Snippets: Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam (Travel and Street Photography)

Hola! I created the Travel Snippets series on my blog to show you some of my travel and street photography works from the different places I’ve traveled to in the past (well, before the pandemic hit).

I had the chance to visit Brunei Darussalam before, and I have been posting informative blogs about it ever since, including the most Instagrammable spots, places to eat, hostels to stay, local foods to try, my personal journal of my experience there, and even flight information.

So, without further ado, here are some of my snippets from Brunei! Expect a Part 2!

After the Rain at Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque

https://www.instagram.com/p/CLs8fQvHihG/

Post-Grocery Coffee Run at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Brunei

https://www.instagram.com/p/CLu6SNcnJgt/

Omar Ali Bridge Mid-Construction

https://www.instagram.com/p/CMTFzwJn29B/

Jame’ Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque

https://www.instagram.com/p/CMUYBfeHM8b/

A Walk Along Jalan McArthur, Bandar Seri Begawan

https://www.instagram.com/p/CMWENXIn4f8/

6 Hostels to Stay in Brunei Darussalam

Brunei is a tiny little country in northern Borneo which is mostly unheard of to the Western world. On the other hand, one will always hear remarks about Brunei from people who have been there, labeling the country as “boring” and “just a layover destination”.

As someone who has been to Brunei several times, I always argue that people should give Brunei a chance, because the people here are amazing, the food is great, and the kind of peace it brings to people is something you will never find anywhere else. Sure, traveling around without a car can be a pain (because Brunei is a car country and no efficient public transportation system exists), but there’s always a way to find beauty in everything, right? Moreover, options on where to stay, such as top hostels in Brunei, are on the rise along with the rise of tourism in the said country.

I have compiled here my other travel guides about Brunei which you can check out by clicking on each item below:

So, are you looking for top hostels in Brunei, like, right now?

TOP HOSTELS IN BRUNEI
TOP HOSTELS IN BRUNEI: The homey entrance area of Co.Living Hostel

Are you planning a backpacking trip or perhaps you are a solo traveler to Brunei? I saw you just Googled “best hostels in Brunei”! Kidding! But I’m sure you are looking for a hostel to stay at this point in time. Well, the good news is, I did the research for you and picked the top hostels in Brunei that you could choose from! I extracted the basic and essential information for you, and I even compared them side by side! So are you ready to choose your hostel in Brunei? Let’s go!

TOP HOSTELS IN BRUNEI: SHERLYN’S CRITERIA

Personally, whenever I would visit another city and look for hostels, I usually use the following criteria:

  • LOCATION AND DISTANCE FROM LANDMARKS: As a backpacker/solo traveler on a budget, I would choose a hostel that is in a good location because I want to explore the cities by foot as much as possible and have access to basic establishments, such as convenience stores, public transportation, and such.
  • DISTANCE FROM THE AIRPORT: Factors such as time of our flights are important to consider choosing a place to stay vis-a-vis their distance from the airport. Some of us are staying in hostels for a layover and some of us just want to make sure we do not miss our next flights. Also, if we fly in or out at wee hours, public transportation is possibly not available and taxi is our only option, which can be more expensive depending on the distance of out hostels.
  • WI-FI CONNECTON: Most of us need an internet connection to do research about places to go and eat and things to do, or update out social media accounts with details from our travels, or connect with our loved ones. Whatever our purposes are, having a wi-fi connection at our hostels is a big factor.
  • FREE BREAKFAST: I am a morning person and I need to have breakfast, so this factor personally matters to me. I believe other budget travelers also consider getting their tummies full with a complimentary hostel breakfast before going out to explore the city.
  • RESTAURANT/COFFEE SHOP/BAR INSIDE THE HOSTEL: Some of us just wants to have access to these facilities at the comfort of being inside the premises of our hostels (especially after a long day of exploring!).
  • FREE BOTTLED WATER: A hydro homie here! This may not be popular in hostels, but most hostels have water dispensers provided but you have to bring your own bottle.
  • TOILETRIES: This is a deciding factor to me since as much as possible I don’t want to experience the hassle of bringing in liquids inside my carry-on luggage (only to get confiscated at the airport! Ouch!), so if basic toiletries are available at the hostel, I might only bring what I really need.
  • WASHING MACHINE/LAUNDROMAT: Light packers usually bring enough set of clothes, but any type of packer might run out of clean clothes to wear. Hence, it is a big deal for me personally if the hostel has a laundromat or a washing machine.
  • ACTIVITIES: Hostels are also places for socialization with other travelers, right? I am an introvert, but if I ran out of things to do or if I feel like socializing or maybe do something inside the hostel, this criteria matters.
  • AIRPORT TRANSFERS: Some hostels offer free airport transfer and we all should maximize this! However if I indicated a ‘yes’ answer for the airport transfer criteria here, please check with the hostel first if it is free or not.

TOP HOSTELS IN BRUNEI

So, without further ado, let’s proceed to reviewing and comparing the hostels picked!

CO.LIVING HOSTEL

LOCATION

Jalan Gadong, Co.Living Hostel, No. 2 Second Floor, Muhibbah Complex 1, Gadong, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam

DISTANCE FROM THE AIRPORT AND PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

  • 3.9 km from Brunei International Airport
  • 14.7 km from Limbang Airport Malaysia
  • 3.5 km from Bandar Seri Begawan Bus Station
  • 5.2 km from Bandtoo Sdn Bhd Rimba Depot Bus Station

NEARBY LANDMARKS

  • The Mall Cineplex – 930 m
  • Our Lady of the Assumption Church – 1.48 km
  • Jame’ Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque – 1.5 km
  • Tasek Lama Recreational Park – 2.63 km
  • Royal Regalia Museum – 2.92 km

FACILITIES

Wi-Fi ConnectionYes
Free BreakfastYes
CafeYes
BarNo
KitchenYes
Free Bottled WaterNo
ToiletriesNo
Washing MachineYes
ActivitiesNo
Airport TransferNo
top hostels in brunei

HOSTELITE BRUNEI

LOCATION

Unit 101, 1st Floor, Sumbiling Lama Flat Jalan Istana Darussalam, Kianggeh, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam

DISTANCE FROM THE AIRPORT AND PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

  • 5.8 km from Brunei International Airport
  • 12 km from Limbang Airport Malaysia
  • 850 m from Bandar Seri Begawan Bus Station
  • 7.8 km from Bandtoo Sdn Bhd Rimba Depot Bus Station

NEARBY LANDMARKS

  • Sultan Omar Ali Saifudden Mosque – 360 m
  • Royal Regalia Museum – 450 m
  • Teng Yun Temple – 790 m
  • Mercu Dirgahayu 60 – 820 m
  • Kg Kianggeh Open Air Market – 910 m

FACILITIES

Wi-Fi ConnectionYes
Free BreakfastNo
CafeNo
BarNo
KitchenYes
Free Bottled WaterNo
ToiletriesNo
Washing MachineNo
ActivitiesGame Room
Airport TransferNo
top hostels in brunei

AE BACKPACKERS HOSTEL

LOCATION

Simpang 88,unit 3-F (1st flr) and (2nd flr),Lot 30116 Kg Kiulap Bandar Seri Begawan, Kianggeh, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam

DISTANCE FROM THE AIRPORT AND PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

  • 5.5 km from Brunei International Airport
  • 12.9 km from Limbang Airport Malaysia
  • 1.8 km from Bandar Seri Begawan Bus Station
  • 7.1 km from Bandtoo Sdn Bhd Rimba Depot Bus Station

NEARBY LANDMARKS

  • Jame’ Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque – 880 m
  • Plaza Athirah – 1.05 km
  • Sultan Omar Ali Saifudden Mosque – 1.27 km
  • Royal Regalia Museum – 1.34 km
  • Tasek Lama Recreational Park – 1.69 km

