BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, May 6 (Xinhua) -- No matter what your original purpose might be for visiting Brunei, a pint-sized oil- rich sultanate in Southeast Asia, it is easily to get into kind of holiday mood at the very first sight of its enthralling beauty.
Sitting on the northern tip of Borneo, Brunei's royal heritage of 600 years is visibly expressed in its iconic and gorgeous mosques and in the world's largest residential palace, Istana Nurul Iman palace, owned by Sultan Haji hassanal Bolkiah.
Considered a landmark modern Islamic architecture in Bandar Seri Begawan, the royal Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque is shaded by a large number of trees and encircled by floral gardens with its main dome coated in pure gold. Dominating the horizon of the capital, the magnificent building is a must see for any trip to the green land.
To appreciate opulence and unexpected wealth of the kingdom, visitors certainly could not miss Istana Nurul Iman palace, an impressive royal residence dubbed as "the world's largest residence of any type."
Hidden from public view through artful landscaping, the garden resides on a leafy, riverside sprawl of hills on the banks of the Brunei River with a floor space of 200,000 square meters. People can't help feeling awesome for the vision that looms before them under the skyline.
However, for the better part of year, the residence may only be admired from afar. Visitors are allowed to past through the palace gates during the annual Islamic celebration of Hari Raya Aidilfitri, the festival at the end of the Muslim fasting month.
A dramatic contrast to these opulent architectural marvels is the pristine, luxuriant rainforests, which cover 70 percent of Brunei's land area and are teemed ideal place to bring in natural thrills.
Boasting the third-largest oil producer in Southeast Asia and the fourth-largest producer of liquefied natural gas in the world, Brunei in recent years has shown advancement in its basic policy of diversifying the economy away from oil and gas.
The nation has also taken strides to grow into a more prominent player by serving as the chair for major international events including the 2000 Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit this year.
"Hosting such big events is a great opportunity for Brunei to boost its image abroad," said Ren, a hotel employee from the Orchid Garden hotel in the capital.
"I am happy and satisfied with my present life as we have benefit a lot from the amenities such as no taxes, free education and free health care," she added.