Brunei - the country of contradictions and contrasts. Mosque with gold domes are side by side with the poor neighborhoods that were built on stilts. At the same time, Brunei has one of the highest in the world in per capita income. People live here, observing strict laws shiriata, and norms of behavior in the country are sufficiently stringent. In Brunei prohibited alcohol and there is no night life, probably, so come here only real travelers wishing to explore the true traditions of the East and its history. The official name of the country - Brunei State.
Capital - Bandar Seri Begawan - located in the lower reaches of the river Brunei.
The most poignant moments in the discussion, to open the country to tourism or not, were quite free (within the meaning of the Muslims) the manners of the Europeans and concerns about how people will interact with very different cultures, religions and social morality.
Characteristic of the modernization of the coastal zone not affected by the internal areas of the country where there is still a thriving subsistence farming. Another interesting fact is that outside of the country originating from Brunei virtually none.
The locals here are exempt from taxes, many types of services, especially health and education (including abroad), paid by the state, and on the birthday of the Sultan's all get gifts. In addition, the state pays for the traditional annual pilgrimage to Mecca - "Hajj".
The first mention of the Chinese chroniclers of Brunei refers to the 6th century BC. e. In the 10th century, Brunei became known as the "Buddhist Kingdom Srividzhaya Sumatra Empire," which was probably the prototype of the empire of Java. Brunei reached its peak in the 16th century and played an important role in the spread of Islam. At that time, Portugal, Spain, Holland and England have expanded their colonial possessions in Southeast Asia, the Sultan of Brunei were able to preserve the independence and sovereignty of the state, despite a decline in its territories and spheres of influence.
While Brunei was a powerful state which occupied in the sixteenth century, a significant portion of the island of Borneo and some neighboring islands. Life in the Sultanate of Brunei was in full swing: the sultans ruled the island, fought with neighbors and pirated in the surrounding seas. So much so, that they have lost much of their territory.
It was only in the 20s of last century, when the former greatness of the country's almost nothing left in the country found oil. And Bruno suddenly became fabulously rich country.
Brunei is located in South-East Asia, on the northwest coast of the island of Borneo, and consists of two distinct regions separated by an approximately 30-km section of the Malaysian territory. It shares borders with Malaysia, on the north by the South China Sea. West Brunei - hilly lowland eastern part consists of a coastal plain rising to a height of 1841 m. At Bukit Pagon. Total area - 5.8 thousand. Sq. km.
By interesting for foreign visitors attractions can be safely attributed the local air. If we have it in fact is not visible, then in Brunei touching the body of some warm, viscous substance feel constantly. It seems that it is not difficult to touch, it is possible to plunge or wrapped in a bundle on the memory. Walking through the streets, as if paving the corridor in the air mass, if you swim under water.
Bandar Seri Begawan
The capital and the only city in the country, it seems too big for its 60 thousand population. This is a very clean modern city with wide roads and high-rise buildings, numerous mosques and markets. Some fabulous luxury on the streets of the capital of Brunei Bandar Seri Begawan will not see: neither grandeur Asian palaces or old world charm, no other strange moments. Is that the main mosque of the state, to paint surrounded by water Tutong snow-white swan, impresses with its architectural delights and size. Urban buildings for the most part unremarkable.
Another thing - the central part of Bandar Seri Begawan. Islet similar rectangles dilapidated houses that are suspended over the muddy water on stilts in the middle of Tutong, brings in the usual landscape of the modern city that most colorful flair. Live here are not the poorest members of the population who did not get the land. In most cases, the owner of such huts quite successful person has an expensive car and live in abundance, many citizens of the Sultanate just trying to preserve their identity in such a way that particles of Southeast Asia.
Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque - one of the most beautiful modern mosques in the East. Built in 1958, this giant golden-domed mosque stands close to the river in its own artificial lagoon. The interiors of the mosque - Luxury: the walls are decorated with marble and Italian mosaics on the floors and come with soft carpets.
