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Brunei Travel Guide - The Green Heart of Borneo - A Kingdom of Unexpected Treasures

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A small country ruled by a sultan near the equator on Borneo's north coast, oil-rich Brunei is of interest with its riches, Islamic culture and thickly forested inland.

Governed by a total monarch who is among the world's richest men, the Sultanate of Brunei, officially Brunei Darussalam, is a serene, contemporary state whose characteristics revolve around respect for Malay culture, Islam and the monarchy, short coded as MIB or Melayu Islam Beraja. Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah, the 29th ruler in an extensive dynasty is the country's head of state, prime minister, defense minister and finance minister.

The sultanate gained independence in 1984. It was once a Borneo-wide commercial kingdom saved from losing all its land to Sarawak by British protection. Geographically, it is one of the world's smallest nations, double the size of Luxembourg or the American state of Rhode Island. Brunei's gross domestic product exceeds US$13.2 billion per year, due to the discovery of oil in the early 20th century. The government has no foreign debt, and its treasury reserves are enormous.

Brunei's population of about 400,000 has benefited from the oil wealth and enjoys one of the highest per capita incomes in Asia. Education and social services take up a quarter of the government budget and the country has a literacy rate of more than 95 percent among its young people. Most tropical diseases have been totally eradicated, the life expectancy is high, infant mortality low and crime is almost absent.

The official religion is the strictly observed Islam, evident in the dominance of mosques and the prohibition of alcohol sale. A big part of the Malay population strongly upholds the Islamic traditions. Large minorities of Chinese and indigenous peoples, liberally practice their faiths, and a fifth of Brunei's residents is made up of foreigners from Southeast Asia and Europe. Brunei is hospitable to visitors and devoted to capitalizing on being in the biodiversity treasure collection that is Borneo, although it's infrastructure is not well developed compared to it's neighbors. Outstanding conservation policies have created accessibility to its unspoiled primary rainforests which are worth seeing.

Brunei Cities and Towns

  • Bandar Seri Begawan (Capital of Brunei)

Brunei Map

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