VISITOR INFORMATION ON BRUNEI: VISAS, MONEY, PHONES, HOURS AND ACCOMMODATION

TOURIST INFORMATION AND EMBASSIES

Brunei has three tourist information centres to help you plan out your itinerary, catered to your needs. You can find one right in the Brunei International Airport’s arrival hall, near the main entrance. It’s open from Monday to Thursday and Saturday, from 9:00am to 6:00pm. You’re out of luck if you planes arrives outside those times. [Source: Bruneitourism.com]

The second tourist information can be found at Dermaga Diraja (The Royal Wharf) in the capital. It’s open from Monday to Thursday and Saturday, from 9:00am to 4:00pm. The other tourist information centre is located at the Kampong Ayer Cultural and Tourism Gallery, and is open from Monday to Thursday and Saturday, from 9:00am to 4:00pm. Please take note that all centres are closed on Friday, Sunday and public holiday

Tourism Development Department
Jalan Menteri Besar,
Bandar Seri Begawan, BB3910
Brunei Darussalam
Tel: +673 2382 822
Fax: +673 2382 807
Email: info@tourism.gov.bn
Corporate Website: http: //www.tourism.gov.bn
Promotional Website: http: //bruneitourism.travel

Bruneian Embassy in the United States:
3520 International Drive NW,
Washington D.C. 20008,
Tel: (202)-237-1838. Fax: [1] (202) 885-0560

American Embassy in Brunei:
U.S. Embassy Bandar Seri Begawan
Simpang 336-52-16-9
Jalan Duta
Bandar Seri Begawan BC4115, Brunei Darussalam
Tel: +(673) 238-4616
Emergency After-Hours Tel: +(673) 873-0691
Fax number: +(673) 238-4606
Email: ConsularBrunei@state.gov
Business hours: Monday-Friday, 7:45am - 4:30pm
Website: http: //brunei.usembassy.gov

Travel Documents for Brunei

The government of Brunei Darussalam requires all visitors to have a valid passport and onward tickets or sufficient funds to support themselves while in the country. Generally, your passport must be valid for six months beyond your arrival date and must have one blank required for entry stamp and six blank visa pages, For further information about entry or exit requirements, travelers may consult the Consular Section of the Embassy of Brunei, 3520 International Court NW, Washington, DC 20008, tel. (202) 237-1838, or visit the Embassy of Brunei website for the most current visa information.

Visa requirements vary by nationality. Citizens of the U.S., the U.K., Germany, Japan, Canada and New Zealand don't need visas. For those that need visas, visas can take up to three days to process. Nationals of Israel may not enter Brunei. A 72-hour transit visa issued on arrival is available to all nationalities except for Israeli passport holders.

1) Citizens of the following countries can enter Brunei for 90 days with no visa: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Slovakia, United Kingdom and United State of America 2) Citizens of the following countries can enter Brunei for 30 days with no visa: Iceland, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Singapore, South Korea, United Arab Emirates and Ukraine

2) Citizens of the following countries are granted on arrival for visits not exceeding 30 days: Australia and Kuwait.Citizens of Iran can enter for 30 Days with a Diplomatic and Official Passport only. 3) Citizens of the following countries can enter Brunei for 14 days entry with no visa: Canada, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, The Principality of Liechtenstein, Maldives, Peru, Philippines, Switzerland, Thailand, and Vietnam 4) Citizens of the following countries are granted on arrival for visits not exceeding 14 days: Bahrain, Qatar and Taiwan. Citizens of Cambodia, Tajikistan, Egypt, Pakistan and Russia can enter for 14 days with a Diplomatic and Official Passport only. 5) All other nationals entering Brunei must obtain visas from any Brunei Darussalam diplomatic mission abroad. Please contact your nearest diplomatic mission for further details regarding visas and entry procedures.

Travel Restrictions, Customs and Lost Passport

Make sure the entry stamp in your passport indicates the validity of your stay. Immigration offenses, including overstay of your visa, are punishable by jail sentence, fines, and caning. Brunei has imposed HIV/AIDS travel restrictions as part of a ban on communicable diseases. The Ministry of Health (MOH) of Brunei Darussalam requires all travelers entering Brunei to fill out a Health Declaration Card and submit it to the Officer-In-Charge (MOH) upon disembarkation. You may be subjected to a medical examination upon arrival in Brunei Darussalam. Travelers may be quarantined if infected or suspected to be infected with an infectious disease or if travelers have had contact with such a person

Brunei doesn’t 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.

