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Brunei

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Ginasuite Kompleks27 Hotel
Ginasuite Kompleks27 Hotel - dream vacation

Unit 3, Simpang 27, Kompleks 27, Jalan Gadong, Bandar Seri Begawan

Parkview Hotel Jerudong
Parkview Hotel Jerudong - dream vacation

Lot 36204, Jalan Pertanian Luahan, Jerudong

Times Hotel Bandar Seri Begawan
Times Hotel Bandar Seri Begawan - dream vacation

2nd Floor, Times Square Shopping Centre, Simpang 13-29, Jalan Berakas, Bandar Seri Begawan

Jubilee Hotel
Jubilee Hotel - dream vacation

Jubilee Plaza, Bandar Seri Begawan

Bandar Apartment
Bandar Apartment - dream vacation

Lim Beng Thai, Jalan Padang Talib 1, Bandar Seri Begawan

D'Anggerek Hotel
D'Anggerek Hotel - dream vacation

Lot 11044, Kg. Anggerek Desa, Bandar Seri Begawan

Garden Sentral Hotel
Garden Sentral Hotel - dream vacation

3rd Floor Sental Shopping Centre Jalan Seri Maharaja Kg Mumong 'A' Kuala Belait, Kuala Belait

Seaview Hotel Bandar Seri Begawan
Seaview Hotel Bandar Seri Begawan - dream vacation

Lot 3678 2.6KM, Jalan Maulana, Bandar Seri Begawan

Tat Place Hotel
Tat Place Hotel - dream vacation

Lot 22, Shop 51, Jalan Pretty, Bandar Seri Begawan

The Sultanate of Brunei (Full name: Negara Brunei Darussalam, with Darussalam meaning "Abode of Peace") is a small but — thanks to natural gas and petroleum resources — a very rich country in Southeast Asia. It is surrounded by Malaysia and has two parts physically separated by Malaysia, almost being an enclave. Strategically positioned 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.

Cities

  • Bandar Seri Begawan. The capital, sometimes known as "Bandar" or "BSB" for short.
  • Bangar. Gateway town to the unspoiled nature of Temburong
  • Kuala Belait. Second largest city and a useful transport hub towards Sarawak, Malaysia.

Other destinationations

  • 1 Ulu Temburong National Park. The first and the only national park established in Brunei, containing unspoiled jungle and is known as the "Green Jewel of Brunei"

Understand

Brunei is a pint-sized oil-rich sultanate with a population of 450,000 as of 2016. This wealth generated oil has generated great wealth for the Sultan and some of the local people, and the best evidence of this is seen in the palaces and mosques. However you'll also see many people (for example in the water village) still living a subsistence life, with no tap water or sewerage system.

History

The Sultanate of Brunei's heyday occurred between the 15th-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 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. One family has ruled Brunei for over six centuries.

Independence  1 Jan 1984 (from the UK) National holiday  National Day, 23 Feb (1984); note - 1 Jan 1984 was the date of independence from the UK, 23 Feb 1984 was the date of independence from British protection Constitution  29 Sep 1959 (some provisions suspended under a State of Emergency since Dec 1962, others since independence on 1 Jan 1984) Landmarks

The Istana Nurul Iman is the world's largest occupied residential palace. 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.

Economy

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 US 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 subsidises 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.

Culture

Given their shared history, Brunei shares much cultural similarities with neighbouring Malaysia, with the Malay language serving as a common link between both countries.

Brunei is officially an Islamic state, with many large beautiful mosques across the country. Sale of alcohol is banned. Bringing in meat, (other than seafood) that 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. Expect everything to be closed - including hotel restaurants, and all shops - during Friday prayers all year. Things start closing around 11am, and start reopening again around 2pm.

The bulk of the population is Malay (67%) and there is also a significant Chinese minority of around 15% as well as a number of indigenous peoples, including the Iban and Dusun 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 lower 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.

Geography and climate

Brunei's climate is is sub-tropical. Temperatures range from 14-33°C, January being the hottest month. Rainy season is always mild and humid, followed by a hot and humid dry season. The difference between the two seasons is not that marked, however. The rainforest and jungle areas tend to be cooler and wetter than the coastal region.

Brunei's topology is of a flat coastal plain rises to mountains in the east, the highest point being Bukit Pagan at 1,850 metres, 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.

Get in

Entry requirements

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 (except Croatia), United States

For up to 30 days: Iceland, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates

For up to 14 days: Cambodia, Canada, China (including Hong Kong SAR and Macao SAR), Japan, Indonesia, Laos, Liechtenstein, Maldives, Peru, Philippines, Switzerland, Thailand and Vietnam

Nationals of Israel are not allowed to enter Brunei, though other passports containing Israeli stamps and visas are not a problem for entry.

