Sights & Landmarks in Bandar Seri Begawan
Don't expect to find much tasteful and stunning architecture like you would normally find in Southeast Asia. Here, most of the buildings are just plain and box-shaped. However, an interesting twist to the billboards around here, is that the "Jawi" (Arabicized Malay writing) are prevalent among them. Sometimes, foreign names are translated literally, e.g. "Pizza Hut" to "Pondok Pizza".
- Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque, Jalan Elizabeth II. Open to visitors when it is not being used for prayers (opening times are posted by the gate). The mosque is very welcoming and you will be given a robe upon entry. Remove your shoes before entering and be respectfully quiet inside as there may be some people there meditating and praying. The mosque is visible from around the centre of the city, but the entrance is located on Jalan McArthur, just south of Jalan Elizabeth Dua.
- Jame'Asr Hassanal Bolkiah Mosque, Jalan Stadium Negara Hassanal Bolkiah, . Another mosque, that resembles Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque. Whereas Omar Ali Saifuddin mosque is built to commemorate Sultan Omar, this mosque is to commemorate the current reigning Sultan.
- Kampong Ayer. The water village is a beautiful sight to see hundreds of houses seemingly floating on water. The water village people are very friendly and many open up their homes to visitors year-round. Water taxis can be found by walking along the Brunei river or the main market in Bandar Seri Begawan and waving one down. Try to negotiate the price down. You shouldn't pay more than B$30 for an hour-long tour (B$15 for half an hour) of Kampong Ayer. Even though the water taxis are not wheelchair-friendly, their drivers are very willing to lend a hand and even team up and carry a person in a wheelchair on board; ask for a larger boat though. If you'd rather not shell out the dough for a water-taxi tour, consider wandering around the villages yourself. You can start from behind the Sultan's Mosque or from the other bank in Batu Satu.
- Royal Regalia Museum (Bangunan Alat Kebesaran Diraja), Jalan Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien (entrance on Jalan Sultan, next to the Brunei History Centre, between Jalan Stoney and Jalan James Pearce.), .9AM-5PM. It displays the royal accessories utilised during the coronation, and gifts received by the Sultan from all dignitaries around the world, and civilians alike. Definitely worth checking out. If you don't have time to visit both, and need to choose between this museum or "Brunei Museum" at Kota Batu, choose this one. Free entrance.
- Istana Nurul Iman. The residential palace of the Sultan. It is not possible to enter, yet the huge size of the palace attracts tourists to snap picture in front of the gate. The palace is however, hidden behind the landscapes, so a better picture can be seen in flyers or souvenirs that feature it.
- Brunei Museum (on the Kota Batu road). 9AM-5PM. Has just closed for a undetermined period of time, maybe until 2016. Though had an excellent display in the Islamic Art Gallery. It is highly recommended.
After visiting the Brunei Museum, walk along the road toward BSB to visit two tombs: the first is the Tomb of Sharif Ali, the third sultan of Brunei. The green sign by the road is written entirely in Arabic lettering. Further down the road is the Tomb of Sultan Bolkiah, the fifth sultan of Brunei. Both tombs are in easy walking distance from the Museum.
- Malay Technology Museum (Muzium Teknologi Melayu) (walk a short distance down from the Brunei Museum). This place has many exhibits featuring the different style of houses and lifestyle of those who live on the water village. Free.
- Muara Beach (take Bus 39 to the Pekan Muara bus terminal and then transfer to a bus to Muara Beach). Beautiful beach with food stalls, playground and washrooms.
- Empire Hotel & Country Club, Jerudong BG3122 (take bus #57 or #58 from Bandar Seri), . You can walk around the lobby and the rest of the hotel with no problems. Its quite beautiful and you may want to stay the night.
- Jerudong Park (take bus #55 from Bandar Seri). Opens 5PM. Most of the big rides have been sold, it may be completely empty when you visit you can some interesting pictures with your camera.
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