The Sultanate of Brunei (Negara Brunei Darussalam) officialy Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace is a small but thanks to natural gas and petroleum resources,very rich country located in Southeast Asia.
It's surrounded by Malaysia and has two parts physically separated by Malaysia, almost being an enclave.
Strategically located on the South China Sea, close to vital sea lanes linking Indian and Pacific Oceans, it has an exclusive economic fishing zone that extends as far as Louisa Reef in the southern Spratly Islands although it makes no public territorial claim to the offshore reefs.
Brunei is a pint-sized and fabulously wealthy oil-rich sultanate with a population of just under half a million, if illegal immigrants from countries such as Indonesia, India, China and the Philippines are included.
It is a member of the Commonwealth and has good education and hygiene.
The population is devoutly Muslim.
The Sultanate of Brunei's heyday occurred 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. It was offered the opportunity to join Malaysia as a state in 1963, but opted out of the Federation due to a disagreement on the amount of its oil income that would have to be given to the central government in Kuala Lumpur.
Independence was achieved in 1984. The same family has ruled Brunei for over six centuries.
Independence Day: 1 January (from UK in 1984)
National Day: 23 February, 1 January 1984 was the date of independence from the UK, while 23 February 1984 was the date of independence from British protection.
Constitution Day: 29 September,Brunei's constitution was promulgated in 1959, but some provisions were suspended under a State of Emergency in December 1962, others since independence on 1 January 1984
The backbone of Brunei's economy is oil and gas and the Sultan of Brunei is, famously, one of the richest people in the world with an estimated personal wealth of around 40 billion dollars.
Per capita GDP is far above most other developing countries, and substantial income from overseas investment supplements income from domestic production.
The government provides for all medical services and subsidizes rice and housing.
All sectors of economy are fairly heavily regulated and government policy is an odd mixture of subsidies, protectionism and encouragement of entrepreneurship.
Brunei's leaders are attempting to balance the country's steadily increasing integration into the world economy with internal social cohesion.
It became a more prominent player in the world by serving as chairman for the 2005 APEC (Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation) forum.
Plans for the future include upgrading the workforce, reducing unemployment, strengthening the banking and tourist sectors, and, in general, widening the economic base beyond oil and gas.
Heritage And Culture
Brunei is officially an Islamic state, with hundreds of large beautiful mosques across the country.
Sale of alcohol is banned. Bringing in meat,other than seafood which has not been certified "halal",slaughtered according to Islamic law, is also banned.
During the fasting month of Ramadan, many shops and restaurants will be open. However, eating, drinking or smoking in front of people who are fasting is considered rude and asking permission is appropriate.
Due to the respect of the Holy Month in Islam, in 2014, new law had been passed by the government where non fasting people only allowed to take out foods from all restaurants and eat privately.
The bulk of the population is Malay (67%) and there is also a significant Chinese minority of some 15% as well as a number of indigenous peoples, including the Duson tribes who inhabit the jungle upriver and the Temburong district,the smaller eastern part detached from the rest of Brunei.
There is a large number of foreign workers who work on the oil and gas production or in positions such as restaurant staff, field workers and domestic staff.
The male to female ratio is 3:2. More than a quarter of the people are short term immigrant workers, most of whom are men.
Prostitution in Brunei is illegal and can incur a punishment of imprisonment for 5 years and a fine of $ 20,000.
The climate of Brunei is tropical equatorial.
The average annual temperature is 26.1°C (79.0°F), with the April–May average of 24.7°C (76.5°F) and the October–December average of 23.8°C (74.8°F).
Brunei's topology is of a flat coastal plain rises to mountains in the east, the highest point being Bukit Pagan at 1,850m, with some hilly lowlands in the west.
There are no typhoons, earthquakes, severe flooding and other forms of natural disasters to contend with, and the biggest environmental issues is the seasonal haze resulting from forest fires that is caused by illegal clearing of land in nearby Indonesia.
