48 Hours in Brunei: What to Do in Bandar Seri Begawan

You Went Where? 48 Hours in Brunei

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Who goes to Brunei on their honeymoon? Who goes to Brunei for vacation period? Answer: Uh, we do.

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Does this reflection make me us look fat?

To be frank, neither of us ever had an overwhelming desire to visit Brunei. I don’t know too many people who do. But originally, it was the cheapest place to fly into from Vietnam (this was prior to the whole flight hullabaloo), so we figured, we’re there already, we might as well spend a couple days exploring the sites.

Let’s just say: I’m glad we only budgeted 48 hours.

brunei, bandar seri begawan, mosque, city, asia, borneo

It’s not that it was an unsightly place by any means—rather, parts of it reminded me of a Dr. Seuss book.

brunei, bandar seri begawan, mosque, city, asia, borneo

There just simply wasn’t a whole lot to do. We had walked the length of the capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, by the second hour. So we turned around and walked it again—three times in the following 24 hours.

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We visited the mosque. It was fancy, with its escalator and tourist computer to search nearby points of interest.

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We shopped for birthday gifts for our nieces and nephews. We wandered the riverfront, then back again. We went to the market. It smelled.

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We wandered back to the mosque. We took more pictures.

brunei, bandar seri begawan, mosque, city, asia, borneo

And then some more. In fact, our entire time in Brunei can be summed up as follows: They came, they went, they took pictures.

brunei, bandar seri begawan, mosque, city, asia, borneo

We went back to our hotel room and took a nap. We looked for something to eat at the night market. There was nothing. So we ordered room service.

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We found real! coffee! after weeks of choking down that instant crap.

brunei, bandar seri begawan, mosque, city, asia, borneo

We searched for all the alleged “wealth” we’d heard this country possessed. Aside for a handful of tall buildings and some gilded religious establishments, we found none.

brunei, bandar seri begawan, mosque, city, asia, borneo

SVV made me dress “appropriately” (i.e. cover my knees and shoulders) even though it was approximately 127 degrees out and 10000 percent humidity.

brunei, bandar seri begawan, mosque, city, asia, borneo

And then, just as quickly as we arrived, it was time to go again. Our days in Brunei were…interesting. We came, we saw went, we conquered—and I didn’t even get recruited for the sultan’s harem while there.

brunei, bandar seri begawan, mosque, city, asia, borneo

I guess when it comes down to it, that makes it a successful few days in Brunei…?

  • August 13, 2010

    I think it’s important to explore places even if they don’t necessarily pull at your heart strings, because life is always full of surprises! 🙂

    Awesome pics!!!

  • August 13, 2010

    The pictures are gorgeous (and very Seussian) even though the place itself left a lot to be desired.

  • August 13, 2010

    I agree with the “We came, we went, we conquered”…not every place will appeal to everyone, but it’s one more place you can check off the list! And Andi is correct, awesome pics!!

  • August 14, 2010

    Well the architecture is amazing anyway.

  • August 15, 2010

    I think Brunei sounds like an interesting place to visit; it seems so unlike anywhere else. Great pictures!

  • August 15, 2010

    Love the architecture…and I especially love the first reflection photo (in case you haven’t guessed, I have a thing for taking architectural photos and experimenting with reflected scenes :lol)

  • August 15, 2010

    I guess you have to ask yourself…Where are the Bruni’s? There’s nobody on the streets. Now, that’s the story…Where do Bruni’s vacation? Wonderful pictures, though. The angles and wide shots are dreamy.

  • August 16, 2010

    I’m surprised. Brunei sounds a lot more boring than I thought it would be. I’ve been picturing it as a mini-Dubai. I guess not.

  • August 17, 2010

    We paused in Brunei for two nights while making our way across Borneo. Agree that there’s not a whole lot to it. We were there during Ramadan, which I thought explained the reason the streets were so quiet during the day, but based on your photos, that might just be the way it always is. There was some kind of Ramadan festival going on at night while we were there though, which livened things up a bit. Jeff even entered the noodle eating contest at the festival. He came in second, but it was pretty fun to experience a whole crowd of Muslims chanting “USA, USA” and cheering for him to win.

  • August 20, 2010

    I also stayed in Bandar for a short time and I think I did everything in the first few hours of visiting. That being said, I did enjoy the peacefulness and a traditional meal of Ambuyat sago palm starch with this crazy sauce called cacah binjai. Did you get to sample any?

  • June 12, 2011

    You should visit Gadong area. BSB is very quite place. who ever wanted to visit Brunei pls go to our friendly jungle tract at Temburong. Ask the tour agents. stay and find hotels at Gadong area not bsb. Now BSB is like hunted place i guess. hehehe.. But Brunei is tryong to make it as a busies city again.. and so many interesting places here. If you got 1 day in Brunei, i recon you to go to Yayasan foundation, jamie mosque at Kiarong. Water village at Bandar Seri Begawan (bsb), 1 day trip at batang Duri Temburong (refer your tour guide) Sultan Palace at Jalan Tutong, Jerudong Park.. Pls ask your taxi driver to drive you there. pick 1 or 2 places that you can visit in a day. even you can visit 4 or 5 places in a day. Brunei is too small. Noting possible. And thank for vising Our clean and beautiful country. See you there..

  • October 22, 2011

    No one is on the streets because the real fun is behind the golden gates in the harem.

  • March 23, 2017

    Nothing to eat at the night market? Are you joking! This is a very pessimistic article. I am glad I am not traveling with you.

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