The magnificent palace of the Sultan - Istana Nurul Iman opened to the public until the end of the month of Ramadan and is striking for its unusual architectural forms, luxurious building in the Harem and the world's largest private collection of cars, of which there are not only rare, but unique items, many of which are created the world's best manufacturers specially commissioned by the Sultan and exist in a single copy.
Brunei Museum and Malay Technology Museum are numerous exhibitions. Especially popular expositions dedicated to the traditional architecture of the pile rural Dayak.
Jerudong Park - a huge sports complex, which is under the personal patronage of the Sultan, the stadium for polo (a favorite sport of the Sultan), luxurious lawn and golf course and excellent conditions and facilities for croquet. Unfortunately, access for tourists in Jerudong Park is allowed only if you have been officially invited to one of the members of the club. Not far from the Jerudong Park Playground is a beautiful new amusement park with a huge range of entertainment.
Adjacent to the park is located, Jerudong Beach, one of the few modern and equipped beaches in the country. The beach is decorated with picturesque cliffs. Near it are shopping arcade, where you can buy fresh fish and other seafood delicacies.
Hassan Bolkiah National Stadium - one of the best sports facilities in Southeast Asia. It was built by Olympic standards and includes athletics and field facilities, tennis center, squash courts and a swimming pool. Golf enthusiasts will enjoy the field of international standard in the club cementitious and large golf complex near the capital's airport.
Kampung Ayer District - is a complex of 28 traditional villages of the pile, from time immemorial, which were built by the locals on the river Brunei. About 30 thousand people still live in this area, which is a strange mix of modern technology and ancient customs. Visiting Kampung Ayer will certainly be a highlight of your trip to Brunei.
Wausau Kandal - beautiful natural area of the equatorial forest with dozens of waterfalls and water rapids. This piece of paradise is located about 12 km south-west from Bandar Seri Begawan. Wide asphalt road leads to the water bodies and the thresholds Air Terdzhun Tinggi - the most impressive local attractions.
Batang Duri, situated on the river Temburong 40 km southeast of the capital, is the starting point to the Malaysian Kuala Lumpur and well-known international scientific and educational natural center field Belalong Research that explores the equatorial flora, fauna, and is engaged in the protection of the unique, almost untouched by human hand, the wild forest.
There is also a small zoo Taman Batang Duri, where rare species breed Civetta, monkeys, otters and birds.
Peradeyan - the most accessible forest in Brunei. Its wildlife includes lots of interesting local species of animals - squirrels, wood-shrews, primates and endemic deer mouse - tiny reindeer representative, the size is actually slightly superior rodents.
The only problem is that most of these animals - "nocturnal residents," so watching them requires a lot of exposure and attention. In the reserve there are picturesque peaks and Bukit Bukit Patoy Peradeyan that give the local landscape a special charm, and also serve as habitat for many other species, it is believed that living here is not described by science types.
East District Temburong is the main ecological zone of the country, saturated with wet evergreen forests, rivers and swamps, which give shelter to millions of living beings. The main attractions of the area - an excellent National Park Ulu Teburong, nature trail Bukit Pato, as well as colorful ethnic villages, ethnic habitat Iban, Malay and murut.
National Park Ulu Teburong located within a vast array of tropical forest Batu Apoi, an area of approximately 50,000 hectares. Because of its relatively remote location, rugged terrain and through the efforts of the state are able to maintain the natural environment with a large variety of plants and animals.
Bela district - the center of oil and gas industry. In 1929, near Seria oil was discovered, and in 1932 started its commercial production. Since it is the main source of income for this small sultanate. Well, the site of S-1, where the first oil was discovered, even built a monument Billion-Barrel-Monument, celebrating, as the name implies, extraction billion barrels of oil. Despite this, the government is trying to maintain here that the natural environment that has characterized Belaita before the start of commercial oil production.
In Bela for tourists will be interesting to reserve Sungai-Liang (about 70 km from Bandar Seri Begawan) - one of the few areas of lowland rainforest in Southeast Asia, but other than the protection of nature, he performs the role of a recreational area where you can just relax close to nature.
