Every year, during the celebration of the Hari Raya Aidil Fitri, many visitors like the citizens, foreign workers and tourist go to the Istana Nurul Iman, the official residence of the Sultan of Brunei and his family. Why do many people flock to the palace?
On ordinary days, one is not allowed to visit inside unless the person is invited by the royal family. The only time that the palace is open to the public is during the Hari Raya Aidil Fitri. It is usually open on the 2nd day until the 4th day of Hari Raya. So, if you’d like to have a look at the palace, the best time to come to Brunei Darussalam is during the Hari Raya season.
This year, I was fortunate enough because the 3rd day fell on a Monday, and it was still considered a public holiday. In the past years, I was not able to go because the visit days fell on a working day. I was really lucky this year!
I got up early, wore my favorite baju kurung and headed off to the palace. It is important to come in an appropriate attire to show respect to the community’s culture and festive season. The female guests will get the chance to shake hands with the Royal Family so it would be proper to wear something presentable.
My friend just dropped me at a street near to the palace because at this time, the road is usually, quite congested as there are many cars and people passing by. I reached the palace at around 8 in the morning and had ample time to take photos.
Shuttles are provided for visitors. All you need to do is queue up and the bus will take you to the entrance of the palace.
If you feel thirsty while waiting for your turn, water is also provided. Cool, right?
Upon entering the hall, each guest is given a visitor’s card and one has to fill out this form. This form will be submitted later before leaving the hall. The next queue is for food! Hari Raya is incomplete without the sumptuous and delicious food!
I spent about an hour dining and enjoying the available food and drinks for guests. There’s a stall for chocolate drinks coffee, water and soft drinks. There’s a stall for various desserts, too!
The next queue is for those who would like to meet and greet the royal family.
Finally….this is where the queue gets lighter because at this point, everyone is excited to meet and greet the royal family and receive a special gift before leaving the palace.
Here’s the gift! 🙂
And before leaving the palace, I made sure to take some more photos!
Even though, I had to wake up at 7am just to catch the Hari Raya Open Istana, I didn’t regret doing so. It was worth the effort and time! I hope I can visit again next year! 🙂