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BRUNEI PLACES OF INTEREST
Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque
The Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque is dominates the city centre of Bandar Seri Begawan. It is one of the most magnificent mosques of South-East Asia, and a symbol of the strong Islamic faith of the people of Brunei.
The mosque was completed in 1958 and is named after the 28th Sultan, Omar Ali Saifuddien, who is still referred to as the architect of modern Brunei. The mosque's design reflects the use of the world's most elegant materials, including marble from Italy, granite from Shanghai, stained glass and chandeliers from England and carpets from Belgium and Saudi Arabia.
Located in a lagoon beside the mosque is a replica of a 16th Century mahligai barge, which was used to stage colourful religious ceremonies such as the Koran reading competitions during the 1960s and early 1970s. You will be required to remove your shoes prior to entering the mosque, and you should also be dressed conservatively.
The mosque is closed to non-muslims on Thursday. Access is restricted to late afternoon on
Kampoung Ayer is home to about 30000 people and is accessible by boat or by wooden bridges from Bandar Seri Begawan.
The houses in Kampung Ayer are joined be a maze of interconnecting timber walkways, and visitors are free to roam at their leisure. The government has provided every modern facility for the residents, including schools, clinics, police station and mosques. A visit to Brunei would not be complete without a trip to the this unique and intriguing place.
The Royal Regalia Building
The building is open to the public every day of the week (on Friday the opening hours are
shorter than the rest of the week) Shoes should be removed prior to entering the building.
Brunei History Centre
The Brunei History Centre was established in 1982. It was founded to undertake research into the rich history of Brunei. Among the areas of special interest are the genealogy and history of the Sultans of Brunei and the Royal family.
The centre located next to the Royal Regalia Building. It is closed on Friday.
Lapau and Dewan Majlis
Another magnificent building in the Bandar Seri Begawan is the Royal Ceremonial Hall, better known
as the Lapau, where the present Sultan was crwoned on 01 August, 1968. An exquisite golden dome
highlights the Lapau's interior. Traditional royal ceremonies are normally held here. Adjoining the
Lapau is the Dewan Majlis, or Parliament House.
Tasek Recreational Park
This is one of the oldest recreational parks in the city. It has a natural waterfall and lake, and
features a beautiful garden of trees and flowers. For those who want to get away from the noisy
traffic of the city, this park is an ideal place to spend some time. It will take about 15 minutes
to walk to the park from the Lapau. Brunei Shell, as part of their community work, has also
installed an 8 metre high wall for those interested in climbing.
The Tamu is open every day from morning to late evening.
The Istana Nurul and Taman Persiaran Damuan
The best view of the Istana is from Persiaran Damuan, which is a park along the river bank off Jalan Tutong. It has walkways, a well-equipped playground and features six outdoor sculptures by ASEAN artists, on the theme of Unity in Diversity. The Persiaran Damuan is popular for jogging and has several foodstalls in the evenings.
Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Foundation Complex
Adjacent to the Omar Saifuddien Mosque stands an imposing addition to the skyline and waterfront. It is a commercial and shopping complex, designed to generate revenue for a foundation dedicated to the welfare of the people. It is a personal initiative of the Sultan, and is testament to his abiding concern for the well being of the people of Brunei. The complex is designed with an amalgamation of both the traditional Malay and modern architecture. Its main walkway features excellent views of the Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque at one end and Kampung Ayer at the other.
The shopping complex, opened in July 1996, contains the largest selection of shopping facilities
in Brunei. With the Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Foundation Complex, Bandar Seri Begawan has created
a completely new image of the city centre, making it a major tourist attraction.
Photographs on this page are courtesy of Libby O'Connor, Intrepid Tours, Husini Bakar (Tamu Kianggeh) and Brunei Tourism Office