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Travel to: Brunei Darussalam

World  (tags: Brunei, people, places, photos, sites, travel )

- 2122 days ago -
Brunei is located in Southeastern Asia on the island of Borneo, bordering the South China Sea. It is divided into two parts which are separated by Malaysia. Brunei shares the island of Borneo with Indonesia as well, though it does not directly -->


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Kit B (276)
Monday July 29, 2013, 7:25 am
Map Credit: Commons Wiki

The small country of Brunei Darussalam is situated on the northwestern edge of the island of Borneo, an island which is also a part of Indonesia and Malaysia.

In fact, it once controlled much of Borneo, as well as the southern Philippines, and its regional influence peaked by the end of the 17th Century.

The country entered a period of decline caused by internal fighting over royal succession, colonial expansion of European powers, and local piracy, and in 1578 was overrun by Spanish forces.

By the 19th century much of Brunei's territory was lost to the White Rajahs of Sarawak, and the signing of the Treaty of Protection enabled Britain control of the country's external affairs.

In 1888, Brunei became a British protectorate, following a dispute over who the rightful Sultan was, and remained as such for nearly a hundred years.

During World War II, the Japanese occupied Brunei, completely demolishing the country's economy, and sparking fires on the oil wells of Seria.

Following the war a new government was formed under the British, and a new constitution was written in 1959. The people of Brunei began to grow restless with their new government, and in 1962 formed an uprising against the British forces.

Quickly subdued by the United Kingdom, it wasn't until 1984 that Brunei gained complete independence from British ruling.

The following decades saw significant economic growth, and Brunei has been remodeled into an industrialized nation.

The country benefits from its extensive petroleum and natural gas fields, and this tax-free haven's citizens enjoy one of the highest (per capita) GDPs in the world.

Politically, the same family has ruled the country of Brunei for over six centuries, and its legal system is based on English common law, with Islamic shariah law overruling in certain instances.

Tourists to Brunei speak endlessly of the grand mosques, quiet river journeys and the virgin rainforests that cover over 70% of the nation's land, all of which cannot be missed if you choose to travel to this unique country.

5 Facts You Might Not Know

1 Brunei's official name is Negara Brunei Darussalam. This translates to 'Abode of Peace.' The capital of Brunei is Bandar Seri Begawan.

2 Brunei is located in Southeastern Asia on the island of Borneo, bordering the South China Sea. It is divided into two parts which are separated by Malaysia. Brunei shares the island of Borneo with Indonesia as well, though it does not directly border this country.

3 In 1984 Brunei won independence from Britain. It is now ruled by an absolute monarchy. The same family has been part of this monarchy for more than six centuries. In Brunei, nobility is inherited, but the sultan has the power to award a title to a commoner.

4 Brunei's thriving natural gas and petroleum fields are a major source of income for the country. Consequently, its per capita GDP is one of the greatest in Asia and the sultan of Brunei is believed to be one of the richest individuals in the world.

5 The cuisine in Brunei is heavily influenced by Singapore, Malaysia and China. Rice and noodles are staples with stewed vegetables rounding out most dishes. Alcohol has been prohibited in Brunei since 1990. Food and drink should always be handled and passed with the right hand only, as the left hand is considered unclean.

If you ask someone to point Brunei Darussalam on the world map, most likely the person will get stumped and struggle! No wonder as this country is one of the smallest nations on earth that is located on the island of Borneo in South East Asia. Besides sharing its border with the state of Sarawak, Malaysia, it also faces the South China Sea in the North. Blessed with vast reserves of oil in the region, the country’s countries economy is based on natural gas, and oil. The exploits of the underground resource has thankfully spared the treasure trove of greenery on the ground, as a result of which Brunei is home to one of the most pristine rainforests. The main religion practiced in the country is Islam and Sharia laws are strictly adhered to, yet the country is very open and progressive. Small in size it may be, but it definitely doesn’t lag in captivating charm. Browse below to check out some more interesting facts about Brunei.

