Tuesday , July 16 2024

5 must-visit destinations in Brunei


If you are in Brunei to attend the royal parade and other events during the 10-day wedding of Prince Mateen and his wife, here are five destinations near Bandar Seri Begawan not to be missed.

Istana Nurul Iman

Recognized as world’s largest residential palace by Guinness World Records, Istana Nurul Iman is on the banks of the Brunei River, a few kilometers southwest of Bandar Seri Begawan.

Istana Nurul Iman royal palace. Photo by Shutterstock

Istana Nurul Iman royal palace. Photo by Shutterstock

Official home of the 29th Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, and the seat of the Brunei government, the palace covers 200,000 square meters and contains 1,788 rooms.

If you come to Brunei during Hari Raya Aidilfitri, an annually celebrated festival marking the end of the month of Muslim fasting, also defined as Ramadan (mid-September), you will be allowed to go inside and explore the palace as the Brunei Royal Family opens its doors for the public to admire.

Otherwise, on weekdays, the palace is not open, so you can only take pictures outside.

Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque

The mosque where Prince Mateen of Brunei exchanged vows with bride Anisha Rosnah Isa-Kalebic Thursday, is one of the largest and oldest in Brunei and considered as a national landmark.

Built in 1954, it took four years to build, using 1,500 tons of concrete and 700 tons of steel.

Its design was heavily influenced by Mughal architecture.

Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque is lit up at night.  Photo by Wiki/Sam Garza

Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque is lit up at night. Photo by Wiki/Sam Garza

The biggest highlight of the mosque is that its dome is covered with gold that can be seen from anywhere in the capital.

Inside the mosque, the floors and columns were built of marble from Italy and Shanghai granite.

Visitors should leave their shoes outside and avoid walking in front of people who are praying or touching the Quran, the central religious text of Islam.

Robes will be offered for visitors to wear whilst inside the mosque and visitors are also forbidden to take photographs of people in prayer and flash photography.

Women must cover their heads with a scarf and not expose their knees and arms. The church has an area where women are not allowed to enter.

Jame’ Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque

This mosque is named after Hassanal Bolkiah, the 29th and current Sultan of Brunei. It is one of the two state mosques, with the other being Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque.

Jame Assr Hassanil Bolikah is seen from above. Photo by Shutterstock

Jame Assr Hassanil Bolikah is seen from above. Photo by Shutterstock

The mosque has 29 golden domes and four minarets with height of 58 meters and can accommodate 5,000 worshippers at a time.

Tamu Kianggeh outdoor market

Established in 1960, the Tamu Kianggeh outdoor market is located on the banks of the Kianggeh River, carrying the typical nuances of local markets in Brunei.

If you love to explore the unique culture of Brunei people or enjoy traditional dishes, you can go to the famous flea market that is always bustling.

The market is comprised of a series of stalls selling different products ranging from food and beverages to souvenirs and groceries.

Gulingtangan, a traditional brass musical instrument, is played by the local people at the market and the ancient goods and antiques, which are dying out, are on sale to preserve the culture.

Royal Regalia Museum

The Royal Regalia Museum, previously known as the Royal Regalia Building, is located in the heart of Bandar Seri Begawan.

It mainly houses the regalia of the Sultan and the royal family, as well as exhibits related to the commemorations of the Silver and Golden Jubilee celebrations of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah’s rule of Brunei.

Royal Regalia Museum. Photo by Wiki/Jorge Láscar

Royal Regalia Museum. Photo by Wiki/Jorge Láscar

It was officially opened on Sept. 30, 1992.

The 10-day wedding of Prince Mateen and his newlywed Anisha RosnahIsa-Kalebic that began on Jan. 7 is drawing global attention, with many tourists flocking to the capital to watch royal wedding ceremonies, including a parade on Jan. 14.

The couple were showered with blessings from their families during the Berbedak Mandi, or powdering ceremony, before they arrived at Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque to exchange vows on Jan. 11.

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