Gadong Night Market, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. Image (c) Iqremix / Creative Commons
A 5-day, 4-night immersive cultural experience across Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei and Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia (with a beach stop in between)
Your tour begins late in the day, sampling Brunei's unique flavours at a restaurant in Bandar Seri Begawan. The lights illuminating the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque, and the hubbub of the Gadong Night Market, serve as a lively introduction to Brunei's capital.
On your first full day, you'll explore Bandar Seri Begawan's key highlights: the Tamu (Open Market); royal landmarks like the Regalia Centre and the Sultan's Palace (Istana Nurul Iman); and the Kampong Ayer (water village) where you'll sit down to local cakes and tea in a house after a water taxi ride.
After a tour of Jame' Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque, the capital's newest house of worship, you'll go shopping for Brunei souvenirs at Pelangi Mutiara Tourist Square.
Next, you'll fly across the border to Kota Kinabalu, and take a ferry to the nearby Tunku Abdul Rahman Park in Sabah. Your time on TARP's Sapi Island will be quite leisurely: go swimming or snorkelling off the dazzling white beach, then enjoy a barbecued meal al fresco.
On your last day, leave for Mari Mari Cultural Village near Kota Kinabalu. Set deep in a Borneo jungle, the village hosts five different ethnic tribes – the Bajau, Lundayeh, Murut, Rungus and Dusun – and showcases their cultural traditions, each one a breathtaking departure from the "civilization" far behind you. Hands-on demonstrations of cultural arts – from tattoo-making to blowpipe-making – immerse you in the local culture as no other experience can.
Sapi Island, Sabah, Malaysia. Image (c) Borneo Encounter Tours & Transportation (BETT) / Creative Commons
Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque at dusk. Image courtesy of Tourism Brunei.
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