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Brunei’s capital market

February 12, 2009

Brunei is synonymous with oil, sultans, and wealth – mega wealth. Though historically in its capital city, Bandar Seri Begawan, market forces came to play in an unsuspecting place called Tamu Kianggeh. By no means is it a flash bank or financial centre, nor is it a shopping plaza, Tamu Kianggeh is a pint size local market, but this market is special – its economics date back to the 15th century.

Trade at this market began between relatives, where they came to meet and barter their produce. To be a member here you first had to be a relative of someone – nepotism rules applied.

Today the market still exits but trade and relationships have changed, in line with market forces. Money is the preferred language and the market has opened up. Anyone can join in the buying and selling of produce.

by Cate

by Cate

This market differs to others located around the city, its semi vegetarian selling mainly fruits, vegetables, dried foods and herbal treatments.  Fresh meats and fish vendors are noticeably absent. So too are the odors.

Markets like Tamu Kianggeh are where you see the real locals at work and very often, at play. Some marketers expect you to haggle, to run with them in their cheerful banter. Markets are a place to get out of shop mode and into street mode.

by Cate

by Cate

I always make an effort to walk through some markets in the places I visit. Some have left me in shock for weeks after – defurred rats in Tibet – others have inspired me to enrol in a cooking class.

This market in Brunei’s capital has plenty of colour, not only in the produce, but in the scarves, robes and skull caps. You won’t find designer brands here unless copied or worn by stand alone tourists. Tamu Kianggeh is very much a local affair.

by Cate

by Cate

The market is centrally located in the city,  near the Brunei riverbank across a canal.  It’s also a good place to eat if restaurants aren’t your thing.

My next post will be caffeine fueled for all you addicts wanting to know about the coffee scene. It’s a small scene but still delicious. Keep following to find out more.

Caffeinated Traveller

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3 Comments
  1. Jas permalink
    February 12, 2009 3:40 pm

    I believe the best way to find the pulse of any new place, and feel the energy of the people, is through the local markets. Not always indicative of soceital progress, but a good way to touch local tradition.

  2. February 13, 2009 5:15 pm

    Markets of all kinds are wonderful for learning about a new place and its people. Even supermarkets. I find those interesting too. That is certainly where I learned that the US was years behind the world on encouraging people to bring their own shopping bags. Shameful.

    Also if I don’t know the language, pointing at stuff in a market isn’t so bad. Looking forward to the caffeine post Cate!

  3. February 14, 2009 6:52 am

    Jas – markets are certainly an eye opener in developing countries. I also like the farmers markets we have back in NZ. Very different, more gourmet than anything.

    Sharon – I’m a big fan of supermarkets. I’ve checked out most of the ones around me already in Brunei, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Only wish they wouldn’t get upset with photographers.

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