Brunei has four districts (Malay: daerah)
Brunei regions map.png
Brunei and Muara
Heart of the country where the capital Bandar Seri Begawan is located.
Lies under the coverage of the virgin forest, scattered small scale plantations.
Western-most district, also the centre of the country's petroleum industry. Seria town is a small oil town.
Bandar Seri Begawan — the capital, sometimes known as "Bandar" or "BSB" for short.
Bangar — the tiny district capital of Temburong district.
Kuala Belait — town to catch transport to or from Miri, Sarawak.
Muara — main port of Brunei with passenger ferries to Labuan and Sarawak.
Seria — oil capital of Brunei, also known as "Shelltown".
Tutong - full of virgin forest and the beauty of nature including Tasek Marimbun
Isolated eastern district, separated from the rest of country by the Sarawak district of Limbang.
Gadong; shopping centres where the biggest mall in Brunei located. Local markets can be found just next to the building. Full of local shophouses from cheap T-shirt to cheap food, even car's workshop!
Serusop; newly shopping complex. New malls and affordable Times Hotel. Serusop located just 5 min from Brunei International Airport. The new trend for youth hang out place.
Tasek Merimbun; famous lake located in Tutong district.
Pantai Gadong, Pantai Muara and Pantai Serasa; the must visit beaches in Borneo.
Kiulap; Shophouses and Shopping Mall.
Kampong Ayer; the very old, traditional kind of the Venice of the East. It is not a shopping complex but only cover with full of traditional and modern floating water villages.
Foreign nationals of the following countries/territories can enter Brunei visa-free as long as they present a passport valid for at least 6 months.
For up to 90 days: All European Union member states, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and the United States.
For up to 30 days: Malaysia, New Zealand, Oman, Singapore, South Korea, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates
For up to 14 days: Cambodia, Canada, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Macau, Maldives, Myanmar, Peru, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam
Nationals of Australia and Bahrain may obtain a single entry visa for B$20 or a multiple entry visa for B$30 at Brunei International Airport valid for 30 days.
Nationals of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia may obtain a single entry visa for B$20 at Brunei International Airport valid for 30 days.
Nationals of China (PRC), Qatar and Taiwan may obtain a single entry visa for a fee at Brunei International Airport valid for 14 days.
Proof of return or onward travel is required to check in for your flight to Brunei.
If you plan to leave by ferry you will need to purchase a cheap flight out of Brunei before you arrive there.
Those who need a visa must apply in advance at a Brunei embassy, where processing can take up to 3 days and costs B$20 for a single entry visa.
Apply for the visa in Kota Kinabalu: It costs 70 RM and takes 3 working days. Time to receive application is 8.30am-11.30am (Monday-Friday). Time of collection is 2.30pm-3.30pm (Monday-Friday).
The Consulate of Brunei is in Grace Square. You need one photo and proof of onward travel.
If you require a visa to enter Brunei, you might be able to apply for one at a British embassy, high commission or consulate in the country where you legally reside if there is no Bruneian foreign mission.
For example, the British embassies in Addis Ababa and Belgrade accept Bruneian visa applications,this list is not exhaustive.
British diplomatic posts charge £50 to process a Bruneian visa application and an extra £70 if the authorities in Brunei require the visa application to be referred to them.
The authorities in Brunei can also decide to charge an additional fee if they correspond with you directly.
Brunei's sole airport of significance is Brunei International Airport (BWN), the hub of national carrier Royal Brunei Airlines The airport itself is small but clean and functional.
After over-expansion and huge losses in the 1990s, Royal Brunei Airlines (RBA) has cut down on its services considerably but still offers a reasonably comprehensive network, with daily flights to London via Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, and Kota Kinabalu.
There are also frequent flights to Jakarta, Surabaya, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Manila, Melbourne and Shanghai. The best prices are usually found on Royal Brunei Airlines website.
