Can you imagine we’ve traveled thousands of miles to various countries yet never visited Brunei, located adjacent to Malaysia? So, on the second day of our tour to Sarawak, Brighton Travel and Tour scheduled a day tour for us to cover all the best places to visit in Brunei.
It only took slightly over an hour of uninterrupted driving to reach Seria, where the Billionth Barrel Monument is situated. However, it took us more than an hour to arrive as we had to obtain clearance from customs despite the relatively straightforward process.
Due to our tight schedule, we could only manage a day tour in Brunei. We have visited all the major tourist spots and hope our experience guides your visit.
Please enjoy reading the list of the best places to visit in Brunei, with photos interspersed throughout.
1. Billionth Barrel Monument
Our first stop is the Billionth Barrel Monument in Seria. The monument was constructed in 1991 to celebrate the production of a billion barrels of oil from the onshore oil field in this area. It stands near the first well discovered in the Seria oil field by Brunei Shell Petroleum in 1929. Hence, Seria is the birthplace of the oil industry in Brunei and has since become the country’s oil and gas industry hub.
The monument is situated by the sea with crashing waves and a view of the nearby oil platform. We were lucky to have clear, sunny skies, perfect for photography.
The Billionth Barrel Monument stands on an unnamed beach off Jalan Tengah, with ample parking area.
The monument is mainly made of concrete and gold. The arch structure is formed by five pipes, symbolizing the Five Pillars of Islam.
As a symbol of Brunei’s oil production achievements, the area surrounding the monument is well-maintained. A row of colorful artworks is erected along the path leading to the monument, which explains the history of Brunei’s oil and gas industry.
Note: Keep in mind that no facilities are available for food, water, or restrooms at this place.
Watch the video ot the best places to visit in Brunei (at the end of this article) 👇👇.
2. The Empire Brunei
The Empire Hotel is Brunei’s largest and most luxurious hotel and resort. It was opened in 2000, coinciding with the APEC meeting held in Brunei. Our guide said it is worth being there to look at the grandeur of the architecture and the stunning scenery of the shoreline.
The resort’s many decorative elements are gold-plated; even the restaurant’s cutlery is made of silver.
After exploring the resort’s interior, we headed towards the swimming pool facing the South China Sea. The view of the calm sea and blue sky was spectacular. Our guide mentioned that we can see the Champion oil rig off the coast from here on a clear day. We tried our hand at taking some artistic shots here.
Many travelers choose The Empire Brunei as it offers relaxation and cultural exploration in Bandar Seri Begawan. A quick search on Booking.com shows that the price per night for a superior double room is similar to other luxurious hotels in Malaysia.
There is a large drawing at the main entrance of the resort. It depicts the visit of Spanish navigator Juan Sebastian del Cano to Brunei in 1521, led by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, sailing under the Spanish flag. Our guide told us that an Italian reporter named Antonio Pigafetta was on board one of the ships. He wrote that the people of that era used to wear clothes with gold threads, which still holds today. He also mentioned Brunei was affluent back then, as they dined using gold plates and cups.
3. Jame’ Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque
After lunch, we visited the gorgeous Jame’ Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque in Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital city of Brunei. This beautiful mosque is one of the best places to visit in Brunei.
Our guide informed us that the ruby and sapphire on the emblem at the entrance are real! Even the fencing is also gold-plated.
Appropriate dress is required to enter the mosque, and officers at the entrance provided us with a maroon-colored rope, as some of us were deemed inappropriate.
The highlight of the mosque is the enormous chandelier weighing 3.29 tons in the main hall. Even the handrail of the main stair leading to the main prayer hall is made entirely of marble.
Named after Hassanal Bolkiah, the current Sultan of Brunei, it is the largest mosque in the country. It is one of two state mosques in Brunei, the other being the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque.
Jame’ Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque was completed in 1994 to celebrate the 25th year of the current Sultan’s reign in 1992. It is a waqf of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.
A landscaped garden surrounds the mosque. We took more photos here despite the hot weather.
There are 29 golden domes and four minarets, a fine example of a magnificent Islamic architecture style.
The main prayer hall can accommodate up to 5,000 worshippers at a time and is decorated with intricate carvings and calligraphy.
This mosque is so opulent that words cannot adequately describe it. Therefore, I will let the photos speak for themselves.
4. Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Bridge
After we visited the mosque, we drove to the Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Bridge, also known as Temburong Bridge.
The bridge has a dual carriageway that spans Brunei Bay, connecting the Bruneian mainland with Temburong. It is the longest bridge in Southeast Asia, with a total length of 30 kilometers.
The construction of the bridge began in mid-2014 and was completed in 2019. It was officially opened to the public on March 17, 2020, and has dramatically improved the local commuters’ travel time to Bandar Seri Begawan. It has also become the main attraction for tourists while visiting Brunei.
Before the bridge was constructed, people from Temburong district had to take a forty-five-minute boat ride or drive two hours through Sarawak’s Limbang before arriving at the capital.
We went on a brief drive across the bridge and were treated by breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
5. Royal Regalia Museum
The Royal Regalia Museum is the best place to learn more about the Sultanate of Brunei and the royal family. The establishment was founded on September 30, 1992. Its primary purpose is to house the regalia of the Sultan and the royalty and exhibits relating to commemorating the Silver and Golden Jubilee celebrations of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah’s reign over Brunei.
The museum keeps the Sultanate’s heirlooms and regalia, including golden chariots, olden-day weapons, and shields.
Photography is restricted inside the Royal Regalia Museum in Brunei. Cameras are prohibited in most areas except for the building’s lobby.
6. Kampong Ayer
Before returning to Miri, we visited Kampong Ayer, the main tourist destination in Brunei. Our guide arranged a boat (water taxi) for us at the jetty of Sungai Brunei.
Kampong Ayer is the world’s largest water village and is often called the “Venice of the East” due to its unique location and architecture. The village is self-contained with traditional houses, schools, mosques, and even a fire station. All the buildings are built on stilts above the water.
Approximately 40 stilt villages in Kampong Ayer are connected by a 38-kilometer (23-mile) boardwalk. Although it is a traditional village, Kampong Ayer already has modern amenities such as electricity, WiFi, and cable TV. Water taxis are the most popular mode of transportation in Kampong Ayer.
The banks of the Brunei River are home to numerous crocodiles. However, as long as we remain on the boat, we are safe. During our journey upstream, our boatman spotted four crocodiles in various locations. We managed to capture some photos of these fascinating creatures.
7. The Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha Bridge
As we returned to the jetty, we sailed past the Sungai Kebun Bridge, also known as the RIPAS Bridge, named after Queen Saleha, the wife of the current Sultan of Brunei. It is the second-longest single-pylon cable-stayed bridge in the world and has become a landmark of Brunei.
We left Miri early and arrived at the Billionth Barrel Monument around 9:30 a.m. We then traveled from Bandar Sri Begawan back to Miri at around 5 p.m. If you only have one day to spend in Brunei, this post will help you plan your trip to cover the main tourist attractions in Brunei.
Our day trip to Brunei was organized by Brighton Travel & Tour Sdn. Bhd., who can help you with planning your trip to Brunei as well as Sarawak.
Watch the video we shot about the best places to visit in Brunei 👇👇.
We also uploaded a video to show you all the best places to visit in Brunei. Please click the image below to bring you to our YouTube channel (shot in high definition!). You may also want to check out our hiking trip to Mount Kinabalu and Miri.