GETTING TO BRUNEI BY AIR
Most people traveling to Brunei fly Royal Brunei Airlines directly to Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital and main city in Brunei, or fly to Kuala Lumpur and then fly Air Asia to Bandar Seri Begawan. It is also possible to fly to Kuala Lumpur and take Malaysian Airlines, or Bangkok and take Thai Airways or Singapore and Singapore Airlines, or the Philippines at take Cebu Pacific to Brunei. The flight time between Hong Kong and Brunei is around three hours, two hors from Bangkok and an hour and half from Kuala Lumpur or Singapore.
There are no Royal Brunei Airlines to the Americas and only one from Europe, from London. There are a handful of Royal Brunei Airlines from destinations in Middle East, Australia and Southeast Asia. Flying in from Europe on, say, Emirates or British Air, you typically make a pitstop in the United Arab Emirates for fuel and fly to Kuala Lumpur, and then switch over to Asia Air.
The flying time from New York to Bandar Seri Begawan is at least 20 hours, with stops in at least two places, for example Seoul and Kuala Lumpur, if you fly Korean Air to Kuala Lumpur and then change to Air Asia . From Los Angeles it is a few hours less. Flight times going the other direction are about 1½ hours shorter. Many of the flights across the Pacific are non-stop. With the new jets it is no longer necessary to stop in Alaska or Hawaii. Flights to Brunei however often stop in one or two Asian cities such as Hong Kong, Seoul, Manila, Tokyo, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur or Singapore.
Airport Tax: Kota Kinabalu & Kuching B$5.00; Other destinations B$12.00. Airport Check-In Times: Please arrive in good time at the airport terminal as this will ensure that your flight operates on schedule. Check local road conditions to avoid possible delay. To enable pre-flight formalities to be concluded, have your baggage screened and checked-in at Brunei International Airport at least one and a half hours before scheduled departure. Reconfirmation of Bookings: You are required to contact the airline reservation office or its appointed agent for reconfirmation of your outward or return flight at least 72 hours before its scheduled departure date. Failure to do so may result in your reservation being cancelled.
Airlines That Fly to Brunei
National Carrier: Royal Brunei Airways (RBA+673 224 2222, +673 224 0505) As of October 2017, Royal Brunei Airlines served 18 destinations, ten of them in Southeast Asia (three in Indonesia, two in Malaysia, and a single destination in Brunei, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam), three in China, one in South Korea and four more beyond Asia (Dubai, Jeddah, London and Melbourne). Royal Brunei Airlines used to fly to more places but many flights have been terminated. Special fares are available to passengers travelling as a group on certain routes. For details of group rates, please contact your travel agent or any RBA office.
Major Airlines that fly to Brunei: Malaysian Airlines (+673 222 4141 / 2, +673 222 3074) via Kuala Lumpur; Thai Airways (+673 224 2991, +673 224 2992) via Bangkok; Singapore Airlines (+673 224 4901, +673 224 4902, +673 224 2903) via Singapore; Air Asia (+673 233 3045) via Kuala Lumpur; Cebu Pacific (+673 222 2666 +673 224 0985) via Manila or maybe Cebu.
There are two budget airlines that fly in and out of Brunei: Cebu Pacific Air (www.cebupacificair.com) and Air Asia (www.airasia.com). Cebu Pacific started its operations in March 1996 and has its hub in Cebu City, Philippines. With this airline, you can fly in and out of Brunei to destinations in the Philippines, Asia and Australia.
AirAsia, regarded as one of the world’s best low-cost airline, flies to Brunei from Kuala Lumpur and has connections to many destinations all over Asia, a few to Australia and the Middle East and one to Europe (London). Its low prices are made available by the exclusion of administrative charges such as fuel surcharge, and its easy-to-navigate website,www.airasia.com, allows you to book your flight withe ease.
Package Tours: Cheap package tours, including flight and accommodation to Brunei may be offered from major cities in Europe and the United States. Packages tours to Brunei are not as common as package tours to other places. The tours are usually arranged by travel agencies. Brunei is generally not included as a stop on a tour of Southeast Asia or Asia.
