Yesterday I wrote about the annual Eid Al-Fitr celebration held at Brunei’s Istana Nurul Iman Palace, which is open to the public. At the time, I couldn’t find details about when exactly the festivities took place. There wasn’t much info online, the country’s tourism website was outdated, and I didn’t expect to hear back from the Brunei Embassy. Imagine my surprise when a response appeared in my inbox less than 12 hours later, outlining some very useful information for those who may want to attend the event:
In response to your e-mail, the Embassy would like to advise that public celebrations for Eid Al-Fitr at Istana Nurul Iman will commence on the 2nd day of Hari Raya Aidilfitri (Eid). This year, the first day of Eid will fall either on July 17 or 18. Therefore, the Palace will be opened for 3 days, i.e. from July 18 to 20, or from July 19 to 21 (depending on whether the moon is sighted on the evening of July 16). Therefore, your best opportunity to visit the Palace would be on either July 19 or 20.
Generally, the opening hours are from 10am to 12pm in the morning, and then from 2pm to 4pm in the afternoon. We do encourage you to check with local newspapers such as the Borneo Bulletin or Brunei Times for official announcement by the Palace one or two days before Eid celebrations are expected to commence.
Visitors are encouraged to dress moderately, and please note that men will have the opportunity to greet the male members of the Royal Family, and women will greet the female members of the Royal Family.
Although the Embassy is not able to confirm if there are any local travel agents in Brunei that will arrange tours on the day, there is a possibility that some local travel agents may be bringing tourist groups in during this period. You might want to explore this possibility for you to arrange transport from your hotel to the Istana. Alternatively, you may wish to get the phone number of local taxi drivers that will arrange your pick up and drop off to and from your hotel to the Istana (perhaps make such an arrangement upon arrival at Brunei International Airport). We would also like to inform you that, on average, 30,000 people visit the Istana each day, and traffic on the roads leading to the Istana can be moderately heavy.
We hope you enjoy your visit to Brunei Darussalam.
Embassy of Brunei Darussalam
Since the exact date of Eid won’t be known until 1-2 days before, making travel arrangements ahead of time is tricky. In my case, as much as I wanted to make it work, it likely won’t since I need to finalize my travel plans within the next two weeks. However, for those who have more flexibility, a last-minute trip to Brunei from neighboring Singapore or Malaysia won’t be such a difficult feat.
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