Lost Passport: Make sure to make photocopies of your passport and the page with you entry stamp. If your passport is lost or stolen you generally have to report the theft to police before you can get a new one. Embassies or consulates can give you advise on what you have to do. Should you lose your passport while in Brunei, please make a police report immediately and approach your embassy in Brunei to apply for a replacement travel document. Website: U.S. Department of State Passport Services and Information: www.travel.state.gov/pasport-services.html .

Customs and Duties: Prohibited imports include alcohol; although adults who are not Muslims are permitted a duty-free allowance, which must be declared on arrival. Alcohol: A non-Muslim over 17-years of age may bring in two bottles of liquor (about 2 liters) and 12 cans of beer for personal consumption, which must be declared to customs upon arrival. Arriving passengers over 17 years of age are eligible to bring in the following items for personal consumption/use: 200 Cigarettes, 60 grams of tobacco, 60 ml of perfume, 250 ml of eau de toilette. Passengers will be charged duty on cigarettes of $0.25 tax per cigarette, stick, equal to $5 per pack of 20 cigarettes, and $50 for one carton of 10 packs. Other tobacco products – effective 1st November 2010: the import duty on other tobacco products has increased significantly. Passengers will be charged duty for the import of tobacco products. Currency Restrictions for Entry: B$ 15,000; Currency Restrictions for Exit: B$ 15,000.

Visa Requirements: If Staying for a Long Time

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. Visas are generally valid for three months if you get one; longer if your going to work, study or do long-term business. If you want to work, study or do business in Brunei you will most likely need a visa and these visas generally require sponsorship of a person, institution or company in Brunei. For information on work permits, business visas, student visas and immigration contact a Bruneian embassy or consulates.

To get a tourist visa you must the present the following items to a Bruneian embassy or consulate or mission: 1) your passport; 2) two to four passport-size photographs; 3) two filled-out application forms; and 4) a visa fee, preferable in cash. You may also have to provide a copy of your round trip plane ticket, or a letter from a travel agent stating you will be in possession of a round trip ticket. 5) for work, study and business visas, letters and documents from you sponsor.

If you are mailing in your passport include a self addressed, stamped envelope with a prepaid Express Mail, Federal Express, DHL, UPS or Airborne Express sticker on it. A visa usually takes one or two days to process; sometimes it takes longer.

Money Issues in Brunei

Brunei is relatively expensive by Southeast Asian standards with prices for many things comparable to prices in Europe and the United States. Relatively few backpackers visit Brunei. There are cheap local restaurants but not many cheap guest houses. Local transportation and taxis are not so expensive. Top end hotels and meals at fancy restaurants are comparable in price to those in the United States. Rooms in tourist hotels go for between $40 and $60. Doubles in a five-star hotel generally start at around $150.

The currency of Brunei is the Brunei Dollar (B$), sometimes called the ringgit. The Brunei dollar is divided into 100 cents. The Brunei Dollar is pegged to the value of the Singapore Dollar. The Singapore Dollar and Malaysian ringgit are accepted in Brunei. Denominations: There are 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent coins and 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, 500, 1000 and 10,000 Brunei dollar banknotes. Exchange Rates (November 2019) US Dollar = 1.36 Brunei dollars; 1 Brunei dollar = 0.74 US Dollars. Inflation Rate: Low. Per Capita Income: US$83,000. The per capita income of the United States is US$60,200. Latest Exchange Rates: oanda.com/currency/converter ; xe.com/currencyconverter , or just Google it. Currency Restrictions for Entry: B$ 15,000; Currency Restrictions for Exit: B$ 15,000.

Where to Change Money: Money can be changed at the airport, banks Hotels and some licensed money changers. The worst rates are usually offered at hotels. The rates at the airport are generally as good as at the banks. Sometimes the paperwork necessary to change money at a bank is laborious and time consuming.. Beware of places with good rates, they often charge a high commission, and watch out for places with a low commissions, they usually have bad rates. All major banks or remittance agencies are able to transfer money overseas.