FACILITIES

Wi-Fi ConnectionYes
Free BreakfastNo
CafeNo
BarNo
KitchenYes
Free Bottled WaterNo
ToiletriesYes
Washing MachineYes
ActivitiesGame Room, Bicycle Rental
Airport TransferNo
top hostels in brunei

MILLENNIUM MALE HOSTEL

LOCATION

LOT 47323, 2nd Floor, No 11, Bangunan Arafah, Kampung Kiarong,, Kianggeh, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam

DISTANCE FROM THE AIRPORT AND PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

  • 2.7 km from Brunei International Airport
  • 13.5 km from Limbang Airport Malaysia
  • 2.7 km from Bandar Seri Begawan Bus Station
  • 6.7 km from Bandtoo Sdn Bhd Rimba Depot Bus Station

NEARBY LANDMARKS

  • Jame’ Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque – 430 m
  • The Mall Cineplex – 1.35 km
  • Sultan Omar Ali Saifudden Mosque – 2.18 km
  • Royal Regalia Museum – 2.31 km
  • Mercu Dirgahayu 60 – 2.56 km

FACILITIES

Wi-Fi ConnectionYes
Free BreakfastNo
CafeNo
BarNo
KitchenYes
Free Bottled WaterYes
ToiletriesNo
Washing MachineNo
ActivitiesGarden
Airport TransferNo
top hostels in brunei

OURPLACE

LOCATION

Jalan Kiulap Unit 4, thien and Chuan building, Kianggeh, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam

DISTANCE FROM THE AIRPORT AND PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

  • 5.5 km from Brunei International Airport
  • 12.7 km from Limbang Airport Malaysia
  • 1.6 km from Bandar Seri Begawan Bus Station
  • 7.2 km from Bandtoo Sdn Bhd Rimba Depot Bus Station

NEARBY LANDMARKS

  • Plaza Athirah – 980 m
  • Jame’ Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque – 1.06 km
  • Sultan Omar Ali Saifudden Mosque – 1.1 km
  • Royal Regalia Museum – 1.17 km
  • Teng Yun Temple – 1.54 km

FACILITIES

Wi-Fi ConnectionYes
Free BreakfastNo
CafeNo
BarNo
KitchenYes
Free Bottled WaterNo
ToiletriesNo
Washing MachineNo
ActivitiesNo
Airport TransferNo
top hostels in brunei

EZ LODGINGS

LOCATION

2nd floor Unit 16, Block J, Abdul Razak Complex, Gadong, Gadong, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam

DISTANCE FROM THE AIRPORT AND PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

  • 4.7 km from Brunei International Airport
  • 14.8 km from Limbang Airport Malaysia
  • 3.7 km from Bandar Seri Begawan Bus Station
  • 5.2 km from Bandtoo Sdn Bhd Rimba Depot Bus Station

NEARBY LANDMARKS

  • The Mall Cineplex – 80 m
  • Jame’ Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque – 1.15 km
  • Tasek Lama Recreational Park – 3.14 km
  • Royal Regalia Museum – 3.19 km
  • Sultan Omar Ali Saifudden Mosque – 3.2 km

FACILITIES

Wi-Fi ConnectionYes
Free BreakfastNo
CafeNo
BarNo
KitchenYes
Free Bottled WaterNo
ToiletriesYes
Washing MachineNo
ActivitiesNo
Airport TransferNo
top hostels in brunei

TOP HOSTELS IN BRUNEI: COMPARISON

Co.Living HostelHostelite BruneiAE Backpackers HostelMillennium Male HostelOurPlaceEZ Lodgings
Wi-FiYesYesYesYesYesYes
Free BreakfastYesNoNoNoNoNo
CafeYesNoNoNoNoNo
BarNoNoNoNoNoNo
KitchenYesYesYesYesYesYes
Free Bottled WaterNoNoNoYesNoNo
ToiletriesNoNoYesNoNoYes
Washing MachineYesNoYesNoNoNo
ActivitiesNoGame RoomGame Room, Bicycle RentalGardenNoNo
Airport TransferNoNoNoNoNoNo

TOP HOSTELS IN BRUNEI: YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS ARE WELCOME! 🙂

There you have it! I hope you were able to decide by now and book your corresponding chosen hostel in Brunei, based on the criteria I picked. Btw, if you think other criteria needs to be included in this list, or if you want me to add more hostels to compare, please let me know! 🙂 Happy travels to Brunei and please share me your experiences with your chosen hostel from this list!

For more hostel options in Brunei, click on the button below:

LONELY PLANET TRAVEL GUIDES ABOUT BRUNEI

For more travel articles about Brunei, click on the banner below:

Where's Sherlyn Travel and Food Blog Brunei Darussalam

A List of Local Food to Try When in Brunei Darussalam

ALSO READ:
DIRECT FLIGHTS TO AND FROM BRUNEI DARUSSALAM TO 14 SOUTHEAST ASIAN CITIES

So, I see you are traveling in Brunei or planning to travel to Brunei or a Bruneian local just looking around where to eat. The first question will be: What to eat in Brunei?

The Bruneian Cuisine: A History

Bruneian cuisine is heavily influenced by the cuisines of its neighboring countries, such as Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia, and these neighboring countries got influences from countries such as China and India. Brunei is a predominantly Islamic country, hence there is almost no pork served everywhere and alcohol is prohibited (I heard from a Bruneian friend that in order for you to take in pork and/or alcohol in Brunei, you need to undergo a lot of bureaucratic process. Moreover, if anyone is looking for alcohol, the neighboring cities in Malaysia such as Miri is where people from Brunei would usually go.).

Like the cuisines of its neighboring countries, Bruneian cuisine is mostly spicy. Rice and noodle meals are very common in Brunei food culture, like in most of Asia. Fish is also very common in Brunei food culture since it is a coastal country and fishing is one of the biggest industries here.

Hmmm now I’m curious. What to eat in Brunei? Am I eating mostly Malay-like dishes as Brunei food?

I bet most of you will assume that Bruneian cuisine is heavily Malay-like, but since several Brunei food were passed from generation to generation, there are still a lot of dishes that are authentically Brunei food.

The rise of several restaurants and food stalls serving local and international food is becoming more common in Brunei food culture, especially in Bandar Seri Begawan, but as a traveler, I suggest you give the local food a chance. There is a lot to learn about the culture and history of this tiny country through its food.

What to eat in Brunei?

So, without further ado, I compiled a list of Brunei food that you can try while traveling to Brunei, and I have suggested some restaurants and places on where you can try them. Enjoy!

Beef Rendang

Beef rendang is a slow-cooked beef in lemongrass and coconut sauce. I was able to taste one at Aminah Arif Restaurant and I instantly finished the whole thing. It was delicious! When it comes to what to eat in Brunei, this is number 1 on my list. But don’t worry, you can find beef rendang in many restaurants in Brunei.

Where to get Beef Rendang in Brunei?

PONDOK SARI WANGI
Abdul Razak Complex Block A, No. 12-13 1st Floor BE4119, Jln Gadong
https://www.facebook.com/pondoksariwangi
https://www.instagram.com/pondok.sari.wangi/

Nasi Lemak

Jollibee Brunei Nasi Lemak Chickenjoy
Jollibee Brunei Nasi Lemak Chickenjoy

Nasi Lemak is a usual Brunei food also present in Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia that is made of rice cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaves. On the side, it usually has chicken, egg, anchovies, sambal, and peanuts. Sometimes it is served wrapped with pandan leaf, but in Brunei and Malaysia, you will commonly see it wrapped with brown paper. It is very common in Brunei such as in food stalls and markets, but it is also served in fastfood restaurants, of course, in a little more upscale manner.

When asked what to eat in Brunei, I would not usually point anyone to fastfood chains, but I believe a nasi lemak twist by this Filipino fastfood chain is worth giving a shot.

Where to get Nasi Lemak in Brunei?

