A Gap Year in Brunei

Why go backpacking in Brunei?

Brunei is a sparkling jewel on the north-west corner of Borneo, and when we say sparkling, we really mean it; Brunei is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Thankfully, you don’t need to be wealthy to go backpacking in Brunei.

The capital of Brunei, Bandar Seri Begawan, features an impressive display of modern architecture and it’s a gorgeous little city to walk around. Its most impressive site is the Sultan’s Royal palace, known as the Istana Nurul Iman, the largest residential palace in the world; it really is absolutely pimp.

The Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque, with golden domes and coloured glass windows, is particularly stunning at night, with green lights illuminating the dome and casting a lovely reflection in the pool below. Don’t miss the free Royal Regalia Building, a museum of the sultan’s many treasures, including the royal chariot and the jewel-encrusted coronation crowns.

A highlight of any trip to Brunei is a tour to Kampung Ayer, the ‘Venice of the East’. The world’s largest water village is home to more than 30,000 people and offers a centuries-old web of homes, schools, mosques, medical clinics, fire and police stations hovering on stilts over the Brunei River. Just make sure you pack your camera!

Brunei can be a good spot to visit at either end of a volunteering placement with orangutans in Borneo. No gap year to South East Asia or Borneo could be complete without going to Brunei; it’s something you won’t regret.

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