Currency Warnings and Advise

1) Singapore dollars, Malaysian ringgit and U.S. dollars are preferable to other foreign currencies. Bring lots of crisp new $1, $5, $10 an $20 bills for small denomination exchanges and payment with cash. Banks and exchange houses may reject dollar banknotes that look worn. 2) Travelers checks and credit cards are difficult to use off the beaten track in Brunei; American dollars in cash are more readily accepted. 3) Try not to change too much of your money into local currency. Sometimes your money will go farther than you think and it can be difficult to change sums back into foreign currency and get a descent rate. Hang on to your exchange receipts in case you need them to change local currency back into foreign currency. 4) Try to change big banknotes into small banknotes whenever you get a chance. Shop owners sometimes have difficulty changing large bills. 5) Always keep some small change in your pockets to pay the restroom attendants. Don't accept torn bills. 6) Also remember it can be difficult to change money in rural areas and smaller towns so stock up on Bruneian dollars while you are in the cities.

Travelers Checks are not widely used anymore but in Brunei they can still be converted into the local currency. It is best to exchange travelers checks at major international banks in Bandar Seri Begawan because often they are the only places that accept them. Some major hotels will also change them Rates given for travelers checks are often slightly higher than those given for cash. It is a good idea to bring some small denomination travelers checks in case you need a small amount of money in a squeeze. American Express travelers checks are the most widely accepted ones. You generally can not use travelers checks to buy stuff.

Credit cards All major credit cards (Visa, American Express, MasterCard, Diner’s Club, Unionpay) are accepted widely throughout Brunei. However, a number of shops and restaurants will only accept cash and will not have a credit card facility. Credit Cards are generally accepted at major hotels, stores, shops that cater to tourists, high-end restaurants, airlines, car rental agencies, and many other businesses. Major credit cards such as Visa, Mastercard and American Express can generally be used to get cash from ATM machines.

ATMs: Automated teller machines (ATMs) are located in many places in Brunei. They accept most of the main credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express. Many travelers are using credit cards and ATM machines to avoid the cost of currency conversions. The rates given at an ATM machine are generally as good or better than those offered at exchange houses and banks. It is good idea, though, to bring some travelers checks and cash as a back up. International credit cards and ATM cards will work as long as they have a four-digit PIN number encoded. You may want to check with you bank for details on using foreign ATMs before leaving home.

Tipping is not generally practiced in Brunei. It is not necessary to tip cinema ushers, taxi drivers Hotel personal or waiters. More up-market hotels and restaurants may add a 10 percent service charge to their bills. Small tips may be given to restroom attendants.

Airport Tax: Kota Kinabalu & Kuching B$5.00; Other destinations B$12.00. SalesTax: There is no sales tax, consumption tax or the VAT (value added tax) in Brunei. Hotel and Restaurant Service Fees: A 10 percent service charge is often added to the bill at top-end restaurants and hotels. They are usually pretty up front about it, printing it on menus or telling guests when they enter a hotel. It doesn’t hurt ask about it anyway. Banks and Bank Hours: Banks are generally open from 9:00am to 3:00pm on weekdays and 9:00am to 11:00am on Saturdays. Some banks have started operations within shopping complexes and are open later. Most banks are government-approved to handle travelers’s cheques and currency exchange, and most offer ATMs on international networks.

Electricity, Time and Operating Hours in Brunei

The electric current in Brunei is 240 volts (more or less the same as 220 volts) and 50 cycles which is different from the USA and the same as Europe. The sockets and plugs are different from those in the United States as well. The common kind of plug in Brunei is the British style rectangular blade plug.

Many urban Bruneians tend follow Western-style hours. Because of the heat, Bruneians in rural areas often wake up early (sometimes around 4:00am), go to bed early (often around 10:00am) and take a long lunch and noontime siesta. Offices are often closed for one or two hours around lunch time.

Muslim Work Week: Remember that Friday is the Muslim Sabbath. A Muslim work week is typically from Sunday to Thursday. In Brunei, offices, shops and businesses are often open on Saturday but closed on Friday and Sunday. Places of business and offices including shops and restaurants that are open on Friday often shut between 12 noon and 2:00pm every Friday. Visitors should note that during Ramadan, the Islamic holy month, most offices and businesses will operate on abbreviated daily schedules.

