The tiny nation of Brunei is found on the northern portion of the island of Borneo. It has one of Southeast Asia’s wealthiest economies. The oil and natural gas reserves of the country is the main source of its wealth. Many interesting facts are associated with this nation, some of which we have mentioned below!
10. Brunei Has The Largest Residential Palace In The World
The Istana Nurul Iman is the formal residence of Brunei’s Sultan. It also serves as the seat of the country’s government. The palace is located in a picturesque landscape on the banks of the Brunei River. The palace has 1,788 rooms, 257 bathrooms, a mosque, a garage with space for 110 cars, 5 swimming pools, a massive banquet hall, and more. The total floor space of the palace is about 2,152,782 square feet which makes it the world’s largest residential palace as per the Guinness World Records.
9. Brunei Has An Entire Settlement Supported By Stilts On A River
Often dubbed as the "Venice of the East", the Kampong Ayer is a historical settlement on the Brunei River as it flows past the Bandar Seri Begawan city. The most interesting feature of this settlement is that it is built on the river and has houses and other buildings supported by stilts standing on the water. The buildings here are interconnected by walkways and bridges creating a contiguous settlement. It is a major tourist destination in the country.
8. Brunei Is The First Asian Country To Ban Shark Finning
Shark finning is a cruel practice and detrimental to the survival of many species of sharks. In June 2013, Brunei became the first Asian country to ban shark finning. It was a move that was applauded by conservation organizations worldwide. According to this ban, no shark species could be caught or landed in the waters of Brunei Darussalam. The sale, import, and trade of any shark products were also criminalized in the country.
7. Southeast Asia’s Biggest And Most Expensive Amusement Park Is In Brunei
The Jerudong Park is an amusement park in Brunei that was established in 1994. It is located in Jerudong in the country’s Brunei-Muara District. A whopping $1 billion was spent in its construction and it was funded by the country’s government. It is regarded as the largest and the most expensive park in Southeast Asia.
6. Brunei Has Some Of The World’s Most Picture-Perfect Mosques
Brunei’s mosques are well-known for their beauty and elegance. Traditional and futuristic elements are perfectly blended in the architecture of these mosques. For example, the Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque uses a mixture of Mughal and Malay elements in its design. It has carpets from Saudi Arabia and chandeliers from Britain. The Ash-Shaliheen Mosque in Brunei looks like a mosque in Marrakesh, Morocco. The country also has mosques that stand on stilts on a river.
5. The Sultan Of Brunei Is The World’s Second Longest Reigning Current Monarch
Hassanal Bolkiah, the current reigning monarch of Brunei, ascended the throne on October 5, 1967. With over 50 years of rule, he is the world’s second longest-reigning current monarch after Queen Elizabeth II of Britain.
4. The Rainforests Of Brunei Are Home To Some Of The World’s Rarest Wildlife Species
Although only a small country, Brunei has managed to conserve 70% of its rainforests despite the pressures of development. These forests are home to some of the most threatened species of flora and fauna. The Sunda clouded leopard, proboscis monkey, hornbills, flying lizards, saltwater crocodiles, etc., are some of the country’s most notable wildlife species.
3. Brunei Has A Monument Celebrating The Billionth Barrel Of Oil Produced
Oil is vital to the economy of Brunei. The production of crude oil and natural gas account for 90% of the country’s economy. The onshore oil field at Seria in Brunei is one of the country’s most important oil fields. In 1991, a monument called the Billionth Barrel Monument was built to celebrate the production of the Seria oilfield’s billionth barrel of oil.
2. Brunei Means "that's it!"
According to local historiography, when first landing on Brunei, Awang Alak Betatar, the man who later founded the Sultanate of Brunei, exclaimed: “Baru nah” which means "that's it!” The name Brunei was derived from these two words. After establishing his dynasty in Brunei, Betatar was renamed as Sultan Muhammad Shah. The full name of the country is, however, Negara Brunei Darussalam. Here negara means “country" and darussalam means the "abode of peace”.
1. Brunei Is An Absolute Monarchy Where The Sultan Has The Final Say
The Sultan of Brunei is the absolute monarch of the nation. He serves as the Prime Minister, Defence Minister, and Finance Minister of the country. He has the full executive authority and is also the head of the state. Although Brunei does have a parliament, no elections were held in the past several decades. The legal system of the country is based on both the English common law and the Islamic Sharia law. Often, the latter supersedes the former in many critical cases.