Brunei Darussalam or Brunei is a petroleum-rich country located in Southeast Asia. The Sultanate of Brunei, except for its coastal areas lies within Sarawak, which is part of Malaysia, and is separated into two parts by a strip of the Sarawak territory. It is divided into four districts or daerah which are Belait, Brunei and Muara, Temburong and Tutong.
When the first Portuguese ships arrived in Brunei in the year 1526, it was a powerful state where its sultans ruled all of Borneo. Brunei was reduced to a small coastal enclave when it lost its territories in Sarawak and Sabah. It became a British protectorate in 1888, administered by a British High Commissioner. When the new constitution took effect, Brunei was governed by the hereditary sultan with the aid of a chief minister.
The Royal family of Brunei has an almost god-like status in the country. The Sultan of Brunei is famous for being one of the richest people in the world. It is advisable not to speak badly of the Sultan at anytime because for the Brunei an, the Sultan represents the ancient Monarchic tradition which is accepted and respected.
Brunei is truly a paradise for nature lovers with its unspoiled tropical rainforests and a wealth of exotic flora and fauna. It is also a paradise for those tired of polluted air, disease, traffic jams and crime. A visit to Brunei promises to rejuvenate a tired body and a tired spirit. If one is lucky enough, a chance to understand and feel why it is called the Kingdom of Unexpected Treasures would be a reason enough to visit.
Brunei, getting there and around
Brunei's major airport is Brunei International Airport. Major airlines serving it are Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, Malaysia Airlines and the national carrier, Royal Brunei Airlines.
There are regular boat services from Malaysia to the ferry terminal outside Bandar Seri Begawan.
Bus service is available from Malaysia. Driving into Brunei is also possible from Malaysia.
Regular domestic flights are available.
Water Taxis can be hailed from docking ports along Brunei River. Car and passenger ferries are also available.
There are six bus routes on the capital city Bandar Seri Begawan. Metered taxis are available in major hotels, shopping centers and the airport. Car hires, whether chauffeur driven or self-driven are also available.
Brunei, main attractions
This is an amusement center and the most developed tourist attraction in Brunei.
It is also called the water village as hundreds of homes seem to float on water. It is accessible by taxi boats.
Ulu Temburong National Park
This is Brunei's primary rainforest offering magnificent views, boat rides and rafting through the rainforests.
The long level open space is perfect for family outing and leisurely strolling.
- New Year's Day
- Hari Raya Aidiladha - this event commemorates the Islamic Historical event of Prophet Ibrahim
- Chinese New Year
- Muslim Holy month of Hijiriah
- National Day
- The Birthday of Prophet Muhammed S.A.W.
- Royal Brunei Armed Forces Day
- The Birthday of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzadin Waddaulah
- Israk Mikraj
- First Day of Ramadan
- Anniversary of the Revelation of the Quran
- Hari Raya Aidilfitri - celebrates the end of the fasting month of Ramadan
Brunei, important visitor information
Bandar Seri Begawan
official language is Malay but English is widely spoken
Brunei an Dollar
Muslim 67%, Buddhist 13%, Christian 10%
It is hot and humid throughout the year in Brunei but with heavy rainfall experienced from September to January.
Local Food Favorites
Nasi Katok - combination of rice and spicy beef or chicken
Alcohol - Alcohol is not sold anywhere and drinking of alcohol in public is prohibited. Non-Muslim visitors are allowed to bring in up to 2 liters of alcohol plus 12 cans of beer for personal consumption only.
Local Drink Favorite
Teh Tarik - sweet milk tea
Revealing clothes are considered immodest. Shoes should be removed when visiting mosques. Shorts are appropriate for swimming pools and beaches only.
Brunei an shake hands as a means of greetings by touching the hands and then bringing the hand to the chest. Customs dictate not to shake hands with members of the opposite sex. It is considered impolite to point with one's finger. Accepting even just a little food and drink is preferable when offered. Refrain from eating in the presence of Muslims during the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan as they do not eat during this period.
A valid passport is a requirement for all visitors. Visa requirements vary depending on the nationality of travelers.
Brunei is free of malaria and other tropical diseases.
Natural calamities are rare as Brunei is located outside the typhoon belt, does not have volcanoes and not prone to earthquakes.
Weekdays - 9am - 4 pm; Saturday - 9 am - 11 am;
Everyday except Fridays and Saturdays; 7:45 am - 12:15 pm; 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Weekdays - 8:00 am - 5:00 pm; Saturdays - 8:00 am - 12:00 pm; Shortened hours during the fasting month
most open daily - 10:00 am - 9:30 pm