Traveling Luck for Brunei

Brunei is located in Southeastern Asia, bordering the South China Sea and Malaysia.

Brunei has borders with Malaysia for 381km.

Land in Brunei is flat coastal plain rises to mountains in east; hilly lowland in west.

Bruneian land covers an area of 5770 square kilometers which is slightly smaller than Delaware

As for the Bruneian climate; tropical; hot, humid, rainy.

Bruneian(s) speak Malay (official), English, Chinese.

Bruneian National Map

Bruneian Map

Regions of Brunei

The Sultanate of Brunei's influence peaked between the 15th and 17th centuries when its control extended over coastal areas of northwest Borneo and the southern Philippines. Brunei subsequently entered a period of decline brought on by internal strife over royal succession, colonial expansion of European powers, and piracy. In 1888, Brunei became a British protectorate; independence was achieved in 1984. The same family has ruled Brunei for over six centuries. Brunei benefits from extensive petroleum and natural gas fields, the source of one of the highest per capita GDPs in the developing world.


Brunei Country Profile

This small, well-to-do economy encompasses a mixture of foreign and domestic entrepreneurship, government regulation, welfare measures, and village tradition. Crude oil and natural gas production account for nearly half of GDP and more than 90% of government revenues. Per capita GDP is far above most other Third World countries, and substantial income from overseas investment supplements income from domestic production. The government provides for all medical services and free education through the university level and subsidizes rice and housing. Brunei's leaders are concerned that steadily increased integration in the world economy will undermine internal social cohesion, although it became a more prominent player by serving as chairman for the 2000 APEC (Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation) forum. Plans for the future include upgrading the labor force, reducing unemployment, strengthening the banking and tourist sectors, and, in general, further widening the economic base beyond oil and gas.

Bruneian natural resources include petroleum, natural gas, timber

close to vital sea lanes through South China Sea linking Indian and Pacific Oceans; two parts physically separated by Malaysia; almost an enclave within Malaysia

Bruneian religion is Muslim (official) 67%, Buddhist 13%, Christian 10%, indigenous beliefs and other 10%.

Natural hazards in Brunei include typhoons, earthquakes, and severe flooding are rare.

Travel Advice on Brunei

Brunei

This advice has been reviewed and reissued with amendments to the Summary and Terrorism section.  The overall level of the advice has not changed.

SUMMARY

  • You should not become involved with drugs of any kind:  possession of even very small quantities can lead to imprisonment or the death penalty.

  • The threat from terrorism is low.  But you should be aware of the risk of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.

  • If you plan to travel to the Malaysian State of Sabah, you should be aware that we believe terrorists and criminal elements are continuing with plans to kidnap foreign tourists from the islands and coastal areas of Eastern Sabah.  Boats travelling to and from offshore islands and dive sites are possible targets.  Action taken by the Philippine Armed Forces in January 2007 against terrorist groups in the southern Philippines may heighten this risk.  If you wish to visit resorts on, and islands off, Eastern Sabah, you should exercise extreme caution.

  • Around 10,000 British nationals visit Brunei each year.  Most visits are trouble-free.  The majority of incidents for which British nationals require consular assistance involve replacing lost passports or travellers hospitalised with medical conditions.

  • We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.  Please see: Travel Insurance.


SAFETY AND SECURITY


The threat from terrorism is low.  But you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be aimed against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.  There have been serious attacks in other parts of South East Asia.  In neighbouring Indonesia, Westerners were deliberately targeted in terrorist attacks in Bali (October 2002) and Jakarta (August 2003 and September 2004).

If you plan to travel to the Malaysian State of Sabah, you should be aware that we believe terrorists and criminal elements are continuing with plans to kidnap foreign tourists from the islands and coastal areas of Eastern Sabah.  Boats travelling to and from offshore islands and dive sites are possible targets.  Action taken by the Philippine Armed Forces in January 2007 against terrorist groups in the southern Philippines may heighten this risk.  If you wish to visit resorts on, and islands off, Eastern Sabah, you should exercise extreme caution.

Please read Security and General Tips and Risk of Terrorism when Travelling Overseas for further information and advice.

Crime

Crime levels are low in Brunei, but there are occasional incidents of petty crime against tourists.  You should:
  • take particular care of your passport;
  • when going out avoid carrying valuables with you;
  • not leave possessions in unattended vehicles, even if out of sight in a locked boot.
Political Situation

Brunei Country Profile.

Road Safety

If you are involved in a road accident as a driver, you should not leave the scene until the police have attended.

