(نڬارا بروني دارالسلام, Nation of Brunei, Abode of Peace, Negara Brunei Darussalam)
- Location : Southeast Asia
- Capital: Bandar Seri Begawan
- Language: Malay
- Population: 401,890
- Total Area: 5,765 km2
- Currency: Brunei Dollar
If there is a country I have always wanted to visit, Brunei is right there on top of the list. One of the most beautiful nations on earth, this tiny nation is also one of the world’s richest. Located on the northern portion of the tropical island beauty called Borneo, Brunei Darussalam is a hereditary monarchy ruled by an Amir who is always from the Bolkiah ruling family. Brunei is very rich in oil and gas, so much so that it is referred to as the ‘Shellfare’ state, a reference to its welfarist nature being supported with oil profits and royalty paid by Shell Petroleum. To the north of the country is the South China Sea while the Malay state of Sarawak covers it on all other sides. As mentioned earlier, Brunei is a welfare state and the standard of living is one of the highest in the globe. Citizens are given free healthcare, free education, free housing and even handouts for automobiles and businesses. The capital of this earthly paradise is Bandar Seri Begawan.
Almost 70% of the people are Malays and the other major group is the Chinese. There are other minority groups such as the Bisayah, Kadazan and Murut, while the indigenous groups are the Dayaks and the Belaits. A vast majority of the citizens are Muslims and the state religion is Islam, while the Chinese are mainly Buddhists. By the time you reach the indigenous settlements, you will see that Christianity and spirit worship are the common faiths. The most important language in the country is Malay, which is also the official language, and English is the second official language. Most of the citizens settle in the capital city of Bandar Seri Begawan while there is also a sizable population in the rural areas where people set up villages called kampongs in the riverine and coastal areas.
For me, the most interesting place to visit in this tiny oil kingdom is its golden capital, Bandar Seri Begawan. In this majestic city, you can see the Istana Nurul Iman, which is the royal palace and abode of the Sultan. The Istana Nurul Iman is the largest private residence in the world with almost 2,000 rooms. I was also dazed when I heard that the Sultan’s garage has more than 5,000 premium cars –the largest collection on the planet! From there, you need to see the billion-dollar Jerudong Park, the country’s version of Disneyland initiated by Prince Jefri, the Sultan’s younger brother. Your heart will also melt when you visit the gold-domed mosque Sultan Omar Ali Saifudeen Mosque.
Eating in Brunei is more than just refreshing yourself, it is also a very important way to learn about the culture and tradition of the people. One of the most popular dishes in the country is called satay and is a local favorite. Chinese foods such as spicy noodles are also common and fruit juices are easy to purchase. Alcohol is available in many of the hotels and restaurants in the capital.
Being a very rich country, various sporting activities thrive in Brunei. Some of the most popular sports in the country include football, golf, rugby and basketball.
- Brunei Darussalam is a welfarist state with many services such as healthcare provided to the citizens free of charge.
- The state is humorously known as the ‘Shellfare State’ because of the influence of Royal Dutch Shell in the country.
- Brunei is one of the richest countries in the world.
- The Sultan (Hassanal Bolkiah) is widely adored in the country.
- The small country has just four divisions called dairah.
Story By World By Shotglass
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Special thanks to our contributors:
Adebayo Ahmed Adebola (Ilorin, Nigeria).
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