Close (25 km from Sungai Liang-) reserves are located Sungai Mau and Luagan-Lalak having the same specialization, but protecting the floodplain and Bela system marshy lakes. In the area of Wausau-Wang-Qadir under a canopy of lush forests covering the slopes of the rocky hills of the same name, laid a lot of hiking trails.
Amusement park Anduki-Yubili lies about 80 km from Bandar Seri Begawan and protects the picturesque lagoon with blue water and remnant riparian forests.
At 10 km from Seria Lumut has a lovely beach with a good infrastructure for leisure. In the district capital - Kuala Bela worth to visit the residence of the Sultan's Istana Mankeleda and Sunday market in Jalan Padang, or visit the park Silver Yubili, built in honor of His Majesty's accession to the throne.
The third largest in the country, Tutong district is the least populated region of Brunei. It's the most diverse ethnic composition of the population of Brunei territory - here live nation Tutong, kedayan, dusun, Iban and others, which allows to get acquainted with the distinctive local tribes and their customs.
The main attractions here are considered Recreation Park Sungai-Basong (lies almost in the center of Tutong), open market-Tamu Tutong, Kampong Serambagan, where you can meet representatives of all local tribal groups, "Serpent Lake" Tasek-Merimbun surrounded by cemeteries of the XV century and full of swamps and cultural village of Rum-Budayya, which presents the construction and traditional crafts of the five ethnic groups in the area.
Pantai Seri Kenangan, also known as Pantai Tutong, this park and beach with numerous places for picnics and simple restaurant with sea food, which are on a small peninsula surrounded by the waters of the South China Sea on one side and the river Tutong - other . White sand, perfectly flat beach and an abundance of greenery make this piece of land, probably the best place for a beach holiday in Brunei.
The climate in Brunei - equatorial sea. Air temperature throughout the year - about 26 C, average humidity - 79%. This makes it hard to bear Brunei enough for a European place. Precipitation ranges from 2,000 to 4,000 mm per year, wet and dry seasons are not allocated. Showers are almost throughout the year, but most rainy period is from September to January.
Time ahead of Moscow 5 hours in winter and 4 hours - summer.
Official languages - Malay ("Bahasa") and English. It is also widely used by the Chinese.
Currency Brunei - Brunei Brunei Dollar Ringgit or equal to 100 senam. On notes indicated both names - Ringgit and the dollar. In circulation are banknotes in denominations of 1 to 1,000 ringgit various modifications. Total outstanding - more than twenty bills, each of which is decorated with a portrait of the Sultan.
On the front side of the banknote 500 ringgit - a portrait of the Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah I in uniform, and in the center of the banknote - the mosque. The reverse side features the palace. The protection consists of a watermark in the form of a portrait of the Sultan and silver security strip to the right of center. Furthermore, on the front right side placed golden hologram. Dominant colors - red, brown and orange.
Russian citizens need a visa for entry. The normal term of paperwork at the embassy - about 2 weeks.
To obtain a visa you need:
passport (valid for at least 6 months)
application form in English with an attached passport-sized photograph
hotel booking confirmation (copy) or voucher firms with the seal and signature of the person
round trip tickets or a copy thereof (tickets with open date will not be accepted)
host of the party invitation - tourist, private or official.
Term visas - 1 month.
Trip with children is possible if they are specified in the invitation.
In Brunei, you can enter on a transit visa and stay on it in the country for up to 72 hours. Make a transit visa may be at the point of intersection of the borders of the country. In obtaining a transit visa may be denied to passengers who have an Israeli passport or a mark on the repeated crossing of the owner of the borders of Israel.
For transit visa required:
passport valid for at least 6 months
plane tickets, the next in a third country, together with the date of departure and flight number
proof of sufficient funds for their stay in the country or a letter of guarantee from a local sponsor, or firms in which the decorated letter holder guarantees departure from the country within 72 hours
the entire set of documents required for the further the passenger (visa to a third country, airline tickets, travel vouchers, etc.).
The fee for a transit visa is about $ 0.5.
