There are two main mosques to check out in Brunei, one of which is Omar Ali Saifuddien — named after the country’s 28th sultan.
It may not be the largest mosque in Brunei, but it’s easily the most famous!
Visiting Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque
It’s easy to see why this mosque shows up on all the fridge magnets and other souvenirs in Brunei.
The gold dome is one of the most recognizable features, along with the ceremonial barge and artificial lagoon.
The Ali Saifuddien mosque was finished in 1958 and cost between $7 and $10 Million USD (yikes!). The building stands 170 feet tall.
The materials were imported from all over the world: marble from Italy, granite from Shanghai, crystal chandeliers from England, and carpets from Saudi Arabia.
The architecture is an interesting mix of Mughal and Malay styles, and something about it just screams Aladdin.
Sadly visitors can’t go inside the mosque, so half an hour was enough time to spend here. On some rare occasions I’ve heard of people being allowed to go inside the entryway and take a couple photos.
If you plan to do this then it’s a good idea to be respectful and dress modestly; Brunei is a conservative Muslim country after all, and this is still a functional mosque, not just a tourist attraction.
Better yet, if you come back here after dark the entire mosque is lit up on the outside and looks bright gold!
How To Get To The Mosque
The Ali Saifuddien mosque is located near the city center of Bandar Seri Begawan, just 15 minutes drive from the Brunei International Airport (BWN).
You can take a taxi to the mosque, or Brunei also has a local taxi app called Dart. It’s cheaper and better than the taxis — kind of like a Bruneian version of Uber.
You could also consider booking accommodation within walking distance of the mosque, which is what I did when I visited.
Where I Stayed
I stayed at Qing Yun Resthouse Bandar near the BSB riverfront, in a private air-conditioned room for $33 USD per night. Brunei is not the cheapest country to travel, so this was a pretty good deal.
The location was perfect. The hotel was just a 5 minute walk from the famous Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque and Royal Regalia Museum. It was also right on top of a shopping complex with lots of restaurants.
Prices may fluctuate from time to time, so just keep an eye out for a good deal.