Country ranked by Tourist numbers: Brunei, 149/188
Number of international tourists to Brunei (2016): 219,000
Population of Brunei: 428,679.
Capital of Brunei: Bandar Seri Begawan
What to visit in Brunei
Overview of Travel:
Warning: Brunei attracted international criticism in 2019 for legislating ‘Death by Stoning’for crimes such as sex outside marriage, same sex relationships and other crimes.
Warning: There is very limited public transport in Brunei. Seriously. The oil rich nation runs on cars, taxis are a plenty.
Warning: You cannot buy alcohol in Brunei, legally. Oh No! To sneak a drink flip over the boarder into Malaysia.
Overview: Brunei is a comparatively wealthy oil rich South East Asian country, where the income per capita is $83,760. That compares to Brunei’s close neighbours: Malaysia, $28,650; Indonesia, $11,900 and The Philippines, $10,030.
Government Structure: Constitutional Monarchy with all Government appointed by the Sultan.
Food: Beware to not travel during Ramadan if you like a late breakfast, or a long lunch. You can buy food but not eat it in public during the festive season.
Local reminded us that fasting is strictly enforced, at least for locals, so it’s best not to push you luck.
Disabled access: Not great.
English: We didn’t have huge language barriers.
Comfort: you get what you pay for.
Land Size: 5,765 square kilometres, 172/239 largest in the world.
History of Brunei:
Economically the region has thrived as a port, a trade route between China, later India until oil was discovered in 1929.
Around the 6th century Brunei came to prominence as a port that supposed trade between China and India.
At this time the dominant religion influenced by Hindu and animalist based religions. By the 13th century Islam had been adopted by the population. Today almost 80% of the population adhere to Islam.
By the 16th century the Dutch expanded it’s influence in the region, and fell under the control of the colonial power.
Brunei became part of a larger power struggle between the colonial powers of the Dutch and British. In a tussle in 1811-1813 England sought to extend it’s influence but withdrew. Temporarily.
As provinces within the nation began to crumble into a bitter dispute and civil war between regional leaders Raja Muda Hashim, the future Sultan look to Britain for protection.
By 1942 war had broken out, and Brunei fell under control of the Japanese as British forces withdrew.
The war was over, Brunei negotiated to politically shift from a British protectorate to gaining full independence. Celebrations were widespread in 1956.