One of the richest countries in southeast Asia, Brunei is one of those small, yet exceptionally rich, countries that exist within the region. Surrounded by Malaysia, with two parts of the country physically separated by Malaysia, this strategically-located little country within the South China Sea has been called The Kingdom of Unexpected Treasures, and rightfully so. Claiming part of Borneo with an economy based upon oil and gas, the Sultan of Brunei is one of the richest people in the world, and his country’s opulence reflects that.
Officially an Islamic country, Brunei boasts some of the most majestic and beautiful mosques in the world. Cities such as Bandar Seri Begawan showcase the natural beauty of the Islamic religion and its attention to detail in terms of its mosques, with the golden towers, sparkling fountains, and mosaic tiles give this city an almost ethereal old-world appeal, as if it was torn from the pages of the Arabian Nights.
But the cities themselves are not the only thing to see while visiting this island nation. The Belalong National Park features a beautiful look at the Borneo rainforest, and visitors with a sturdy pair of boots and the urge to see some of the world's most beautiful mountains can visit Mount Kinabalu. In addition, the waters surrounding Brunei contain some of the most beautiful diving areas on the planet, with crystal-clear water and a variety of underwater treasures just waiting to be discovered.
As a general rule of thumb when traveling to any foreign city for the first time, public transportation is the recommended method for getting around, and it's always good to travel with a companion or a hired guide. English is widely spoken in this country, so Western travelers will feel right at home despite the differences in culture. However, alcohol is not sold in this country, and while the food is exceptional, travelers should understand that there is no beer or wine to be enjoyed with a meal here.