Brunei - a fairly strict Muslim country, even here there is a Ministry of Religious Affairs, which monitors compliance with Islamic norms and promotes Islam in all aspects of life in the country. Almost all life revolves around Islam Bruneians, "adat" or "customary law" governs many aspects of both personal and social life of local residents. Some things and deeds are forbidden ("haram"), others are permitted but not encouraged ("makrooh"), and there is a whole layer of the events that fall under the concept of "Halal", that is allowed for a Muslim.
The Constitution, however, takes into account the features of other religions that are practiced by residents, carried out, and the right of full freedom of religion. At the same time, in some well-known Islamic norms are made explicit concessions, and local residents have a reputation for liberals - Women in Brunei freely walk in the national and in European clothes, serve in the police, drive cars and participate in public life. Nevertheless, women are strongly advised not to wear dresses calling open knees and his head uncovered. Light long-sleeved clothing is acceptable, but when visiting places of worship and business events should first clarify all the terms and conditions that are suitable for this case.
Bruneians are generally very tolerant and fairly easy to forgive foreigners minor violations of local norms and customs. However, compliance with local laws only emphasizes respect for the guest to the culture and customs of this country, which is much easier to communicate and mutual understanding. When visiting a mosque, all visitors must remove their shoes and leave it at the threshold (such a rule is applicable to the input of the local dwellings). Women should cover the head and have a closed clothing knees and wrists.
The consumption of pork and alcohol in Brunei is prohibited, but private consumption of wine by non-Muslims in hotels and some restaurants are allowed (in public it should not do). Do not eat meat, cooked without observance of Islamic norms, to touch a stranger's head (even a child), touch the Koran or pass in front of man bowing in prayer. Use your left hand with the transfer of something can not be, this part of the body in Islam is considered "unclean." Smoking is discouraged.
Considered polite acceptance of small gifts or treats. Upon cancellation of anything, lightly touch the right hand of the proposed subject and formulate a polite refusal. Bruneians shakes hands only lightly touching hands, and then pressed a hand to his chest. Shake hands with the opposite sex is not recommended. Also there should be very careful to use gestures - many quite ordinary for a European gestures, like pointing with the finger on something, and even more so - someone is indecent. You can not punch the one hand to the other open hand. To call a cab or get someone's attention, you should pull the whole hand with open palm.
During the month of Ramadan, Muslims do not eat food from sunrise to sunset. To eat or drink in front of them during this period is extremely inappropriate. Non-Muslims should not be in the company of the opposite professing Islam. Sex between non-Muslims and Muslims, and even behavior, hinting at their ability, punishable up to expulsion. There are many forms of polite appeals to the locals - the most frequently used "Awang", equivalent to our "madam" or "sir." If the table is no cutlery, you can have a hand (just right!).
The country provides a very hard, including the death penalty, the rules of punishment for the use and distribution of drugs. Also, do not discuss politics or the Sultan himself - in the eyes of the locals is a very respected man, whose actions can not be questioned.
Muslim holidays are celebrated according to the local interpretation of the phases of the moon. During the lunar month of Ramadan, devout Muslims fast during the day and take food after dark, and the usual course of the business relationship can be terminated. Many restaurants do not work during the day, is strictly limited to smoking and drinking beverages.
Holidays and weekends
Muslim holidays are celebrated according to the lunar calendar, and therefore falls each year in a different time.
January 1 - New Year's Eve
January-February - Chinese New Year
January-March - Hari Raya Haji
March-April - the first day of the Hijra
February 23 - National Day
April-June - Mawlid (Milyad an-Nabi, Birthday of the Prophet)
May 31 - Armed Forces Day
July 15 - Birthday of Sultan
August-October - Israk-Mikradzh (Laylat al-Mi'raj, the Ascension of the Prophet).
September-December - the beginning of Ramadan. November-December - Hari Raya-Aydulfitri (Eid al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan)
Most festivals are a celebration of Brunei with a strong religious character, or mark the anniversary of the important historical events of the Sultanate. The dates of religious festivals are based on the Islamic calendar, so that the clear terms of their conduct does not exist.
