Taman Mahkota Jubli Emas
This park on the riverfront in downtown Bandar Seri Begawan has an abundance of locations to keep your camera clicking. The park is situated along the Kedayan River with a promenade that provides an uninterrupted view of the river, water village, and a complete picture of the RIPAS Bridge. The park has a pedestrian bridge from where panoramic views of the entire park can be taken, with a backdrop of the Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Mosque next door. The garden’s flower beds, shrubs and matured trees, including the sturdy Baobab trees of Madagascar will give plenty of reasons to pause and pose.
Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Mosque
The Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Mosque is probably the most photographed monument in the city. It’s cream-coloured façade and central dome of pure gold reflecting rays of sunshine stand out crisply against the blue skies and at twilight, the fragmented colours of gold, orange and pink turn the whole scene into a dream-like Van Gogh painting. For a framed picture of the mosque, walk to the field along the promenade and photograph the mosque through the enormous rectangle frame strategically placed to give a perfect shot of the entire structure.
Inside the mosque, spectacular stain-glass windows and crystal chandeliers add a feel of grandeur to the cavernous prayer hall. The grounds surrounding the mosque show off a beautifully-manicured garden, water features and a stone replica of a 16th-century Sultan Bolkiah royal barge which appears to be floating on the adjoining artificial lagoon.
The Jerudong Park is an amusement park for the whole family with a playground, waterpark, garden, lagoon and rides that range from the mildly stimulating to almost heart-stopping. One of the most elegant rides in the park is a double-tiered carousel, ornately decorated like a colourful cake and brightly illuminated at night. Instead of standard galloping horses, the platform has a menagerie of animals which will delight both kids and adults looking for a spin of nostalgia. When night falls, the park lights up like day for more after-dinner fun, and on Saturday nights, there is a special musical fountain show for a different kind of water entertainment set to music and lights. Two iconic symbols of Jerudong Park are close to the main entrance – the coloured-glass arch featuring the park’s logo with the head of a white stallion and the diamond ring arch roundabout just outside the ticketing counters – making it easy for you to remember to take some photos to mark your visit to the park.
The Empire Brunei
This 5-star resort by the coast is one of the most picturesque places in Brunei, inside and out. Built on a sprawling 445 acres of beachfront estate, the complex includes multiple blocks of sea-facing accommodations, villas with their own gardens, a country club, an 18-hole golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus, a three-screen cinema, lagoons and pools, and private beaches. The resort grounds are accessible to the public and many do frequent the place for leisurely walks, exercise, photo shoots and sunset-bathing. The inner sanctum of the hotel is a display of sumptuous luxury from architecture to furnishings. Full windows spanning multiple floors let in natural light to warm the interiors that shimmer with marble pillars and gold accents, while offering a view of the resort’s landscapes and the blue expanse of rolling sea.
Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien (SOAS) Bridge
This 30-kilometre bridge connects the Brunei-Muara district where the capital city is, and the rainforest region of the Temburong district, and it is the longest bridge in Southeast Asia. This bridge features three impressive towers situated along the length of the structure, with connecting cables forming an open-fan pattern along the sides. On the crown of the last tower sits a gold crescent moon and star, symbolising the country’s Islamic heritage. A drive across the bridge on a clear day gives you an endless view of the Brunei Bay and a glimpse of the bakau mangroves at the Labu Forest Reserve under the bridge.
Temburong Canopy Walk
If you don’t get weak-kneed from heights, then climb up the 43-meter-high steel pipe and cable canopy walk in the Ulu Temburong National Park for a photo-op only for the brave. Up there among the tree crowns where wispy mists brush against your face, you will be rewarded with a view of the emerald rainforest, and for once, at eye level. Not only will you see miles of greenery from here, you will gain a sense of peace as you marvel at nature’s power of creation. Sunrise or sunset photographs from this point is guaranteed to be one-of-a-kind. On the canopy walk, keep your eyes sharp for birds that normally perch high in the trees, and listen to the symphony of hidden wildlife calls coming from all directions.
Photographers and nature-lovers will often say the Tasek Merimbun Heritage Park in the Tutong district is a photo-worthy landmark. The mysterious, black water lake, fields of wispy olive-coloured reeds swaying in the breeze and dark, lonely swamps certainly have a cinematic feel to them. The park is protected for its eco-systems that support rare animal and plant species endemic to Brunei. A walk around the park will introduce you to a wide variety of flora such as the rare tiger orchid and carnivorous Nepenthes pitcher plants, and wild birds that roam carefree around the swamp. Clouded leopards are known to reside in the area but they are extremely camera-shy and not likely to volunteer for a selfie. The low light pollution in this district makes the park, and most parts of Tutong, perfect for pointing your cameras to the night skies for a sweeping view of the constellations above. Between March and September, the Milky Way’s core is visible, however, the prime viewing times is from May to August when the galactic centre can be observed all-night long.
Billionth Barrel Monument
When crude oil was discovered in 1929 in the town of Seria, it became the driving force behind Brunei’s economy. In 1991, the Brunei Shell Petroleum Company built the Billionth Barrel Monument to commemorate the one billionth barrel of oil extracted from the Seria oil field. The monument’s location by the beach is near the site of the first oil well in the field. If you are interested in capturing a piece of this country’s oil production history and the remnants of early oil drilling mechanisms, a visit to the monument will provide both. Nodding donkeys are still standing in the fields nearby, some still pumping away with its gentle rhythmic nodding. The walkway to the monument is flanked by a series of panels covered in artwork by local artists. At dusk, the site is awash in brilliant shades of the sun, illuminating the importance of this monument to the progress of this country.