25 Must-Visit Attractions in Brunei

By night, the lights of the Sultan Omar Ali Saiffudien Mosque glisten on the adjacent lagoon
By night, the lights of the Sultan Omar Ali Saiffudien Mosque glisten on the adjacent lagoon | © Adrian Baker / Shutterstock
Sam Bedford

The Sultanate of Brunei is known for mosques, virgin rainforest and the world’s largest floating village. Here are our top 25 attractions in Brunei for tourists staying in Bandar Seri Begawan on a stopover to those exploring the best of the country.

1. Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque


Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque Brunei
© Sophie James / Shutterstock

The Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque in Bandar Seri Begawan is the most striking image of Brunei. An artificial lagoon-cum-reflecting pool surrounds the mosque which overlooks the Brunei River and Kampong Ayer. This is one of the most Instagramable attractions in Brunei. Any tour of the capital is sure to feature a visit to this iconic landmark.

2. Bandar Seri Begawan Waterfront

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark

Hugging the banks of the Brunei River, The Waterfront is an ideal place for a pleasant evening stroll. Apart from views of the river and Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque, this is our favourite place to get photographs of Kampong Ayer.

Kampong Ayer

Always featured among the top attractions in Brunei, Kampong Ayer provides an experience found nowhere else on the planet. The historical floating village consists of more than 40 smaller settlements connected with a maze-like network of wooden boardwalks. A total of 13,000 residents live inside Kampong Ayer who have their own schools, mosques and shops. Speedboats cost approximately B$1 ($0.66 USD) to ferry residents and tourists to the world’s largest stilted village.

3. Royal Regalia Museum


must visit attractions in bandar seri brunei
© Shepps / Shutterstock

After seeing the palace, head to the Royal Regalia Museum and see his collection of gifts. From a giant chariot used in his silver jubilee to countless jewels and gold, the free museums offer a glimpse into the luxurious lifestyle of a Sultan.

4. Istana Nurul Iman


With almost 1,800 rooms, the Istana Nurul Iman is officially the world’s largest house. The Sultan’s palace lies a short drive from Bandar Seri Begawan’s city centre. Featuring as a favourite stop for day trippers, appreciating the vast size and splendour gives you an idea of the Sultan’s wealth. Tourists can’t go inside apart from during Hari Raya. Take photographs from the nearby river or park.

5. Gadong Night Market


Every evening at 4pm, Gadong Night Markets officially opens. Stalls sell local dishes including grilled fish and chicken. Because Bandar Seri Begawan gets so few tourists, the night market retains an authentic flair. If you want to soak up a bit of the Bruneian culture and taste regional cuisine, head to Gadong. Try nasi katok (steamed rice and Bruneian-style fried chicken with a spicy sauce).

6. Ulu Temburong National Park

Hiking Trail, Forest, Park

must visit attractions in bandar seri brunei
© cherry-hai / Shutterstock
Brunei’s first national park opened in 1991 in Temburong District. The vast protected area consistently features as one of the top attractions in Brunei for ecotourism. Unlike their Bornean neighbours, the Sultanate’s rainforests remain intact in a type of state-sponsored conservation. Visitors can hike jungle trails, get views of the rainforest from canopy walks and see some of the island’s wildlife. You can book a day trip tour of the park with pick-up from Bandar Seri Begawan.

7. Jame' Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque


most beautiful mosques in Brunei
© james wk / Shutterstock

The second of Brunei’s grand mosques sits a few kilometres from the city centre. With the title as the country’s largest mosque, it’s a favourite stop on short itineraries to Bandar Seri Begawan. But because of its size, you might have difficulties finding the perfect photograph!

8. Malay Technology Museum


Another must-visit attraction in Brunei for those looking to learn about the country’s culture. Several rooms have displays on Malay and Bruneian ethnography including a collection of traditional costumes. Others show how residents live in the floating village. Expect to spend approximately one hour at this museum.

9. Brunei Darussalam Maritime Museum


The Maritime Museum rarely features on the list of top attractions in Brunei, but we think it deserves a special mention. Located some six kilometres (3.7 miles) from the Waterfront in Kota Batu, it makes a perfect cultural combination with the Malay Technology Museum. Three galleries cover maritime trading history in the region as well as displaying artefacts recovered from a nearby shipwreck.

10. Twelve Roofs House


The former High Commissioner’s house is one of Brunei’s oldest buildings. Dating back to 1906, the colonial structure has deep ties to imperial Britain. After gaining their independence in 1984, the Twelve Roofs House has since become a museum. Inside, you’ll learn about the friendly relationship between Britain and Brunei and the Queen and the Sultan. We suggest visiting to appreciate the style of architecture and learn more about the evolution of modern-day Brunei.

11. Tasek Lama Recreational Park

Hiking Trail, Natural Feature

Tasek Lama sits a few kilometres north of Bandar Seri Begawan and provides a slice of nature in the heart of the city. Apart from a favourite picnicking spot for local families, the park has short trails through the jungle. Expect to spend an hour or two appreciating the rainforest habitat, snapping photos from viewing platforms and admiring the waterfalls.