Fast Facts

Capital: Bandar Seri Begawan

Largest City: Bandar Seri Begawan

Official Language: Bahasa Melayu (Malay)

National Language: Melayu Brunei (Kedayan)

Demonym: Bruneian

Religion: Islam

Legislature: Unitary Islamic absolute monarchy

Independence: 1 January 1984

Area: 5,765 sq. km

Population: 401, 890 (2011 estimate)

Currency: Brunei dollar (BND)

Food of Brunei

Bruneian cuisine is very similar to and influenced by its neighbouring countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand. Popular dishes include nasi lemak (a coconut cream rice dish served with peanuts, boiled egg, sliced cucumber, dried fish, and a spicy sauce - nasi lemak is known also as a delicious but heavy breakfast food!), beef rendang (a type of stew/curry), and ambuyat (a sticky starchy ball that's dipped in a sour fruit sauce).nasi-lemak-food-brunei

Fruits such as the infamous durian is also popular as is the jungle vegetable known as the long bean. Drinks include coconut milk, juices, coffee and tea. Note that in Brunei pork is avoided as according to Islamic law, and drinking alcohol is not allowed.

Nicole W (646)
Monday July 29, 2013, 8:03 am
beautiful, love the tour, thank you Kit

JL A (281)
Monday July 29, 2013, 8:46 am
One thought is how their suffering wasn't in my history books covering WWII. A second thought is the survival of left being unclean hand--which originally was because that hand did what toilet paper does for most of us (and is part of the Biblical context of the turn the other cheek story since that would require the other party to lose status and offend others by inappropriate use of their unclean hand--think about how that transforms the story). And finally, the history explains why this is a country I know less about than many so I am thankful to have had this opportunity to learn Kit.

Monica T (278)
Monday July 29, 2013, 8:47 am
thanks for this travel piece, Kit... I have never traveled to Brunei, but considering it is close from me, I might go and visit that country someday...

I know that people said that the Sultan of Brunei Darussalam is the wealthiest head of state in the world...

Kit B (276)
Monday July 29, 2013, 9:41 am

I was hoping that if I include something about the war years people might remember hearing about Brunei Darussalam before now. Maybe not. As Monica says the Sultan is considered extremely wealthy and most of that is OIL money.

Theodore Shayne (56)
Monday July 29, 2013, 10:03 am
Been through SE Asia. Many fond memories but so many problems too.

Pat B (356)
Monday July 29, 2013, 11:08 am
A beautiful country, with interesting facts here too. Thanks, Kit for our trip to Brunei Darussalam.

lee e (114)
Monday July 29, 2013, 1:06 pm
Thanks Kit - another country - rich with history - that either I was never taught - or slept through - I suspect it wasn't included in my world history class.

pam w (139)
Monday July 29, 2013, 2:09 pm
One thing this article fails to mention is that it's so humid, you can practically DRINK the air! And, as long as the Sultan of Brunei continues to keep ''pet'' orangutans in his sends a terrible message to those who get rich on the ''pet trade."

MmAway M (519)
Monday July 29, 2013, 4:28 pm
Thank you dear Kit for another vacation. Speakers Up guys!

Barbara K (61)
Monday July 29, 2013, 5:04 pm
Truly beautiful, my friend. All that food made me hungry. lol. Thanks for the posts like these, I'm learning about places all over the world.

Past Member (0)
Monday July 29, 2013, 5:19 pm

Bryna Pizzo (139)
Monday July 29, 2013, 7:47 pm
Thank you for the beautiful journey to a far off magical land.

Past Member (0)
Monday July 29, 2013, 8:36 pm
Thanks Kit 4 this journey! It's a country I must admit I know very little about---and these brief history lessons are much appreciated!

Past Member (0)
Monday July 29, 2013, 11:45 pm
Thank you once more for the lovely travel.

Gloria picchetti (304)
Tuesday July 30, 2013, 8:25 am
I love travel posts. Thank you.

Robert Tomlinson (62)
Tuesday July 30, 2013, 4:50 pm
Kit, thanks for the post. I sent it to my daughter and her family - they are teachers in China - as a possibel vacation site.

Sherri G (128)
Wednesday July 31, 2013, 2:11 am
Brunei's official name is Negara Brunei Darussalam. Thank you Kit and for the factual information you add. Noted.

DaleLovesOttawa O (198)
Wednesday July 31, 2013, 4:09 am
Looks like a fascinating place to visit, certainly appears very scenic.

It is interesting that the left hand is considered unclean. One wonders if there is some discrimination there against left handed people. In some western countries young people used to be punished if they tried to write with their left hand.

pam w says that it is a humid place, sounds like Ontario in much of the summer, it gets so humid here that one could slice it with a butter knife.

pam w (139)
Wednesday July 31, 2013, 11:45 am
Dale, the left hand is generally ''unclean'' because, in a culture which traditionally hasn't used toilet paper, that hand was used to clean oneself after a bowel movement.

I kid you not.

Jack Taylor (0)
Friday March 28, 2014, 2:09 am

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