Brunei Darussalam: Tips for an enjoyable holiday in Brunei

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Brunei is a unique destination within fast developing South East Asia. It is an antidote to the modern cities, of its neighbors,with their skyscrapers, shopping malls,vibrant nightlife and subways. When you fly in from Singapore or Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok, you'll feel as if you are entering a different time zone,with a discernibly slower pace of life

But if you visit Brunei prepared with an open mind, you might find it a surprisingly pleasurable holiday experience with its unique concoction of culture, nature,and warm and friendly people. Also, the vast and opulent Empire Hotel has luxurious accomodation and great facilities at very reasonable prices.

In terms of culture, you should visit the mosques, water village, palace and the museums. Take a boat ride & visit some of the local folks in water village. You'll find them mostly warm and friendly

Brunei has an abundance of Nature attractions, many of which are accessible and near your hotel. These include Bukit Shahbandar and Tasek Lama forest reserves with its lush and gently undulating hills, providing fine vistas of town and the adjacent river. You can also take a boat ride out to see mangrove swamps, past the palace along the Damian river, and if you are fortunate, you can view white proboscis monkeys. Another recommended full day or overnight outing, is to go by river to the Temburong tropical rainforest Park. You will enjoy the cool and dense jungle,and there is a "canopy walk"(raised aluminium structure), where you can enjoy stunning views of the tree line from above,at sunrise. There are comfortable chalets, and white water rafting down the rapids is always fun. Another enjoyable outdor activitiy is to go quad bike riding along the beach, starting at Tunku Beach.

Whilst Brunei is not a shopper's or culinary paradise(it does not aspire to be); it has plenty in the way of nature, as well as its unique blend of Malay culture and Royal traditions; and would complement your experience in some of the hectic and bustling metropolises in the region. Recommend a 3 to 4 day visit, but discuss your itinerary with your travel agent. You could also link a visit to Brunei, with a trip to neighboring Sabah with its Mount Kinabalu and various scuba dving resorts.

Bring a book along or magazines,just in case you've time to spare. Internet is reasonably good, and most places have wifi. The food scene although not glamorous is decent enough, and very reasonably priced. There are some good western restaurants including Deals and Savys; also, good Japanese, Indian and Thai restaurants. The country is generally safe. Transport can be limited and taxis hard to find; so worthwhile to arrange transport from you hotel beforehand. Recommended hotels include the 6 star Empire Hotel, Rizqun(attached to shopping mall), the internationally managed Radisson hotel and the boutque Brunei Hotel in downtown. Entertainment is largely confined to cineplexes, bowling alleys,cafes, and the largely moribund fun park in Jerudong on the outskirts of town.

Visit Brunei Darussalam, the "land of unexpected treasures", and you just might be pleasantly surprised! 


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