Essentials A-Z

Customs and duty free

The duty-free allowance for those over 17 is 200 cigarettes or 250 g of tobacco, 60 ml of perfume and 250 ml eau de toilette. Non- Muslims are allowed 2 bottles of liquor and 12 cans of beer for personal consumption. All alcohol must be declared on arrival. Trafficking illegal drugs carries the death penalty.


220-240 volts, 50 cycle AC.


There are plenty of internet caf├ęs and all the top-end and most of the mid-range hotels offer internet access. For those travelling with laptops, a dial-up internet service is provided by
; visit to subscribe.


The Malay language,
Bahasa Melayu
is the national language, but English is widely spoken and is taught in schools.


There are 2 daily newspapers: the English- language
Borneo Bulletin
( and the
Media Permata
(Malay), which cover local and international news. The most popular radio station is London's
Capital Radio
Capital Gold
is also broadcast live. The national television network transmits local programmes and Malaysian TV. Satellite TV is widespread in Brunei (even remote longhouses have dishes) and virtually all hotels provide a wide range of channels including CNN and the BBC.


The official currency is the Brunei dollar (B$), which is interchangeable with the Singapore dollar. Notes come in denominations of B$1, B$5, B$10, B$50, B$100, B$1000 and B$10,000. There are 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent coins.


Banks charge a commission of B$10-15 for exchanging cash or traveller's cheques. Money changers often don't charge a set commission but their rates won't be as good. ATMs are widespread in Brunei and many accept debit cards (with Maestro), as well as credit cards. Depending on who you bank with, withdrawing money on your debit card is often free (there are plenty of HSBC ATMs around). Most hotels and many shops and establishments accept credit cards, too.

Cost of travelling

Per capita, Brunei is one of the wealthiest countries in the developing world. This means that everything is more expensive than in the rest of Borneo. Unless you hire a car, you may have to rely on taxis (the bus network is skimpy at best) and these are not cheap. By Western standards, however, Brunei is not particularly expensive.
And, when it comes to local food at market stalls or in
kedai kopi
(traditional coffee shops),
the prices are only marginally higher than those just across the border.

Post offices

Most hotels have postal services. The cost of a stamp for a postcard to Europe is around 50c.


Directory enquiries: T113.
There are no area codes in Brunei. With a
Hallo Kad
phonecard (widely available) you can make international calls from any phone. You
can also make international calls in many hotels.
Coin phones take 10 and 20 cent pieces.


8 hrs ahead of GMT.

Tourist information
Lots of government statistics, information and acronyms.

The government of Brunei's official website.

An expat perspective on Brunei for visitors and people living there.

Brunei Tourism
, Brunei's official tourism site.

Visas and immigration

All visitors must have valid passports, onward tickets and sufficient funds to support themselves. Visitors from the UK, Ireland, Germany, New Zealand, Malaysia, South Korea and Singapore do not need a visa for visits of up to 30 days. US nationals can stay for up to 3 months without visas. Visitors from Belgium, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Japan and Thailand do not need visas for visits of up to 14 days. Australian passport holders are issued visas on arrival (B$20) at Brunei International Airport for stays of up to 30 days.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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