Tiang Yun Dian: The Chinese Temple in Bandar Seri Begawan

Religion is subjective and proposes a very sensitive subject during discussions. I, honestly, veer away from those topics on my blog. However, seeing Bandar Seri Begawan and discovering a new-found diversity in a, rather, conservative Muslim country, gave me hope for humankind. Seeing the Tiang Yun Dian Chinese temple, sitting in all its intricate beauty, in the heart of Brunei’s solemn Ramadan, brought about so much emotions that I thought was courtesy of PMS (LOL).

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I couldn’t help but fall dead silent on its foot. I was staring at its crimson walls and golden ornaments in reverence. When we arrived, we of course asked for permission from the temple custodians if we can take photos. We didn’t want to break the place’s solemnity with our touristy cheer. We proceeded with the photos when they gave the go signal.

Every corner of the place is beautiful. It was almost hard to believe that it barely survived history. The original Tiang Yun Dian temple was built by the wharf in front of  Kampong Ayer. The Chinese community contributed funds for the building of their place of worship until such time that it was fully established. Sadly, World War II happened and threatened the aesthetics of the temple. The Temple of the Flying Clouds, as it is more commonly known, is as steadfast as the faith of the people worshiping here. They slowly restored the temple’s splendor.  The time came though when the land where it was situated was acquired by the government and they had to transfer to where it is located now — at the corner of Jalan Elizabeth Dua and Jalan Kianggeh.

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How I marveled at every corner of the temple. Even the tiled walls tell so much of the religion’s story! With the Four Heavenly Kings nestled securely at the north, and the sky wells that welcome the sunlight, taking a photo is the best way to preserve the memory of the place.

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The smoke from the incense takes you to their tradition as the prayers made through it ascended to heaven. A woman was making her supplications while we were there and in her silent reverie, even the trees seemed to surrender. We knew that we had to go to avoid being a nuisance. We thanked the man in charge and made our way out.

A lot of great legends surround Tiang Yun Dian and the faith of its worshipers, including the bomb which did not detonate during the war. I am proud to have experienced its history, solemnity, and beauty. I am honored to see Brunei’s consideration to all sects. I hope to have honored the place with my blog entry, as this is the least that I can do to return the pleasure it gave to my senses.

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**To read more about our trip in how we enjoyed Brunei with just Php 3,000 and how we earned 8 Passport Stamps with just 2 countries, please click the respective links 🙂

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