Brunei Darussalam is an oil rich sultanate that obtained independence in 1984. It offers tourists grand mosques, river journeys and virgin rainforests that cover 70% of country. Located on the island of Borneo, it is one of the smallest nation in ASEAN covering just 5,765 square kilometres. Brunei Darussalam is a sovereign, independent, democratic islamic monarchy
The capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, is dominated by the picturesque Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque. The Istana Nurul Iman is the most impressive site in Brunei and the world's largest residential palace. The sculpture nearby celebrate ASEAN unity. The Kampong Ayer or water village has been describe as the "Venice of the East". It is home to 30,000 people and features stilt houses over the water.
The Royal Ragalia Building is hoe to a collection of ceremonial jewels. Brunei History Centre has a display on the history of the Sultans. The Royal Ceremonial Halla or Lapau is where traditional royal ceremonies are normally held. Tasek Recreational ZPark has natural waterfalls, gardens and a lake. The market or tamu, located on the banks of the Kianggeh river, is open daily and the Tamu Hujung Minggu opens at the weekend and offers many exciting goods.
At Kampong Parit, just out of Bandar Seri Begawan, there is a mini replica of a rural village. Easy access to the rainforest and waterfalls is possible at Wasai Kandal. Jerudong Theme Park is an adventure theme park open free to public. The nearby polo complex is one of the world's largest. The Arts and Handycrafts Centre in Kota Batu has weaving and silverware displays.
The Malay Technology Museum provides an insight into the past lifestyle of the people. The Jame 'Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque in Gadong area is Brunei largest mosque. The Bukit Shahbandar Forestry Park provides over 70 ha of forest, ponds, trails and obsrvation towers. Meragang, Serasa and Muara beaches are popular recreational areas.
The geographically distinct, Temburong District contains dense forest and patches of land utilized for hill rice. The isolated Rainforest Centre at Kuala Belalong is a focus for learning about the lowland tropical forests. Ulu Temburong National Park, the nation's first, provided access to recreation and accommodation facilities.
There are several festivals including National Day on 23rd February, the Sultan's birthday on 15th July, Chinese New Year and many Muslim religious festivals like Hari Raya where open house is common.
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