Whenever I visit a new place, I make it a point to explore as much as I canâ€¦on foot. I firmly believe that nothing beats roaming around in a strange place and trying to discover new and exciting things while walking.Â I feel that I might leave some stones unturned if I just rely on riding taxi cabs to get from one place to another.
So when we were in Brunei, we did a walking tour of Bandar Seri Begawan.Â It is highly recommended that you do the same even if coming from hotels like the Centrepoint Hotel Bandar Seri Begawan.
Our walking tour first brought us to the village on stilts called Kampong Ayer where about ten percent of Bruneiâ€™s population lives.Â From Kampong Ayer, we also got a good view of the majestic mosque called the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque. We walked some more and passed through different street alleys and crossed several streets.Â We came across several cultural centers, tourist attractions, historical sites and a lot of wonderful architectural structures that will make you say â€œWow!â€ After about thirty minutes of leisurely walking, we finally saw a glimpse of the tiled dome of our destination â€“ the Royal Regalia Museum.
The Royal Regalia Museum is the most famous museum in all of Brunei and it is one of culturally significant places in the country. This museum is located right at the center of Bandar Seri Begawan and was constructed back in 1992. This was built to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Sultan of Brunei.
Primarily, a visit to this museum would allow visitors to learn more about the history of Bruneiâ€™s constitution.Â There are featured exhibits about Bruneiâ€™s government along with other valuable treasures that Brunei is known for. Towards the left side of the main entrance of the museum, visitors would immediately see the Constitutional History Gallery which was put together in 1984.Â This area was prepared in time for Bruneiâ€™s celebration of its independence and features the countryâ€™s development from 1847 when the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation was signed by the British government. The exhibit is accompanied by photos, documents, and even film features on the proclamation of Bruneiâ€™s first constitution in 1959.
At the right side of the museum, visitors get to learn more about the life of His Majesty, the Sultan. Exhibits allow visitors to get to know the Sultan from the time of his childhood, to his school days in Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia and until the time when he joined the Royal Military Academy.
In this museum, visitors get to feast their eyes on the different valuables that were owned previously by the Sultan and his entire family. Upon entering the museum, guests will be requested to leave all bulky bags and packages at the check in counter for safekeeping. Unfortunately, all sorts of electronic and recording devices such as cameras and video cameras would have to be surrendered as well. Guests will also be requested to remove footwear and leave those at the entrance. We entered the barricaded entrance and proceeded to walk barefoot on the cold tiles. Good thing some areas of the museum were carpeted so there were places where we can warm our feet.
It would be difficult not to be impressed with the Royal Regalia Museum. The main hallâ€™s distinctive structure is topped by a grand dome with mosaic tiles. The entire museum was divided into several floors and sections.Â Some floors were not open to the public.Â In the areas which we were allowed to explore, we saw a huge collection of different antique items from Bruneiâ€™s royal dynasty.Â One of my favorite items on display would have to be the grand royal chariot that was gleaming right at the center of the museum.Â Too bad, the chariot was barricaded from the public and we could not even get a closer look.Â It was a good thing that we had our cameras with zoom lenses so we were able to capture some shots. We also got away with several souvenir photos with the royal chariot at the background.
There was also a wide assortment of jeweled crowns that were sparkling against museumâ€™s lights. These crowns were the actual crowns that were used by the sultans during coronation ceremonies.Â A duplicate of the throne of the sultan used during state occasions was also on display complete with ceremonial armor made of silver and gold. I was so mesmerized by the crowns and thick jewelry that I felt I could spend hours just looking at them.
Definitely, the Royal Regalia Museum is a must-visit for anyone who would like to take a peek into Bruneiâ€™s treasure trove.
Operating Hours: 8:30am – 5pm (Saturday to Thursday); 9am – 11:30am and 2:30pm – 5pm (Friday)
Entrance Fees:Â FREE admission to the general public