JOLLIBEE BRUNEI
Several branches around Brunei
https://www.facebook.com/JollibeeBrunei/
https://www.instagram.com/jollibeebrunei/
www.jollibee.com.bn

Ambuyat

Aminah Arif Restaurant Brunei Ambuyat
Aminah Arif Restaurant Brunei Ambuyat

Ambuyat is a flavorless sago starch that is usually dipped in a sour sauce called cacah and eaten using a bamboo stick called candas. it is considered as one of Brunei’s national dishes. During one of my first trips to Brunei, the first question I asked a friend was “What to eat in Brunei?” A Bruneian friend told me that the proper and the best way to eat ambuyat is to not chew it and just swallow it because this is how you will be able to fully taste the sour dip. I must say, do not leave Brunei without having tried one. You don’t have to like it, but you must try at least.

Where to get Ambuyat in Brunei?

AMINAH ARIF RESTAURANT
Simpang 68, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
+673 233 0773
https://www.aminaharif.com.bn/

Nasi Katok

what to eat in Brunei: nasi katok
What to eat in Brunei? Nasi Katok, a Bruneian Cuisine

Nasi (rice) Katok (knock) is another must-try Brunei food (Rice in Kapampangan dialect is also nasi and knock in Tagalog language is also katok. Awesome!). It is sold all over for only BND1 and I personally think this is already a decent meal which is really affordable! (Meanwhile in other cities you won’t be able to get a decent meal for USD1. Sigh.)

One interesting trivia about nasi katok is how it got its name. A Bruneian friend told me that before, people would knock at the nasi seller’s door to place their orders. They just adopted the name nasi katok for the dish eventually. It is composed of rice, fried chicken, and sambal and is usually served wrapped in a brown paper. Careful, though. The sambal could be very spicy.

I think this also needs to be considered a national dish in Brunei. This is something I never miss to eat whenever I’m in Brunei. I am assuming if you ask any non-local who has been to Brunei the question “What to eat in Brunei?”, this might possibly their answer.

Where to get Nasi Katok in Brunei?

nasi katok stall at gadong night market brunei
What to eat in Brunei? Nasi Katok at Gadong Night Market and other Bruneian Cuisine

GADONG NIGHT MARKET
Simpang 37, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei

Udang Sambal Serai Bersantan

Udang sambal derai bersantan are prawns cooked in chili and coconut milk which is usually served with rice and vegetables. If you are looking for a seafood-based Brunei food, this is something you have to look for. You can also find the same dish in Indonesian cuisine.

Serongeng Padang

what to eat in brunei
Serongeng Padang, a Bruneian Cuisine

Serongeng padang is a fried chicken that is cooked with garlic and served in pandan leaves. This can also be found in Indonesian cuisine.

ALSO READ:
20 RESTAURANTS TO TRY IN BRUNEI DARUSSALAM AS A TRAVELER

Tapai

Tapai is a sweet-sour rice snack that is a popular Brunei food. It is usually made by mixing rice with laru/ragi and sugar. It is usually wrapped in nipah leaves for fermentation before consumption.

I believe we have a Filipino version of this and it’s called “suman”.

Ais Batu Campur (ABC)

This yummy dessert is also known as ABC, and is made of ice with sago pearls, red beans, noodles and grass jelly. It is also widely-popular in Malaysia and Indonesia. (I am intrigued about the noodles part though!)

I think we have the same food in the Philippines called “halo-halo” which is composed of ice and sooooo many other ingredients, which is surprisingly delicious.

Where to Get Ais Batu Campur in Brunei?

H.Y. YUSSOF RESTAURANT
with branches in Kiulap, Tutong, and Mata-Mata
Kiulap Branch: 2234089. Tutong Branch: 4220715. Mata-Mata Branch: 2454848
https://www.instagram.com/hyyussof.restaurant

Selurut

Selurut is a steamed rice cake that usually comes in a cone-shaped form when being served because the coconut leaf where it is left to steam is rolled into a cone-shaped wrapper. Selurut is made of rice and sago with salted water and coconut milk.

Keropok Udang

Keropok udang is a staple snack in the areas of Borneo and Kalimantan, hence it also became part of Bruneian cuisine. They are yellowish-white prawn crackers. It starts as minced prawn and starch then it will be garnished with garlic, salt, and pepper. The exciting part? It will be baked under the sun before it gets fried in oil. Awesome!

Oh, we also have the same dish in the Philippines. It is locally called “kropek”.

Where to get Keropok Udang in Brunei?

SYARIKAT NORASYRAF
https://www.facebook.com/syarikatnorasyraf
https://www.instagram.com/syarikat.norasyraf/

Kuih

You see, I have tasted some kuih in Singapore, but I never knew Brunei food culturehas its own version of kuih. During 2019 year-end holidays, I was able to visit a food fair in Bandar Seri Begawan and had a taste of some kuih. I heard the have kuih bahulu, a sponge cake they serve during Hari Raya and Chinese New Year celebrations. They also have kuih kosui/kaswi which is a rice cake served wth grated coconut.

Where to get kuih in Brunei?

KUIH LOPES BRUNEI CATERING
+673 871 6721
https://www.instagram.com/kuihlopesbn/

Kuih Cincin

Kuih cincin is also known as “ring cake”, which is made from brown sugar and rice flour. It is also popular in parts of Sabah, Malaysia.

ALSO READ:
23 INSTAGRAM-WORTHY SPOTS IN BRUNEI DARUSSALAM

Penyaram

https://www.instagram.com/p/B6S9vieB0UC/

What fascinated me about this dish is that it is also known as “kuih UFO” because it indeed looks like a UFO! This is another version of kuih wherein rice/corn flour is mixed with coconut milk and molded into a UFO-shaped mold before frying.

Daging Masak Lada Hitam

It is a beef recipe cooked in black pepper, hence the name.

Kelupis

Kelupis is rice wrapped in nyirik leaf and then steamed until cooked. I believe provinces in Central and Southern Philippines also have this kind of dish. I also would like to believe that it’s similar to “suman”, a Philippine delicacy.

Where to get kelupis in Brunei?

BASMALATI HOMEMADE FOOD AND GALLERY
https://www.instagram.com/basmalati.hmfg/

Pulut Panggang

https://www.instagram.com/p/B_1M8yMArJb/

Pulut panggang is similar to kelupis (made with rice with prawn or beef), but instead of steaming, it is grilled to be cooked. I heard this is very popular in Brunei food culture to the point that you have to place advance orders or wake up early to buy some.

Where to get pulut panggang in Brunei?

NENEK’S RECIPE
@pulutpanggang.bn
+673 8259910

Bamboo Chicken

Bamboo chicken is something you can only used to get in Temburong District in Brunei until other places in Brunei started to serve the said dish. This food is a native food to the Iban longhouse communities in Borneo (this is Henry Golding’s ancestry line, right?). As the name suggests, the chicken is stuffed and marinated inside a bamboo and the bamboo will then be placed in a flame.

Where to get Bamboo Chicken in Brunei?

SUMBILING ECO VILLAGE
Kampong Sumbiling Lama, Jalan Batang Duri, Temburong, Brunei
https://www.facebook.com/SEVbrunei/
https://www.instagram.com/sumbilingecovillage/

Ketupat

I was born and raised in the Philippines but I honestly haven’t tried one when I heard this is also very common in my country of origin. However, I believe it is similar to Indonesia’s lontong, the rice cake usually eaten with satay. Ketupat is also a popular food in Brunei which is rice dumplings served in woven palm leaves. It is usually eaten with rendang, peanut sauce, and satay.

Hati Buyah

Is anyone up to tasting some marinated stir-fried beef lungs? You heard me! I’m talking about hati buyah!

Where to get Hati Buyah in Brunei?

