The peace-loving country of Brunei Darussalam holds together a rich heritage within its folds, encompassing a variant and interesting way of life, history, and culture. Located on the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia, Brunei is a developed, independent Islamic country, rich in oil and famous for its wildlife and its beaches.
Here are 20 interesting facts about this small, beautiful country.
1. The name Brunei Darussalam translates to “abode of peace.” True to its name, Brunei has one of the highest standards of living in South Asia.
2. Brunei follows absolute monarchy. The Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, is King and Prime Minister.
3. Hassanal Bolkiah is the longest-serving male monarch in the world, having completed 55 years of reign in 2022.
4. The Sultan’s palace, the Istana Nurul Iman, is the largest residential palace in the world, with 1788 rooms over 50 acres of land.
5. The Sultan of Brunei’s birthday is celebrated with several activities and festivities throughout the nation.
6. At 97.2%, Brunei has one of the highest literacy rates in the world.
7. Brunei was a British protectorate until 1984 when it gained independence.
8. The Sultan of Brunei is one of the richest men in the world, with a net worth of more than $20 billion.
9. Speaking of the riches of the Sultan, Sultan Bolkiah reportedly owns 500 Rolls-Royce cars, 300 Ferraris, and a fleet of private jets.
10. Brunei is ranked 5th in the world in terms of GDP per capita at purchasing power parity (PPP) by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
11. 99% of Bruneians are avid social media users.
12. Brunei has adopted and exercises Sharia law, becoming the first East Asian nation to do so.
13. The country is home to some of the most breathtaking mosques in the world. The Jame’Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque boasts 29 golden domes.
14. While the majority of the Bruneian population follows Islam, about 7% are Christians, making Christianity the second-largest religion in the country.
15. Bruneians don’t need to pay income tax, value-added tax (VAT), or sales tax.
16. After Singapore, Brunei is the least corrupt country in the South Asian region.
17. The citizens of Brunei receive free healthcare.
18. Women in Brunei receive equal opportunities in both education and training.
19. Brunei’s biodiverse rainforest contains a wide variety of flora and fauna. The country has been able to conserve 70% of its rainforest.
20. The cuisine in Brunei is an amalgamation of many diverse cultures, from Malay and tribal influences to infusing Chinese, Indian, Arab and European.