Government Hours: 7:45am to 12: 00pm and 1:30pm to 4:30 pm. Government offices are closed Fridays and Sundays but open Saturday. Business Hours: Private offices are generally open from 9:00am to 5:00pm on weekdays and 8:00am to 12 noon on Saturdays. Shortened hours are often the norm during Ramadan. Bank Hours: Banks are generally open from 9:00am to 3:00pm on weekdays and 9:00am to 11:00am on Saturdays. Some banks have started operations within shopping complexes and are open later.

Store Hours: Most shopping centres are open daily from 10:00am to 9.30pm. Small stores may open earlier. Mosque Hours: Mosques are generally free and open to public, except during Friday prayers. Museum Hours: Museum are open Monday to Thursday as well as Saturday from 7:45am to 12: 00pm and from 1:30pm to 4:30pm. They are closed on Fridays and Sundays.

Time Difference: +13 hours from New York and 16 hours head of Los Angeles Times (U.S. Pacific Standard Time). When it is 7:00am in New York City it is 8:00pm in Bandar Seri Begawan. +8 hours from London (Greenwich Mean Time). When it is 7:00am in London it is 3:00pm in Bandar Seri Begawan. Sabah and Sarawak are in the same time zone as Bandar Seri Begawan. Daylight Savings Time is not observed in Brunei, which means there is a +12 hour difference with New York and +7 hour with London from the end of April to the end of October.

Phones in Brunei

The telephone system in Brunei is very good. There are only two telco providers in Brunei: DST and Progresif. There is no charge for local land-line calls made from shops or homes (sometimes hotels charge a handling fee); Operators usually speak English Cell phones and Smart Phones are obviously widely used in Brunei. Most people use widely-available Wi-Fi or buy a SIM card, which can be easily purchased at the airport and other places in Brunei (See Below).

From the United States to Brunei: The country code is [673]. To call Brunei you would dial 011-673 then the eight digit local number. From Brunei to the United States and Elsewhere: first dial 001 and then the country code (U.S. or Canada 1, U.K. 44, Ireland 353, Australia 61, New Zealand 64). Next, dial the area code and number. Emergency Numbers: Ambulance: 991, Fire & Rescue: 995, Police: 993, Search & Rescue: 998, Talian Darussalam: 123, U.S. Embassy: +673-238-4616, American Citizen Services: +673-238-4616 Ext. 2111, Duty Officer (after-hours emergencies): +673-873-0691, Royal Brunei Police Force (switchboard): +673-245-9500,

Prepaid SIM Cards for Mobile Phones in Brunei

Using your phone in Brunei with any adjustments can frighteningly expensive. It is a good idea to get a local SIM card to take advantage of better deals, tariffs and plans. Brunei has some of the best prepaid SIM cards on offer in Asia. You can buy 1GB of data for as little as B$10 (US$7). There are only two telco providers in Brunei: DST and Progresif. Both have desks at the arrivals hall at the airport.

According to Finder.com: Both DST and Progresif “went through a strict approval process before being allowed to operate in the country and both offer customers good deals. Each service has been tried, tested and trusted by both locals and visitors. According to OpenSignal’s connectivity map, Brunei has very good network coverage in Bandar Seri Begawan. However, as you head further out the signal can become a little weak but you can still manage to pick up a signal most of the time. [Source: Finder.com, finder.com.

“Brunei’s operators offer good roaming rates and sell prepaid credit, which allow visitors to take advantage of cheap local offers and deals. Both providers offer customers 2G, 3G and 4G services. Locals call their SIM cards “SIM-SIMs” or “Chips” and there are rules and regulations when purchasing them. SIM cards can only be purchased once you have shown your passport and you will have to officially register the phone number using your ID before being able to use it.

“DST is Brunei’s market leader and it offers customers 2G, 3G and 4G services. SIM cards can be purchased from official stores right across the country and at the international airport within the airport mall. We advise you to pick one up here before heading to the hotel to save time and hassle. EasiLOAD recharge cards can be purchased for B$2–100, are valid for 2–300 days and offer bonus credit depending on the amount spent. Dial *103*<12-digit PIN># to top up. Dial *102# to check balance.