Stopovers in Brunei are available and are good value, though you'll need to book by phone or through a travel agent. Royal Brunei Airlines is a dry airline; if you wish to drink you must bring your own.
In addition, Singapore Airlines flies 5 times a week from Singapore, and Malaysia Airlines flies from Kuala Lumpur, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu.
In July 2006, AirAsia started flights from Kuala Lumpur, bringing some much-needed competition. AirAsia is the cheapest carrier to serve Brunei from an international Hub, with fares as low as US$35 one-way from Kuala Lumpur.
AirAsia flies from 35 destinations in Asia to Kuala Lumpur, where connections to Brunei are available.
Cebu Pacfiic fly red-eye flights to Manila.
Departing by plane from Brunei involves paying a departure tax: B$5 for flights to Kuching and Kota Kinabalu and B$12 to other international destinations. This is included in the price of Royal Brunei Airlines tickets.
A taxi to Bandar Seri Begawan takes 20 minutes and costs around B$25. A covered walk down to the end of the car park further away from the Terminal a turn right from Arrivals leads to a bus stop for Purple buses to the city centre (B$1) along with other busses for tours & hotel shuttles. The reason for the long walk is extensive construction of airport upgrades.
By Your Car
You can drive into Brunei from Sarawak, Malaysia. There are two entry points for the main part of Brunei, one from Miri at Sungai Tujuh and one from Limbang at Kuala Lurah,Tedungan on the Malaysian side.
Both these crossings have drive-through immigration checkpoints at the border but queues can be horribly long, especially during weekends.
Note that the border checkpoint opens at 06:00 and closes at 00:00 midnight daily.
It is also possible to drive from the Sarawak towns of Limbang and Lawas to the Temburong district of Brunei.
The drive from Limbang requires a ferry ride across the Pandaruan River (RM8 or B$4) which forms the border between Malaysia and Brunei.
You can now conduct immigration formalities at Pandaruan with the opening of the Malaysian checkpoint in June 2007.
Brunei immigration formalities are conducted at Puni, about 600m away from the ferry landing. From Lawas,which is connected by road to Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia, a ferry ride across the Trusan River (RM10) is required before you can proceed to the actual border at Labu.
Malaysian immigration formalities are done in Trusan,the immigration office, officially known as the Mengkalap immigration checkpoint, is in a shoplot just east of the ferry crossing about 8km away, and no longer in Lawas.
Those for Brunei can be done at the Labu checkpoint at the border.
It is possible to drive from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah to Bandar Seri Begawan in one day. See the Kota Kinabalu to Brunei in a day page for details.
By Coach or Bus
The Miri Belait Transportation Company DOES NOT RUN ANYMORE as of November 2016.
It used to run buses between Kuala Belait in Brunei and Miri in Sarawak, Malaysia. The journey required a bus change at the Sungei Tujoh border checkpoint.
Tickets were however available at RM12.20 from Miri. Note that there have been reports that buses from Miri occasionally refuse to go all the way to the border and stop just before the Asean Bridge at Kuala Baram because of the high toll charge of the bridge.
You may have to use taxis to complete the final 5km between the border and the bridge. As of November 2016, this bus does NOT exist anymore,their website is not updated and provides outdated information.
From Kuala Belait, there are buses to Seria (B$1) approx. every 20 minutes, where you can change to another bus for Bandar Seri Begawan (B$6). The entire journey takes about 5 hours. Buses depart Seria every hour.
There are also two express buses a day between Bandar Seri Begawan and Miri, run by PHLS. One runs early in the morning dep 8:15am from Miri, 7am from Bandar, as of november 2016, and the second in the afternoon dep 3:45pm from Miri, 1pm from Bandar, as of november 2016. Fares have increased, B$38.
The direct bus from Bandar Seri Begawan to Kota Kinibalu serves Bangar, Limbang, Lawas and other stops en route to Kota Kinibalu.