Airline Information Relevant to Brunei
Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Brunei, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Brunei’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Air Safety: Airsafe.com: www.airsafe.com Seating Plans for Airlines: www.seatguru.com Tracking Flights: www.flightexplorer.com . Distances Between Cities: www.indo.com/distance
U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Brunei’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Brunei’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA safety assessment page. [Source: Travel.State.Gov, U.S. Department of State, May 2019]
On long flight blood clots (also known as deep vein thrombosis), can be a serious risk to some air travelers, particularly on long flights like those between Los Angeles and Brunei. According to Travel + Leisure: “Most blood clots dissolve on their own, but when they don’t they can cause fatal blockages. For instance, if part of a blood clot travels to the lungs, it can cause a pulmonary embolism... The best way to avoid a blood clot is to move around as much as possible during your flight. Get up out of your seat at least once an hour, and move your limbs frequently while sitting — flexing and bending your feet, ankles, and knees. If you are worried about blood clots, talk to your doctor before flying. He or she may also recommend wearing compression socks, or prescribe a blood thinner.
High and Low Season: Prices for plane tickets usually vary with the season. Fares from North America to Asia usually drop on September 1. The low season is usually from early September to mid-December and from January through May. The high season is generally during late July, August, late December, early January, Chinese New Year usually in early February and around spring break in late March and Golden Week (late April or early May). The mid season is generally in June and early July and early September. Each airline determines it own seasons but they generally follow this pattern. Prices vary between a US$50 to US$1000 for each season. For example a ticket from New York to Brunei may cost US$1,000 in the low season, US$1,200 in the mid season and US$2000 in the high season.
Between Brunei and Sarawak (Malaysia)
Travel is possible between Brunei and Sarawak by bus, taxi and road. The closest town in Sarawak to Bandar Seri Begawan is Limbang, which is about 70 kilometers or a little over an hour by car plus the time it takes to clear immigration and customs. The border crossing to Limbang is at Kuala Lurah, open from 6:00am to 10:00pm. One can cross the border on foot and catch a taxi into Limbang, or hitch a ride. It takes about 45 minutes. The airport taxi in Bandar Seri Begawan can take you into Limbang for a fixed fare. From the airport to Kuala Lurah takes about 30 minutes. There are also buses that leave from bus terminal in bandar and stop operating by nightfall. [Source: Trip Advisor]
There are also buses between Bandar Seri Begawan and Miri, a city in Sarawak much larger than Limbang and is more accessible to interesting places in Sarawak. There are two daily buses between Bandar Seri Begawan and Miri, operated by the bus company PHLS Express which can be contacted via BorneoExploreGree at +6732236738. Bus leaves from Bandar Seri Begawan at 7:00am and 1:00pm daily. The bus leaves from a small turn out on the road and not the city bus center (See below for details). The price is B$18.00 for one way. Buses from Miri leave the Pujut Corner long-distance bus terminal in i at 8.15am and 3:45:00pm or 4.00pm. There is no ticket window or representative at Pujut Corner - you must pay on the bus; the one-way fare is about $18 B$ or 45Rm. Depending on traffic and the wait at immigration, the journey by bus takes around four hours.
Some tips. Catch 7: 15am. bus number 33A from the local city terminal near the Park hotel to take you to the long distance bus terminal. Cost of that bus is 1.60 Malay Ring. Get on 8: 15 bus PHLS bus to BSB cost 40 Malay Ring. In theory you could get off bus sooner then BSB, but you would be stuck waiting around for return bus. Better to take bus all the way to BSB and you will have about 1.5 hours to enjoy lunch and shop. Convert some cash for lunch and 18 Sing Dollars for return trip. Yes it seems you need Malay Ring one way and Sing Dollars the other. When you reach Malay immigration be sure to ask for 90 day stamp or you will only be given 30.
