The Human Truth Foundation

Brunei (Negara Brunei Darussalam)

By Vexen Crabtree 2013



Negara Brunei Darussalam
StatusIndependent State
CapitalBandar Seri Begawan
Land Area 5 270km21
GroupingsSmall Islands
Population0.4m (2011)2
Life Expectancy79.02yrs (2017)3
GNI$72 843 (2017)4
ISO3166-1 CodesBN, BRN, 965
Internet Domain.bn6
CurrencyDollar (BND)7

1. Overview


The Sultanate of Brunei's influence peaked between the 15th and 17th centuries when its control extended over coastal areas of northwest Borneo and the southern Philippines. Brunei subsequently entered a period of decline brought on by internal strife over royal succession, colonial expansion of European powers, and piracy. In 1888, Brunei became a British protectorate; independence was achieved in 1984. The same family has ruled Brunei for over six centuries. Brunei benefits from extensive petroleum and natural gas fields, the source of one of the highest per capita GDPs in Asia.

CIA's The World Factbook (2013)9

Book CoverBlessed with picturesque water villages, glorious rainforests, stunning mosques and some outstanding cuisine, Brunei is as polite and unassuming as its people. The small sultanate of Brunei almost looks like a geographic comma plunked between Sarawak and Sabah. It certainly forms a conceptual one, because unless you´re a petroleum engineer, when folks ask `Why go to Brunei?´ the answer is usually the travelling equivalent of a pause: transfer or stopover.

But there´s more here than passport queues. This quiet darussalam (Arabic for `abode of peace´) has the largest oilfields in Southeast Asia, and because oil generates money, Brunei hasn´t turned its rainforests into palm plantations. Old-growth greenery abounds, especially in verdant Ulu Temburong National Park. Because booze is banned, the citizens of the capital, Bandar Seri Begawan (BSB), are mad for food and shopping. This tranquil (sometimes somnolent) nation is the realisation of a particular vision: a strict, socially controlled religious state where happiness is found in pious worship and mass consumption. Visit and judge the results for yourself.

"The World" by Lonely Planet (2014)10