Brunei has long been synonymous with opulence and oil money. And, in fact, there’s little that immediately counteracts that image in this nation of shimmering whitewashed mosques and golden-tipped minarets. In the west and all around the well-to-do capital at Bandar Seri Begawan, you’ll see nodding donkeys and the industrial workings of the sultanate’s petroleum industry. You’ll spot rich arabesque palaces and ambitious building projects erupting on every corner.
1Bandar Seri Begawan
Bandar Seri Begawan (or just BSB) is perhaps the most richly-adorned capital you’ve never heard of. Home to just 50,000 people, it’s a pint sized lesson in how oil money can change the world. Having been transformed in the last century, from a seaside trading town to the gilded epicenter of drilling and home of the great Sultan of Brunei.
the town hosts wondrous if a tad gaudy sights like the gold-tipped Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque and the colossal Istana Nurul Iman, which holds the world record for the largest governmental building on the globe. There’s also fascinating Islamic craft on display in the Brunei Museum, and oodles of shopping to be had in the malls of Gadong.