If doing this in reverse...you catch 7am bus in BSB to Miri.The bus leaves from a small turn out on the road and not the city bus center. Okay first find the junction of the big river and small river downtown. Go just up the small river from the bridge until you see a turn out just large enough for a bus to sit out of traffic. If there is a big flag pole and small booth behind you and you are looking across the river at an open air market you are in the right place. You pay for your ticket aboard the bus. You may not have time to go to downtown Miri. Bring Malay Ringget you got from money changer in Brunei with you to pay for your lunch in Miri and your trip back to Brunei
Bus Between Kalimantan (Indonesia), Sarawak and Brunei
Indonesian state-run bus firm Damri has served the Pontianak-Kuching-Brunei route since 2008. The Damri Transport Company was appointed by the Indonesian government to operate on the route. The Brunei government appointed JPS company to serve the reverse route Brunei-Kuching-Pontianak. Eight buses each from the two countries have been prepared to serve the route. One-way trip from Brunei to Kuching to Pontianak is 1,200-kilometer long and takes 35 hours. [Source: etawau.com]
There are plenty of bus companies between Pontianak and Kuching. The cost of a return economy class ticket is about IDR380,000 (USD38, 40-50 seats per bus), IDR 200,000 for one-way (At some places it is also possible to pay in MYR since most of the companies are malaysian). While a more comfortable Super Executive class is IDR300,000 (USD32) for return trip (larger size 20-25 seats per bus). As of September 12th, buses will depart and arrive at Sungai Ambawang bus terminal. Most of the bus companies' offices are at Jl. Sisingamangaraja No.155-159 and this is maybe the major point. (The office of one of the major Malaysian companies - SJS, is there. Tel. (0561) 734626,739544,765651.) Also you may check for info at BusAsia (Tebakang Express; other major Malaysian company) web page. There are buses in the morning and in the evening. In evenings the journey from Pontianak usually starts around 9.00 PM WIB (Waktu Indonesia Barat - Western Indonesian Time) with all buses traveling in convoy, the journey is comfortable as drivers are driving moderately. Reaching the border check-points between 4.00 - 6.00 AM WIB (with one or two rest stops in between) just as the checkpoints open their gate. The journey from checkpoints to Kuching is another 2 hours at moderate driving, reaching Kuching regional bus terminal at 7.00 - 9.00 AM Malaysian Standard Time (1 hour ahead of Western Indonesian Time). Buses from Kuching regional bus terminal to Pontianak leave on two schedules, Economy class leaves at 7.00 AM and 1 PM Malaysian Standard Time, while Super Executive class leaves at 11.00 AM Malaysian Standard Time. [Source: Wikitravel]
Daily bus services between Kuching and Pontianak. Journey is 8-10 hours. Immigration point in Teledu. No bus services from Pontianak to Banjarmasin. Kuching To Pontianak, Indonesia. RM 45.00, 8 hours. Buses depart from Kuching's Penrissen Road Terminal. Biaramas/Tebakang Express (Tel: 456999) at 7.30 am.. SJS (Tel: 456999) at 8 am and 1.00 pm. The up market SJS 'Super Executive' departs 11.00 am and costs RM 70. This bus has more leg room and meals are included. Kirata Express departs 7.30 am Sapphire Pacific at 11 am Sri Merah Express at 7 am and 10 am - book through Vital Focus Transportation (Tel: 453190 or 461277) or Borneo Interland (63 Main Bazaar, Tel: 413595). ATS (Tel: 457773) departs 7.30 am, Eva Express (Tel: 576761) at 7 am (economy) and 11 am (super class, RM 70) and Damri (Tel: 572098) at 8 am, 11.30 am and 1 pm. [Source: etawau.com]
Ferries Between Brunei and Kota Kinabalu (Sabah, Malaysia)
It is possible to travel between Brunei and Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia by taking two ferries. There is at least one a day running from the ferry terminal in Muara, 25 kilometers northeast of Bandar Seri Begawan, to Pulau Labuan, Sabah. There you get a Malaysia passport and continue on to Kota Kinabalu by another ferry. According to Lonely Planet: “There are at least two ferries (adult/child/car B$18/10/58) each day, departing from Serasa Ferry Terminal in Muara...to the Malaysian federal territory of Pulau Labuan (two hours), though only the car ferry is reliable. Departure times are 8.30am and 9am (car ferry), though these can change. Tickets can be bought at the ferry terminal and at the PKL Jaya office in Muara. Arrive at least an hour before sailing. To get to the ferry terminal by public transport, PHLS runs an express service from BSB bus station to the Serasa Ferry Terminal departing at 6.45am, 9am, noon, 2pm, 4.00pm and 7pm. Alternatively take the (slower) 38 bus to Muara town. From there it's a short trip on the 33 bus (allow at least an hour for the journey). Alternatively go with Dart (around B$20). At the border most travelers to Malaysia are granted a 30- or 60-day visa on arrival. Moving on From Bandar Labuan twice-daily ferries go to Kota Kinabalu (RM45, three hours). [Source: Lonely Planet]