It leaves opposite Tamu Kianggeh at approximately 8am. Alternatively, you can catch a local bus from Bandar's bus station to Kuala Lurah on the border, walk across the checkpoint into Tedungan in Sarawak and catch a Syarikat Bas Limbang bus to Limbang.
Do the reverse if coming from Limbang to Bandar. Buses depart from Limbang bus terminal several times a day and bear the destination "Batu Danau". Taxis are also available on both sides of the border but bargain hard for the fare.
You can also get to Temburong district by bus from Limbang, although again, there are no direct buses into Bangar; all buses destination "Pandaruan" stop at the ferry landing at Pandaruan, where there is now a Malaysian immigration checkpoint. Cross the river by ferry and catch a taxi for the 5km to Bangar.
There is a daily bus from Bandar Seri Begawan to Kota Kinibalu. The bus departs opposite Tamu Kianggeh approx 8am and takes approximately 8-9 hours, given twisting single lane highways, picking up and dropping passengers along the way, and the numerous border crossings which entail passport/immigration checks. It costs 100 RM.
The main ferry terminal in Brunei is the Serasa Ferry Terminal at Muara, where there are several ferries daily to/from Labuan and one daily ferry each to/from Lawas and Sundar, both in Sarawak.
With a change of boats in Labuan, you can even make it to/from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, in a day. See the Kota Kinabalu to Brunei in a day page.
Please note that the ferry terminal is quite a distance from actual Muara town where the container port is located. The terminal is about 25km from Bandar Seri Begawan. Getting there are purple buses (No. 38) linking the ferry terminal with BSB. Or you can just take a tour van / taxi.
There is a car ferry service from Brunei to Sabah.
Please note that you need to pay a tax "cukai kepala" to get out of Brunei (currently, B$ 2 per ferry ticket). Enquire the counters/travel agent if you didn't get the tax coupon when purchasing the tickets.
There is one "motorway", from Bandar Seri Begawan along the coast. It devolves into dual and then single carriageway but is suitable for all vehicles, right through to Kuala Belait and the toll bridge to Malaysia/Sarawak in the west.
There is also a side road off this, which runs into the jungle towards the settlement of Labi and beyond. Excellent scenery, and a 4-wheel drive may be useful, but the road is now sealed up to the longhouses some distance beyond Labi. Stock up on water at the convenient shop at the junction.
There are only few taxis in whole Brunei, because the car ownership and usage are high.
Since there are around 10 waiting at the airport and 8 in the Belait District there is a little chance of finding a free taxi along the road, especially during morning and afternoon peak hours when they are hired by business men.
Needing a taxi might require a phone call. The main taxi stand is direct north of the bus station in the capital with only a few taxis waiting.
None of the taxis has a taxi meter since there is no taxi company nor regulation requiring to have one. Drivers have fixed prices for most trips, although the tariffs may vary between different drivers, or they will give a price for an irregular trip.
Another alternative is hiring a tour van to drive you around Brunei, for example, for a whole day, or several hours. Try asking them from the ferry counters in Muara. Discuss the price first before agreeing to board the van.
Around the capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, there is a good-sized network of purple minibuses. Brunei's high rate of private car ownership means very few Bruneians take these buses, which largely cater to foreign workers.
The speed of the buses are limited to 50km/h but are actually quite efficient and reliable. Bus routes cease operation before 8pm.
In general, the bus system around the capital radiates from the bus terminal in the central district.
There are designated bus stops along each route but passengers are picked up or let off at unofficial locations at the discretion of the driver.
The unofficial mode of operation makes easy travel and entice patronage. Unfortunately, it is difficult to obtain some form of details on bus routes and timetables.
Experience in mid 2011 prompted a small contribution in the form of pictures of the known bus routes at the time.The pictures of the bus routes will be posted at a later date.
There are 13 routes and the fare is flat B$1.00 which is collected by a conductor. The passenger can advise the driver the location to disembark.
