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Mice Asia Net : January 2009
brunei middle east the tropical Story by Johanna Mc Kinnon S ituated on the island of Borneo, Brunei is far different to its Malaysian neighbours. With gold gilded mosques and grand palaces the Kingdom of Brunei Darussalam, which translated means “Abode of Peace”, is an exciting diverse destination right on Asia’s doorstep. An oil rich nation, the country’s main religion is Muslim, and its people are governed by His Majesty the Sultan. He is considered one of the world’s richest men and resides in the world’s largest palace. Brunei’s culture and surrounds are diverse. Visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to sights, sounds and smells. They can explore the largest water village in the world - a network of stilt houses built over the water and home to more than 30,000 people. Intricately designed mosques are also features. The two mosques located in the capital Bandar Seri Begawan are arguably some of the best in the world. Brunei also has some of the most stunning and pristine rainforests found anywhere in the world. Indeed, more than two thirds of Brunei’s land area is blanketed in untouched rainforest. For corporate groups Brunei provides an ideal backdrop for incentive trips, meetings and conferences. With an array of quality accommodation, the International Convention Centre as well as interesting attractions, Brunei has everything a group could need. New attraction One of the most interesting new sites for visitors to Brunei is the Kampong Ayer water village which will soon have a new tourist attraction. Located at Kampong Lorong Sikuna, the Kampong Ayer Tourist and Cultural Centre is currently under construction and is due to officially open in 2009. The BND3 million centre will exhibit a historical and evolutionary collection of the water village where visitors will be able to check out the observer tower, a tourist information centre and souvenir shop. For more information about conferencing in Brunei go to Brunei Tourism’s website www.bruneitourism.travel. ABOVE: Soas Mosque. Photo courtesy of Brunei Tourism. steeped in culture and tradition, Brunei exudes the same opulence as that of the Middle east. at a Accessibility Royal Brunei Airlines flies non-stop or direct to most major Asia-Pacific ports, the Middle East and Europe. Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, Dragonair and Philippine Airlines also fly into Bandar Seri Begawan International Airport. VISA Visas can vary by nationality, but for most Asian visitors 14 day entry is permitted without visas. If you are planning to stay longer than this you will need to apply for a visa in advance. Brunei Tourism advises visitors to organise visas before they travel, and if required visas can be obtained upon entry to Brunei’s international airport. Alcohol ban Brunei is a dry country with the exception of non- Muslim visitors over 17 years who can bring in two bottles of alcohol and 12 cans of beer which must be declared at customs upon entry. Etiquette Bruneians shake hands lightly and then bring the hand to the chest. It is customary not to shake hands with members of the opposite sex. miceAsia.net 29 glance