Citizens of Australia and Kuwait can obtain a visa on arrival for 30 days. Citizens of Bahrain, Qatar and Taiwan can obtain a visa on arrival for 14 days. These citizens can obtain a visa on arrival for $20 or a 3 day transit Visa for $5. Immigration officers at Sungai Tujoh Checkpoint between Miri and Kuala Belait will not accept payment for a visa on arrival other than in Brunei or Singapore dollars - there is no ATM and cheques are not accepted. At Brunei airport payment must also be made in cash. There is a money changer (with reasonable rates), but no ATM prior to immigration. If you need a visa-on-arrival, make sure you join the right queue at entry. Joining the foreign passport queue will see you sent to the back of the line. Large tour groups requiring visas on arrival can jam up the system. You may have to be quick, persistent or patient.

Proof of return or onward travel is officially 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. Alternatively, you can book an expensive (but fully refundable) flight, and cancel it afterwards.

Note that from Kuala Lumpur, Air Asia is not enforcing this rule; hence you probably won't need such a proof of return if you fly from KL.

Those who need a visa must apply in advance at a Brunei embassy, where processing can take up to 3 days and costs $20 for a single entry visa. See Brunei Immigration Department for the latest details.

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.

By plane

Brunei's sole airport of significance is Brunei International Airport (IATA: BWN), the hub of national carrier Royal Brunei Airlines (RBA). The airport itself is compact, immaculate and functional.

There are a handful of cafes both airside and landside, and customs and immigration are smooth. There are also ATMs landside but none airside, either for arrivals or departures.

RBA offers a reasonably comprehensive network, with daily flights to London, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Kota Kinabalu, and four times weekly non-stop flights to Kuching. Fares that transit via Brunei are attractively priced and you are guaranteed service with a smile. In addition, Singapore Airlines flies 5 times a week from Singapore, and Malaysia Airlines flies from Kuala Lumpur twice a week. Malaysia Airlines' rural subsidiary MASwings also operates flights to and from Kuching via Mulu, 4 times a week. Budget airline AirAsia provide flights to Kuala Lumpur at as low as USD35 one-way. For other destinations the best transit airports are Singapore Changi and Kuala Lumpur.

Departing by plane from Brunei involves paying a departure tax: $5 for flights to Kuching and Kota Kinabalu and $12 to other international destinations. This should now be included in your ticket price.

Getting there/away: A taxi to Bandar Seri Begawan downtown takes 20 minutes and costs around $25. A covered walk down to the end of the car park further away from the Terminal (turn right from Arrivals) leads to a bus stop for Purple buses to the city centre ($1).

By 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.

It is also possible to drive from the Sarawak towns of Limbang and Lawas to the Temburong district of Brunei. A bridge across the Pandaruan River was opened in December 2013 and the ferry service has been discontinued. Immigration is now conducted at Pandaruan (Malaysia side; opened in June 2007) and at Puni (Brunei side; opened in 2013). From Lawas (which is connected by road to Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia), another bridge completes the connection between the banks of the Trusan River (and no ferry ride is required anymore). 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 8 km 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 by land page for details.

Warning: Only some petrol stations in the country are permitted to sell petrol to cars with non-Brunei plates due to a tax issue. It can be frustrating to find these stations and so ensure your car is topped up.

The Malaysia-Brunei ferry the Malaysian town of Limbang and the Bruneian district of Temburong has been discontinued since December 2013, due to the completion of the toll-free Friendship Bridge, which connects the two borders at the eastern side of Limbang.

By bus

  • To/from Miri: The Miri Belait Transportation Company runs buses between Kuala Belait in Brunei and Miri in Sarawak, Malaysia. The journey requires a bus change at the Sungei Tujoh border checkpoint. Through tickets are 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 5 km between the border and the bridge. From Kuala Belait, there are buses to Seria ($1) approx. every 20 minutes, where you can change to another bus for Bandar Seri Begawan ($6). The entire journey takes about 5 hours. Buses depart Seria every hour.
  • To/from Limbang: There are no direct buses between Bandar Seri Begawan and Limbang in Sarawak. However, 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 5 km to Bangar.

By boat

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 by land page.

The ferry terminal is quite a distance from actual Muara town where the container port is located. The terminal is about 25 km from Bandar Seri Begawan. Getting there: There are purple buses (No. 38 or 39) linking the ferry terminal with BSB. Buses are cheap ($1) but can take some time, up to 2 hours including delay and transfer. Or you can just take a tour van / taxi.

There is a car ferry service from Brunei to Sabah.

You need to pay a tax ("cukai kepala") to get out of Brunei (currently, $2 per ferry ticket). Enquire at the counters/travel agent if you didn't get the tax coupon when purchasing the tickets.

Get around

By car

There is one "motorway", from Bandar Seri Begawan (the capital) along the coast. It is almost all dual carriageway from Muara 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.

By taxi

There are only ± 40 taxis in whole of Brunei (2009), because 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.

By tour vans

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.

By boat

Waterways  209 km; navigable by craft drawing less than 1.2 m

By bus

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 50 km/h but are quite efficient and reliable.

