Shopping is Brunei's national sport. Seriously - we might as well label this section 'Entertainment'. Locals bop through the shopping malls scouting out the best deals while bemoaning the fact that their micronation doesn't have enough variety. Things can get pretty hectic at the markets -the combination of food and shopping.
Escape the oppressive heat at the ritzy Yayasan Complex located in the city centre near the mosque. Here you'll find everything from the big brand names (Versace, Guess etc) to a variety of high-end local boutiques selling fabrics and jewellery. There are several great places to eat (see opposite), and don't miss the Hua Ho Department Store, with its cache of traditional Bruneian treats in the basement . There is a small art studio, called Ratna Dina Arif Gallery located on the 2nd floor of Yayasan exhibiting a slew of paintings by local artists.
The country's only traffic jam occurs nightly in Gadong, a suburb of BSB, as locals eagerly clog the streets while trying to find a parking space. This is Brunei's main shopping district and features several large complexes including Centrepoint and The Mall, each one a large air-conditioned bastion of commerce. And, just for the record, Brunei's only McDonald's is in Gadong. The Kuilap area, next door, also has a couple of window-shopping-worthy malls, including Seri Q-Lap, which houses Brunei's most popular Cineplex.
As far as souvenirs are concerned, the boxes ofkeropol udang (prawn crackers) are a local fave, and they transport quite well. Textiles are also quite popular - silk is sold at very reasonable prices. For something a bit more upscale, try jongsarat, a hand-woven cloth made from gold and silver threads. It can be found at the Arts and Handicrafts Centre in Kota Batu, around 1km east of central Bandar. And don't forget about those DVDs, sold almost everywhere. Make sure you acquaint yourself with the system of coloured dots representing the quality of each recording.
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