Brunei is a small country famous for its oil reserves, rich population and the atypical family of the king, which includes many wives, a long line of heirs and God knows how many grandchildren. The royal family is more than just the leader’s acquaintances. It’s an emblem of Brunei and it’s a symbol for its population.
Sultan’s residence is the largest in the world. Everything in the monarch’s possession becomes the expression of extravaganza and luxury. Gold and silver adorn the rooms and the wardrobe. The palace includes almost 2000 rooms, with a bathroom for every 10 rooms. It also has a huge garage and a special setting for its ponies. The sultan has thousands of cars and it is said he makes more than 50$ per second. His daughter’s wedding lasted for a week and each of the invitations cost the sultan 1000$. The monarch’s name is from the same dynasty that ruled over 6 centuries ago.
Don’t let the Royal Family’s opulent choices fool you. Bruneians’ values revolve around terms like dignity, shame, and honor. Nobody wants to wear a tarnished name. Any member of the family can cause dishonor by not paying the proper attention to mannerism or acting rebelliously. It doesn’t sound like too many rules, but if you think a handshake between a man and a woman (under certain circumstances) means an automatic loss of honor or that keeping eye contact with your superior is a defying gesture, you’ll probably rethink your stance. Bruneians are one of the most tolerant and peaceful Muslims and prefer not to meddle in other people’s business.
It’s hard to miss Istana Nurul Iman (the sultan’s home) if you’re visiting Brunei. Many art centers or museums celebrate the history of the royal family in Bandar Seri Begawan (the capital). The Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque is one of the most famous religious places in Asia. The Belalong Tree Frog and other dozens of unique life forms live only on Bruneian territory. Kampong Ayer is a beautiful village you can visit by boat. The Merimbun Park contains burial sites and a beautiful lake with distinctive fauna.