Bandar Seri Begawan, (Jawi: بندر سري بڬاوان ) with an estimated population 140,000 (as of 2010), is the capital and largest city of the Sultanate of Brunei.
Places of interest
* The Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque - Built in 1958, features a golden dome and an interior of Italian marble walls, carpeting and an elevator. It also has tunnels, which are used by the Sultan on journeys through the town.
* Jame'asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque - This mosque is the largest and is one of the most magnificent looking mosques in Brunei. It was built to commemorate the 25th anniversary His majesty the Sultan reign. It is locally known as the Kiarong mosque.
* The Royal Ceremonial Hall or Lapau
Located in Jalan Kianggeh the Lapau (Royal Ceremonial Hall) is used for royal traditional ceremonies. It was here that His Majesty the Sultan, Hassanal Bolkiah was crowned on 1 August 1968. The interior of the Lapau and Sultan's throne are decorated in exquisite gold. Within the precincts of the Lapau is the Dewan Majlis where the legislative assembly used to sit. Official permission is required by visitors to enter this building. With the completion of the new legislative council building in Jalan Mabohai, The Lapau will soon become a symbol of the Sultanate's constitutional history.
* Late sultan Bolkiah's tomb in Kota Batu
* Late sultan Sharif Ali's tomb in Kota Batu
* The Royal Mausoleum (Makam Di-Raja)
Located away from on the banks of Sungei Brunei behind the department store Soon Lee Megamart at Mile One, Jalan Tutong, the Royal Mausoleum and the graveyard have been used by succeeding generations of Sultans. Inside the Mausoleum itself are the remains of the last four Sultans, Haji Sir Muda Omar Ali Saifuddin (1950-1967), who died in 1986, Ahmad Tajuddin Ibnu Sultan Muhammad Jamalul Alam (1924-1950), Muhammad Jamalul Alam Ibnu Sultan Hashim (1906-1924), and Hashim Jalilul Alam Putera Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin II (1885-1906). Other members of the royal families from those times are also buried there.
* Brunei Museum (Muzium Brunei) - Located on an archeological site at Kota Batu about 5 km from Bandar Seri Begawan, this museum is the largest in the country. It was first established in 1965 and occupied its present site since 1970. Officially opened in 1972, the museum focuses on Islamic history, natural history, Brunei artifacts and customs, ceramics and the oil industry of Brunei. The museum is reachable by public transport (Bus No. 39). Its exhibition galleries consist of the following:
Islamic Art Gallery: The gallery displays a magnificent collection of Islamic Art belonging to His Majesty the Sultan, Hassanal Bolkiah and is the main highlight. The collection comprises a wide range of objects covering the artistic production of various Islamic regions from the transitional and early Islamic periods to the 19th century.
The History and Technology of Brunei Darussalam's Petroleum Gallery: The state's main industry is presented in this gallery, covering descriptive narratives on the origin and formation of oil, process of drilling, refining, the history of the petroleum industry in Brunei and a map depicting current oil fields.
Brunei Traditional Culture Gallery: Brunei's material culture is presented in this gallery. The objects displayed in the gallery shows the customs and the culture of the people from the birth till marriage. There is also a fine collection of brass ware, and especially canons for which the country is traditionally renowned.
Natural History Gallery: The gallery exhibits a wide range of natural history subjects and especially the fauna of Brunei. Some of the exhibits are presented in the form of diorama techniques to form a realistic form of their natural habitat.
Brunei Darussalam Archeology and History Exhibition Gallery: It exhibits the history of the country beginning from the Pre-historic period up to the independence in 1984.
The Malay Technology Museum at Kota Batu.
* The Malay Technology Museum (Muzium Teknologi Melayu) - Malay Technology Museum is located next to the Brunei Museum at Kota Batu. The building was donated by the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of companies, in conjunction with the Sultanate's independence in 1984. The museum was officially opened by His Majesty the Sultan on 29 February 1988. The museum has 3 exhibition halls:
Water Village Traditional House Gallery: This gallery shows architectural structure of houses in the water village - Kampong Ayer in the late 19th up to the mid 20th century.
Water Village Traditional Technology Gallery: This gallery depicts various types of handicrafts and cottage industries found in the water village. The display includes boat construction, roof-making, gold smiting, silver smiting, brass casting and cloth weaving.
Inland Traditional Technology Gallery: This gallery contains exhibits of indigenous technologies of the in land people. It shows models of Kedayan, Dusun and Murut houses and a Punan hut. Techniques of production of Sago, brown sugar and handicrafts are also displayed.
