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Brunei is a sovereign state nestled on the north coast of Borneo Island, bordered by the South China Sea and the Malaysian state of Sarawak. An impressively wealthy country thanks to its extensive petroleum and natural gas fields, Brunei features a unique history stretching back hundreds of years. Today, Brunei is a beloved destination for both its culture and natural attractions. No matter which of its districts you journey to, find something fascinating to do and see—from fascinating shipwrecks off the coast of Tutong and the world's largest palace in Brunei-Muara to an incredible volume of nature in the reserves of Temburong.
Brunei is divided into 4 districts: Brunei-Muara, Tutong, Belait, and Temburong, which is physically separated from the others by Sarawak. Tutong is Brunei's most popular tourist destination due to its postcard-perfect beaches, while the oil fields of Belait are the source of the country's incredible wealth. Visit the Brunei-Muara District to see the capital, and head to Temburong for a glimpse into the nature of the region.
Bandar Seri Begawan - Bandar Seri Begawan is the capital of Brunei, located in the Brunei-Muara district. As the seat of government, the city is home to Istana Nurul Iman, the stunning 1,788-room residence of the Sultan of Brunei and the largest palace in the world. Other landmarks in the city include the beautiful and historic Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque as well as the Brunei Museum, the largest museum in the state.
Kampong Ayer - Also known as the Water Village, Kampong Ayer is a part of Bandar Seri Begawan that sits atop the Brunei Bay. The area, a cluster of 42 villages built on stilts and linked by foot bridges, has existed for centuries and is home to over 30,000 people today. Traverse the waterways via perahu tambang, or water taxi, and get a glimpse of the local culture in the traditional village.
Ulu Temburong National Park - Located in the Temburong district, the Ulu Temburong National Park is Brunei's first national park and is part of the Batu Apoi Forest Reserve. Considered the "Green Jewel of Brunei," the park consists of tropical low forests striated by the Temburong and Belalong Rivers. Explore the reserve via longboat or canopy walks, keeping an eye out for wildlife like Muller's Bornean gibbon, rhinoceros hornbills, and hundreds of species of butterflies.
Brunei's most impressive sights are its impeccable structures that show off the opulence and affluence of the state. The Istana Nurul Iman palace features both Islamic and Malay architecture, and its interior is the work of master designer Khuan Chew, though it's only open to the public during the celebration of Hari Raya Aidilfitri. The majestic, golden dome of the Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque can be seen from virtually anywhere in Bandar Seri Begawan, and the mosque itself is considered one of the most beautiful in the Asia Pacific. Catch breathtaking view from Pekan Tutong in the Tutong Distrcit, where a wide, golden stretch of beach touches the South China Sea.
Brunei is packed with activities and adventures throughout its diverse districts. The coastal district Tutong is lauded as Brunei's top tourist destination, bordering the South China Sea to the north. The waters off Pekan Tutong, or Tutong Town, are a popular diving spot thanks to the shallow Ampa and Victoria Reefs that support a vibrant array of fish and coral. There are a number of shipwrecks off Brunei's coast as well, including Rig Reef—a sunken, decommissioned oil rig that's now a flourishing home to all kinds of marine life. Enjoy the ocean from the shore by relaxing on the pristine beach of Pantai Seri Kenangan, which literally translates to the "unforgettable beach."
In the Brunei-Muara District, spend time touring the marvels of the capital, catching sight of landmarks like the Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque and Jame Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque and seeing the floating village of Kampong Ayer. Outside the city, delve into the incredible nature of the region by cruising on the Brunei River through lush mangrove forests thriving with endemic wildlife. Make a trip to the Belait District to visit the Seria Oil Field, where enormous machines drill oil from over 350 wells and supply Brunei with its lifeblood. You can remove yourself from the bustle of industry and the city hustle by visiting Temburong, where you can immerse yourself among local flora and fauna while learning about the traditional culture of the area. Temburong is also home to the Ulu Temburong National Park, a lush and sprawling stretch of tropical forest considered the "Green Jewel of Brunei."