Official name: Negara Brunei Darussalam
Area: 5,770 square kilometers (2,228 square miles)
Highest point on mainland : Mt. Pagon (1,850 meters/6,070 feet)
Lowest point on land: Sea level
Hemispheres : Northern and Eastern
Time zone: 8 P.M. = noon GMT
Longest distances: Not available
Land boundaries : 381 kilometers (237 miles)
Coastline: 160 kilometers (100 miles)
Territorial sea limits: 22 kilometers (12 nautical miles)
1 LOCATION AND SIZE
The small country of Brunei is an enclave (distinct cultural area or country surrounded by a larger country) on the northern coast of the island of Borneo. Brunei shares the island with two neighbors: the Malaysian state of Sarawak and Indonesia. Brunei has an area of 5,770 square kilometers (2,228 square miles), or slightly more than the state of Delaware.
2 TERRITORIES AND DEPENDENCIES
Brunei believes it has rights to a fishing zone in an area of the Spratly Islands, land whose ownership is disputed among the Philippines, Malaysia, China, Taiwan, and Vietnam. Although Brunei has not made a formal claim on the territory, it does claim to have rights to fish in the waters around the islands.
The temperature of Brunei, a tropical country, averages from 23°C to 32°C (73°F to 89°F) year round. Humidity stays at around 80 percent. The northeast monsoon affects Brunei with heavy rains in November and December. On Brunei's coast the annual rainfall averages around 275 centimeters (110 inches), while inland rainfall amounts to 500 centimeters (200 inches) or more. Brunei is out of the path of most ocean storms such as typhoons, although it can be affected by tidal surges.
4 TOPOGRAPHIC REGIONS
Brunei consists of distinct eastern and western segments, separated by Malaysia's Limbang River valley, but linked by the waters of Brunei Bay. The terrain in both the eastern segment (the Temburong District) and the more populated western segment is composed of a coastal plain rising gradually to hills and cut through by rivers running north to the sea.
5 OCEANS AND SEAS
Brunei is strategically located on shipping lanes linking the trade routes of the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean through the South China Sea. The immensely valuable hydro-carbon deposits that have produced Brunei's petroleum export boom lie mainly under the South China Sea off Brunei's coast.
Seacoast and Undersea Features
The waters along the Brunei coast are filled with nutrients carried by the rivers, so there is an abundance of marine life, making the area productive for fishing. An estimated five hundred species of fish have been identified in the coastal waters.
Sea Inlets and Straits
In Temburong District, in the east, the steep muddy banks of Brunei Bay and its inlets form a major wildlife habitat.
Islands and Archipelagos
Brunei has thirty-three islands, comprising 1.4 percent of its land area. Two are in the South China Sea. The others are river islands or, like Pulau Muara Besar, are situated in Brunei Bay. The islands are important wildlife habitats and are mostly uninhabited by humans.
The western section of Brunei has a coastline on the South China Sea, where sandbars lie between estuaries and the open ocean. The Belait, Tutong, and Brunei districts have three river estuaries and significant mangrove forests.
6 INLAND LAKES
There are a few lakes in Brunei. In Tutong District, a 77-square-kilometer (30-square-mile) nature park surrounds the unusual, S-shaped Tasek Merimbun. The Wong Kadir and Teraja lakes are in Belait District.
7 RIVERS AND WATERFALLS
Four indigenous river systems and one originating in the Malaysian state of Sarawak flow north through and between the regions of Brunei to the South China Sea. The Belait River, Brunei's longest waterway, flows through western Brunei, as does the Tutong River.
The Brunei River runs southwest from an inlet of Brunei Bay (where Bandar Seri Begawan is located). In the eastern segment of Brunei, the Temburong River provides drainage for the entire Temburong District. The Limbang River valley, which belongs to Sarawak, splits Brunei in two.
Brunei has no deserts.
DID YOU KNOW?
Brunei's ecologically intact peat swamps (rare in north Borneo) are found in western Brunei.
9 FLAT AND ROLLING TERRAIN
In the west of Brunei, hills lower than 90 meters (295 feet) rise toward an escarpment and the higher hills approaching the Sarawak border. Brunei's highest peak, Mount Pagon (1,850 meters/6,070 feet), is located in this region. Brunei's eastern sector is also covered with low hills, which gain height close to the border with Sarawak. The mangrove forests of Brunei's estuaries are an ecological treasure, considered among the most intact in Southeast Asia. Mangrove forests cover an estimated 3.2 percent of Brunei's land.
10 MOUNTAINS AND VOLCANOES
Brunei has no mountains.
11 CANYONS AND CAVES
There are no notable caves.
12 PLATEAUS AND MONOLITHS
There are no notable plateaus.
13 MAN-MADE FEATURES
There are no man-made features affecting the geography of Brunei.
14 FURTHER READING
Edwards, David S. A Tropical Rainforest: The Nature of Biodiversity in Borneo at Belalong, Brunei. Torrance, CA: Heian International, 1995.
Pelton, Robert Young. Fielding's Borneo . Redondo Beach, CA: Fielding Worldwide, 1995.
Thia-Eng, Chua. Brunei Darussalam: Coastal Environmental Profile of Brunei Darussalam . Washington, DC: U.S. Agency for International Development, 1987.