The Brunei Royal Regalia Museum is one of the most impressive and lavished buildings that I have ever set foot it. This is quite the compliment considering that I am not a museum fan by any means. Truth be known, museums are the last on my list when I am exploring a place. Brunei’s capital Bandar Seri Begawan is a small, peaceful and laidback city that offers only a few major attractions. So we found ourselves drawn to this museum especially because of its convenient location.
The Royal Regalia possesses a simple layout that is not too confusing for visitors. This was part of the reason why I enjoyed my time here. To me, some museums are rather large with a very complex floor layout. Too many sections can make the exploration tiring and frustrating.
Part of Brunei’s cultural heritage is reflected in the Royal Regalia Museum, but the building is also dedicated to showing off the marvelous lifestyle, history, upbringing and education of the Bruneian King. The monuments, relics and items found in the Royal Regalia all belong to or are related to his majesty and those who preceded him.
As I made my way through the luxurious entrance, I could immediately tell that the Museum was packed with highly expensive and very precious treasures. So it was not surprising to learn that cameras are prohibited in most areas with the exception of the building’s lobby. The museum floor is made of expensive marble. In addition, some parts of the second floor are covered in spotless carpet. So it’s understandable that visitors are also asked to remove their shoes.
There was wide range of items waiting to be admired while inside the museum. I saw the grand golden-colored chariot, which the Brunei sultans once used. There was also a nice display of the Sultan’s royal regalia, Malay weaponry and traditional royal costumes. I also found impressive replicas of the Sultan’s thrones, gowns, and crowns.
My favorite section of the museum, without question, was the massive collection of gifts given to the Sultan of Brunei from different national leaders (heads of states). I found browsing through the different items to be quite exciting and fascinating. The gifts were made of the most precious materials imaginable like gold, jade, ivory, crystal and silver. They reflected the unfathomable wealth of the nation’s undisputed leader. I checked eagerly to see which gift was the most valuable or the most creative. This spontaneous pursuit brought out emotions in me such as delight, cynicism or disappointment.
The Royal Regalia is hard to miss as the building sits on the capital’s main intersection. As if to fully demonstrate Brunei’s immense wealth and generosity, access to the building is completely free to any visitor. This grandiose space is not the only museum or cultural center in the country. In fact, Brunei Darussalam has so much pride in their history and cultural heritage that they have meticulously maintained other buildings dedicated to such pride. The most prominent ones include the Arts and Handicraft Center, the Brunei Museum and the Art Gallery.
Where did we stay in Bandar Seri Begawan?
We wanted to stay within walking distance to the waterfront area of the city. Therefore, we decided to stay at Jubilee Hotel. We don’t have a direct affiliation with this property therefore in an unbiased manner we can say that we liked the place. The staff were friendly and the room was clean. It isn’t the newest property. At the time of writing it had a score of 7.3/10 based on 1048 verified guest reviews. If you have the budget, I would suggest booking something a bit newer (even closer to the waterfront) such as :
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