Brunei Museum

Brunei Museum information

Bandar Seri Begawan , Brunei Darussalam
Street Jln Kota Batu
Opening hours
9am-5pm Sat-Thu, 9-11.30am & 2.30-5pm Fri, last entry 30min before closing
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Lonely Planet review

Brunei's national museum, officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1972, is a decent place to blow an hour of your time. It definitely feels a little dated.

The oldest pieces are in the newest, most well-kept section of the museum: the Islamic Art Gallery , which displays ceramics from Iran and Central Asia and blown glass from Egypt and the Levant dating from the 9th and 10th centuries. Other highlights include illuminated manuscripts of the Koran, tiny Korans the size of a matchbox and gold jewellery.

The Brunei Traditional Culture Gallery spotlights Brunei's role in Southeast Asia's history, cultures and commerce and has a section on Western trade and intervention in Brunei, starting with the arrival of the Spanish and Portuguese in the 1500s. There's some frankly creepy, life-sized depictions of Malay rituals like weddings, child-rearing and (ouch) circumcision and a collection of Brunei's famous ceremonial cannons, known as bedil, some with barrels shaped like dragon heads.

The Natural History Gallery is a decent introduction to Borneo's extraordinary biodiversity. Quite a few of the stuffed animals look to be on their last, moulding legs.

At the time of our visit there was an entire wing devoted to oil and gas extraction, the technology behind it, the good it has done for Brunei and an extensive exhibit on the kingdom's long-term plan for its economy after the oil runs out. Just kidding about that last bit.

The Brunei Museum is 4.5km east of central BSB along the coastal road, on a bluff overlooking Sungai Brunei. To get here, take the Central Bus line or a taxi (around B$10 from the bus station).

As of May 2014, the museum was still closed for renovations.