TWELV CAFE AND RESTAURANT
Unit 1, Ground Floor, Block D, Bangunan Haji Abdul Rahman, Jalan Jame ‘Asr, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
https://www.facebook.com/TWELV-Cafe-and-Restaurant-6008903121/
https://www.instagram.com/twelvcafe/

Honey Garlic Chicken Pizza

Pizza itself is not obviously a Bruneian cuisine, but honey garlic chicken pizza is. It originated from Pizza Hut Brunei as it wants to reflect the Bruneian cuisine culture of combining sweet and savory flavors. Today, a lot of pizza restaurants in Brunei now offer this flavor. So if you’re craving for some pizza in Brunei, you should try this one.

Where to get Honey Garlic Chicken Pizza in Brunei?

HUNGRY HIPPO BRUNEI
Unit 7-9. Block A, Little Soho, Simpang 73-5-8, Batu Bersurat
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
https://www.facebook.com/hungryhippo.bn/
https://www.instagram.com/hungryhippo.bn/

Belutak Daging

This dish. composed of minced beef and spices, is also a good meal option in Brunei. Other food stalls have it served in a brown paper like nasi katok.

Where to get Belutak Daging in Brunei?

BELUTAK KONTINA
https://www.facebook.com/belutak.kontina
https://www.instagram.com/belutak.kontina/

Ayam Penyet

Not your ordinary chicken meal! Ayam penyet is my go-to Indonesian dish, but it is also widely available in Brunei. Ayam penyet is fried chicken with spices and usually served with rice and sambal. I like my ayam penyet swimming in sambal sauce!

Where to get Ayam Penyet in Brunei?

what to eat in brunei: ayam penyet
What to eat in Brunei? Ayam Penyet at Waroeng Penyet Brunei

WAROENG PENYET BRUNEI
Several branches around Brunei
https://www.instagram.com/waroengpenyet.brunei/

Roti

Chances are, you may have heard roti as part of the Indian cuisine. You are absolutely right. But since Brunei cuisine is partly influenced by Indian cuisine, here comes roti, or bread. You will find several breakfast restaurants serving different kinds of roti around Brunei. Depending on the type of roti, you can find variations such as roti canai (something I tried in Singapore and Manila!) and roti murtabak. It’s best dipped in a curry. Yum!

Where to get roti in Brunei?

ROTI CULTURE
Block H, Unit 8 & 9, Ground Floor, Kg Pengkalan Gadong, Brunei-Muara, Brunei Darussalam
https://www.facebook.com/RotiCultureBrunei/
https://www.instagram.com/roticulturebrunei/

Acar Buah

Acar buah is a spicy fruit chutney that is also popular in Malaysia. It also belongs to the categories of pickle and sweet sambal.

Kembayau

It might not look like a typical kind of food when served, but kembayau is an underutilized exotic food that is only found in Borneo, hence popular in Sarawak, Sabah, Kalimantan, and of course, Brunei. A lot of dishes can be made from it, including sup kembayau.

Sambal Tahai

Sambal tahai is a smoked local small fish that you can eat in itself or use as a condiment. Aside from Brunei, it is also popular at Sarawak area.

Where to get sambal tahai in Brunei?

RIZQUS SALAM
+673 8638173
https://www.instagram.com/rizqussalam.bn/

Soto Brunei

MyTown Eating House Soto Brunei
MyTown Eating House Soto Brunei

Soto is a popular local Bruneian noodle soup with beef (but sometimes served with chicken), is a must-try! I have tasted many soto ayams in Indonesia, but I have to say I liked soto Brunei better.

My first time eating soto was when a Bruneian friend took me to a Western-ish looking restaurant when I asked him to take me to a restaurant serving local food. He said the soto is good there that’s why. And yes, I eventually agreed with what he was claiming.

Where to get soto in Brunei?

MYTOWN EATING HOUSE
Ground Floor, The Crown Princess Complex, Km 2.5, Jalan Tutong,
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei BA1712
+673 2241770 / 2241880
https://www.facebook.com/mytownbrunei/
https://www.instagram.com/mytownbrunei/
www.mytownbrunei.com

Daging Kunyit

Daging kunyit is beef cooked in turmeric that is also popular in Brunei.

Where to get daging kunyit in Brunei?

SOTO GAGAWI
Unit G10 @ THE BOX, Telanai Point, Brunei
https://www.facebook.com/soto.gagawi
https://www.instagram.com/sotogagawi/

Wajid

Also called wajik in Indonesia, wajid is a sweet sticky rice steamed with palm sugar, coconut milk, and pandan leaves.

Cendol

Cendol is an iced sweet dessert that is similar to ais batu campur or ABC, except that it is not served with shaved ice, so don’t get confused! 🙂 It is common to most parts of Southeast Asia and comes in different names, but it is more commonly found in Brunei, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

Where to get cendol in Brunei?

MYTOWN EATING HOUSE
Ground Floor, The Crown Princess Complex, Km 2.5, Jalan Tutong,
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei BA1712
+673 2241770 / 2241880
https://www.facebook.com/mytownbrunei/
https://www.instagram.com/mytownbrunei/
www.mytownbrunei.com

Pajeri Nenas

Pajeri nenas is a braised pineapple dish that has Indian roots. It can be made with any fruit of vegetable usually served with rice and curry.

There you have it! I hope this post was able to guide you to the best of local Bruneian cuisine. People usually advice us to try some local delicacies when we travel to other places, right? Now that I have told you where to eat in Brunei, it’s time to eat! Happy eating and traveling!

ALSO READ:
FREE INSTAGRAM STORY TEMPLATE: BRUNEI TRAVEL BUCKET LIST

For more travel articles about Brunei, click on the banner below:

Where's Sherlyn Travel and Food Blog Brunei Darussalam

10 Southeast Asia Travel Guides You Can Buy at Amazon.com

Southeast Asia is a very popular travel destination to travelers all over the world from all walks of life. Traveling around the region can be a little intimidating because of geographical challenges and language barriers. Moreover, despite being a popular travel destination, a lot of important information are still not available to travelers. I myself as a Southeast Asian citizen still find it hard to gather information about the places I’m going to as I plan my travels around Southeast Asia. Hence, a hardbound or electronic Southeast Asia travel book guide that you can buy online like at Amazon.com can serve as a big help because not all information are available over the internet.

SOUTHEAST ASIA TRAVEL BOOK GUIDES: THE LIST

For the benefit of my readers and followers (I know most of you are based or frequently traveling around Southeast Asian region), I’ve compiled these list of books on Southeast Asia travel guide that you can purchase in Amazon.com. I’ve provided the links below the books for your convenience, and I actually purchased some of these books that’s why I recommend them.

1. Lonely Planet Southeast Asia on a Shoestring (Travel Guide)

Southeast Asia Travel Book

We know for a fact that Lonely Planet produce the best travel guides about a lot of places! With “Southeast Asia”, they meant ALL Southeast Asian countries. I personally own a copy of this book and the information they provide is very comprehensive.

Click the banner below for travel tips in:

Where's Sherlyn Travel and Food Blog Brunei Darussalam

2. Lonely Planet Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Northern Thailand (Travel Guide)

Southeast Asia Travel Book

A very popular Southeast Asian route is the mainland or Indochina sub-region. Lonely Planet came up with this guide specific to exploring this part of the region. This guide provides insider tips that you can never find anywhere else.

Click the banner below for travel tips in:

Where's Sherlyn Travel and Food Blog Cambodia

3. Insight Guides Southeast Asia (Travel Guide)

Southeast Asia Travel Book

Insight Guides provide us a lot of stunning photographs on their travel guides, so prepared to be inspired by a lot of stunning photographs all over Southeast Asian region with this guide. The cover photo which was taken in Bali, Indonesia is elegant!

Click the banner below for travel tips in:

Where's Sherlyn Travel and Food Blog Indonesia

4. Southeast Asia: An Introductory History

Southeast Asia Travel Book

Milton Osborne made a version of Southeast Asian history that can be appreciated even by non-history buffs. Given the good reviews I read about this book, I can’t help but also purchase a copy of it. No regrets, I also was able to use it in the University whenever I handle courses on Southeast Asia. Awesome!