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. There are 13 routes and the fare is $1 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.

Talk

The official language of Brunei is Malay (Bahasa Melayu), 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. Brunei also officially uses the Arabic script for Malay known as Jawi. Outside of official government signage and religious publications almost all signs use the Roman alphabet.

The ethnic Chinese community in Brunei continues to speak a variety of Chinese dialects, including Hokkien, Teochew, and several others.

See

Do

For things to do in and in the near vicinity of Bandar Seri Begawan, see Bandar Seri Begawan.

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.

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 roller coasters. This has given the park a sad "circus left town last week" air about it. 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 a few of the stalls are still operational. The local papers have reported plans to renovate the park with a new selection of attractions.

Scuba diving

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 SE Asia for macro photography. Water temperature is generally around 30 C and visibility is usually around 10-30 metres, 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, an 80 m 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 92 m and a 15 m beam. Easy to penetrate, the freighter lies upright on the bottom at 30 m. Australian Wreck, In 1949 while on a voyage to Manila it struck a mine off Brunei and sank. The wreck lies in 33 m of water and is roughly 85 m. 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.

The cost of diving is reasonable, averaging $35–45 per dive depending on how many dives you do and whether you bring your own gear.

Buy

Money

The local currency is the Brunei Dollar, denoted by the symbol "$" or "B$" (ISO code: BND). You might hear Ringgit used to refer to the dollar but be sure that the speaker is not talking about the Malaysian Ringgit (MYR) which is valued at less than half a Brunei dollar. All prices in this guide are in Brunei dollars unless otherwise noted.

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.) However, many stores refuse Singapore notes with seemingly microscopic tears in them, and notices to this effect are posted at the cash register. Malaysian ringgit (RM) will also be accepted in a pinch, but the exchange rate may not be in your favour. The ringgit is not available at Brunei banks but can be obtained from money changers.

The Brunei dollar is divided into 100 cents. There are banknotes from $1 to a whopping $10,000 (handy if you're shopping for Rolls-Royces) and coins of 1-50 cents. All smaller notes and the 2004 series of larger notes are printed as brightly coloured polymer notes.

Costs

By Southeast 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 $30.

Eat

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.

Desserts

  • Kueh melayu (sugar, raisin, and peanut-filled sweet pancakes)

Drink

Brunei is a dry country: alcohol is not sold anywhere in the country and consumption of alcohol in public is prohibited by law. That said, non-Muslim visitors are allowed to bring in up to two litres of alcohol (wine or spirits) plus up to twelve cans of beer 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 must be declared upon arrival in Brunei while going through customs.

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.

Sleep

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. See Bandar Seri Begawan for listings.

Stay safe

Brunei, like Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore, has very strict laws when it comes to drugs. Drug trafficking to a certain degree has a mandatory death sentence. Other crimes, such as murder, kidnapping and unauthorised possession of firearms are also punished with death. Brunei uses caning (for males only) for rapes, as well as for less serious crimes, including illegal entry, overstaying your visa for over 90 days, robbery, corruption and vandalism. Caning is no slap on the wrist. Strokes from the thick rattan cane is excruciating and very painful. They can take weeks to heal, and even scar for life. These laws apply to foreigners as well.

During the Islamic month of Ramadhan, avoid consumption of food and beverages in public as a hefty fine in the thousands will be levied if caught doing so. Additionally, all restaurants, including non-halal ones, cease dine-in services during the day. It is best to avoid visiting Brunei during Ramadhan.

The bottom line is: Know their laws, and obey them.

In terms of personal safety, Brunei is a very safe country, on par with Japan, though you should use common sense no matter what.

Driving in Brunei is easy. Most drivers obey the traffic rules, and the roads are well maintained. Distances are not great. If you're driving around Brunei, however, do watch out for impatient and/or dangerous drivers. Some drivers obviously consider themselves above the law, and given the social structure of Brunei, this is likely to actually be the case. Take extra caution around midnight and early morning as some drivers illegally race on the roads.

Stay healthy

Eating out is generally safe because of good food safety standards. But drink water only if it's been boiled, or bottled water. Protect yourself from mosquito bites. Dengue fever is a real risk. Malaria risk is low.

Respect

The Brunei Government is run as a Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB), which means that the Sultan of Brunei, apart from being one of the richest men in the world, effectively runs the country. You can expect the Sultan to appear on the front page of the two local daily newspapers almost every day, and occupy the first ten minutes of the local TB news bulletin.

You'll see the wealth of the country in everything that the Sultan touches, but much of the rest of the country misses out on badly needed investment and development. Over half of the country are ex-patriot workers or permanent residents, and it's not hard to engage them in a conversation about the political situation once they gain your trust. Brunei is a country where your race, religion and heritage matter in day-to-day life. Still, it's best to approach the subject very carefully, especially with Bruneians. Brunei does have lèse majesté laws, that can get you in serious trouble for insulting the Royal Family.