Front exhibit, Royal Regalia Building
* The Royal Regalia Building - Located at Jalan Sultan, this museum is devoted to His Majesty the Sultan, Hassanal Bolkiah. The main gallery displays the coronation and Silver Jubilee Chariots, gold and silver ceremonial armory and traditional jewellery encrusted coronation crowns. A collection of documents that chronicles His Majesty's life up to the coronation together with the constitutional history gallery is also housed in the same building.
* The Brunei History Center - Located at Jalan Sultan next to the Royal Regalia building is the Brunei history center. The center was opened in 1982 with a brief to research the history of Brunei. Much of that work has been establishing the genealogy and history of the Sultans and Royal Family. The public display has a wealth of information on these subjects including replicas and brass rubbings of tombs. A flow chart giving the entire lineage of the Brunei Sultans can be found at the entrance.
* Brunei Stamp Gallery - The recently opened Brunei Stamp Gallery is located inside the post office building in Jalan Sultan.
* Bubongan Duabelas - The name which translates to the House of Twelve Roofs is located in Jalan Residency. It was built in 1906 and was formerly the official residence of British residents and high commissioners in Brunei. It is one of the oldest surviving building in Bandar Seri Begawan. It now serves as a gallery that exhibits the long standing relationship between the Sultanate and the United Kingdom
* The Arts and Handicrafts Center - Located at Jalan Residency it was opened in 1980. Brunei's fine arts and crafts date back to centuries and are part of the nation's proud heritage. The Arts and Handicrafts Center conducts courses in silverware, brassware, woodcarving, songkok-making, weaving and basketry.
Istana Nurul Iman
The Istana Nurul Iman palace is the residence of His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah. The palace is located on a leafy, riverside sprawl of hills on the banks of the Brunei River directly south of Bandar Seri Begawan, a few miles outside the city center. Istana Nurul Iman is believed to be the world's largest residential palace of any type. Its name is taken from Arabic, meaning Palace of the Light of Faith. The palace was designed by Leandro V. Locsin, and built by the Filipino firm, Ayala International.
The city incorporates a nearby water village, Kampong Ayer, which has houses on stilts and stretches about 8 km along the Brunei river (Sungei Brunei). It is a well preserved national heritage site, the largest of its kind in the world with approximately 30,000 residents. The Kampong is over 1,000 years old. The name Venice of the East was coined by Antonio Pigafetta in honor of the water village he encountered at Kota Batu (just east of city's central business district). Pigafetta was on Magellan's voyages in 1521.
Self contained, the water village is equipped with schools, police stations, clinics, a waterborne fire brigade and mosques. Kampong Ayer existed since the 10th century A.D, is actually a cluster of villages, each with their own village leader (head of the villages), or Ketua Kampong. The villages are connected by a complex web of walkways and bridges. Kampong Ayer's historical importance lies in the fact that the Sultanate's civilization started here with fishing as one of the main livelihoods of the villages. There was a concentration of skilled craftsmen producing handicrafts from brass, silver and wood, hence granting the water village a status of commercial and social importance.
The skills of these craftsmen can be viewed at The Kampong Ayer Cultural & Tourism Gallery. The construction of the gallery was started in August 2007 and it was completed in June 2009 with an enclosed area of 565 sq meters. Some unique treasures of the Kampong Ayer over its illustrious history are exhibited in 5 mini-galleries within the building.
Parks and Trails
* Persiaran Damuan
This narrow strip of landscaped park between Jalan Tutong and the Sungei Brunei was created in 1986 as an 'Square'. It has a permanent display of the work of a sculptor from each of the original ASEAN countries. The one kilometer long park has pleasant walkways bordered by shrubs and the mangrove fringed Pulau Ranggu where two species of monkeys live, including the notable Proboscis Monkey only found in Borneo. The park also offers some of the best views of the Istana Nurul Iman.
Brunei Darussalam's sculpture at Persiaran Damuan.
* Jalan Tasek Lama
Located just a few minutes walk from the city center, this is a popular trekking trail for the local residents of Bandar Seri Begawan. There are well made walkaways through the small park which has benches and picnic spots as well as a waterfall and ponds with water lilies.
* Bukit Subok Recreational Park
The park offers a great view of the Kampong Ayer and downtown Bandar Seri Begawan. There is a well maintained wooden walkaway with viewing huts along the way. These huts provide a good vantage points of Kampong Ayer and its surroundings.