Brunei travel guide
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.
5,765 sq km (2,226 sq miles).
428,874 (UN estimate 2016).
74.5 per sq km.
Bandar Seri Begawan (popularly known as 'BSB').
Traditional Islamic monarchy.
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah since 1967.
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah since 1967.
Before you travel, check the ‘Entry requirements’ section for Brunei’s current entry restrictions and requirements. Due to COVID-19, these may change with little warning. Monitor this advice for the latest updates and stay in contact with your travel provider.
If you plan to pass through another country on your journey, check the travel advice for the country you’re transiting.
It is more important than ever to get travel insurance and check it provides appropriate cover. See the FCDO’s guidance on foreign travel insurance.
Pre-COVID-19, around 13,000 British nationals visit Brunei every year (source: Brunei Immigration). Most visits are trouble free.
Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Brunei, attacks can not be ruled out. See Terrorism
Crime levels are low, but there are occasional incidents against tourists. See Crime
To contact the emergency services call Royal Brunei Police Force 993, Ambulance 991, Fire 995 or Search and Rescue 998.
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. In Brunei the consular contact number is +673 2222231 (select the consular option).
Coronavirus travel health
Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Brunei on the TravelHealthPro website
See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Entry and borders
See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Brunei.
Be prepared for your plans to change
No travel is risk-free during COVID-19. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.
If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.
Plan ahead and make sure you:
- can access money
- understand what your insurance will cover
- can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned
Brunei has now lifted all pandemic restrictions in country. Wearing a mask is no longer mandatory (indoors or outdoors). Masks and/or Antigen Rapid Tests may be required in health facilities and may be required by event organisers. Masks are still required for those who handle food preparation (e.g. at eateries).
All individuals, regardless of vaccination status, are allowed to enter public premises and government offices and attend private and public events.
Temperature checks and scanning the BruHealth app before entering premises is no longer mandatory. Self-isolation for COVID-19 positive individuals is encouraged, but not mandatory (different establishments e.g. schools may have their own regulations on this). Close contacts of COVID-19 positive individuals no longer have to self-isolate.
British people travelling should check the Brunei Ministry of Health and the Prime Minister’s Office websites for up to date guidance, policy on travel to/from Brunei and details on how to download and use the BruHealth app.
Healthcare in Brunei
For contact details for English speaking doctors visit our list of healthcare providers.
Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health.
View Health for further details on healthcare in Brunei.
See also the guidance on healthcare if you’re waiting to return to the UK.
For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.
If you need urgent consular assistance, contact your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate. All telephone numbers are available 24/7.
Crime levels are low, but there are occasional incidents of petty crime against tourists as well as house burglaries. 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.
Female visitors and residents should take care when walking or travelling alone. You should remain aware of your surroundings and take sensible precautions. See these travel tips for women travellers.
Drivers of vehicles not registered in Brunei can only buy motor fuel at 14 designated filling stations throughout the country, to a maximum of 250 litres. Petrol stations will only sell premium “V-Power” fuel to foreign cars. Cash payments are the norm.
You can drive in Brunei with a valid UK driving licence for up to 90 days after which you will need to apply for a Bruneian licence.
Driving standards differ from the UK. Traffic will not always stop at red lights or pedestrian crossings. Speeding and non-use of seatbelts and infant car seats is common. Road conditions are generally good but you should take extra care while driving through heavy rain as road surfaces are uneven. Be aware that there could be animals such as monitor lizards, snakes and monkeys on the road.
If you’re involved in a road accident as a driver, you should not leave the scene or move the vehicle until the police have attended.
Small boats carry passengers across to the water village in Bandar and along the rivers on cruises. Before taking one ensure that they have adequate life jackets for all passengers including children. Keep hands inside the boat – there are crocodiles in the rivers. If taking a longer trip, for example a wildlife cruise, seek local recommendations and prearrange your trip.
