Bandar Seri Begawan
It’s easy to associate Brunei’s capital city to breathtaking grandeur - it’s where you can find towering palaces after all. Welcome to Bandar Seri Begawan, a city of gentle luxury and spectacular beauty.
Located south of Brunei, Bandar Seri Begawan boasts not only of scenic spots but of rich cultural heritage evident in its museums. The city is also home to Chinese, Indian, and Western people whose culture are slowly becoming evident in this small-town community. If you’re exploring nearby Malaysia, a trip to Borneo’s grand city is a must.
Without a doubt, the mosques in the city are one of Bandar Seri Begawan’s top attractions – the breathtaking grandeur feels out of this world. Learn more about the interesting history of Brunei by making a stop at the Brunei National Museum. Other museums to see include the Royal Regalia Museum and the Malay Technology Museum Explore Kampong Ayer and see a different side of Bandar Seri Begawan – this impressive collection of homes and villages on stilts is a far cry from the grandiose house of the Sultan which is also located nearby. Conclude your day of adventures in this city with a view of captivating sunsets in Muara Beach.
Getting into Bandar Seri Begawan can be done by plane, bus, and ferry.
Brunei’s main airport is located in Bandar Seri Begawan. Daily flights to this airport are catered by Brunei’s official airline – Royal Brunei Airlines. Other airline options include Singapore Airlines that offer flights from Singapore five times a week; Malaysia airlines with flights from Kuala Lumpur, Kuching, and Kota Kinabalu; and AirAsia with flights coming from Kuala Lumpur. Airfare can be as low as USD 35.
If you’re coming from Kuala Belait, you can avail of the bus services to Seria. These buses depart every hour and charge USD 0.75 for one trip. At Seria, you can hop on a bus to Bandar Seri Begawan. The fare is USD 4.5 and travel time is 6 hours.
Bus services from Miri to Bandar Seri Begawan are available twice a day – one bus leaves early at 8:30 in the morning, and the other one at 15:45. The fare is USD 27.50.
Daily bus services from Kota Kinabalu is also available. The journey can take 8 hours. The fare is USD 24.
From Sarawak, board a boat to Serasa Ferry Terminal.
The generally accepted currency in Bandar Seri Begawan is the Brunei Dollar (BND) which comes in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, 500, 1000, and 10000. The currency also comes in 1, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents. The Singapore dollar is deemed similar with Brunei Dollar and is directly accepted by establishments. Be careful of microscopic tears on your bills, though, since most establishments refuse them.
ATM cards which are widely accepted by stores, restaurants, and hotels include American Express, VISA, MasterCard, and Diners Club. ATMs are widely available in both towns and cities. However, not every foreign card is accepted.
The most reliable currency exchange service can be availed from banks.
June, July, and August are considered peak months in Brunei but the weather around these months is incredibly hot. Rains start to pour in from September to December. The most ideal time to visit is between January to May – chances of raining are low and the temperature is most ideal.
One of the main ways of getting around Bandar Seri Begawan is through taxis. However, taxi services are very limited here – there are only 50 taxis in Brunei. Although most use taxi metres, drivers opt to just negotiate for the fare. Fares range from BND 15 to BND 35 (USD 10 to USD 26).
Brunei’s version of Uber, Dart App, can also be availed.
If you’re travelling to attractions near a water system, you can avail of water taxi services. Fares start at USD 0.50.
Brunei doesn’t have a distinct culinary identity – you’ll notice that most of the dishes served here are similar to the food in nearby Sarawak, Malaysia. However, the local delicacies in Brunei have a certain taste to them – a flare so innate in the country. While in Bandar Seri Begawan, never miss Noralizah and Iskandar’s murtabak – this dish is a perfect combination of crispy and moist, sweet and spicy. Take a trip to the night markets of the city to have a hefty dose of delicious barbecued meats. Enjoy a delicious dish of Mie Goreng, Brunei style from one of the local street food stalls. For dessert, let your teeth sink into a delicious serving of pineapple caramelised cake.
Bandar Seri Begawan may be a destination that doesn’t top charts, but it’s a place that’ll win travellers’ hearts.