When people think of Brunei, they imagine a country of golden palaces, lavish mosques and an abundant supply of natural gas. Not many think of this amazing Muslim country as a place to swim and have fun in the water. Swimming in Brunei, however, is quickly becoming a popular attraction for tourists.
If one looks at the map, having fun in the water while in Brunei makes a lot of sense. This tiny yet wealthy country is found on the northern tip of the island of Borneo in the middle of Malaysia’s Sarawak province. Encircling the South China Sea, Brunei’s coastline is 161 km long, and with that stretch, this Southeast Asian country is bound to have amazing beaches.
Some of the most well-known beaches are Meragang Beach, Serasa Beach, Lumut Beach, Pantai Seri Kenangan Beach, and Muara Beach. Fun water activities such as parasailing and sailing in Brunei are best done in Serasa Beach, which is why this beach is most popular among the adventurous tourists. Jet-skiing in Brunei is also best enjoyed here. Other notable beaches are Meragang Beach, which is known as Crocodile Beach, the mile-long Muara Beach for its picnic areas and kid’s playground, and Pantai Seri Kenangan Beach for its stunning beauty. Lumut Beach is also popular among foreign tourists.
From Muara and Serasa, tourists can get on water taxis to see the surrounding area and have more fun in the water. The most common destinations are Brunei’s largest lake Tasek Merimbun and a nearby mangrove island called Pulau Selirong, about 45 minutes from Muara. Visitors are delightfully surprised to see monkeys, eagles and kingfishers in the area.
Meanwhile, diving in Brunei is steadily becoming a widely popular sport. Off the Brunei coasts are amazing shipwrecks that are drawing in a number of international divers and underwater photographers. The most popular wreck sites are Cement Wreck, Australian Wreck, American Wreck, and Blue Water Wreck.
Cement Wreck is a 92-meter long Japanese cargo ship that rests upright on the seafloor about 32 meters deep. It was a cement cargo ship. Swimming gracefully around this wreck are Moray Eels, Lion Fish, and Bat Fish among many others. Those who have been down here believe that this is the most photogenic wreck in Asia.
Meanwhile, American Wreck is 30 meters deep and teeming with Yellow-tailed Barracuda and soft corals. The wreck is the USS Salute Admirable Class Minesweeper built in 1942 and launched in 1943. It is 60-m long and weighed 625 tons. The Australian Wreck, on the other hand, lies on her side 33 meters below the sea. The first to have seen the wreck assumed that it was either an Australian ship or a Japanese ship sunk by an Australian torpedo bomber. Today, divers know that this wreck was a Dutch passenger cargo ship.
Finally, the best, deepest and farthest from the coast is the Blue Water Wreck. This Philippine stern trawler is now surrounded by an array of marine life such as Barracudas, White Tip Sharks, Trevallies, Spanish mackerel, tuna, Jacks and so on. Other popular dive sites are Pelong Rocks, Abana Reef and Pete’s Reef.
Brunei may be a tiny Muslim sultanate in Southeast Asia and relatively unknown for its waters. However, those who have been here and had some exciting water fun are sure to come back for more and tell people about it. Scuba diving and swimming in Brunei are truly unforgettable vacation experiences for everyone.