Click the banner below for travel tips in:

southeast asia travel book

5. The Rough Guide to Southeast Asia on a Budget (Travel Guide)

Southeast Asia Travel Book

This particular Rough Guide was able to provide tips on how to explore more of Southeast Asia with the lowest budget possible. This is going to be helpful to anyone planning their trips to Southeast Asia.

Click the banner below for travel tips in:

Where's Sherlyn Travel and Food Blog Malaysia

6. Blood and Silk: Power and Conflict in Modern Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia Travel Book

As a Lecturer of International Relations and Southeast Asian Studies, I find this book very interesting in terms of painting a picture on how Southeast Asian stats interact. Considering that we are a region with no Great Powers, we were able to thrive and make it as one of the best regions in the world and a primary economic hub. Even if you’re not into Southeast Asian history and politics, reading this book might make you appreciate why some Southeast Asian capital cities are progressive, or why some Southeast Asian countries remain to be the poorest ones internationally.

Click the banner below for travel tips in:

Where's Sherlyn Travel and Food Blog Myanmar

7. Southeast Asia: A Very Short Introduction

Southeast Asia Travel Book

If you do not have the luxury of time to learn everything there is about Southeast Asian history, or if you simply want to have an overview of the region’s history, James Rush has summarized everything for you.

Click the banner below for travel tips in:

Where's Sherlyn Travel and Food Blog Philippines

8. A Traveller’s History of Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia Travel Book

This version of Southeast Asian history is specifically designed for travelers to the region coming from different backgrounds. While I am not sure why the authors did not include the Philippines and Myanmar, it’s still a fairly good Southeast Asia travel book guide.

Click the banner below for travel tips in:

Where's Sherlyn Travel and Food Blog Singapore

9. Southeast Asia – Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam: A Solo Girl’s Travel Guide

Southeast Asia Travel Book

Alexa West is one of the female travel bloggers that I really look up to. While I am not (yet) prepared to ditch my University Lecturing job to travel the world, I just express my admiration to women like her and be inspired to do the same in the future. I also want to write my own travel guides like her Southeast Asia travel book guide!

Click the banner below for travel tips in:

Where's Sherlyn Travel and Food Blog Thailand

10. Southeast Asia Phrasebook and Dictionary

Southeast Asia Travel Book

Whenever traveling around Southeast Asia, it does not hurt to learn a few words or phrases that can be useful when communicating to locals. Not every country in the region has English as their second language, and this Southeast Asia travel book language guide handpicked the most frequently used words in conversing with locals whenever traveling around the region.

Click the banner below for travel tips in:

Where's Sherlyn Travel and Food Blog Vietnam

There you have it! 🙂 I am wishing all of you a smooth trip around Southeast Asia with the help of these Southeast Asia travel book recommendations from Amazon. If you want to suggest some ideas on what I could write as a travel guide around the region, you may always send me an email at sherlynmaehernandez@gmail.com. Happy travels! 🙂

ALSO READ:
THE BEAUTY OF LEARNING ABOUT SOUTHEAST ASIA

My Brunei Food Diary

ALSO READ:
A COMPLETE GUIDE TO 23 INSTAGRAMMABLE SPOTS IN BRUNEI

Aside from cultural immersion, a travel to Brunei can also be a good gastronomic experience, given the presence of several good restaurants that serve good food and provide awesome dining experiences to both locals and travelers alike.

Brunei has a vast selection of restaurants, from local restaurants and eateries, food fairs, coffee shops, local and international fast food chains, name it! Below are some Brunei restaurants that I highly recommend and all travelers should try out.

Soto Babu Nini and Nasi Katok

For me, Kota Batu is the most peaceful area in Bandar Seri Begawan. This unique restaurant is built by the water and they serve the best soto and nasi katok ever! 🙂 They have an infinite board walk which is perfect for photoshoots. And oh, their restaurant is very colorful, too!

NO : 605B, Jalan Kota Batu Kg. Sungai Besar, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei BD 2517
+673 278 6116
https://www.facebook.com/Soto-Babu-Nini-Nasi-Katok-281949925175090/
https://www.instagram.com/sotobabunini/

The Food Stalls at Bandarku Ceria

Where to Eat in Brunei: Bandarku Ceria Food Stalls
Where to Eat in Brunei: Bandarku Ceria Food Stalls

Bandarku Ceria is the weekly Sunday ‘family day’ fair in Bandar Seri Begawan where kids and families gather around the Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien to play around, have picnic, and eat at the food stalls and shop for items around. Sometimes activities like fun runs are also held. For me, Bandarku Ceria is a happy activity, but I came to know that most Bruneians don’t really go there. I was able to try cheap food and drinks at my Bandarku Ceria experience.

Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
https://www.facebook.com/bandarkuceria
https://www.instagram.com/bandarkuceria

Tamu Kianggeh (Kianggeh Market)

Where to Eat in Brunei: Tamu Kianggeh Brunei Kolo Mee
Where to Eat in Brunei: Tamu Kianggeh Brunei Kolo Mee

Tamu Kianggeh was once a traditional market by the river, until the government decided to renovate it to become one of the cleanest and most organized market I’ve been too. Aside from dry and wet goods, they are also selling local food there, which is a good thing to try out.

Easy Way Tea and Cafe

Where to Eat in Brunei:  Easy Way Tea and Cafe Menu
Where to Eat in Brunei: Easy Way Tea and Cafe Menu

To someone like me who craves for milk tea and drinks from time to time, places like EasyWay provide me good drinks and good ambiance. After all, Brunei weather could get really hot most of the time!

Ground Floor Soon Lee Megamart Lambak Kanan,, RPN Lambak Kanan, Brunei

ALSO READ:
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Gadong Night Market

Where to Eat in Brunei: Excited about my Kuih Melaya (Pancake) which has chocolate and cheese at Gadong Night Market :D
Where to Eat in Brunei: Excited about my Kuih Melaya (Pancake) which has chocolate and cheese at Gadong Night Market 😀

For a cheap but perfect local dinner, head to Gadong Local Market. They sell everything, from appetizers, main meal, dessert, and drinks! I love their nasi katok which they only sell for 1 BND. Of course, I would not miss drinking teh tarik and Milo here, and I also got kebab meals and local pancakes.

Simpang 37, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei

MyTown Eating House

Where to Eat in Brunei: My Town Eating House Soto Brunei
Where to Eat in Brunei: My Town Eating House Soto Brunei

If you’re traveling to Brunei but been craving some food from outside the country, you could head to MyTown. They have a very sophisticated interior and they also serve different food from different cuisines. I was surprised when I saw some Filipino food in the menu! But of course, I went for some soto which is a local food in Brunei.

My Town Brunei Menu

Brunei Restaurants: The Filipino food section at the My Town Brunei menu. Yum!
Brunei Restaurants: The Filipino food section at the My Town Brunei menu. Yum!

Ground Floor, The Crown Princess Complex, Km 2.5, Jalan Tutong,
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei BA1712
+673 2241770 / 2241880
https://www.facebook.com/mytownbrunei/
https://www.instagram.com/mytownbrunei/
www.mytownbrunei.com

Jollibee Brunei

 Brunei Restaurants: Nasi Lemak Chickenjoy in Jollibee Brunei
Brunei Restaurants: Nasi Lemak Chickenjoy in Jollibee Brunei

Jollibee is a Filipino fastfood chain which has presence in countries where there are Filipinos, including Brunei. I love their version of Nasi Lemak Chickenjoy and Jolly Cheesy Fries! I also know for a fact that Bruneians love Jollibee!

