Friday, June 27, 2008

Brunei: The Gulf Cooperation Councils’ 7th the state

Only in Brunei will you find this much peace in a country's capital

Happy, friendly people

Most people have hard time pin pointing where Brunei is on the map of the world. Even if you look for it, it’s not easy to find this tiny sultanate. Ironically, it’s famous for prince Jeffery’s wild spending antics, including giving a waiter a tip of over $ 150,000/-.

The main and only theater in down town

The main Down Town Shopping Mall area During the week without a single person around

This rich little state should ideally be in the Arabian Gulf, but somehow, millions of years ago, when continents were moving, it was pushed far away from us. Everything about it, resemble our states, it’s a carbon copy of the GCC, from its small population size( population estimated at 350,000 only), to its economy which is depend on oil and gas, to its judicial system (which is loosely based on Islam), to the amount of power its royal family has, to its tax free economy to even the heavily state subsidies perks its people get.

Water fall in the Capital

Architecture Bernie Style

Brunei is lush green and its capital Bander Seri Bhagwan, is tiny and dies out completely by 8 p.m. The place is so peaceful and safe. You really forget that you are in a county’s capital. The floating village, housing constructed by the government, is a major highlight of the country and I found it amazing how a capital in this day and age exist with most of its population living on water! Adding its calmness is sighting monkeys walking around its capital, without fear of getting harmed. People in Brunei are nice, with a great sense of pride, good natured, and with big smiles.

Brunei style mosque

Down Town

The country’s roads, parks and basic facilities are in immaculate condition. And just like GCC countries, Brunei has is its own white elephants from its free, non-functioning, amusement park, to its Empire Hotel, a dazzling, mind boggling empty hotel. This country is pleasant but unless you have a couple of days to spare and want to do something for the sake of doing it, I would not recommend stopping here.


Arul N S said...

I guess I need to include this country in my "must travel" list

ColOman said...

You might love the peace and the nice people

Charm said...

Oh!! What camera and lens are you using ColOman?

Awang Budiman said...

I am a Bruneian who is working here in Oman.

Glad you enjoyed your stay in Brunei. A few comments on your post:

Firstly Bandar Seri Begawan is indeed the capital and financial centre. However it is not the main commercial or entertainment centre. Gadong or Kiulap is where most of the action is.

Secondly the floating village or “Kampung Air” has been around for more than 1000 years. Although it is part of our identity, in actuality only a very small proportion of the population live here.

Thirdly, the "mosque" that you pointed out is not a mosque. The building is called the "Lapau" and is the royal ceremonial hall for official functions.

By the way if any of you do get a chance to go to Brunei I urge you to stay at the aforementioned Empire Hotel. It truly is fantastic and is one of the “plusses” that came from the Prince Jefri fiasco.

Lirun said...

i so dig your photography.. such a great vibe to it

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