Bruneians are generally courteous and tolerant. Non-muslim visitors are generally not restricted in their manner of dress. Women can sleeveless shirts and shorts and blend in. Super-skimpy swimming attire is probably one step to far.

Like in all countries, it is a good idea to hold your ideas on politics (domestic, regional, or international), and world events, particularly those relating to Islam or Islamic countries. But most Bruneians are more than happy to share discuss their role their religion and royality plays in their life if you listen respectfully.

Connect

By phone

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 $5-50 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.

Mobile phone services are provided by two network operator DST and Progresif Cellular. Coverage is completed across almost all of the country. Coverage in the Temburong national park areas may be patchy.

Hello, 2017. You’re a sight for sore eyes.

You’re also, so far, a bit of a mystery. Since I started this blog, I’ve never kicked off a year with less travel on my plate. In a way, it’s thrilling — anything can happen! — and in another it’s a little scary. Can I really let a year pass by without ticking one of my dream trips off my list? For someone who often can’t fall asleep at night because they are so consumed by all the places in the world they still have yet to see, it’s kinda of a panic-inducing thought.

Travel Plans 2017

And yet I find myself quite content, settled back in Koh Tao with a bright and cheery little apartment, a faithful little motorbike and unpacked bag nestled in the corner of my closet. As I do weigh up options for the year, I’m torn as always between revisiting old favorites (oh hello, island I’ve been returning to for seven years and currently living on again) and big bucket list dream trips (oh hey there, diving in Mozambique, which I daydream about constantly yet have no plans to actually make a reality).

Anyway, last year’s post outlining my 2016 travels was fairly accurate — it will be fun to see how this one fares!

January-May // Asia

I state this with a pretty inordinate amount of pride for someone who makes a living as a travel blogger, but at the moment literally only like 14 out of the first 120 days of 2017 will be spent not in my bed here on Koh Tao. I need this for a lot of reasons, not the least of which being I am so backlogged on content here on Alex in Wanderland. I just need to lock myself away and furiously type until I’m caught up writing on all my trips! I’ve already nixed two opportunities to travel to new countries in the first quarter of this year, with this being one of my primary reasons.

So what will I be getting up to?

In January, I will spend just three nights off Koh Tao — a quick trip to Bangkok to see my sister off. (In fact, I’ve already come and gone!) I actually wasn’t planning to leave the island at all as I really just got here in December, but alas, I can’t say no to Olivia — nor can I turn down a weekend in one of my favorite cities in the world. In fact, what started as a fun fantasy over the years solidified on this quick jaunt into a very strong determination to rent an apartment in Bangkok for a month or two someday, and see what it’s like to experience one of my favorite places for longer than just a few days at a time. Maybe in the fall that will come to fruition.

Bangkok

I have some pretty exciting plans at home for the rest of the month, though, like a week-long aerial silks workshop with Flying Trapeze Adventures and all my favorite shows re-starting after their winter hiatuses (don’t judge).

In February, I’ll be taking my “big trip” of this Southeast Asia stretch. First, I’m cobbling together a big crew to take to Wonderfruit, a festival in the Pattaya countryside that I couldn’t be more excited about attending. Between the fanciful stages hosting musicians from around the world, the wonderfeasts by some of Thailand’s top chefs, and the workshops on everything from yoga to living a plastic-free life, I’m not even sure which aspect I’m looking forward to the most.

Wonderfruit(source)

After the festival, Ian and I are off to Penang, Malaysia — Ian has to go to process his Thai work permit, and I’m tagging along for fun (and to reactivate my own visa.) I’ve never been to Penang other than in transit and look forward to exploring the city of Georgetown and hiking in Penang National Park. I’m still fairly bitter that the direct flight to Penang from Koh Samui has been discontinued, but alas, I still want to go. Who knows, we might even tack on a few days in Bangkok in-between!

Penang(source 12, and 3)

In March, I currently have no plans to leave Koh Tao. Gasp! Now that you all convinced me to get PRK surgery I am considering blocking off a week to go to Bangkok and do it then, but I also might also put it off until the fall. Back on Koh Tao, there’s going to be a big new festival that I’m pretty excited about (if you haven’t sensed a theme for the year yet, you will soon!)

In April, I’ll pop over to Koh Samui for a few days to meet a friend and possibly attend Paradise Island Festival. Otherwise I’ll be on Koh Tao enjoying Songkran, Easter, and my last long stretch of stillness for a while.

In May, I have a one last little trip in the works before catching my flight to the US for the summer. It’s all in pencil now but it involves a river cruise, showing Ian around one of my favorite Thai cities, and (duh) more Bangkok. Fingers crossed it all works out!

Ayutthaya(source 12, and 3)

May-August // USA

I’ve fallen into a pattern of spending more and more time back in the US every year, however I have to be frank — our current political climate makes me want to spend less time there than ever before. I’m not being defiant or trying to make a statement. It’s just that my heart literally sinks out of my chest every time I think about home, and unless that starts to fade I don’t know how many consecutive months I can walk around with that heaviness. I’ve never felt more disconnected from the place that made me. I’m adrift. Here’s hoping some peace and clarity find me in this department in 2017.

