Explore the sprawling Kampong Ayer
Kampong Ayer holds many titles and nicknames and is a national heritage of Brunei. The floating village stretches across the Brunei River in Bandar Seri Begawan, housing approximately 13,000 residents. Separated into different neighbourhoods, Kampong Ayer has its own schools, libraries and mosques. Locals use speedboats to get from the land to the village in the same way we use a bus. Getting lost in the labyrinth and snapping photos of this traditional lifestyle is one of our favourite reasons to visit Brunei.
Virgin rainforests stretching towards the horizon
As Malaysian and Indonesian Borneo chopped down their rainforests, Brunei was tapping oil in the South China Sea. Flash forward to today and Brunei’s dense jungle is deforestation-free. Approximately 80% of Brunei is virgin rainforest. Most of the jungle remains in the same condition as it has for thousands of years.
A blend of Malay, Singaporean and Indonesian food
Another one of the top reasons to visit Brunei is its food. The Sultanate’s strong cultural ties with Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia blend to create a delicious fusion of food. Restaurants in Bandar Seri Begawan sell typical Malay-style fried rice and noodles mixed with Indonesian favourites like spicy Rendang. Brunei combines the best of all regional cuisine, making it easy to find Bornean treats, fiery Indonesian food and local snacks.
Brunei is super safe
Unlike other destinations in Southeast Asia, Brunei is probably the safest. With ultra-low crime rates (apart from the occasionally petty theft), solo travellers always feel safe in Bandar Seri Begawan at all times of the day and night. The country’s alcohol ban eliminates the drunken and loutish behaviour so common in cities around the world. While visitors still need to use their common sense, Brunei is much safer compared to its neighbours.
One of the cleanest countries in Asia
Southeast Asia suffers from the all-too-common problem with litter. Brunei is different. The Sultan and his government put a lot of effort into keeping the country clean and litter-free. Stroll through the streets and you won’t see (and smell) rubbish. Apart from the inevitable film of gunge at the edges of the Brunei River from Kampong Ayer, Bandar Seri Begawan is in an immaculate condition.
Ulu Temburong National Park: The green jewel of Brunei
Ulu Temburong covers a whopping 500 square kilometres. In context, this is almost 10% of the country’s surface area. Only 1% of the virgin rainforest is open to visitors. Longboats ferry passengers in and out of the national park on tightly regulated tours. Activities include jungle trekking, canopy walks and swimming in natural pools. Scientists recently discovered the fascinating exploding ants in this national park too.