Police advise individuals against hiking alone in the forest, including at well-known recreation areas. It’s easy to get lost when visiting the rainforest. Use recognised and well-known guides, and stay on the footpaths. Always carry water (heat stroke can be an issue) and emergency sweets with you and consider carrying a whistle (in case you need to attract attention) and a torch if hiking in the afternoon (in case you take longer than you think and it gets dark). Wear closed toe shoes and stick to paths and trails rather than pushing through the undergrowth.
Brunei is home to the saltwater crocodile which grows to a large size and lives in rivers, water ways and estuaries. You should pay attention to signs warning of crocodiles in the area, and stay away from the edge of water. People have been attacked and killed by crocodiles while fishing on river banks around Bandar. Crocodiles have also been seen on beaches and in the ponds of the Panaga Golf Course. If in doubt seek local advice.
There are a number of venomous snakes in Brunei, if you encounter a snake while outdoors, keep your distance and wait for the snake to move away – their instinct is to get away from humans. If you find a snake indoors or outside in a confined space (i.e. garden) call the Fire and Rescue (Bomba) on 995 (they are also able to remove crocodiles if necessary).
Demonstrations or large public gatherings are unlikely in Brunei. Keep yourself informed through the local media.
Local laws reflect the fact that Brunei is an Islamic country. You should dress modestly and respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times, especially during the holy month of Ramadan, or if you intend to visit religious buildings. While it is acceptable to wear shorts outside and in commercial premises, both men and women may be refused entry to government and public buildings such as health centres if wearing shorts.
His Majesty The Sultan and other members of the Bruneian Royal Family are highly revered and public criticism of them would cause great offence.
There may be serious penalties for doing something that might not be illegal in the UK. If you’re planning to visit or live in Brunei, you’re strongly advised to familiarise yourself with local laws and customs.
In 2014, Brunei began the introduction of a Sharia Penal Code, to run in parallel with the Common Law. The final phase was introduced on 3 April 2019. It specifies severe punishments for certain crimes, including some that are not illegal in the UK.
Most laws under Common Law and the Sharia Penal Code apply to all people in Brunei, regardless of nationality or religion.
Adultery and close proximity in private between an unmarried man and woman is illegal if one party is a Muslim.
Possession of pornographic material is illegal.
Brunei has very strict laws against the possession of firearms, ammunition (blank or live) and explosives (fireworks, firecrackers, etc.). Please take special care in ensuring that you are not carrying these items, even replicas resembling these items, with you when travelling to, from or transiting through Brunei .
Homosexual activity is illegal. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.
It is an offence to criticise Islam, and for any person to consume food, drink or tobacco in public during the fasting hours of the holy month of Ramadan. For information on travelling during Ramadan, see Travelling during Ramadan.
There are severe penalties for drug offences in Brunei including, in some cases, the death penalty. Other crimes may attract caning and lengthy prison sentences.
The sale of alcohol and tobacco in Brunei is prohibited. Non-Muslims over 17 years of age may import a limited amount of alcohol, but must declare it to the customs authorities on arrival, and must consume it in private. A list of other prohibited and restricted items is available on the Royal Customs and Excise Department’s website.
Smoking is prohibited in certain public places, including shopping and eating areas, bus stops and stations, car parks and near buildings.
Places of business and offices including shops and restaurants shut between 12 noon and 2pm every Friday for prayers. Friday is a non-working day for government offices and local schools, which open instead on a Saturday.
Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Brunei, attacks can not be ruled out.
UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism.
You should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could be in public areas, including those frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.
There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.
This page has information on travelling to Brunei.
This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.
The authorities in Brunei set and enforce entry rules. If you’re unsure how Brunei’s entry requirements apply to you, contact its UK embassy, high commission or consulate.’
You should refer to the Prime Minister’s Office website for the latest information.
As of 15 September 2022, travellers are no longer required to be vaccinated to enter or exit Brunei.
