Home' Traveller : Scoop Traveller WA 018 Contents 72 Scoop Traveller June-December 2010
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An oil-rich absolute monarchy in the heart of Borneo combines world-class
opulence with pristine rainforest and a fascinating cultural journey reminiscent
of a bygone era. Marina Fiore is our guide to the Sultanate.
A five-hour direct flight from Perth, the absolute monarchy of Brunei is a fascinating mix of tradition and
wealthy modernity. The Sultanate is a great luxury break, a gateway to the jungles of Borneo and a stopover
on European flights. It’s home to the amazing Empire Hotel & Country Club – always included on global hot
lists – which boasts the Emperor Suite, voted the number one suite in the world for three years running. You
get all this, but for much less than you would expect to pay. Makes you wonder why you didn’t visit earlier.
he proboscis monkey, endemic to
Borneo, is found in the wild just a
short boat ride away from the centre
of Brunei. It is said to have a constant
erection and to be forever on the lookout for
an available female with whom to mate. Seems
like man hasn’t evolved much at all! This little
creature is just one of the unusual sights that you
can experience in the tiny Sultanate of Brunei.
Located in the north of Borneo, between the
Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak, and
ruled by the 29th Sultan, His Majesty Sultan
Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzadin Waddaulah,
the state of Brunei Darussalam is a tolerant
absolute monarchy with a population of just
under 400,000. While Bruneians today are
predominantly Malay, there are Chinese, Indian
and Bornean tribal populations, all contributing
to the cultural identity of the Sultanate and to the
philosophy of religious and cultural tolerance.
Royal Brunei Airlines flies direct from Perth
to Brunei five times a week. The planes are
modern, the service efficient and friendly, and
the food good. What’s more, the flights are
totally alcohol free, so you arrive feeling great.
Customs doesn’t take long, which ensures we’re
quickly soaking up the tropical warmth and
heading to our hotel. And what a hotel it is.
Built by the Sultan’s brother, the infamous
Prince Jefri (Google him to see just how naughty
he has been) as his private residence, but never
used as such, the Empire Hotel & Country Club
TOP The Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque in the heart of
Bandar Seri Begawan. ABOVE The magnificent Empire Hotel &
Country Club. OPPOSITE The lobby of the Empire Hotel: 50m
of marble and glass from floor to ceiling.
WA abroad brunei
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