You may have already known of Brunei as a small yet wealthy nation.

If not, this easily missed sultanate is known for having the largest oil fields in Southeast Asia one of the world’s highest standards of living.

Laid-back capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, gleams with magnificent mosques that contrast with a massive stilt house water village and lush mangrove forests nearby.

Inspire your adventure to Brunei with these must-visit places and things to do for first-time travelers.

1. Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque

View of Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque from Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Complex in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei

Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque, in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei.

Why go — Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque towers over the laid-back city of Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei’s capital. This lavish mosque is the country’s most famous landmark and among Southeast Asia’s most beautiful places of worship.

2. Kampung Ayer

A water taxi crosses the Brunei River to Kampung Ayer (Water Village) in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei

A water taxi crosses the Brunei River to Kampung Ayer (Water Village).

Why go — Kampung Ayer, which means “water village” in Malay, is one of the largest stilt house settlements in the world. It is located across the river from the city center of Bandar Seri Begawan. Flag a water taxi (ferry) from the waterfront for a quick tour around Kampung Ayer to see local life in the village.

3. Brunei River & Proboscis Monkey

Mangroves and chocolate-colored waters on a boat tour along the Brunei River, in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei

Mangroves and chocolate-colored waters on a boat tour along the Brunei River.

Why go — After a quick spin around the water village, venture out of the city center and explore the scenic mangrove-lined Brunei River. The highlight of this trip, if you are lucky, is getting to see Proboscis monkeys in the wild.

4. Brunei Museums

Royal Regalia Museum in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei

Royal Regalia Museum in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei

Why go — Bandar Seri Begawan is home to many museums that showcase the colorful history, culture, and grandeur of the monarchy. Popular museums include the Brunei Darussalam Maritime Museum and Royal Regalia Museum.

See also

5. Brunei City Center

Waterfront of Bandar Seri Begawan city center.

Waterfront of Bandar Seri Begawan city center.

Why go — Bandar Seri Begawan’s city center is small, very compact, easily explored on foot. Occupying much of the city is a sprawling shopping mall called Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Complex, which reflects a mix of traditional and modern architectural styles. Head to the waterfront for a nice view of the Brunei River.

6. Kg Kianggeh Open Air Market

Kianggeh Market in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei

Kianggeh Market in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei

Why go — This market, especially busy during the early morning hours, is a great way to see and photograph local life in the city. It also has many food stalls that prepare ready-cooked local food.

Note: Destinations featured above are not listed by rank.

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