The mystical island of Borneo in Southeast Asia is one of the few remaining unexplored jungles in the world. It is home to a rich ecosystem and has been the interest of research, tourism and nature preservation. The gateway to this amazing Asian destination, as well as to the oil-rich country of Brunei Darussalam, is Brunei Bay.
Since the tiny country of Brunei is attached to several provinces of Malaysia, the bay is shared between the two countries. The deeply indented Brunei Bay has a total area of about 250,000 ha, a portion of which (about 50,000 ha) belongs to Brunei, while the other parts are properties of the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak. The Bruneian mangroves surrounding the bay are very distinct from those that are owned by Sarawak. The Malaysian mangroves are suffering from extensive denudation, while those belonging to Brunei are made up of mudflats and sand flats that seamlessly connect to rich and intact mangrove forests.
A chain of islands, which include Labuan, a major island of Malaysia, separates the bay from the South China Sea to the west side of the bay. The other sides are bordered by mangroves, rainforests and mountains.
Brunei Bay empties itself into several rivers flowing into the tiny sultanate. These rivers are the Brunei, Limbang, Bangar, Trusan, Pandaruan, and Limbang Rivers, not to forget the famous Temburong River. The Temburong leads to a rich rainforest, which is a popular tourist destination, specifically the Ulu Temburong National Park that regularly attracts thousands of tourists, as well as students, scientists and nature enthusiasts. The Brunei River, on the other hand, catches urban pollution coming from the capital city of Bandar Seri Begawan.
Thanks to the inexhaustible wealth of Brunei from it abundance petroleum supply, this tiny country can afford to provide a safe haven for its lush rainforests, diverse wildlife and colorful reefs. The country’s tourism industry has put up several luxury hotels, jungle cottages, traditional longhouses, and campsites to guarantee the steady influx of foreigners. So far, Brunei has been getting more than a million international visitors every year.
Another important feature is the safety not only of the country’s wildlife and natural resources but also of local residents and visitors. Brunei has a very low crime rate, which is almost non-existent. The country prohibits the sale and consumption of alcohol in any shape or form. This frees the entire country from any alcohol-related hassles, misdemeanors or crimes.
Finally, Brunei Bay is also the gateway to BIMP-EAGA, an economic region that is composed of Brunei, portions of Indonesia (Sulawesi), portions of Malaysia and southern Philippines, as well as the island Borneo. This part of the world is teeming with unique, exotic and rich natural treasures such as Selirong Island Mt. Kinabalu, Kinabatangan River, Mulu Caves, Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary, Pulau Tagi, and the Turtle Island. Borneo is one huge island whose majority area is vastly unexplored. It offers several locations to relax with Mother Nature, wonder at the local culture, enjoy local cuisine, discover exotic lifestyles, and experience the friendliness of locals.