Ramadan is one of the most important events in the calendar of Brunei. To celebrate Hari Raya-Aydulfitri doors of the Royal Palace of Brunei open to the public, and all mosques of the country spend holiday services. The second day of Hari Raya-Aydulfitri usually note inviting all friends to visit, even His Majesty Sultan opens the doors of his palace, Istana Nurul--Iman. Hari Raya-Eydiladha or Hari Raya-Quran is celebrated during the "Hajj" (the holy pilgrimage to Mecca). During this period, the usual practice is donations to the poor.
Chinese New Year is celebrated the whole Chinese community in Brunei and lasts two weeks. It begins with a festive "reunion dinner" the night before, which is visited by all family members, and continues a sumptuous dinner in every house and street rallies. With the same scope note and the Christian Christmas.
Great interest in the majority of visitors to the country is National Day (February 23), at the National Stadium when the capital hosts many parades, folklore performances and fireworks. Armed Forces Day is accompanied by numerous parades on the main square of the capital, and in most areas of the country, as well as all kinds of exhibitions and cultural events.
One of the most colorful festivals of Brunei is the Birthday of the Sultan, which gives start a two-week holiday marathon with numerous parades, processions, traditional sporting events and fireworks, as well as the opening of the bustling night markets "Pasar Malam," where you can buy almost all the culinary delights of local cuisine .
Traditional cuisine Brunei
Many local dishes can cause unexpected reactions in an organism not adapted. Island Southeast Asia is famous for its culinary traditions, formed from the East Asian "continental" culinary schools and local FPIC cooking. Arab, Indian and Chinese influence on the Brunei kitchen visible to the naked eye, that in view of the colorful cuisines of Borneo Brunei dishes adds his own style in cooking.
The basis of the diet is naturally Fig. Most often it is cooked completely bland, just as a side dish, shielding and emphasizes taste the main course. Sometimes rice dyed different natural dyes directly in the cooking process, boiled in broth or steamed, fried with spices and vegetables, stewed with water or coconut milk, dessert tenderize in coconut milk and mixed with bananas and other fruits, as well as making rice cakes , rice cake "ketupat", rice noodles, a variety of pastries made from rice flour and rice puddings, simply fried with various ingredients and served with vegetables, richly flavored sauce. Pure Brunei dishes are a mixture of boiled rice and green beans, which richly flavored sauces and served to many dishes.
Broadest application are vegetables, bamboo shoots, soy, coconut milk, and even fruit. Natural conditions for growing Brunei here a wide range of fruits and vegetables, starting with a completely ordinary banana, papaya or pineapple to exotic fruit durian, chempedaka, Tarapov, rambutan, langsara (lansiuma), Belluno, aces ur cheers and membangana. One of the most typical local vegetables is a "long bob" (Vigna sinensis), which is a long (up to 3 m) and thin edible pod going in curries and many other dishes.
As in other parts of Southeast Asia, meat cattle are used relatively infrequently (pork, for obvious reasons generally very rare visitor to the local desktop). But fish and seafood, as well as chicken and meat of other birds are considered one of the fundamentals of cooking. It is necessary to try a spicy dish of chicken with a variety of spices "serondeng Padang" noodles in curry sauce with boiled chicken "curry laksa" chicken kebabs with sweet and sour peanut sauce "sati-atm" chicken soup "Soto Ayam" , boiled lamb with herbs "soup kambing", roast beef with nuts "rendang" (or stew of the same name), kebabs of beef or chicken "satay", as well as spicy shrimp stewed in curry and spices "Houdeng-sambal-harem-bersantan "curry with fish, all kinds of grilled shrimp and shellfish, rice with egg and salted fish (sometimes this dish is fried to a state omelet), roast shrimp and green beans" Peta "and much more.
In a country with the rule of Muslim traditions spirits are not made, and their sale is prohibited. Wine is mostly imported, the most popular (and cheap) great Australian wines.
Additional charges Brunei
When departing from the country will be charged tax at about 8 USD.
From tax exempt children under the age of 2 years (if they do not occupy a special place in the cabin), as well as transit passengers not leaving the airport transit zone.
