BRUNEI DARUSSALAM, meaning Abode of Peace, is small state situated on the north-west side of Borneo, and is composed of two separate areas divided by the Malaysian state of Sarawak. The western section is made up of Brunei-Muara, Belait and Tutong districts, and the eastern part is Temburong.
Despite a small population, the country is extremely rich because it retains the income from its oil and gas reserves. Ruled by the Sultan of Brunei, in a 600 year old family monarchy, his rule means Bruneians have one of the highest standards of living in Asia, with free education, free medical services, housing support, international education scholarships, no income tax, cheap loans etc.
Brunei has a long maritime history, and the pattern of settlement has traditionally focused on waterways. This maritime focus creates useful advantages to yachtsmen; any items imported for marine use are duty free. Muara port, 16 nm downstream of the capital, Bandar Seri Begawan area (BSB), gives cruising yachts the most convenient access to city facilities with the most protected anchorage on the west coast of Borneo. One option for an anchorage is further upstream off the other Royal Brunei Yacht Club premises at Kota Batu. It has great dining and is only 5-10 minutes in a vehicle to central BSB.
There are few other anchorages on Brunei’s short 100 nm coastline. Numerous offshore oil and gas installations make navigation complicated, especially at night. There is an official exclusion zone around all the offshore installations and yachts are advised to keep out of the area. For the sporting minded, Brunei has a number of top quality golf courses within 30 minutes drive of the Serasa superyacht anchorage, including the “Augusta of Asia” – the Sultan of Brunei’s golf course.
Brunei also has the best protected rainforest on Borneo and the highest proportion of its land area included in the WWF’s Heart of Borneo preservation region. And if you like recreational diving, there are easily accessible and well preserved reefs and wrecks for your diving enjoyment
Captain’s log: Borneo – Cruising North West Borneo