12. Taman Persiaran Damuan Park

Park, Forest

must visit attractions in bandar seri brunei
© Richard Whitcombe / Shutterstock

We recommend this park as one of the top attractions in Brunei for every visitor to the country. Stretching along the Brunei River, the park is a haven for locals and families in the evening. The island in the centre houses monkeys including the endemic and endangered Proboscis Monkeys.

13. Muara Beach

Natural Feature

must visit attractions in bandar seri brunei
© Inspired By Maps / Shutterstock

Brunei’s best beach is approximately 30 minutes by car from Bandar Seri Begawan. The clean stretch of coastline and adjacent parks has several benches for picnics, a jogging trail and a prime position to see Borneo’s famous sunset. Why not combine a day at the beach with a sunset picnic? But remember to respect local customs and leave the speedos and bikinis in the hotel.

14. Jerudong Park Playground

Amusement Park

must visit attractions in bandar seri brunei
© cherry-hai / Shutterstock

When Jerudong Park opened in 1994, it was one of the largest theme parks in Asia. But after a lack of investment, it dwindled to a fraction of its former size. Despite having just a few rides and being rather uninspiring by European standards, it still gets classified as one of the top attractions in Brunei in guidebooks. We suggest considering a trip here if you’re visiting with children.

15. Tamu Kianggeh Market


must visit attractions in bandar seri brunei
© cherry-hai / Shutterstock

Located near the Brunei River, Tamu Kianggeh sells fruit, veggies and fish. Other stalls have locally-made handicraft and souvenirs catering towards the stopover tourists in Bandar Seri Begawan. This is also our favourite place in the city to buy fresh tropical fruit.

16. Billionth Barrel Monument


The monument in Seria near the border with Sarawak commemorates Brunei’s production of its billionth barrel of oil. Offshore oil drives Brunei’s economy making it one of the wealthiest nations in Southeast Asia. Stop by for half an hour when passing between Miri and Brunei’s capital. But unless you have a car, it might not be worth the effort to travel from Bandar Seri Begawan specifically to see this monument.

17. Tasek Merimbun

Park, Natural Feature

Brunei’s largest lake sits some 70 kilometres (43 miles) from Bandar Seri Begawan. The ‘S’-shaped lake supports a variety of flora and fauna including a rare species of fruit bat. Apart from snapping photographs and enjoying the environment, tourists can take boat trips and visit the two lake islands. Because of its proximity to Tutong Town, why not visit both the lake and Seri Kenangan Beach as part of the same trip?

18. Pantai Seri Kenangan

Natural Feature

In English, Pantai Seri Kanangan translates to ‘Unforgettable Beach’. The stretch of orange sand is sandwiched between the rough waters of the South China Sea and the relatively calm Tutong River. The best time to enjoy this attraction in Brunei is with a late afternoon picnic or during the sunset.

A mosque on stilts at Brunei’s University

The University Mosque in Brunei caters to local students and nearby villagers. With a stilted appearance and pointy golden-brown roofs, it manifests a simple yet modern design. A beautifully-tiled archway forms the entrance to the complex. Step inside to the brightly-lit prayer hall holding up to 1,800 worshippers.

The Eateries of Bandar Seri Begawan

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.

Luagan Lalak

Our favourite place in Brunei to see the Bornean sunrise is at Luagan Lalak. Located near the Labi Forest Reserve to the west of Bandar Seri Begawan, the lake exudes beauty. A series of boardwalks span over the freshwater swamp’s surface. Footpaths and wooden bridges form a network around the surrounding park. You’ll need to drive more than an hour from Bandar Seri Begawan to witness this spectacular phenomenon. Plan to leave the city at 4.30am to get there in time for sunrise.

Pekan Tutong

Tutong Town some 40km (24.9mi) west of Bandar Seri Begawan offers a quiet beach retreat. The stretch of yellow-orange sand hugs the town along the Tutong River. Either visit on a day trip or spend the night in one of the guesthouses to enjoy the sunset. We also recommend checking out Sungai Basong Recreational Park, which includes hiking trails and a miniature ethnic village.

Bukit Ladan Forest Reserve

Located in Tutong District, Bukit Ladan Forest Reserve is among the most beautiful places in Brunei for nature lovers. Spanning 76sqkm (18,780 acres), the protected area offers hiking trails, picnicking spots and viewing platforms. With towering teak trees lining the paths and the occasional orchid, this provides the ultimate experience for fans of the outdoors. Climb the canopies to witness the dense green forest rolling over the hills towards the horizon. You’ll need to rent a car to see this natural wonder in Brunei. It’s not advisable to make the trip during the rainy season when flooded roads make access challenging.

Moroccan-Style Ash-Shaliheen Mosque

Ash-Shaliheen Mosque looks like something straight from Marrakesh. The Moroccan-styled structure opened in 2012 and sits next to the Prime Minister’s Office. Turquoise domes complement its sandstone-coloured walls. Renowned Egyptian architect Abdel-Wahed El-Wakil blends traditional North African elements with a contemporary flair. An attractive courtyard filled with fountains surround the mosque. Step inside and find a mosaic of hand-chiselled tiles decorating the walls with Moroccan chandeliers.

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