That said, I have three confirmed weddings and one other up in the air, one confirmed festival and a few others on the back burner (wink wink, fellow playa fans!), and lots of family and friends I love dearly and need to catch up with, regardless of what else is happening around us. Here’s a peek:

In May, I’m flying to Florida for the wedding of one of one of my closest high school crew in Sarasota. I’ll also be visiting my girl Angie in Jacksonville, heading to Orlando for a bachelorette weekend I’m planning at Universal Orlando, and hanging with my two favorite aunts in Tampa. I’m obsessed with Florida and would be thrilled if time allowed for me to dip over to Miami to see my cousin Eric, do some diving, or maybe even take that road trip down to Key West I’ve been dreaming of… but allegedly there are only thirty days in this particular month, so we will have to see how flexible the time space continuum ends up being.

Florida(source 12, and 3)

In June, I’m going back to Bonnaroo. Even better? I’m bringing my mom and her boyfriend Miller! The two of them hit it off big time with blogger bestie Kristin this past summer, and we all vowed this would be our year for fulfilling Miller’s dream of making it to ‘Roo. A festival as a family affair? I can’t wait to try it.

In July, I’m going to Maine! This is actually the only new state and/or country I currently have on the docket for the year, which is kind of crazy pants. Another one of my dearest friends from high school is getting hitched in Harpswell, and I’m pining to turn it into an excuse for a full-blown road trip. At an absolute minimum I want to spend a few days in Portland and check out Kennebunkport — and if the calendar shakes out enough days for me, I’ll venture north to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, too!

Maine(source 1, 2, and 3)

In August, I’ll head to Chicago for my cousin Kirsten’s wedding (congratulations to the beautiful bride-to-be!).

Aside from those anchors, the summer is still fuzzy. Here are some maybes: I might be sticking around post-Bonnaroo for a bachelorette party in Nashville. I will most likely be in Martha’s Vineyard the first week of July for family time — and I’m also considering popping over to Nantucket for the Nantucket Yoga Festival! I may have another family wedding in Illinois before the year is out.

And then there’s Nevada. I may return to the playa — Burning Man is still very much on my radar. I may put into action the Nevada road trip I’ve had percolating for the last year or two (I need to see Britney’s revamped show, visit the Seven Magic Mountains art installation and camp in Valley of Fire National Park, stat) so if those came together it would be pretty perfect.

Nevada(source 12, and 3)

Also, some big changes are heading my way and while I’m not ready to discuss them publicly just yet, I might be popping down to Central America for a bit over the summer to let them percolate in private first. More details coming your way soon.

September-December // And beyond…

Nine months down the line is simply too far to predict with too much accuracy where I’ll be. This time last year, I could have never guessed I’d spend these months in the United Kingdom, Hawaii and Jamaica (content coming soon!)

In the last month, as I started to feel the pressure of writing this post and having basically nothing on the horizon — a lot of the above has come together in the last thirty days! — I started to think more about really prioritizing my dream trips rather than just waiting and seeing what the universe throws at me or what’s convenient, as I have fallen into a habit of doing. In fact, I recently started working on actually putting pen to paper and writing a comprehensive travel bucket list, which I may turn into a blog post soon.

So in that spirit, here is a sampling of some of my dream trips that feel feasible for 2017, which I may work on slotting in somewhere from June onward, en route back to my winter basecamp of Thailand.

• Uruguay: I just really want to go here. I don’t know why. I feel like Uruguay is usually an afterthought tacked on to trips to Argentina or Brazil but I’m completely captivated by this little country. Maybe it’s my obsession with tiny nations, maybe it’s my love for their famously humble ex-president, maybe I just like beaches and wine and yoga. Bonus! This would be a new country for me. However, Uruguay’s beach cities and towns have a fairly tiny window of action in December-March, and since I’m in Asia through May this would have to be a December trip.

Uruguay(source 12, and 3)

• Burma, Borneo and/or Brunei: It’s now been eight years since I first began traveling to Southeast Asia, and I regularly marvel that there is still so much I have yet to see. Including both the countries of Burma and Brunei (I still have Timor Leste still to visit as well, but I’m shelving that one for the moment) and the Malaysian state of Borneo. Eventually visiting every country in this region is important to me, and so I hope that either a trip to Burma or a joint trip to Borneo and Brunei is in order for late 2017.

• Jamaica:  I’ve had a Jamaica road trip on the noggin for a while now. My surprise trip here at the end of 2016 (more on that coming soon!) only made taking a big one feel more urgent. I want to rent a car, hit the open road, and explore the raw, soulful side of this island nation in a way that few get the opportunity to do. Unlike Uruguay, Jamaica is a place I’d be thrilled to travel in the low season, and so summer or fall might be the perfect fit.

