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 trip in 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.

How to go — Make sure to click the “Show more” buttons below to see the travel tips.

Located along Jalan McArthur, smack dab in the center Bandar Seri Begawan, Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque is really easy to spot thanks to its towering golden-topped towers. It is an easy 5 to 15 minute way away from most hotels in the city center.

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.

How to go

Kampung Ayer is located across the river from the city center. You can already see it standing on one of many riverside promenades. A ferry crossing to the other side costs BND 1. From there, you can walk around the stilt-supported pathways and see the village up close.

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.

How to go

Either join an organized tour or charter a river taxi from the city center. If you are lucky, you can spot Proboscis Monkeys hanging on the mangrove forest, a couple of kilometers down the Brunei river. River taxi charters usually cost less than BND 20.

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.

How to go

Many of Brunei’s museums are located within or a short taxi/bus ride away from Bandar Seri Begawan city center. See the list below for opening times, location & travel tips.

Brunei Darussalam Maritime Museum — Located on 482 Jln Kota Batu, Brunei. Opens 9 AM to 4:30 PM.

Brunei Museum — Jln Kota Batu, Brunei. Reachable on Bus 39. Opens 9 AM to 5 PM.

Malay Technology Museum — Located on Simpang 482, Kampung Kota Batu, Brunei. Opens 9 AM to 5 PM.

Royal Regalia Building — Located on Jln Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien, Bandar Seri Begawan. Opens 9 AM to 5 PM.

Brunei Forestry Museum — Located on Liang, Brunei.

Bubungan dua belas (House of Twelve Roofs) — Jalan Residency, at the foot of Bukit Subok Forest Reserve Recreational Park. Opens # AM to # PM.

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.

How to go

Start your tour at Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Complex, located on Jalan Pretty – Jalan McArthur, near the Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque. From here it’s an easy walk to the waterfront parks & museums.

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.

How to go

Kg Kianggeh Open Air Market is located along Jln Sungai Kianggeh, Bandar Seri Begawan. From the waterfront, simply take a turn at Jln Sungai Kianggeh and follow the road. The Open Air Market is on the right ride and can be reached by crossing the foot bridges.

Note: Destinations featured above are not listed by rank.

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