Location: Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
Ratings *** Not very interesting if you are just wandering about. But get a knowledgeable guide who can tell you how much each pearl and diamond costs and you will know how poor you really are compared to His Majesty.
Lost Ratings *** All tour groups come to this museum. But Brunei doesn’t get many tourists anyway …
People go to Brunei for one thing only, and that is to satisfy their curiosity about this tiny, but extravagantly rich country and its even richer ruler. The Royal Regalia Museum in the heart of Brunei’s capital city, Bandar Seri Begawan, allows you a glimpse into the life of the Sultan of Brunei.
The museum was established in 1992 in commemoration of the Silver Jubilee of Brunei’s current Sultan, Hi Majesty Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah’s accession to the throne. The Sultan himself officially opened the museum on 30 September 1992.
Upon entering the museum, the chariot pictured in the photo above can be seen. Is is located in the main atrium of the Royal Regalia Museum. This is the only part of the interior of the museum where photography is allowed. The royal chariot was used during the procession around town at the Sultan’s accession to the throne in 1967.
The first gallery is the Royal Exhibition Gallery. This area documents the life history of His Majesty, with photos showing the Majesty’s childhood, school days, interest in sports and culminates with His Majesty’s installation as the Crown Prince, the Royal Wedding, and the Coronation Ceremony. Of note here are the priceless artefacts that make up the Royal Regalias. A scaled model of the coronation hall is displayed here.
The gallery leads to the first floor, where gifts from heads of states and other dignitaries are displayed.
Perhaps the best part of the Royal Regalia Museum is the Silver Jubilee Gallery. As in the atrium, there is a Royal Chariot here, but this one being more modern, it is equipped with an engine and the Sultan’s seat is air-conditioned! Mannequins of the guards in black and red uniform stand in front and behind the chariot, and photos of the adoring public surround the room. There is a scaled replica of the entrance gates of Istana Nurul Iman, the world’s largest residential palace. Also of interest are the costumes worn by the Sultan and his two consorts during the Silver Jubilee. Queen Saleha’s costume is decorated with gold and diamonds, while the Sultan’s then second wife, Pengiran Isteri Hajah Mariam’s costume was decorated with gold and pearls.
Interestingly, the Royal Regalia Museum was previously the Winston Churchill Memorial Museum, perhaps the only such memorial in this part of the world. It was opened in 1971. A fire destroyed the previous roof and the domed roof was built by a Japanese company.
Getting there: Within walking distance of Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque or anywhere in the city centre.
Shoes must be removed before entering the building.
All bags, including handbags, and cameras must be stored in the lockers provided.
Entrance fee: Entrance is free
Sunday to Thursday 9:00am – 5:00 pm
Friday 9:45am – 11:30am, 2:30pm – 5:00pm
Saturday 9:45am – 5:00pm
Tel: 2244545 extension 201