Sometimes, the conductor asks the passengers their respective locations to disembark and skips part of the route, to the dismay of passenger who wish to catch the bus. This also implies that there is no strict scheduled time. It is quite normal to wait 30 to 45 minutes for a bus.
There is also an infrequent long-distance bus which runs between BSB and Seria through Tutong.
The official language of Brunei is Malay, but due to its British colonial past, English is widely spoken and understood in urban areas.
A little Malay will come in handy in rural areas, as English proficiency is limited there. While all Bruneians are able to speak standard Malay, the local dialect of Malay is almost incomprehensible to other Malay speakers.
Solely among the Malay-speaking states, Brunei also officially uses the Arabic script for Malay known as Jawi, although most signs are written both in Jawi and Roman letters.
Nevertheless, the Roman alphabet is still the more commonly used script when writing Malay in Brunei.
The ethnic Chinese community in Brunei continues to speak a variety of Chinese languages, including Hokkien, Teochew and several others.
Attractions To Visit
The Istana Nurul Iman is the world’s largest residential palace in occupation. The 300-acre palace sits on a man made hill with a clear view of Kampong Ayer. Istana Nurul Iman is the residence of the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, and the palace is quoted to have an estimated value at USD600 million.
There are many eco-tours which typically go to the Temburong district by boat then to a native "longhouse". It is then followed by a powered boat by the natives up the river to the Belalong National Park, a reserve in the Borneo rainforest.
There is a canopy walk and research centre at the park headquarters. Visitors can book to stay overnight at the Ulu Ulu Resort or discover the rainforest with Borneoguide and stay in the Sumbiling Eco Village.
For nature lovers, a new activity to try in Brunei is the Tutong River cruise tour, about 40 minutes away from Bandar Seri Begawan.
The cruise provided by Sunshine Borneo Tours & Travel emphasizes on mangrove ecology and conservation education. The beautiful and calm mangrove-fringed Tutong River is home to the endemic Proboscis monkeys, eagles, crocodiles, macaques, kingfishers and other wildlife.
Some villages and other eco-activities can also be found on Eko-Brunei
Bukit Shahbandar is a nature reserve offering several hikes according to the number of small peaks you want to ascend. All well marked. The longest takes 1.5 to 2 hours among trees and steep dirt hills. At the bottom, there is a park and jogging trail. It is 5 min drive, 15 min walk from The Empire Hotel.
Jerudong Park was once a decent theme park with a multitude of rides. Sadly, a downward cycle of neglect, declining admission and unaffordable maintenance costs led to the closure and sale of most of the big-ticket rides, including the three rollercoasters.
This has given the park a sad "circus left town last week" air about it. Though in recent years there have been attempts to revive the park, including some new rides,mainly for children as well as clown shows. The original bumper cars, go-karts, paddle-boats & merry-go-round are still operational. As is the fountain & light show.
Most people who visit only go at night to avoid the heat during the day. Outside the park, but very close, is a small complex of restaurants which is open at night, though only around half of the stalls are still operational.
Brunei offers some great diving. In addition to coral and fish, Brunei is home to several shipwrecks and many species of nudibranch,one of the best places in S.E. Asia for macro photography.
Water temperature is generally around 86 degrees (30 Celsius) and visibility is usually in the 10-30m range, although this can be changeable during the monsoon season. As diving here is not overly developed, it means that the sites, and especially the coral reefs, are unspoiled and in pristine condition.
Popular dive sites include the Blue Water Wreck, a 80m trawler that gets her nickname from the blue water around her and is still completely intact.
Cement Wreck, a 2,687 ton Japanese freighter that hit a sandbank in 1980 while carrying cement. She has a length of 92m and a 15m beam. Easy to penetrate, the freighter lies upright on the bottom at 30m. Australian Wreck, In 1949 while on a voyage to Manila it struck a mine off Brunei and sank.
