Top events in Brunei

July
15

Official festivities include prayers, a royal address to the nation, and a military ceremony. The sultan visits all four of Brunei's districts to...

July
20

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan is marked by sunrise-to-sundown fasting and special prayers in mosques. Each evening, hundreds of food stalls...

August
18

The end of the fasting month of Ramadan is marked by a three-day celebration. Bruneians spend time with family, don traditional dress and eat...

Mosque in Brunei
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Mosque in Brunei

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Brunei Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

5,765 sq km (2,226 sq miles).

Population

428,874 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density

74.5 per sq km.

Capital

Bandar Seri Begawan (popularly known as 'BSB').

Government

Traditional Islamic monarchy.

Head of state

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah since 1967.

Head of government

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah since 1967.

Electricity

220/240 volts AC, 50Hz. British-style plugs with three square pins are most commonly used.

Thanks to sizeable deposits of oil and gas, the tiny tropical sultanate of Brunei Darussalam has one of the highest standards of living in the world. Its two non-contiguous territories, situated on the northern coast of Borneo in South-East Asia, are home to some of the region's most pristine rain forest habitats.

The country only gained independence in 1984, but has the world's oldest reigning monarchy and centuries of royal heritage. At the helm of the only remaining Malay Islamic monarchy in the world, the Sultan of Brunei comes from a family line that dates back over 600 years. The current sultan, His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, has been on the throne for 43 years and is one of the world's richest individuals.

Visitors to the "Abode of Peace" (the literal translation of darussalam) will find the country surprisingly laid-back and relaxing. In addition to admiring the gilded domes, towering minarets and extraordinary ornamentation of two landmark mosques in the capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, tourists can explore water villages by boat and on foot, learn about local culture in several interesting museums, sample delicious Malay cuising (some of the best can be found at open-air markets), and experience the incredibly biodiversity of the Bornean rain forest in Ulu Temburong National Park.

Travel Advice

Last updated: 13 March 2017

The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.


Crime

Crime levels are low, but there are occasional incidents of petty crime against tourists. Take particular care of your passport, avoid carrying valuables with you and do not leave possessions in unattended vehicles, even if out of sight in a locked boot.

Following an incident in September 2014, the police advise individuals against hiking alone in the forest, including at well-known recreation areas.

Road travel

Drivers of vehicles not registered in Brunei can only purchase motor fuel at 10 designated filling stations throughout the country, to a maximum of 250 litres. Filling a foreign car is more expensive as the purchase price does not include a government subsidy.

You can drive in Brunei with a UK driving licence as long as it is endorsed by the Brunei Land Transport Department in the Ministry of Communications. Alternatively, you can use an International Driving Permit (for up to three months).

Driving standards differ from the UK. Traffic will not always stop at red lights or pedestrian crossings. Speeding and non use of seatbelts is common. Road conditions are generally good but you should take extra care while driving through heavy rain as road surfaces are uneven.

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

Trekking

It is easy to get lost when visiting the rainforest. Use recognised and well-known guides, and stay on the footpaths.

Political Situation

Avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings of people. Keep yourself informed of developments, and if you become aware of any nearby protests, leave the area immediately.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.