A foreign driving licence can be used in Brunei as long as it is endorsed by the Brunei Land Transport Department in the Ministry of Communications.  Alternatively you may use an International Driving Licence.

Trekking

It is easy to get lost when visiting the rainforest.  You should use recognised and well-known guides, and be sure to stay on the footpaths.


LOCAL LAWS AND CUSTOMS

Local laws reflect the fact that Brunei is a Muslim country.  You should respect local customs and sensitivities at all times, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas.
You should respect local social conventions.  You should dress modestly, especially in or near places of worship.

Possession of pornographic material is illegal.

Homosexual activity is illegal.

Any public criticism of His Majesty The Sultan or other members of the Bruneian Royal Family is strongly discouraged.

There are severe penalties for all drug offences in Brunei including, in some cases, the death penalty.  The legal system in Brunei is partly based on Sharia law and can, in certain circumstances, apply to non-Muslims including visitors.

The sale of alcohol in Brunei is prohibited.  Non-Muslims may import duty free, two bottles of wine or spirits and twelve cans of beer on every entry into Brunei, but must declare them to Customs on arrival. Keep the Customs slip in case of inspection.


ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

British passport holders do not require a visa to enter Brunei as tourists for stays of up to 30 days, penalties may be imposed on visitors who overstay. Visas for longer stays or for non-tourist purposes must be obtained from the nearest Brunei diplomatic mission before travel. The address of the High Commission of Brunei Darussalam in the UK is: Brunei representation in the UK
You will normally be refused entry to Brunei if your passport has less than six months’ remaining validity.
Single parents or other adults travelling alone with children should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. They may want to see birth certificates, a letter of consent from the other parent or some evidence as to your responsibility for the child. Bruneian authorities do not normally require such evidence, but if you have any concerns please check with: Brunei representation in the UK


HEALTH

We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before leaving UK. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake, including cover for medical evacuation by air ambulance particularly if you plan to engage in adventure sports. Please see: Travel Insurance.

The standards of healthcare in Brunei are generally better than in many countries in the region, though basic hospital supplies can run low from time to time.  There is only one significant medical facility: the Government General Hospital (RIPAS) in Bandar Seri Begawan.  Should complications arise, medical evacuation to Singapore is necessary.  Good dental care can be found either at Jerudong Park Medical Centre or from local private dentists.  Most branded pharmaceuticals are also readily available, including condoms.
Brunei has periodic problems with air quality reaching hazardous levels because of smoke haze.  In October 2006 air quality reached "unhealthy" levels.   For up to date information on air quality in Brunei, please visit the Bruneian Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation
Dengue fever is endemic in Brunei and a number of cases were reported in Brunei in late 2005.  Dengue is a mosquito-borne infection found in tropical and sub-tropical regions around the world.  It is a severe, flu-like illness but seldom causes death.  There is currently no vaccine to prevent infection.  You should take normal precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes.
Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) is endemic in Brunei and an outbreak in early 2006 closed kindergartens and junior schools for a short period.   HFMD is a communicable disease, which affects all age groups, but children are particularly vulnerable.  The disease usually causes mild illness but may occasionally take a more serious form, sometimes resulting in death.  If you experience the following symptoms - fever, blisters on the hands, feet, buttocks and in the mouth, a sore throat and headaches - you should seek urgent medical advice.  For further information on HFMD please visit the NaTHNaC website.

You should seek medical advice before travelling and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up to date, particularly if travelling elsewhere in the region.  For further information on health, check the Department of Health’s website at: www.dh.gov.uk
Avian Influenza
There have been no reported cases of avian influenza (bird flu) in Brunei during the current series of outbreaks.  But the World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed cases elsewhere in the region.
You should read this advice in conjunction with: Avian and Pandemic Influenza Factsheet, which gives more detailed advice and information.


GENERAL

If things go wrong when overseas, please see:  What We Can Do To Help.

Money

Credit cards are accepted at most major establishments.  Travellers’ cheques can be cashed at banks or major hotels.  Singapore Dollars may also be used in Brunei and are of the same value as the Brunei Dollar.  Most other major currencies are convertible at banks, hotels or official moneychangers.

Departure Tax

A Departure Tax of 12 Brunei Dollars (about £4) is payable for most departing passengers from Brunei.  This is payable in local currency, in cash, at the airport check-in desk.

Registration

If you plan to stay for an extended period in Brunei you are strongly advised to register with the British High Commission in Bandar Seri Begawan upon arrival.  This can be done electronically via the High Commission website (see below).