6 Interesting Facts About Brunei

6 Interesting Facts About Brunei

Planning a getaway to Brunei? It pays to know some tidbits before getting there. Here are 6 interesting facts you probably didn't know about this country.

Think you know Brunei? Here are some interesting bits of information I learnt during my trip to Brunei – I bet you didn’t know them!

1. International Qur’an reading competitions


Image credits: jazarah.net

In Brunei, citizens who win international Qur’an reading competitions are rewarded by the Brunei government with a hefty allowance of BND 2,000 (approx. SGD 2,000) every month for the rest of their lives! These are the people who are able to recite the Qur’an in the most melodious voice in the country.

2. Goods – the expensive and the cheap

Branded goods in Brunei are generally more expensive than in Singapore, which explains why Bruneians love to come to Singapore for shopping! On the other hand, the food is generally cheaper in Brunei.

Also read: Who Says There’s No Shopping in Brunei?

3. Only one McDonald’s!

There is only ONE McDonald’s in Brunei, but the citizens are not deprived of other fast food goodness. Plenty of KFCs and local fast food restaurants such Ayamku dot the small nation!

4. Ambuyat, Brunei’s local delicacy

Ambuyat is to Bruneians what chilli crab/pandan cake/Hainanese chicken rice are to Singaporeans. This local delicacy derived from the interior trunk of sago palm is a starchy bland substance similar to tapioca starch. It is eaten with a bamboo fork called “chandas”, something like our chopsticks but with the ends attached together.

Also read: 21 Bizarre Asian Delicacies That You Either Love or Hate

To enjoy ambuyat, roll the starch around the prongs and dip it into different kinds of sauces. It tastes like the softer version of muah chee! Most of the bloggers find this dish weird, but I like it, especially when dipped in sugar. The original sauces include chilli, sambal, belachan and mango chilli, which I find too strong and spicy for my liking.

5. River taxis

Besides cars as the main mode of transport, the next most common form of vehicle to get out and about in Brunei is neither trains nor buses, but boats! Over our brief four days in Brunei, we took approximately 15 rides! It costs only 50 cents per person to cross the river and a few dollars to go round by river taxis.

Also read: Diving and Snorkelling in the Pristine Waters of Brunei

6. Kampong Ayer

Kampong Ayer or Water Village is dubbed as the “Venice of the East” by Antonio Pigafetta. People have lived in Kampong Ayer for over 1,300 years. New houses were built at Kampong Ayer to preserve the culture of the water village as well as cater to the growing Bruneian population.

Made up of small villages linked together by more than 29,140 metres of foot-bridges, Kampong Ayer has over 4,200 structures including homes, mosques, restaurants, shops, schools, and a hospital. 36 kilometres of boardwalks connect these buildings. Despite their shabby looks from afar, the houses actually enjoy modern amenities such as air conditioning, satellite television, Internet access, plumbing and electricity.

Also read: Brunei Museum – A Recollection of Its Past

Contributed by Tiffany Yong.

About Author

Tiffany Yong

While others blog for passion, Tiffany Yong writes with the aim to inspire, influence and motivate people with her stories. Till date, this feisty and petite bubble-tea addict has collaborated with several travel partners, such as Royal Brunei, Brunei Tourism Board, Malaysia Tourism Board and Jetstar.