Jamaica(source 12, and 3)

• Mexico: There’s a glaring un-scratched swath on my scratch-off travel map, and it’s Mexico. It’s a place I’ve always wanted to wait and really do justice to, but I’m starting to think I just need to start somewhere and dive in there and get hooked so I can keep coming back over and over again. It’s hardly unchartered territory, but The Yucatan Peninsula is calling me pretty loudly. Whale sharks of Holbox… here I come! And yup, this would be another new country to add to the list.

3-devide-lines

I have a lot of other dream trips rambling around in my mind — CONTINENT OF AFRICA HI I WANT TO BE IN YOU — but these are the ones that I feel I could realistically tackle right now given my current energy levels and priorities and desires, though clearly, a lot can happen in a year. I think I kind of need a lower-key year in order to get my house in order — lol JK I don’t have a house but it’s a thing people say right? — and get really whipped up into a travel frenzy again for some wild adventures in the future.

When I first began this post I fretted that you all might think it a bit boring. Now that I’ve put it together, I couldn’t be more excited about the year ahead! Festivals, weddings, and so many favorite old places to fall even further in love with.

Love 2017

Okay so now that I’ve dished… what are your travel plans for 2017? Which of these trips are you most excited to virtually come along on?

Looking forward to talking all things travel in the comments!

BRUNEI Country Studies: A brief, comprehensive study of Brunei (Country Notes)

CIA

A brief yet detailed report on the country of Brunei with updated information on the map, flag, history, people, economics, political conditions in government, foreign affairs, and U.S. relations.

Lonely Planet Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei (Travel Guide)

Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet: The world's leading travel guide publisher

Lonely Planet Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Admire Kuala Lumpur from the glittering Petronas Towers, climb the Telaga Tujuh waterfalls in Langkawi, or glide through the water village of Kampung Ayer; all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei and begin your journey now!

Inside Lonely Planet Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei Travel Guide:

Colour maps and images throughout Highlights and itineraries help you tailor your trip to your personal needs and interests Insider tips to save time and money and get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots Essential info at your fingertips - hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, prices Honest reviews for all budgets - eating, sleeping, sight-seeing, going out, shopping, hidden gems that most guidebooks miss Cultural insights give you a richer, more rewarding travel experience - outdoor adventures, cuisine, history, culture, politics, religion, arts, media, environment Over 90 maps Covers Bandar Seri Begawan, Tutong, Jalan Labi, Seria, Kuala Belait, Temburong District, Bangar, Pulau Selirong, Batang Duri, Peradayan Forest Reserve, Ulu Temburong National Park and more

The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei , our most comprehensive guide to Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei, is perfect for both exploring top sights and taking roads less travelled.

Looking for just the highlights? Check out Discover Malaysia & Singapore, a photo-rich guide to the most popular attractions. Looking for a guide focused on Singapore? Check out Lonely Planet Singapore for a comprehensive look at all the city has to offer; or Pocket Singapore, a handy-sized guide focused on the can't-miss sights for a quick trip.

Authors: Written and researched by Lonely Planet.

About Lonely Planet:

Since 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel media company with guidebooks to every destination, an award-winning website, mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community. Lonely Planet covers must-see spots but also enables curious travellers to get off beaten paths to understand more of the culture of the places in which they find themselves.

Brunei History and Monarchy: Early history, Ruling system and governance, Economy, Culture, Travel and Tourism

Evan Adams

Although its early history is obscure, Brunei was known to be trading with and paying tribute to China in the 6th century. It then came under Hindu influence for a time through allegiance to the Majapahit Empire, based in Java. When the ships of the expedition of Ferdinand Magellan anchored off Brunei in 1521, the fifth sultan, the great Bolkiah, controlled practically the whole of Borneo, the Sulu Archipelago, and neighboring islands. Toward the end of the 16th century, however, the territory was torn by internal strife. More information on Brunei History and Monarchy Book……

Sarawak, Brunei, and Sabah Travel Reference Map 1:620,000 (International Travel Maps)

International Travel maps

At last! This is the new artwork covering northern Borneo in detail. We used to have two maps for this area, but have combined the artwork into one double-sided map covering the same area as formerly, but as one map, and with greater consistency in colouring and style. The base artwork has been updated and readability improved. This is a new map, in that ITMB has never had a title exactly like this, but it is an update in that we have had this artwork available before, which justifies the 2nd Edition label.