Several branches around Brunei
https://www.facebook.com/JollibeeBrunei/
https://www.instagram.com/jollibeebrunei/
www.jollibee.com.bn

Aminah Arif Restaurant

 Brunei Restaurants: Ambuyat and more at Aminah Arif Restaurant! :)
Brunei Restaurants: Ambuyat and more at Aminah Arif Restaurant! 🙂

Ambuyat is a local Bruneian dish made of sago palm, which is cooked into a jelly-like food and dipped in a spicy sauce. It is also considered as the National Dish of Brunei and is also popular in the Malaysian territories in Borneo, like Sarawak, Sabah, and Labuan. I recommend Aminah Arif Restaurant to have a taste of Ambuyat.

Simpang 68, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
+673 233 0773
https://www.aminaharif.com.bn/

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McDonald’s Brunei

Brunei Restaurants: Nasi Lemak McD at McDonalds Brunei!
Brunei Restaurants: Nasi Lemak McD at McDonalds Brunei!

My first order of business upon arriving in an new country? Try out their McDonald’s, if they have one! 🙂 Brunei has 3 McDonald’s branches, and the newest branch at Lambak is my favorite. Their Nasi Lemak McD is yummy! They also have many menu items that can’t be found elsewhere. I wish I could try them all!

Jalan Utama Berakas Bandar Seri Begawan BB, 1714, Brunei
+673 234 4478
https://www.facebook.com/mcdonaldsbrunei
https://www.instagram.com/mcdonaldsbrunei/

SayChiizu Brunei

brunei restaurants
Brunei Restaurants: Everything with cheese for me is <3 at Say Chiizu Brunei
 Brunei Restaurants: Enjoying my first cheese toast sandwich in Brunei  at SayChiizu Brunei :)
Brunei Restaurants: Enjoying my first cheese toast sandwich in Brunei at SayChiizu Brunei 🙂

I’m a cheese lover, and I was happy to find out that Brunei has a SayChiizu branch! They have a vast selection of cheese sandwiches which can serve as a dessert!

The Mall Gadong, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
+673 882 8858
https://www.facebook.com/saychiizu.brunei/
https://www.instagram.com/saychiizu.brunei/

Old Time Kopitiam

Brunei Restaurants: The yummy noodles we ordered from the vast selection of menu items at Old Time Kopitiam
Brunei Restaurants: The yummy noodles we ordered from the vast selection of menu items at Old Time Kopitiam

This was highly-recommended to me by locals, and ther menu is composed of some local food, Malaysian food, and Chinese food. They have huge servings and they have friendly staff, most of them are Filipinos.

G2, Ground Floor, Bangunan Hj Ibrahim, Spg 24, Kg Menglait,, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
+6732448282
https://www.facebook.com/pages/OLD-TIME-Kopitiam-Manglait/188485961194628
https://www.instagram.com/oldtimekopitiam/

Ayamku Restaurant

 Brunei Restaurants: Big Fried Chicken at Ayamku Brunei
Brunei Restaurants: Big Fried Chicken at Ayamku Brunei

Have you tried the Hot Star Chicken in Taipei and other cities? Ayam Ku Chicken is Brunei’s version of it! But here, it’s served with rice and yummy achar, and this was one of my best meals ever in Brunei! I wish they will have a branch in Manila or something!

3, Soon Lee Megamart, Jalan Batu Bersurat, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
+673 245 0539

ALSO READ:
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Roasted Sip Coffee Roasters

Brunei Restaurants: Latte and cold brew at Roasted Sip Brunei
Brunei Restaurants: Latte and cold brew at Roasted Sip Brunei

Aside from they have friendly Filipino staff, Roasted Sip has a very relaxing interior where you can just chill and read a good book. I also like their selection of coffee and pastries!

Unit 3, Ground Floor Blk. D Spg. 508, Jerudong Complex, Jalan Jerudong, BSB BG3122, Brunei
+673 261 0850
https://www.facebook.com/roastedsip/
https://www.instagram.com/roastedsip
www.roastedsip.com

Little Audrey’s

 Brunei Restaurants: The very big serving at Little Audrey's!
Brunei Restaurants: The very big serving at Little Audrey’s!

I AM A FAN OF AUDREY HEPBURN, AND THIS IS A HEAVENLY PLACE! The place is as classy as Audrey Hepburn, and I love their interior design so much! They also have friendly and accommodating Filipino staff. Plus, their servings are huge and yummy at the same time! It is a perfect place for dates because of its ambiance.

Kampong Kiulap Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
+673 891 0711
https://www.facebook.com/littleaudreyscafe/
https://www.instagram.com/little.audreys/

Yellow Cab Pizza Brunei

Brunei Restaurants: We don't have this kind of menu items in Manila! Only in Yellos Cab Pizza Brunei!
Brunei Restaurants: We don’t have this kind of menu items in Manila! Only in Yellos Cab Pizza Brunei!

Since I regularly eat Yellow Cab Pizza in Manila, I was able to compare it with the Yellow Cab Pizza here in Brunei. I appreciated how better-tasting halal food is, which made me prefer it more than any other kind of food most of the time. They have rice meals which do not exist in Manila, and a Milo for a drink as well. Yum!

B6 Ground floor Shakirin complex Kiulap, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei BE1518
+673 333 9999
https://www.facebook.com/YellowCabPizzaBN
https://www.instagram.com/yellowcabpizzabn/
www.yellowcabpizzabn.com

Alter Ego Fusion

Brunei Restaurants: Our yummy dinner at Alter Ego Fusion, my favorite restaurant in Brunei

Brunei Restaurants: Our yummy dinner at Alter Ego Fusion, my favorite restaurant in Brunei

Alter Ego is my favorite restaurant in Brunei. I love restaurants like this with good interior, and they get orders from an app in their iPads. I must say that their menu was a little intimidating, but just order anything you feel like you’re gonna like, and you’re gonna like it for sure. 🙂

Unit No. 2 & 3, Block E, Ground Floor, Lot 5788, Kg. Kiulap, Negara Brunei Darussalam, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei B81518
+673 223 0388
https://www.facebook.com/alteregofoods

ALSO READ:
32 LOCAL BRUNEIAN FOODS TO TRY AS A TRAVELER

Yugo Dessert Cafe

 Brunei Restaurants: Enjoying my snow dessert at Yugo!
Brunei Restaurants: Enjoying my snow dessert at Yugo!

After a full dinner in any of the restaurants you dined in at the Setia Kenangan Complex, you can head to Yugo Dessert Cafe for a snow dessert! 🙂 They offer a vast selection of flavors, and chocolate will always be my favorite.

Unit E5 Setia Kenangan Complex 2, BE1318, Brunei
+673 223 3358
https://www.facebook.com/yugodessert/
https://www.instagram.com/yugodessert/

Patisserie Cakeshop

Brunei Restaurants: Tried some maki at Patisserie Cakeshop :)
Brunei Restaurants: Tried some maki at Patisserie Cakeshop 🙂
 Brunei Restaurants: My happy face after tasting my first bandung drink in Brunei here at Patisserie Cakeshop :)
Brunei Restaurants: My happy face after tasting my first bandung drink in Brunei here at Patisserie Cakeshop 🙂

Patisserie Cakeshop has a very big menu! I ordered some makis and pesto and this is where I was able to taste my first bandung drink, a rose syrup with condensed milk, a must-try drink in this part of the world.

Unit 10, Blk D, Lot 11620, Jln Gadong, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei BE1718
+673 242 5618
https://www.facebook.com/Patisserie-Cake-Shop-111802225575451/
www.patiscakeshop.com

Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Brunei

 Brunei Restaurants: I ordered "today's brew", and I got an Kenya AAA coffee at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Brunei :)
Brunei Restaurants: I ordered “today’s brew”, and I got an Kenya AAA coffee at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Brunei 🙂

I love both Starbucks and Coffee Bean, and Coffee Bean cafes in Brunei look like restaurants than cafes, because they serve other menu items that can’t be found elsewhere, like pizzas! 🙂

Several branches around Brunei
+673 242 0276
https://www.facebook.com/thecoffeebeanbrunei
https://www.instagram.com/coffeebean_brunei/

Games & Lattes

https://www.instagram.com/p/BE6Bf2Kq14p/

I was not able to snap photos during our stay here, but I love the ambiance of this place. They have a lot of games to choose from, which are perfect for couples, groups of friends, or family. Their drinks are yummy also, and I love how other diners/players can keep their noise down so that everyone can enjoy their experiences.

