small park at Silver Jubilee.
Make a beeline for the Tudong Saji, a market that comes alive after dark with Asian crafts and fish delicacies, for eating, shopping, and souvenirs.
The district of Gadong, which is legally a distinct town but more resembles a suburb of the capital at Bandar Seri Begawan, is the place to go for shopping in this little Asian country. It is bustling with the largest bazaars and marketplaces in all of Brunei.
Start with the sizable malls, which are jam-packed with high-street fashion stores and electronics retailers, not to mention the sole McDonald’s brand in the nation (thus the never-ending line!). When night falls, it’s time to visit the bustling night market, which is filled with stir-fry shops and pungent fish stalls, with the aromas of tamarind, ginger, pepper, and soy filling the air.
The westernmost point of the populated Brunei and Muara District is formed by Muara, which protrudes into the South China Sea with its own needle-shaped tip of land.
One of the best beach towns in the sultanate, it is known for its expansive stretches of golden sand and numerous picnic areas and playgrounds for families (look for the manicured lawns of the Muara Beach Recreational Park). Additional relaxing strolls may be had along the palm-lined spit of Serasa Beach to the south, and the views of the ferry-dotted ocean are breathtaking.
8. Andulau Forest Reserve
The Andulau Forest Reserve, which is ideally situated in the middle of Brunei and is only a short drive to the east of the city, welcomes visitors with a sea of waxy palms and old teak trees.
The region is known for the abundance of old growth evergreen forests that cover most of its interior, but it is also home to untamed, muddy rivers and tumbling waterfalls with swimming holes.
There aren’t many residents here (it’s one of the least inhabited regions of the Sultanate), unless you include rare tropical animals like the monkeys and clouded leopards that soar overhead!
Bangar, one of the few settlements in Brunei’s exclave of Temburong, serves as the commercial and administrative hub of this isolated region in the east.
It is a tiny, densely populated area that is well connected to Bandar Seri Begawan, the nation’s capital. From sunrise to night, speed boats can be seen leaving from the jetties of the riverfront docks in this area.
The true appeal of this location is undoubtedly the untamed rainforests that linger on the outskirts of the city, including the renowned Labu Forest and the previously mentioned Ulu Temburong National Park.
However, it’s also a great place to get to know the inhabitants and understand the wilder side of the eastern area.
The little village of Labi, located in the Sultanate’s southwest, is a popular stop for ecotourists traveling to Brunei.
It is actually only a group of bamboo homes and sodden settlements that are situated right on the edge of the untamed Labi Forest Reserve.
This means that tourists may interact with gibbons, geckos, and a variety of other woodland creatures while looking for gushing waterfalls, bogs, and challenging hikes into secret forests.
There are a few lovely lodges in the vicinity, and Terawan and Tarunan, two nearby towns, also have a wide selection of guesthouses.
Along Brunei’s northern shore, where the beaches and city promenades descend into the South China Sea, is Seria, which is roughly next to the town of Kuala Belait described above.
The region is dotted with nodding donkeys and the identifiable remnants of that decades-old petroleum industry. It is now renowned for its abundance of productive oil wells.
In reality, oil has been essential to Seria’s history from the outset, with the Allies and Japanese fighting for control of Brunei’s abundant petroleum riches here during World War II.
12. Labi Forest Reserve
The huge Labi Forest reserves, so named because of the small settlement on its outskirts, stretch from Brunei’s south-western flatlands to Malaysia’s borders, where the Gunung Mulu park descends from the Borneo highlands.
It’s a remote, untamed location with stunning vistas over the tops of the forests, the thundering Wasai Kadir Falls, and opportunities to spot uncommon rainforest animals along the paths.
The traditional Iban longhouses that line the dirt roads near to the reserve are another significant draw.
Jerudong, a flashy area with neon signs and overt attractions, is situated just west of the city’s center in Bandar Seri Begawan and close to the seashore.
The suburb has its own unique identity despite being now fully contiguous with the city, partly because of the brightly illuminated casinos and colorful gaming halls that line up along the streets in droves.
One bizarre roundabout that resembles a huge diamond ring and the numerous amusement parks and artificial beaches, where loop-de-loops meet bubbling water features and country clubs, all contribute to the city’s ambitious feel.
14. Tasek Merimbun
This enormous lake, the largest natural lake in the nation, beckons tourists with the promise of distinctive flora and wildlife. It is surrounded by the protected hinterland of the Tasek Merimbun Heritage Park, one of the top conservation zones in the whole sultanate.
Old skiffs are moored on worn jetties all along the river’s tiger lily-dotted banks, which are all veiled in the flowering green of the forest canopy.
The white-collared fruit bats fly amongst the trees there, and clouded leopards and red-footed macaques prowl the underbrush.
15. Hutan Simpan Bukit Ladan
The Hutan Simpan Bukit Ladan park, which butts up to the Malay border on the western part of Tutong District, is yet another beautiful example of Brunei’s lush and verdant hinterland.
For this hike, make sure to take at least one pair of reliable walking boots because the pathways frequently get slick with mud as they pierce deep into the forest.
You may look for fascinating orchid blossoms in the fern fields, be amazed by enormous teak trees covered in moss, and even go on a canopy walk to observe the immense hills from above the rainforests that cover them.