The Sultanate of Brunei (Full name: Negara Brunei Darussalam) is a small but – thanks to natural gas and petroleum resources – very rich country located in Southeast Asia. It is surrounded by Malaysia and has two parts physically separated by Malaysia, almost being an enclave. Strategically located on the South China Sea, close to vital sea lanes linking Indian and Pacific Oceans, it has an exclusive economic fishing zone that extends as far as Louisa Reef in the southern Spratly Islands although it makes no public territorial claim to the offshore reefs.
Brunei has four districts (Malay: daerah)
- Brunei/Muara – heart of the country where the capital Bandar Seri Begawan is located. Muara – main port of Brunei with passenger ferries to Labuan and Sarawak.
- Tutong-lies under the coverage of the virgin forest, scattered small scale plantations. Seria – oil capital of Brunei, also known as “Shelltown”.
- Belait – Western-most district, also the centre of the country’s petroleum industry. Kuala Belait – town to catch transport to or from Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia.
- Temburong – isolated eastern district, separated from the rest of country by the Sarawak district of Limbang. Bangar – the tiny district capital of Temburong district.
Do / Travel
There are many eco-tours which typically go to the Temburong district by boat then to a native “longhouse”. It is then followed by a powered boat (by the natives) up the river to the Belalong National Park, a reserve in the Borneo rainforest. There is a canopy walk and research centre at the park headquarters.
Jerudong Park was once a decent theme park with a multitude of rides. Sadly, a downward cycle of neglect, declining admission and unaffordable maintenance costs led to the closure and sale of most of the big-ticket rides, including the three rollercoasters. This has given the park a sad “circus left town last week” air about it. Most people who visit only go at night to avoid the heat during the day. Outside the park, but very close, is a small complex of restaurants which is open at night, though only a few of the stalls are still operational. The local papers have reported plans to renovate the park with a new selection of attractions, but as of March 07 it remains to be seen what these attractions will be and when they will be operational.
There is also the local nasi katok, a simple combination of rice and curried beef or chicken, which can be quite spicy. It is relatively inexpensive when compared to other food that you can buy, for example local food such as chicken rice. However, it is not a healthy option, with few vegetables and too much fat.
Another choice is ambuyat, a culinary experience unique to Borneo. It is a starchy and gooey paste made from sago that can be dipped into a savoury sauce.
Short/ Social Visit Visa: valid in 3 months for maximum and B$30 (~367.000VND – today rate) for multiple Entry Visa