Ground Floor, Unit E9, Block E, Kenangan II, Simpang 150-5-13-18, Kampong Kiulap, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei BE1318
+673 223 5200
https://www.facebook.com/Games-Lattes-886503024799100
https://www.instagram.com/games.lattes/

SEE ALSO:
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Where to Eat in Brunei: Recommendation Requests!

If you were able to try out any of these restaurants in Brunei, do share your experiences at the comments section or maybe at email address sherlynmaehernandez@gmail.com. Happy eating and enjoy Brunei!

Picturesque Brunei Darussalam

To those who were following me on Instagram (instagram.com/wheressherlyn), I think you guys want to come into a conclusion that Brunei Darussalam is one of my favorite countries to travel to (so far) since I’ve been visiting so many Instagrammable spots in Brunei. Some of you might be asking why (because let’s face it, everybody thinks Brunei is a boring place to visit). True enough, you can explore the whole country if you will plan a one-week trip there (compared to my home country, Philippines, which is composed of 81 provinces of 7641 islands), but there will always be reasons to go back. In my case, it’s the food and the so many Instagrammable spots in Brunei!

Brunei Darussalam travel experience is a little different from other tourist destinations to travel to in Southeast Asia because it’s literally so quiet in there, there are almost no public transportation, and it is an alcohol-free country (and therefore no typical city nightlife). To someone like me who is used to city life (Hello, Manila!), an occasional travel to Brunei Darussalam is always a breath of fresh air, literally and figuratively, and it’s never gonna be boring.

I am not a Tourism Ambassador for Brunei or something, but I want to break the notion of most people that Brunei is a boring place to visit. In fact, it can be a very interesting place for all kinds of travelers: foodies, photographers, culture/heritage buffs, and even families. Tip though: I highly encourage you to rent a private car if you want to go around Brunei because public transportation is so limited. To give you a little glimpse about this beautiful country, let me share 23 Instagrammable spots in Brunei that you can visit:

ALSO READ:
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Taman Mahkota Jubli Emas (Golden Jubilee Crown Park)

Instagrammable Spots in Brunei: Taman Mahkota Jubli Emas (Golden Jubilee Crown Park) Brunei Darussalam
INSTAGRAMMABLE SPOTS IN BRUNEI: Taman Mahkota Jubli Emas (Golden Jubilee Crown Park) Brunei

This beautiful park was a part and a result of the Bandar Seri Begawan Development Master Plan. This is how urban planning should be, guys!

Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Pedestrian Bridge

Instagrammable Spots in Brunei: Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Pedestrian Bridge Brunei Darussalam
INSTAGRAMMABLE SPOTS IN BRUNEI: Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Pedestrian Bridge

This bridge is beautiful enough, and the presence of this crescent moon makes it more magnificent. Oh, this moon? Looks spectacular at night!

Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque

Instagrammable Spots in Brunei: Omar Ali Saiffudien Mosque Brunei Darussalam
INSTAGRAMMABLE SPOTS IN BRUNEI: Omar Ali Saiffudien Mosque Brunei

One of the most beautiful mosques in the world. Its main dome? Made of pure gold!

Tamu Kianggeh (Kianggeh Open-air Market)

Instagrammable Spots in Brunei: Tamu Kianggeh (Kianggeh Open-air Market) Brunei Darussalam
INSTAGRAMMABLE SPOTS IN BRUNEI: Tamu Kianggeh (Kianggeh Open-air Market) Brunei

Locals say that the ‘marketness’ of this place was lost because it went a major rehabilitation as part of the government’s city plan for Bandar Seri Begawan. It is now roofed and more organized, compared to a scene with rainbow parasols and everyone busy shopping.

Teng Yun Temple

Instagrammable Spots in Brunei: Teng Yun Temple Brunei Darussalam
INSTAGRAMMABLE SPOTS IN BRUNEI: Teng Yun Temple Brunei

Teng Yun Temple is the first and oldest Chinese Temple in Brunei.

Brunei River

Brunei River
INSTAGRAMMABLE SPOTS IN BRUNEI: Brunei River

This is the shortest river in Brunei and it is a must for everyone to try the water taxi.

Perpuspaan Main Gate 1968

https://www.flickr.com/photos/138670287@N04/46762673082/in/dateposted-public/

This is the monument that commemorates the coronation of the present Sultan of Brunei in 1968.

Mausoleum of Sultan Bolkiah

https://www.flickr.com/photos/138670287@N04/39849992083/in/dateposted-public/

There is so much cultural heritage vibe in this place. I really love how Bruneians pay so much respect to their former Sultans. This is the quietest part of Brunei that I have been to. So solemn.

Mercu Dirgahayu 60

https://www.flickr.com/photos/138670287@N04/32939518258/in/dateposted-public/

The Mercu Dirgahayu 60 is a birthday gift presented by the people of Brunei to His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah on his 60th birthday.

Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Complex

https://www.flickr.com/photos/138670287@N04/46090268114/in/dateposted-public/

The biggest shopping complex in Bandar Seri Begawan.

The Clock Tower

https://www.flickr.com/photos/138670287@N04/39849950693/in/dateposted-public/

This clock marks the Zero Mile in Bandar Seri Begawan and is also a monument built to commemorate the visit of the first King of Malaysia in 1959 (and therefore symbolizes the friendship of Malaysia and Brunei).

Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien

https://www.flickr.com/photos/138670287@N04/46815195531/in/dateposted-public/

A beautiful place where the traditional Bandarku Ceria happens every Sunday. I love the Family Vibe there.

Royal Regalia Museum

Instagrammable Spots in Brunei: Royal Regalia Museum Brunei Darussalam
INSTAGRAMMABLE SPOTS IN BRUNEI: Royal Regalia Museum Brunei

You will learn so much about the Sultan and the royalty upon visiting this museum. I am a fan of Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej but after seeing this I got to appreciate the Sultan of Brunei as well. With the collection of gifts Brunei received from other countries, you can tell a lot about Brunei’s international relations. Ha!

Kota Batu Old Graveyard

https://www.flickr.com/photos/138670287@N04/45900317205/in/dateposted-public/

This is the largest archaeological remains found in Brunei and was also believed to be a burial site.

Empire Hotel and Country Club

Instagrammable Spots in Brunei: Empire Hotel and Country Club Brunei Darussalam
INSTAGRAMMABLE SPOTS IN BRUNEI: Empire Hotel and Country Club Brunei

This 7-star hotel? So majestic! And the sunset view is priceless.

Gadong Night Market

https://www.flickr.com/photos/138670287@N04/32939599628/in/dateposted-public/

Ahhh. Perfect for foodies! Need I say more?

ALSO READ:
TRAVELER’S COMPLETE GUIDE TO EATING IN BRUNEI DARUSSALAM: 23 RESTAURANT RECOMMENDATIONS

Jame’ Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque

Instagrammable Spots in Brunei: Jame' Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque Brunei Darussalam
INSTAGRAMMABLE SPOTS IN BRUNEI: Jame’ Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque Brunei

The largest mosque in Brunei and one of the two national mosques (Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque is the other one). It is also known as the Blue Mosque.

Kampong Ayer

Instagrammable Spots in Brunei: Kampong Ayer Brunei Darussalam
INSTAGRAMMABLE SPOTS IN BRUNEI: Kampong Ayer Brunei

Also known as the “Venice of the East”, Kampong Ayer literally means ‘water village’ and is the world’s largest settlement on stilts.

Tasek Lama Recreational Park

Instagrammable Spots in Brunei: Tasek Lama Recreational Park Brunei Darussalam
INSTAGRAMMABLE SPOTS IN BRUNEI: Tasek Lama Recreational Park Brunei

A nice spot for hiking and relaxing by the waterfalls.

