A trip to a new country would not be complete without learning about the history of the country, and what better way to learn than by paying a visit to the museums and cultural centres dedicated just for this! Scroll down for a list of must-visit museums you shouldn’t miss while in Brunei:
1. Royal Regalia Museum
Monday – Sunday 09:00AM – 05:00PM,
Friday 09:00 – 11.30AM & 02:30PM – 05:00PM Entrance fee: Free Address: Jalan Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien, Bandar Seri Begawan Instagram:jabatanmuziummuziumbrunei Contact number: +673 224 4545
As the name suggests, this museum showcases a selection of royal regalia and memorabilia of His Majesty The Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam from his early childhood years up to his coronation day in 1968. Previously known as Churchill’s Memorial Building, the museum is home to a mock-up of His Majesty The Sultan’s coronation, a great opportunity for the public who were not there for the event to see what it was like. There is also a Constitutional History Gallery, dedicated to display photographs, documents and films and recordings of the life of His Majesty The Sultan.
2. Kampong Ayer Cultural & Tourism Gallery
Tuesday – Saturday: 9.00am to 4.00pm, Sunday: 9.00am to 12.00pm
Closed on Monday, Friday, and public holidays. Entrance fee: Free Address: Kampong Lurong Sikuna, Kampong Ayer, Bandar Seri Begawan
Dubbed ‘Venice of the East’, Brunei Darussalam’s Kampong Ayer opened its own Cultural and Tourism Gallery in 2009, inaugurated by His Royal Highness The Crown Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah. The gallery displays the history and traditions of the water village, as well as the society and arts which includes antique handicrafts and relics from the early years of the settlement. A tourist favorite feature of the gallery would be the observation tower that gives the visitors a nice panoramic view of the water village itself and the city’s skyline.
How to get here: Simply hail a water taxi from the Waterfront in Bandar Seri Begawan and asked to be dropped off at the Kampong Ayer Cultural & Tourism Gallery. It should cost no more than B$1.00 per person for a one-way trip.
3. Malay Technology Museum
Sunday – Thursday: 9:00AM – 5:00PM,
Friday: 2:30PM – 5:00PM
Saturday: 09:45AM – 05:00PM Entrance fee: Free Address: Simpang 482, Kampong Kota Batu, Bandar Seri Begawan
This museum showcases the history of the Malay culture and way of life in Brunei and of the seven ethnic groups from ancient times. From architecture and handicrafts, to boatmaking and silversmithing, the exhibits display the technological intricacies of indigenous workmanship and some of Brunei’s famous traditional handicrafts such as kain tenunan (woven cloth), gold and brassware.
4. Brunei Maritime Museum
Saturday – Thursday: 9:00AM – 5:00PM,
Friday: 09:00AM – 11:30AM; 2:30PM – 5:00PM Entrance fee: Free Address: Simpang 482, Kampung Kota Batu, Bandar Seri Begawan Contact number: (673) 224 0083
Located nearby the Malay Technology Museum, the Brunei Maritime Museum showcases Brunei’s maritime culture of different ships and vessels throughout history. The main gallery is centered around a selection of artefacts found about 60 kilometers from Brunei’s coast in 1997. Called ‘the Brunei Shipwreck’, the 500-year-old collection includes foreign ceramics from the 15th and 16th century showcasing the historic maritime trade between Brunei and China. The second permanent gallery, ‘Kota Batu as a Trading Centre’, displays the development of the Kota Batu as an important centre of trading activities from the 14th Century.
5. Brunei History Center
Monday to Saturday: 8.00AM – 4.00PM
Sunday: 8.00AM – 12.00PM Entrance Fee: Free Address: Jalan Stoney/Jalan James Pearce, Bandar Seri Begawan Website:www.pusat-sejarah.gov.bn Instagram:@pusatsejarahbrunei Contact number: (673) 2240166
If you’re a huge history buff, this place is not to be missed! More of a research center than a museum, the Brunei History Center first opened on 26 January 1982, and it houses all the key artefacts and historical records of the history of Brunei and Borneo. There is also a well-stocked bookstore with interesting historical publications on Brunei. However, do note that some exhibits may not be in the English language, but feel free to ask any staff for an explanation!
6. Brunei Museum
[Temporarily Closed] Operating hours:
Saturday – Thursday: 9:00AM – 5:00PM,
Friday: 9:00AM – 11:30AM; 2:30PM – 5:00PM Address: Simpang 482, Kampung Kota Batu, Bandar Seri Begawan
Formally officiated by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, the museum houses galleries and exhibits on Islamic arts and natural history, which depicts the historical settlements and first settlers, and the flora and fauna of Brunei. With oil and gas being the major export of Brunei, there is also a special exhibit displaying the discovery and exploration of this industry by Brunei Shell Petroleum. The museum is temporarily closed for major renovations, but is set to reopen its doors by the end of 2020.
7. Kota Batu Archaeological Park
Saturday – Thursday: 9:00AM – 5:00PM
Friday: 9:00AM – 11:30AM; 2:30PM – 5:00PM Address: The Kota Batu Archaeological Park is located next to the Brunei Museum
Not your typical museum, this 120-acre outdoor archaeological park is a Bruneian national heritage, which aims to serve as a site for archaeological investigation and research on Brunei’s history from the 14th to the 17th Century. Visitors can still see the preserved 700-year-old pottery, structures and craftwork at the site and the remains of what used to be a busy centre for Bruneians in the past.