Are you ready to experience all the amazing adventures Brunei has to offer? Once you got your Brunei visa approved and your currency converted into Brunei dollars, be sure to include the following exciting activities into your to-do list to help you plan your trip to Borneo for an unforgettable trip unlike any other!

Read also: 6 Must-Try Food in Brunei

Top Things to Do in Brunei Darussalam

Tiny but mighty, Brunei boasts the brilliance of nature while balancing an unprecedented development in Southeast Asia. You might have heard several fun facts about the country: the first Asian country to ever ban shark finning, the home to the world’s oldest, most unique species of animals, or its bountiful oil reserves. As the crown jewel of the Malay Archipelago, Brunei in reality has so much more to offer!

Wondering what’s the best way to begin your trip when you visit Brunei? We have some handy pearls to drop - just for you!

Visit Kampong Ayer - A Centuries-Old Historical Village

Why would a measly “kampong'' or village be on the top of this list? Kampung Ayer is not just any village but in fact, it is known to the world as “The Venice of The East’. They may not look like much, but this historic settlement has been around for a whooping 1,300 years! Kampung Ayer which translates to water village is home to 30,000 residents today - making it the largest water settlement in Southeast Asia. It has over 4,200 traditional stilt structures built over the Brunei River, including houses, schools, a hospital as well as other facilities.

How to get to Kampung Ayer, Brunei

Hop onto a water taxi in front of Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah in Bandar Seri Begawan.

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The children of Kampung Ayer, Brunei
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One of the jetty at the floating village of Kampung Ayer, Brunei
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The newer houses built at Kampung Ayer are huge, modern and some even come with their own gates!
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A public school in Kampung Ayer, Brunei built over the river.

Indulge In Unique Local Street Food at Pasar Pelbagai Barangan Gadong

Food market is a staple in Southeast Asian countries. Enjoy the full experience of a pasar with a multitude of local food, drinks, and fresh fruits (yes, even durians) in the big 5,979 square meter space completely protected by a vaulted high ceiling which lets you shop till you drop - rain or shine! Over the years, Pasar Pelbagai Barangan Gadong has seen drastic improvement in order to provide visitors with a clean, pollution-free (noise excluded) and elevated food market adventure!

Gadong Market Brunei

Address: Simpang 37, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
Opening hours: 3pm-10pm, Monday-Sunday

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Wild jungle fruits sold in the markets of Brunei
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All kinds of local street food and snacks can be found at Pasar Gadong
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You can even drop by Pasar Gadong Brunei for lunch or dinner!
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The jungle durians of Borneo have red flesh and extra long thorns

Spot a Shy Proboscis Monkey

Go on a cruise along the creeks and rivers of Brunei and revel in the wonders of the mangrove forest in search of the shy proboscis monkeys and other wildlife that are unique to this region only. This is an experience not to be missed as it allows you to witness the two different worlds of Brunei - a sophisticated, modern capital and the serene, virgin forests. Most tours start and end at your hotel with free transfers conveniently provided, and most tour guides speak English!

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Go on a river safari to see proboscis monkeys in the wild in Brunei

Dig Into the National Dish: Ambuyat

Ambuyat is a glutinous and uber sticky paste-like dish made from sago flour and eaten using a bamboo fork called a chandas. While it doesn’t actually contain any flavour or smell, the dish has to be accompanied with a dipping sauce or curry when eaten. Ambuyat is traditionally cooked in bamboo but you may easily get the ready-made version in shops or any local restaurant today.

The consumption of Ambuyat is typically associated with a call for celebration and it is served in a large dish for friends and family to share. An integral part of the Ambuyat experience would also be making your own customised dipping using spicy chillies, lime juice with some Bambangan (Mango) for the spicy tangy kick of flavours! One of the go-to dipping loved by the locals is Pinasakan - a curry dish of braised 'basung' fish which was created by the Bisaya, Dusun-tatana and Brunei-Malay tribes in Borneo.

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Ambuyat is eaten as a replacement for rice, along with a variety of flavorful and savory side dishes
Photo by sabaheats via Flickr

Have a Splashing Good Time at Jerudong Theme Park

All ready and set to be amazed? This renowned amusement park of Brunei might just be your next favourite destination to visit with your family and kids! Jerudong Park is known to be the oldest, most expensive theme park in Southeast Asia. With exciting waterslides, wet park and countless kid-friendly rides, you’re in for a long day here. However, this park is not meant for thrill-seekers and adrenaline junkies who are looking for some out-of-world experience, but rather for those who could use a fun and relaxing day out.

Fun fact: Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston both performed in this park!

Jerudong Park

Address: Jerudong BG3122, Brunei
For full list or rides and activities, click here.

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Brunei's Jerudong Park is claimed to be the world's most expensive amusement park!
Photo by Brunei Tourism

Witness the Marvel of Istana Nurul Iman

The Nurul Iman Palace is astoundingly exquisite and an architectural wonder. Anyone who has had the chance of witnessing its beauty never made it back without being completely in love! Lovingly known as the ‘Palace of the Light of Faith’, it is the world’s largest residential and single-family residence to ever be built. It consists of approximately 1,788 rooms within a 200,000 metre square space, and comes with a built-in mosque that can accommodate up to 1,500 worshippers at any given time and a banquet hall that could hold over 5,000 guests. It is also home to Sultan Brunei’s extravagant collection of 700 cars in over 100 garages!

Important note: The palace is only open to the public during Hari Raya Aidilfitri over a three-day period. For Muslims, it can be visited during the 10 days of the Ramadan month for prayers.

Istana Nurul Iman

Website | Address: Jln Menteri Besar, Bandar Seri Begawan BA2112, Brunei

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The beautiful and gigantic Nurul Iman palace seen from a floating village
Photo by Istana Nurul Iman

Brunei might be small and relatively unseen when you are looking at the world map, but they are mighty, resilient and incredibly beautiful! Just like any other country in Southeast Asia, the culture of Brunei is diverse, unique with heavy influences of the Malay archipelago, and has stayed true to their roots over the years. With over two-thirds of the nation being Malays, visitors from its fellow neighboring countries do not have to worry about communication issues here. Come to Brunei and experience the friendliness and warmth of the locals for yourself!

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