The wreck lies in 33m of water and is roughly 85m . Dolphin 88 Wreck Malaysian commercial vessel sunk in bad weather in 2013 . Experienced divers will enjoy exploring the interior of the wreck.
Rig Reef, a decommissioned oil rig. There are 9 structures to be explored, each seeming to be home to one dominant group of fish.
Diving is very reasonable, averaging out to BN$35-45 per dive depending on how many dives you do and whether you bring your own gear. There are a number of organisations you can do trips with such as; Oceanic Quest, The Brunei Sub Aqua Dive Club in Brunei-Muara & Panaga Divers based in seria.
The local currency is the Brunei dollar (BND) you might hear ringgit used to refer to the dollar but be sure that participants are not talking about the Malaysian ringgit (MYR) which is valued at less than half a Brunei dollar.
The Brunei dollar is tied to the Singapore dollar at a 1:1 rate. By law both currencies can be used interchangeably, so if you're coming in from Singapore, there's no reason to change money as your cash will be readily accepted. Likewise, any leftover Brunei dollars can be used at par in Singapore.
Although Singaporean coins can be used in Brunei with the exception of the SGD1, Singapore does not accept Bruneian coins.
However, many stores refuse Singapore notes with seemingly microscopic tears in them, and notices to this effect are posted at the cash register.
The Brunei dollar is divided into 100 cents. There are banknotes from BND1 to a whopping BND10,000 and coins of 1 to 50 cents.
All smaller notes and the 2004 series of larger notes are printed as brightly coloured polymer notes.
By South-East Asian standards Brunei is roughly on par with Singapore, meaning roughly twice as expensive as neighbouring Malaysia. You can reduce costs by eating at local restaurants and avoiding the more expensive restaurants in hotels.
Budget accommodation, once very limited, has expanded in recent years and you can now get a decent bed for the night for around B$30.
Bruneians love to eat out and there are many excellent restaurants in Brunei serving a wide variety of cuisines, thanks to the large number of foreign workers in the country.
There is also the local nasi katok, a simple combination of rice and curried beef or chicken, which can be quite spicy. It is relatively inexpensive when compared to other food that you can buy, for example local food such as chicken rice. However, it is not a healthy option, with few vegetables and too much fat.
Another choice is ambuyat, a culinary experience unique to Borneo. It is a starchy and gooey paste made from sago that can be dipped into a savoury sauce.
Brunei produces excellent quality soy sauce, darker, thicker and stronger in flavour than you'd typically find in Japan or China.
Very cheap local fastfood restaurant also available across the country such as Ayamku Restaurant
Rice and Grill restaurant in Bandar Seri Begawan serves curry and tandoori dishes with a Borneo twist. Prices are very cheap at around 6 Brunei dollars for a set meal.
Alcohol is not sold anywhere in the country and consumption of alcohol in public is prohibited by law. Non-Muslim visitors are allowed to bring in up to two litres of alcohol (wine or spirits) plus up to twelve 330mL cans of beer, lager or cider every 48 hours, and there is a wide array of duty-free shops just across the border in Malaysia to cater to this demand.
However, alcohol permits must be obtained upon arrival in Brunei while going through customs. At customs you will be required to fill in a yellow form to declare your alcohol.
Many higher-end restaurants allow guests to bring in their own alcohol and corkage is not charged, though this is technically illegal and it's best to keep a low profile if you choose to consume in a public establishment.
At the lower end particularly Chinese restaurants, many restaurants supply illicit booze under euphemisms like "special tea".
One should definitely try out teh tarik, a sweet milk tea, as well as the wide array of coffee (kopi) available in restaurants.
Cigarettes are difficult to obtain, if you wish to smoke it is advisable to bring your own supplies. There is no duty free allowance for cigarettes or tobacco, duty is always payable,approx BND50 per 200 cigarettes.