Phillipps' Field Guide to the Birds of Borneo: Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei, and Kalimantan, Fully Revised Third Edition (Princeton Field Guides)

Quentin Phillipps

This is the fully revised and updated third edition of an acclaimed field guide to the birds of Borneo, covering Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei, and Kalimantan. The result is the most up-to-date, comprehensive, and user-friendly guide to the island's remarkably diverse birdlife. The book covers all 673 species living or reported on Borneo, including all 59 endemic species. Each species is superbly illustrated in 141 color plates containing more than 2,000 full-color bird images, which provide multiple large views of each species, including most of the sexual variants and immature forms of polymorphic species. Each plate is accompanied by facing-page species descriptions covering taxonomy, size, call, range, distribution, habits, and status. Distribution is also shown with 567 detailed color thumbnail maps on facing pages. Other features include seven habitat plates, twelve regional maps showing Borneo's top 90 birding sites, fast-find identification plates to the birds of Kinabalu and other habitats, and a full overview of Borneo's vegetation, climate, and ecology. This is a guide that any outdoor visitor to the island will treasure.

The most up-to-date, comprehensive, and user-friendly guide to the birds of BorneoFeatures handy, facing-page formatIllustrates and describes all 673 species, including 59 endemicsContains more than 2,000 superb full-color images, providing multiple large views of each species, and 567 color mapsDescribes and maps Borneo's top 90 birding sitesIncludes fast-find identification plates to the birds of Kinabalu and other habitatsProvides a full overview of Borneo's vegetation, climate, and ecology

The Rough Guide to Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei

Richard Lim

The Rough Guide to Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei is the ultimate guide to these three exciting Southeast Asian destinations, covering all their attractions — from amazing national parks and historic temples to gorgeous beaches and islands.

This edition features clear maps, evocative photography, and author itineraries that take in both big sights and less visited spots. The sections on Penang and Singapore offer detail on cultural sights, new museums, and budget accommodation.

This new edition of The Rough Guide to Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei includes coverage of Sarawak's most popular national parks, Mulu and Bako, as well as old favorites like Mount Kinabalu and the Perhentian Islands. There's also plenty of practical information on topics like budget flights, river transport, etiquette, and the excellent local cuisines to help you get the best out of your trip, whatever your budget.

Make the most of your time with The Rough Guide to Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei.

Brunei Tour: A Self-guided Walking/Public Transit Tour (Visual Travel Tours Book 262)

Brad Olsen

HALF-PRICE SALE - WAS $9.99 - LIMITED TIME OFFERWhen people think of Brunei they usually associate it with the sultan. He remains the universal leader of the country, as well as one of the wealthiest men in the world. But Brunei is more than just His Majesty.The small country of Brunei is located in steamy Southeast Asia on the northern coast of Borneo, the third largest island in the world. The South China Sea makes up the northern coastline. By land, Brunei is completely bordered by the Malaysian state of Sarawak. The Indonesian state of Kalimantan encompasses the southern two thirds of Borneo. The sovereign nation of Brunei is a land of resplendent mosques and lush rainforests. It boasts a high standard of living, bolstered by the good fortune of having abundant petroleum deposits. There are five major regions of Brunei and we will visit them all in this comprehensive tour inside the last of the grand Malay kingdoms. AUTHOR - Brad Olsen is a Contributing Editor for World Explorer magazine and has written several guide books. His seventh, “Sacred Places Europe: 108 Destinations,” was released in March, 2007. The second edition of "Sacred Places North America: 108 Destinations" was released in 2008 and won the "Best Travel Guide for Planet Earth" Award in 2010. Brad's commentaries have appeared on National Public Radio, CNN and the Travel Channel. He enjoys extended global travel (particularly to exotic locations), and public speaking on the subject of sacred places.Visual Travel Tours by Brad OlsenAspen And Snowmass In The WinterBreathtaking Yosemite ValleyBrunei: The Last Malay KingdomBurning Man: Nevada's Annual Instant CityCalifornia's Point Reyes National SeashoreChicago's Front Yard: Grant ParkChicago's Lakefront Navy PierChicago's Lincoln ParkCzech World HeritageDiscover Fiji: A Paradise Never LostExploring The British Virgin Islands By SailboatFamily Fun In Las VegasMoravia, The Gem Of The Czech RepublicQuebec City: Canada's Charming Nouvelle FranceSacred Places Of PortugalSan Francisco's Academy Of SciencesSurf's Up In Santa CruzThe Maine AttractionThe National Recreation Areas Of San FranciscoThe Open Spaces Of California's Marin CountyThe Spectacular Golden Gate ParkThe Splendor Of New York City's Central ParkThere Is Only One BerkeleyTouring The Best Of Southern Orange County

Malaysia Travel Atlas: includes Singapore & Brunei

Periplus Editors

Finding your way around Malaysia (and also the island nation of Singapore and the kingdom of Brunei Darussalam) is a breeze with this handy Tuttle Travel Atlas.The perfect travel guide,designed for adventurous travelers and containing all the maps you'll need on your explorations, this atlas includes many views that are available nowhere else. It will help you find your destination in every city, town and region in all three countries. Each of the 90 maps in this atlas is presented in a logical, easy-to-follow manner, with emphasis on the most frequently visited areas. All place names, street names and buildings are indexed for quick reference.COMPREHENSIVE: Detailed insets of each major town, travel destination and business hub in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei.INFORMATIVE: Precise locations for all popular sights, hotels, restaurants, office buildings, shopping malls and other essential locations.PRACTICAL: The handy size, well-designed key maps and comprehensive index help you find places you are looking for quickly.RELIABLE: The maps in this book are thoroughly researched and regularly updated by the leading publisher of Asia Pacific maps.Maps featured include: Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Johor, Melaka, Sabah, Singapore and more!

