One of the smallest countries in South East Asia is Brunei, nestled somewhere in between the Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysia. However, despite its small size (which is sometimes smaller when compared to states and provinces found in other Asian and Western countries) it is known to be one of the richest countries in the world. This is mainly because of its huge deposits of gas and oil which is the country’s greatest and leading industry. However, those are not the only things which attract people, because the country’s tourism industry is also one that cannot be ignored.
Brunei’s wealth as a country is pretty evident in the many grand and majestic structures scattered throughout the country, especially in the Brunei Muara region where the country’s capital is located. These structures do not only show how wealthy the country is, but also reflect the rich Islamic culture of Brunei. Take for example the two following mosques.
Omar Ali Saiffudin Mosque
The most is one of the most prominent and grandiose landmarks of Brunei. It is located in the country’s capital city, Bandar Seri, and is an enduring symbol of the country’s devotion to the Islamic faith. The mosque’s design is a mix of contemporary and classic Islamic architecture, with its walls and pillars and the impressive golden dome on its top. The surrounding landscape and waterway gives it that serene and peaceful ambience which tourists, both local and foreign ones, have grown to love.
Jame’Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque
If you’re awed by the beauty of the Omar Ali Saiffudin Mosque, then you will surely be struck by the bigger and considered to be more beautiful Jame’Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque. When it comes to size, this is the biggest mosque in all of Brunei. It also has pillars and minarets, each topped with a golden dome, that is aside from the giant golden dome on top of the mosque’s sky blue roof. Take a walk around the mosque’s landscapes which is filled with elegant fountains and lovely gardens and you will easily understand why Jame’Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque is a must see for every traveller in Brunei.
There are other attractions in Brunei Muara which are not as grandiose as its mosque’s but equally rich in culture like the Kampong Ayer.
Kampong Ayer is a water village located in the waters of the Brunei Bay. From its looks alone, it doesn’t seem to reflect Brunei’s wealth, but what is lacks in structure it more than makes up for with its rich history and culture. Kampong Ayer is one of those water villages in South East Asia, thriving in the bay for well over a hundred years. The simple houses are propped on stilts, a sight which is commonly associated with the ancient Asian charm – truly a wonderful reflection of the country’s rich culture and heritage.
Photo by limn on Flickr