Accommodation in Brunei was until recently famously expensive,there is still only one youth hostel in the entire country but some reasonably cheap guesthouses can now be found here and there.
There are also some descent accommodation and even business hotels in other parts of Brunei.
Many of the jobs in Brunei are in the gas and oil industry but many positions have opened up for international English Teachers due to the booming economy and business sector.
Footprints Recruiting offers placement in teaching jobs in Brunei. This can be a great way to absorb the culture and see many of the wonderful attractions Brunei has to offer, while making money to boot.
WARNING: Brunei treats drug offences extremely severely. The death penalty is mandatory for those convicted of trafficking, manufacturing, importing or exporting more than 1 g of heroin, 1 g of morphine, 1 g of cocaine, 1 g of cannabis, 1 g of cannabis resin and 1 g of opium, and possession of these quantities is all that is needed for you to be convicted.
For unauthorised consumption, there is a maximum of 10 years' jail or or a heavy fine, or both. You can be charged for unauthorised consumption as long as traces of illicit drugs are found in your system, even if you can prove that they were consumed outside the country, and you can be charged for trafficking as long as drugs are found in bags that are in your possession or in your room, even if they aren't yours and regardless of whether you're aware of them,therefore be vigilant of your possessions.
Brunei is a very safe country, with theft being uncommon and violent crime almost unheard of. However, you should use common sense, no matter what.
Brunei revised its penal code in 2014, implementing Sharia law. On paper, the death penalty by stoning is stipulated for numerous offences, including insult or defamation of the Prophet Mohammed, insulting any verses of the Quran and Hadith, blasphemy, declaring oneself a prophet or non-Muslim, robbery, adultery, sodomy, extramarital sexual relations for Muslims and murder.
Other crimes, such as drug trafficking to a certain degree, kidnapping and unauthorised possession of firearms are also punished with death.
Homosexual acts are illegal, with death by stoning being the punishment. The introduction in 2014 of an Islamic Criminal Code, means any convicts that engage in homosexuality acts that have been testified to by four honest-in-character witnesses to the court would be punishable by death if proven to a jury's satisfaction.
Police will join in or turn a blind eye to violence toward LGBT. Businesses will turn you away, attack you, or report you to the police. If you're LGBT stay out of Brunei.
Brunei uses caning for males only for less serious crimes, including illegal entry, overstaying your visa for over 90 days, corruption, and vandalism. Caning is no slap on the wrist: strokes from the thick rattan cane are very painful. The wounds can take weeks to heal and even scar for life. These laws apply to foreigners as well. However prostitution is allowed.
Eating out is generally safe because of good food safety standards. Though tap water is not fit for drinking & should be boiled first. Alternatively, bottled water is very cheap.
The Brunei Government is run as a Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB), and the Sultan of Brunei, apart from being one of the richest men in the world, is in charge and frequently appears on the front page of the two daily newspapers. At all costs, do not insult or speak badly of the Royal family.
Furthermore, though Bruneians are generally courteous and tolerant, it is a good idea to be aware of sensitivities surrounding certain topics of conversation, especially politics (domestic, regional & international) and world events, particularly those relating to Islam or Islamic countries.
The international code for Brunei is 673. The telephone numbers in Brunei consist of 7 digits with no local codes, although the first digit of the number indicates the area such as 3 for the Belait District and 2 for Bandar Seri Begawan.
The prepaid Hallo Kad, available from TelBru telephone offices including one at the airport and other outlets in denominations from B$5 to B$50 can be used at any phone in the country to make local and international calls.
Other phone cards are also available for use in public phones.
GSM mobile phone services are available from network operator DST . They have a good range of roaming connections. 3G mobile phone services are available from B-Mobile .
B-Mobile is now known as Progresif Cellular Sdn Bhd (PCSB). Once exit from the Arrival Hall at Brunei International Airport, they have a counter selling simcards & plans.
There is also a Visitor Sim - for short term stay (BND10 all in SMS, voice & data).