Soto Babu Nini

https://www.flickr.com/photos/138670287@N04/46762763072/in/dateposted-public/

This is the place where you can get a typical Bruneian comfort food with a nice view and very colorful architecture.

Rimba Garden Central

https://www.flickr.com/photos/138670287@N04/46090346574/in/dateposted-public/

If you want to be one with nature, this is the place to be. It also has a nice outdoor garden which serves as a wedding venue.

Bukit Shahbandar Forest Recreational Park

Another popular hiking destination in Brunei. (And lookie! I got featured at the Brunei Tourism Board Instagram account!)

Tanjung Batu Beach

Instagrammable Spots in Brunei: Tanjung Batu Beach Brunei
INSTAGRAMMABLE SPOTS IN BRUNEI: Tanjung Batu Beach Brunei

This is the most tranquil beach I ever went to. As in.

Instagrammable Spots in Brunei: More recommendations are welcome!

So, does Brunei still look boring to you at this point? Hit me up for questions about this beautiful country at email address sherlynmaehernandez@gmail.com or at Instagram account instagram.com/wheressherlyn. Book your flights to Brunei now!

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SOLO FEMALE TRIP TO BRUNEI: Here’s My Story

I have been on a solo female trip to Brunei more than once for several reasons (for projects, leisure, and personal reasons), but what I will share in this article are mostly coming from the story of my first trip to Brunei.

My first encounter of basic information about Brunei was in high school when I was selected to compete in an ASEAN Quiz Bee as part of the celebration of the ASEAN Foundation Day which is August 8. My high school days was a era of dial-up internet connection and PHP10 per page printing services.

In order for me to collect the information about ASEAN and Southeast Asian countries that I have to review for the quiz bee, I have to save them in a 3 1/2 floppy diskette and bring it to school so that my Quiz Coach could print them on a printer at the Principal’s Office. Yes, guys, that wasn’t really a long time ago, but those were the days.

My blurry memory of my high school knowledge about Brunei was its history as a former British colony when James Brooke led Sarawak, that “Darussalam” means “Abode of Peace”, that His Majesty Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah was their leader, and that there are so many rainforests in Brunei albeit being a small country. Ten years after, I was able to see the place that I could only see in photos from the internet.

Tip # 1: If you’re coming from Manila, flights to Brunei are one of the cheapest, consistently.

One morning, when I was still in my crappy government office job not-so-long ago, I was stuck in traffic (as usual!) on a standing capacity with my elbow pushed towards the headrest of one of the passenger seats of the bus I was in. Thinking I have some spare money to travel, I randomly checked a budget airline website and scanned over the available destinations. “Hmmm which among these places I could go to for the sake of going which will not require me a visa and some tedious preparation?”

I remembered recently talking to a Bruneian friend who told me he’s about to celebrate his birthday, and, lightbulb! I mock-booked a flight to Bandar Seri Begawan and the round trip flight did not even reach USD120 so I booked it instantly.

Tip # 2: Be prepared to be asked, “Brunei? Where’s that?”

Since I have been meeting other travelers from different countries whenever I go to places, I managed to keep in touch with them so that if our current destinations happen to match, we could meet again to catch up. However, I have this mindset that “people come and go” that’s why I don’t really stick with people. *black heart emoji* let’s discuss this part some other time.

Anyway, on my flight, I sent a selfie on the plane to one of my American friends with the note “Flying to Brunei tonight!” Guess what’s his reply: “Brunei? Where’s that?” Aside from him, I met a lot of Westerners being intrigued about Brunei, “Oh, that small country somewhere in Malaysia, right?” (Singapore could also be described exactly that way, am I right?)

Tip # 3: Brunei is a Muslim country. Do your research on the basic Muslim etiquette.

Like most people, I made sure I brought the most conservative clothes I have, in which case I went for my usual long sleeve pullovers + colorful maxi skirts I always wear when traveling. I picked up this habit because I have been traveling to places with temples and churches in the recent past. I even brought a black hijab just in case.

The friend aka the birthday celebrant promised to pick me up at the airport but had an emergency so he sent his cousin to pick me up instead. Having met his cousin for the first time, I introduced myself by offering a handshake, just like how I normally do it when meeting new people casually. I saw the uncomfortable hesitation on his face to return the handshake, but he did it anyway. I was paranoid and asked some Filipino Muslim friends about it.

In Islam, it is not customary to shake the hands of the opposite sex unless they are a close member of the family. During my inquiry with my Muslim friends back home, I was also able to learn basic Islamic greetings, such as “Assalamualaikum”.

Tip # 4: There is no nightlife in Brunei. If you are looking for alcohol, this is not the place for you.

I rented out a room in a nice apartment owned by expats working in Brunei. And as I waved them goodbye to have dinner with some local friends, I saw that they had another foreign visitor and I was sure that I saw a can of beer on the dining table. It left me very, very confused since it is widely known that the sale of alcohol is totally banned in Brunei. However, there is apparently an exemption.

Non-Muslim visitors over 17 years old are allowed to bring alcohol to Brunei for personal consumption (and I heard there’s a lot of customs paperwork along with it). The rules allow them two liters of alcohol and 12 cans of beer.More information HERE.

I noticed that as late as 9PM there are still open establishments and my exaggerated assumption has told me that shops close as early as 6PM. Yes, there are some of them, but there will be shops (mostly restaurants) which will remain open later than 6PM. I randomly asked one of my local friends how come I don’t see people of our age out in the night market or the restaurants late at night. “We are all home by then, probably browsing our social media sites or playing online games”.

So I confirmed when I checked some data that Bruneians are one of the most active social media users in Southeast Asia.

Tip # 5: Bruneians can be the most open-minded and most cosmopolitan people you will ever meet.

As I was eating my spicy nasi katok at Gadong Night Market with some local friends, some local rap-like music has been blasting on a big speaker on one corner (for Filipinos, it’s like those OPM songs like the ones by rapper Ex-Batallion). I asked my friends about the song and they told me it’s an Indonesian song.

I was amazed how Bruneians are well-exposed to Malay and Indonesian culture (which is a little expected because they share a lot of history and language), but since the Philippines has no similar colonial history with Spain in the ‘immediate neighborhood’, it was kind of hard to connect with the rest of Southeast Asia.

When the controversial implementation of sharia law in Brunei made noise to the international community, a local friend who is a law student made efforts through social media to provide FAQs about it to point out that it’s not what the world thinks it is. You go, girl!

Since Brunei is a small state, some locals would most likely go out of the country to travel. The closest destination they have is of course Kuala Lumpur and other places in Malaysia. Then probably parts of Indonesia, Singapore, or even the Philippines. There are also a lot of foreign workers in Brunei (including lots of Filipinos), so they are constantly exposed to people from different nationalities and religions.

Bruneians know a lot about the world albeit being faithful to their Muslim faith. They are more open-minded than we think they are, especially the youth.

Tip # 6: There are a lot of Filipinos in Brunei, and Bruneians love Jollibee, a lot!

One of the people whom I reached out to before coming to Brunei for the first time was my high school classmate who used to work in a marketing firm in Brunei. Aside from the long list of local foods to try she provided me, she told me that His Majesty is very people-centered and would always interact with Bruneians (even taking selfies with them). In fact, he could be found participating in sports activities on Bandarku Ceria, if not horseback riding at the Palace.

As someone who studied a lot about Brunei from high school to graduate school, I would like to experience meeting His Majesty. Since I was still in Brunei when the next Sunday fell, I dragged a local friend to wake up at 6AM to go to Bandarku Ceria. He told me it’s not every Bandarku Ceria that His Majesty will be around. I insisted.

We went to Bandarku Ceria, no His Majesty in sight. Instead, I bumped into a lot of Filipinos who are mostly manning the bazaars at Bandarku Ceria. How did I know they’re Filipinos? They were all talking to me in T