Political system Brunei
Head of state and government - the Sultan. He is also the religious leader of the Muslims and the country. The government consists mainly of his close relatives. Brunei - a member of the United Nations. Political system - an independent sultanate. Part of the Commonwealth, led by Britain.
The country's population - about 282 thousand people.
Import of local currency is unlimited, allowed the export of up to 1000 Brunei Dollar (BND) or a similar amount of Singapore dollars. Import of foreign currency is not limited (declaration required), the transfer - within the declared upon entry. Indian rupees to import prohibited.
For those over 17 years old is allowed duty free import of 200 cigarettes or 225 grams. tobacco, or the equivalent amount of tobacco products (these rules do not apply to passengers entering from the territory of the Malaysian state of Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan) to 1 bottle (1.1 liters) of wine, and a similar amount of alcoholic beverages, to 378 ml of perfume, of which no more than 60 ml of spirits can occupy.
Prohibits the importation of: drugs, weapons (for import of cold weapons permit is required), pornography, goods, coins or banknotes of Israel, clothing with the printed texts from the Koran, radios (68-87 and 108-174 MHz) of more than 100 grams of gold. , antiques, wild birds, animals and plants.
Medical aid Brunei
In some cases, it is recommended immunization against typhoid and polio. The natural disease occurring in the country, also include hepatitis B and E, dysentery, dengue fever and Japanese encephalitis. The risk of malaria is low, are rare cases of infection it recorded only in the border areas.
Certificate of Vaccinations against yellow fever is required from all travelers over the age of 1 year, arriving from endemic areas of the disease.
The level of medical services and quality of services in Brunei are very high. More than 20 modern hospitals and clinics located in such a tiny space, provide almost all possible types of health care. Work throughout the English-speaking doctor.
Medical care for Brunei citizens free of charge. Hospitals are equipped with modern medical equipment and use cutting-edge treatments. In the cities there are both public and private clinics. Medical insurance is recommended international standard.
Working hours Brunei
Most schools closed after 21.00. Government agencies in Brunei are open from Monday to Thursday and Saturday from 7:45 to 12:15 and from 13:30 to 16:30 hours.
Direct flights from Russia to Brunei not. Some airlines offer flights with transfers, but this journey will take less than a day, and will include at least two direct - and will also be very expensive.
The most economical way to Brunei is through Thailand. From Bangkok, there are regular and not too expensive flights to Bandar Seri Begawan.
Another option - via Malaysia. From its main western part can fly either directly in Brunei or the budget airline Air Asia to the eastern part of Malaysia - Sabah and Sarawak, Brunei from ferries and buses.
Means of communication Brunei concentrated mainly in the coastal strip. Motorway links the capital Bandar Seri Begawan to cities Tutong and Kuala Bela. The main seaport and international airport Muara located near Bandar Seri Begawan.
To ensure their own vehicles Brunei ranked first in South East Asia, so public transportation is very poorly developed, and foot travel only representatives of the lowest paid professions (especially foreigners without Brunei citizenship) and tourists.
Potable water Brunei
Tap water is usually chlorinated and relatively safe, but it is recommended to drink bottled or previously boiled water. Drinking water outside main cities may be contaminated and is not recommended for use.
Mains voltage 220-240 V, 50 Hz. Plugs are usually round or square with three pins. Used TV standard PAL.
Tipping in most hotels and restaurants is 10%.
Casual clothing for men and women Brunei - sarong - long skirt of a piece of fabric with sewn ends. Men often wear it over trousers. Sarong versatile: can serve as a blanket and a shelter from the mosquitoes, it is used as a screen in the administration of the natural needs in crowded places, such as on the beach. The most preferred light cotton clothing. Women are encouraged to adhere to the customs of the Islamic countries, to dress modestly and not wear miniskirts and sleeveless. Brunei can not dress in yellow, as it is the privilege of the Sultan.
Helpful information Brunei
Brunei Tourist Information Service - (2), 382-825, 382-830 or 382-831.
Background International Airport Lapangan-Terbang-Antarabangsa - (02) 331-747.
Police - 993
Ambulance - 991
Fire service - 99