All foreign nationals entering Brunei by air, sea or land will need to fill in the E-Arrival Declaration Form i. The online form can be accessed here. Transit passengers who will not pass through immigration do not need to complete the arrival form. A negative pre-departure COVID-19 test is not needed to enter Brunei.
Brunei citizens and permanent residents exiting Brunei no longer need to obtain a Travel Medical Insurance with COVID-19 coverage before travelling.
You should refer to the Prime Minister’s Office website for the latest information.
If you’re transiting through Brunei
Transiting is when you pass through one country on the way to your final destination.
Check rules with your airline before departing, and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for Brunei as well as for your destination.
Land and sea travel
You should check border post opening hours before travel as they are not open 24 hours and ensure that your exit / entry stamps are correct before leaving the border post
You should refer to the Prime Minister’s Office website for the latest information.
Check your passport and travel documents before you travel
British Citizen passport holders may enter Brunei for up to 90 days without a visa. If you have another type of British nationality, check with Brunei immigration authorities about visa requirements.
Make sure the entry stamp in your passport indicates the validity of your stay. There are strict penalties for overstaying.
If you’re staying longer than 90 days and/or visiting for non-tourist purposes, you will need to get a visa from the nearest Brunei diplomatic mission before you travel.
Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Brunei. You should ensure that your passport is in good condition, without damage.
Brunei does not recognise dual nationality. You can be refused entry if you’re found to be holding two passports of different nationality. If you’re a dual national, it’s advisable to enter Brunei on the passport on which you exited your last country of departure. While in Brunei your nationality will be deemed to be that shown on the passport which you used to enter the country. This may affect the consular assistance that you receive in Brunei.
Yellow fever certificate requirements
Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
There are reports of instances of Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) not being accepted for entry into Brunei. You should check with the local Bruneian High Commission or Embassy. ETDs are accepted for airside transit and exit from Brunei. They should have at least 6 months validity. You’ll have to obtain an exit or entry visa as relevant from Brunei Immigration or a Bruneian Embassy/High Commission before you travel. Please be aware that same day ETDs are not available, it takes several days to obtain an ETD.
If you have a health condition, or you are pregnant, you may need specialist healthcare abroad. Check whether your destination country can provide the healthcare you may need and ensure you have appropriate travel insurance for unexpected medical evacuation or local treatment.
See the Coronavirus travel health and Healthcare sections in the Coronavirus section for COVID-19 health information
At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.
General information on travel vaccinations is available on the NHS website, and a travel health checklist is available on the ABTA website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.
The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).
Under normal conditions, standards of healthcare in Brunei are generally acceptable, though basic hospital supplies can run low from time to time. There are two significant medical facilities, the Government General Hospital (RIPAS) in Bandar Seri Begawan and the private Jerudong Park Medical Centre (JPMC). Should complications arise, medical evacuation to Singapore may be necessary. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
Emergency dental treatment can be provided either at Jerudong Park Medical Centre (JPMC) or from local private dentists. Most branded pharmaceuticals are readily available though some items that are available without a prescription in the UK, like decongestants or anti histamines may need a Doctor’s prescription in Brunei.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 991 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.
Credit cards are accepted at most major establishments. However, a number of shops and restaurants will only accept cash and will not have a credit card facility.
ATMs are available. Payment apps such as Pocket are becoming more popular and can be linked to an international credit card. Travellers’ cheques can be cashed at banks or major hotels. Singapore dollars may be used in Brunei and are of the same value as the Brunei Dollar (Brunei dollars can also be used in Singapore although retailers may not be keen to accept them). Most other major currencies are convertible at banks, hotels or official moneychangers.
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).
Foreign travel checklist
Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.
The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can not provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.
When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.
Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.
Refunds and cancellations
If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can not offer a refund to their customers.
For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Registering your travel details with us
We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.
Previous versions of FCDO travel advice
If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can not find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice Team a request.
If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry, or contact us on Twitter or Facebook. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.