World Travelling Guide
World Travelling Guide

Accommodation in Southern Africa and South Africa including accommodation in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo Province, North West Province, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga

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Map of South East Asia

Brunei Travelling Guide
Brunei Travelling Guide

General background: The Sultanate of Brunei's heyday occurred 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. Brunei benefits from extensive petroleum and natural gas fields, the source of one of the highest per capita GDPs in the less developed countries. The same family has now ruled Brunei for over six centuries.

Area comparative: Slightly smaller than Delaware

Climate: Tropical; hot, humid, rainy

Terrain: Flat coastal plain rises to mountains in east; hilly lowland in west .

Population: 350,898 (July 2002 est.)

Ethnic groups: Malay 67%, Chinese 15%, indigenous 6%, other 12%

Religions: Muslim (official) 67%, Buddhist 13%, Christian 10%, indigenous beliefs and other 10%

Language: Malay (official), English, Chinese

Government type: Constitutional sultanate

Capital: Bandar Seri Begawan

Legal system: Based on English common law; for Muslims, Islamic Shari'a law supersedes civil law in a number of areas.

Economic overview: This small, wealthy economy is a mixture of foreign and domestic entrepreneurship, government regulation, welfare measures, and village tradition. Crude oil and natural gas production account for nearly half of GDP. Per capita GDP is far above most other Third World countries, and substantial income from overseas investment supplements income from domestic production. The government provides for all medical services and subsidizes rice and housing. Brunei's leaders are concerned that steadily increased integration in the world economy will undermine internal social cohesion although it became a more prominent player by serving as chairman for the 2000 APEC (Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation) forum. Plans for the future include upgrading the labor force, reducing unemployment, strengthening the banking and tourist sectors, and, in general, further widening the economic base beyond oil and gas.

Communication/Telephone system: Service throughout country is excellent; international service good to Europe, US, and East Asia, satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and 1 Pacific Ocean); digital submarine cable links to Malaysia, Singapore, and Philippines (2001).

Places of interest:

Travel Tips: Alcohol is virtually unobtainable, there's no nightlife to speak of, and the political culture encourages quiet acquiescence to the edicts of the sultan. The folk of Brunei are amply rewarded for their conformist ways with free healthcare, free education, free sporting centres, cheap loans and high, tax-free wages.