Exercise normal security precautions

The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.

Crime 

Petty crime, such as break-ins and theft, occurs. Violent crime is rare. Ensure that your personal belongings and passports and other travel documents are secure at all times.

Transportation

Traffic drives on the left. Running of red lights and speeding are common infractions. Drivers should remain at the scene of an accident and not move their vehicles until police arrive.

Buses and taxis may be available. Buses run infrequently and are not available at night. Taxis are located at major hotels but not otherwise readily available.

Consult our Transportation Safety page in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.

Trekking

Visitors to rainforests should always be accompanied by an experienced guide.

Emergency services

Dial 993 to reach police.

Health

Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
Vaccines

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.

Influenza

Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.

Japanese encephalitis

Japanese encephalitis is a viral infection that can cause swelling of the brain. It is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Risk is low for most travellers. Vaccination should be considered for those who may be exposed to mosquito bites (e.g., spending time outdoors in rural areas) while travelling in regions with risk of Japanese encephalitis.

Measles

Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.
 

Rabies

Rabies is a disease that attacks the central nervous system spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from a rabid animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).

Typhoid

Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives, or with weakened immune systems. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should consider getting vaccinated.

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Risk
  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
  • Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required if you are coming from a country where yellow fever occurs.
Recommendation
  • Vaccination is not recommended.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care provider.
Food/Water

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in Southeast Asia, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, leptospirosis, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Southeast Asia. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!


Insects

Insects and Illness

In Southeastern Asia, certain insects carry and spread diseases like chikungunya, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, lymphatic filariasis, and malaria.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.

Dengue fever
  • Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.  
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue bite during the daytime. They breed in standing water and are often found in urban areas.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine available for dengue fever.

Malaria

Malaria

  • There is a limited risk of malaria in this country.
  • Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by mosquitoes. There is no vaccine against malaria.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in well-screened air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet or pre-treating travel gear with insecticides.

Animals

Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in some areas in Southeastern Asia, like avian influenza and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person

Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.


Medical services and facilities

Medical services and facilities

Medical facilities are good, but medical evacuation to Singapore may be necessary for serious medical problems.

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.

Laws

Immigration regulations are strict. Foreign workers who overstay their visas face harsh penalties, including jail sentences and caning. If you are working in Brunei, closely monitor your immigration status and visa expiration dates.

Brunei is an Islamic country and the legal system is partly based on sharia (Islamic law).

Death is the mandatory penalty for many narcotics offences, including “trafficking” of controlled drugs—even in very small amounts.

State sanctions against violent crimes are very severe.

Alcohol cannot be purchased in Brunei. Non-Muslim travellers over 17 years of age can bring in up to two bottles of wine or liquor (about 2.28 litres) and 12 cans of beer for personal consumption. All alcohol must be declared at customs upon arrival; failure to do so is a punishable offence. Liquor importation is limited to one declaration every 48 hours.

Smoking in specific public places, such as government buildings, hospitals and health clinics, and recreational and educational centres is prohibited. Offenders are subject to a strict fine. Verify with the appropriate establishment owner before smoking in public.

Possession of firearms, weapons and related accessories is illegal in Brunei, punishable by heavy fines or prison sentences.

Possession of pornographic material and solicitation of prostitution are illegal.

Photography of government and military establishments or equipment is prohibited.

Homosexual activity is illegal.

Gambling is illegal.

You will not be allowed entry into Brunei if you have HIV/AIDS.

Unregistered vehicles and vessels in Brunei are only permitted to purchase fuel at designated petrol stations. Foreigners are charged the commercial rate, which is higher than the subsidized rate offered to locals.

An International Driving Permit is recommended.

Culture

Dress conservatively, behave discreetly and respect religious and social traditions, including the avoidance of alcohol, to avoid offending local sensitivity.

Any public criticism of His Majesty the Sultan or other members of the Bruneian royal family is strongly discouraged.

Money

The currency is the Brunei dollar (BND). Credit cards and traveller’s cheques are accepted at most hotels, department stores and major establishments; U.S. dollar traveller’s cheques are recommended. Automated banking machines are available and most have Cirrus facilities.

Climate

Brunei is located in an active seismic zone.

The rainy (or monsoon) seasons extend from September to January and from May to July. Severe rainstorms can cause flooding and landslides, as well as hamper the provision of essential services.

Unrestricted burning in neighbouring Indonesia periodically causes atmospheric pollution to rise to unhealthy levels. Levels change quickly and should be closely monitored by consulting local news and weather reports.