Brunei

Bandar's suburbs

The increasingly busy suburbs of Bandar lie a few kilometres to the northwest of the centre, across Edinburgh Bridge. Gadong is the commercial centre and primary suburb of Bandar Seri Begawan. It's not pretty on the eyes in the way that Bandar is (Gadong is a traffic- clogged grid of modern shophouses and department stores), but this is the modern-day heart and soul of the capital. It is where Bruneians come to shop and to eat, either in local restaurants and international franchises or at the food stalls of the excellent pasar malam (night market), which serves up (mainly) Malay food seven days a week. Kiulap, a little closer to the city centre, is really an extension of Gadong, with more shops and offices.

Just south of Kiulap is Kampong Kiarong, home to the striking
Kiarong Mosque
. Known officially as Masjid Jame'Asr Hassanal Bolkiah, the mosque was built in 1992 to commemorate the sultan's Silver Jubilee. Though it supplanted Masjid Omar Ali Saifuddien as Brunei's national mosque, there seem to be mixed opinions as to which is superior. The older mosque conforms more to classical convention and forms the focal point of Bandar itself. The Kiarong Mosque, meanwhile, is bigger and brasher, set in landscaped gardens and immense in size, with a quartet of intricate minarets and 29 gilded cupolas. Around 5 km north of the city centre are the government offices, scattered widely around a leafy grid of streets near Brunei International Airport.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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