“The following prepaid SIM cards are available: 1) Easi: talk and data for locals. The standard default data rate is B$0.05 per MB. DST’s starter pack costs B$30 which includes B$5 credit, valid for 7 days. Data charges are B$0.01 per 200KB as a default rate. Dial 159 to activate the relevant Easi plan and to select whether you wish to have your language settings in Malay or English. 2) Easi Tourist: talk and data for tourists. The Easi Tourist SIM can be purchased for B$15 which includes B$5 credit. The standard default data rate is B$ 0.20 per MB. 3) Go!broadband: data-only SIM cards. The Go!Broadband data-only package can be purchased for B$30 which includes B$10 of credit, valid for 15 days. The standard default data rate is B$0.01 per 200KB. Data packages can be added to any of the above-mentioned plans. Make sure you register to DST’s broadband help portal called DSTMBB, either in-store or online. Dial *133# to activate any of the following packages: 200MB, Valid for 3 days; B$;,400MB, Valid for 6 days, B$5; 1GB, Valid for 30 days, B$10; 3GB, Valid for 30 days, B$20. The above-mentioned days are measured by the exact number of hours used and reminders will be sent when you’re near the end of the plan. Dial *133# to add more packages.”

“Progresif has the best rates in Brunei but the coverage isn’t great. It’s highly recommended to use DST if you plan on travelling around the country. However, if you will be located in the main cities for most of the time then Progresif’s prepaid SIM cards have the best prices. Progresif’s starter packs are available to purchase from official stores using your passport for identification; make sure that you register the number before you use it. There are two prepaid plans on offer: Progresif Prepaid and Progresif Unlimited. Both SIM cards are free of charge but you will have to add credit to start using it.” Read the Finder.com article ( finder.com) for more details.

Internet and Wi-Fi in Brunei

Pocket Wi-Fi: You can also choose to connect to the Internet from multiple devices with a pocket WiFi device. This mobile hotspot provides data access for your laptop, tablet and/or smartphone. This is recommended if you carry a few devices, desire WiFi connectivity and do not intend to make many phone calls.

According to Wifivox: “Enjoy 4G pocket wifi everywhere in Brunei, just for 6,99 € per day. Connect up to 5 devices and avoid roaming fees. Easy delivery and return! Wifivox it’s a pocket-sized device that provides wireless Internet access wherever you go in Brunei. You can even share your connection with your family and friends since you can connect up to 5 devices simultaneously. In Brunei you will enjoy 500 MB per day at maximum speed. Once you reach the limit, speed will be reduced until the next day when you will be able to surf at maximum speed again. We also offer you the option to upgrade your Wifivox data plan to 1 daily GB for just 4 € more per day or get 2 daily GB for 9 € more per day. Avoid surprises with our flat fee of 6,99 € per day! Wifivox website: https: //wifivox.com/brunei/

Pocket WiFi devices are available for rental at the Changi Recommends counters at Brunei Changi Airport, and you can conveniently drop off the devices at the Changi Recommends counters just before your return flight. Alternatively, there are other pocket WiFi rental companies available in Brunei. If you prefer to search and pre-register online, these companies—like Y5Buddy and Rentafi—often offer affordable courier services for both delivery and return of these devices.

Free Public Wi-Fi: WiFi hotspots are also widely available at various public areas and businesses across the island. Here are some options. WiFi service is available in the airport.: Free WiFi service is offered and available for login at some shopping malls, restaurants and cafes in Brunei.

Post Offices and Shipping Stuff in Brunei

The postal service in Brunei is generally pretty good. The lines in post offices can be long because lots of foreign workers send stuff home. International mail service is efficient. Airmail between Brunei and the U.S. is less than a week in transit. Mail within Southeast Asia is sometimes less dependable. Letters sent out of Brunei can be mailed from a post office or mailbox. Many of the major hotels have small post offices where you can buy stamps and post cards and mail them.

Shipping: D.H.L., UPS and Federal Express offer good service in Brunei from the United States. Many people who purchase gifts in Brunei have them shipped by the buyer. An element of trust is involved if you do this. Air freight is expensive but takes only a week or so to arrive. Surface freight is cheaper but takes two or so months to arrive. A customs form must be filled out for packages leaving the country. Generally the post office staff has to wrap packages for you. Large post offices are sometimes complicated because they have different windows for different services, such as buying stamps or sending registered letters.

Accommodation in Brunei

There are relatively few hotels in Brunei. As of 2000, there were 17 hotels with 2,000 rooms. Most hotels are of the top end variety. Most cheap accommodation is used by foreign workers. There are not many backpacker style guesthouses. Some small hotels are run by Chinese. Hotel rooms are generally much more expensive in Bandar Seri Begawan and the resort areas than in less developed areas. Accommodation prices are theoretically established by guidelines set by the government so that hotels of similar quality aren't supposed to vary much in price. But that isn't always the case and bargaining is practiced. See Bandar Seri Begawan

Most expensive hotels in Brunei usually have English-speaking staff members, amenities similar to those in Western hotels, a choice of restaurants, coffee shops open around the clock, expensive room service, conference services, business center, a health club, a small swimming pool, beauty salon, shopping/travel counter, baby sitters, safe deposit lockers, currency exchange banks, rooms with attached baths, channel music, cable TV, and telephones with direct dial facilities. Some hotels have interpreter and translator services, secretarial services and access to fax machines and computers. Most deluxe and first-class hotels have direct connections on limousine buses to the airport.

The hotel desk can give you information on expensive hotels. The tourist information desk at the Bandar Seri Begawan Airport may be able to provide you with a list of guest houses, hostels and cheap hotels, some of them near the hotel. The Lonely Planet Guides are recommended for their descriptions of budget hotels..

Rainforest Resort Accommodation:
1) Ulu-Ulu Resort :Tel: 2441791 www.uluulurresort.com sales@uluuluresort.com Fax: 2441790;
2) Mangrove Paradise Resort Tel: 2786867, 2786868; Fax: 2786869

Accommodation Outside Bandar Seri Begawan
1) Halim Plaza Hotel, (Tutong), Tel: 4260688, www.onebrunei.com, halim_plaza_hotel@hotmail.com, Fax: 4222668
2) Plaza Sutera, Biru (Belait), Tel: 3347268, www.psb.com.bn, info@psb.com.bn, Fax: 3347269
3) Riviera Hotel (Belait), Tel: 3335252, www.rivierakb.com, riviera_htl@brunet.bn, Fax: 3331052
4) Swiss Hotel, Apartment, (Belait), Tel: 3331668, www.onebrunei.com, swisshotel@brunet.bn, Fax: 3331638
5) Tat Place Hotel, (Belait), Tel: 3347277, www.tatplacekb.com, tatplacekb@gmail.com, Fax: 3347288
6) Sea View Hotel, (Belait), Tel: 3332651, , seaviewhotel@brunet.bn, Fax: 3342770, , 3331950
7) Sentosa Hotel, (Belait), Tel: 3331345, www.bruneisentosahotel.com, enquiry@bruneisentosahotel.com, Fax: 3331129
8) Hotel Koperasi Seria (Belait), Tel: 3227592, 3227859, Fax: 3227604
9) Pusat Belia YouthCentre, (Temburong), Tel: 5221694, www.bruneiyouth.org.bn, jbsbelia@brunet.bn, bruneiyouthhostel@hotmail.com
10) Lukut Intan Guesthouse (Temburong), Tel: 5221078, 8896162

Hotel Comments and Tips

1) The service and quality tends to be the same or better that the service in Europe and North America. 2) Special deals are often offered in the low seasons from January to April. Sometimes the discounts are as much as 50 percent off their published rates. 3) You can sometimes bargain a little on your room rate especially in the low season if you plan to stay for a while. 4) Hotel laundry and other services are often very expensive. Ask for the price first. 5) Luggage storage facilities and safes for keeping valuables are often available.

6) At budget hotels ask whether or not the room has a bath, what time hot water is available, whether or not your room is to be shared with other travelers, what is included in the price of a room and what isn't. Some places will charge extra for things you assume are free like showers or breakfast. Check the room and make sure the air conditioning works. 7) Many hotels have room rates that vary with the quality of the room. If you bargain for a cheaper room sometimes will often end up with room that is smaller, gloomier, hotter than the one you would have otherwise gotten.

8) The lighting is often poor in cheap hotel room. You may want to bring a small reading light. 9) ) The rooms may have mosquitos. Make sure the room has mosquito coils. A fan is also useful for blowing away mosquitos. 10 ) Make sure to get a hotel card with name, address and phone number of the hotel. If you get lost you can always show it to a taxi driver to get back to your hotel. 10) Most rooms have jugs with safe drinking water Many have a pot for making hot water for tea and a small refrigerator. .

11) In guesthouse many people take a mandi, a “shower” with cold water, a ladel-like bucket and a basin. When there is a shower the showers may be a little strange and the towels are small and made of relatively thin coarse cloth rather than terry cloth. The showers stalls often don't have a convenient place to put soap and shampoo other than the floor. Some stalls are small and cramped.

12) Book ahead if you are traveling in the high season, or to a popular place. If you haven't booked a hotel in advance start looking for a accommodation early, preferable around 11:00am or 12:00am, when other people are checking out. 13) Don't make telephone calls, especially long distance calls, if you can help it. Some hotels charges up to US$8.00 a minute for calls to the United States. 14) Only the most expensive hotels have room service. Make sure you have some snacks for when you get hungry. 15 ) Try to avoid getting a room with a window facing a busy streets. Sometimes the noise is awful.

Things to Buy and Shopping in Brunei

Brunei is known for its traditional women's clothes, and handicrafts. Among the other interesting items you can buy are silverware, brassware, bronzeware, baskets and mats woven from bamboo and pandan leaves, earthenware ornaments, gilded curios, exotic furniture designs, Chinese urns, brocade tablecloths, mats and door hangings, Indian finery, and traditional crafts of Bornean ethnic groups. . You can also buy batik T-shirts and bathrobes, fez-like hats, songket cloth with gold thread, long-sleeve batik baju shirts, jade chopsticks, sarongs, jewelry and ornaments made from silver and bronze, leaf paintings, lacquered boxes, pewter ware, shawls, paintings, sandals, wood carvings, puppets, Thai haute couture, the latest electronics, musical instruments, pottery, leather, antiques, and handmade dolls.

Brunei is especially rich in its own style of traditional crafts, ensuring that any of your buys at one of the nation’s many handicrafts centres and shops will be unique items to be treasured for years to come. Some examples include the resplendent gold or silver-threaded material known as Jong Sarat and collector textiles called Kain Tenunan, both of which can be purchased from the Arts and Handicraft Training Centre at Kota Batu and also at the Brunei International Airport. Handmade with an ancient method passed down for generations, Jong Sarat is often worn during weddings or other formal occasions. Aside from traditional cloths, other items that reflect the rich craftsmanship of Brunei are brassware and silverware, replica canons, the traditional dagger known as the kris, gongs, basketry and other unique items.

The largest shopping mall is Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah on Jalan MacArthur. Hua Ho Department store is one the largest chain stores in Brunei. In addition, downtown Bandar Seri Begawan, Kuala Belait and Seria sport a variety of modern air-conditioned outlets and older shop houses. There are also a number of shops at Bandar Seri Begawan International Airport where visitors may purchase duty free items, CDs, sports equipment, chocolates, as well as books on Brunei and the region. It is easy to shop in the Sultanate because all major credit cards (American Express, VISA, Diner’s Club and MasterCard) are widely accepted.

Bruneians love to shop, and shopping is one of everyone’s favourite leisure time activities. These days, with shopping complexes popping up throughout the nation’s four districts, shopping opportunities in Brunei are beginning to draw an international audience as well. Shoppers are generally spoilt for choice in Brunei. From traditional markets and tiny boutique shops to huge shopping complexes, visitors and locals alike will find opportunities to indulge their shopping fancy. Offering a wide variety of goods at incredibly competitive prices, shoppers can pick up anything ranging from market trinkets sold at 50 cents to chandeliers and antique furniture priced at a few thousand dollars.

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: Brunei Darussalam tourism websites, Brunei Darussalam government websites, Wikitravel, Wiki Voyage, UNESCO, Wikipedia, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Japan News, Yomiuri Shimbun, Compton's Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Updated in August 2020


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