Alex Trembath wrote in careergappers.com: “It's a bit of a hassle but it can be done. We took the 8:30am ferry from Brunei to Labuan, which arrived at 10am, then waited for the 1pm ferry to KK. I believe there was another ferry from Serasa to Labuan at midday (12:30pm or 1pm), which would get you into Labuan in time to take the last ferry of the day back to KK.....With the only morning ferry leaving Muara Port at 8:30am, we had to make an early start. We took a 6am taxi from our hostel to the bus station, which came to 15 Brunei dollars, followed by the 6:45am bus to the port, another dollar each. We made it just in time to book our tickets for the ferry, which were 17 dollars each, inclusive of port tax. In a last-minute scramble I had to change up some ringgits as we were a dollar short. [Source: Alex Trembath careergappers.com February 17, 2018 ;
“We made it into Labuan by 10am and booked our tickets onto the next available KK ferry, which didn’t leave until 1:30pm. This final leg of the journey was 39 ringgits each, inclusive of port tax. We stuck our big bags into a left luggage service for 3 ringgits each, allowing us to explore a bit while we waited. Three hours is an awkward amount of time to spend in Labuan, as you can’t do any activities in that time – we made do with a coffee and an Indian buffet lunch. It was 5:00pm when we finally cruised back into Jesselton Point” near Kota Kinabalu.
On the journey from Kota Kinabalu to Brune: “We arrived at Jesselton Point in good time to book onto the 8am ferry to the island of Labuan, which boarded at 7:30am. For 60 ringgits plus 6% tax each, we bought combination tickets through to Brunei.At 11:30am we docked at Labuan, with a 90-minute wait until the next ferry. Perfect for lunch! We ate at one of the buffet restaurants opposite the ferry port, paid the 5-ringgit terminal tax each, and then boarded at 12:30pm for the 1pm departure to Muara, Brunei.
“We pulled into Muara port at about 3pm, with no Bruneian money, no ATM in sight, and very little information available about how to get to Bandar. Luckily we found a money exchange stall, where we traded 20 of our emergency US dollars into local money. Outside we found a sign with a vague bus timetable: there would be a shuttle into Bandar at 3: 00pm, and the next one at 5:30pm. I looked at my watch: it was 3: 17pm.
“In a divine moment of good fortune, it turned out that the 3: 00pm bus was running a few minutes late. When it arrived, it looked more like a 1980s blue camper van. We hopped on and paid 1 Brunei dollar each. It took us into Muara town, where we had to transfer to another blue-campervan bus to take us into Bandar. In total, the 20-km-ish journey took over an hour.” GETTING AROUND IN BRUNEI
GETTING AROUND IN THE BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN AREA
Many of the main sights in Bandar Seri Begawan — including Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque and the Royal Regalia Building — are within easy walking distance of one another in the heart of the city. Otherwise taxis and buses are available. A public bus system serves the capital and other destinations. There are no trains or subways. You don’t see motorcycle taxis like you do in some Asian cities. You generally don’t see passenger-carrying minibuses either.
Most Bruneians own cars. As a result, public transport and taxis exist but are not in great demand. A bus system operates during the day in Bandar Seri Begawan, though routes and frequency are not convenient for use as a normal means of transportation. A limited number of buses also operate between city centers. Chauffeur-driven or rental cars are available for hire through major hotels or the airport. Taxi rates can be more expensive than in the U.S. It is sometimes possible to negotiate the fare before entering a taxi. The fare from the airport to Bandar Seri Begawan varies from about US$12-$30, depending on the availability of taxis and the driver. [Source: Brunei 2019 Crime & Safety Report, OSAC, Overseas Security Advisory Council, Bureau of Diplomatic Security, U.S. Department of State]
Traffic jams are not a problem in Bandar Seri Begawan. You don’t see the motorbikes everywhere or even bicycles like you do in other Southeast Asia cities. Even taxis are not that common. The bus system is reasonable good but the routes are difficult to sort for first time users. Many people speak English, so if you get lost you can easily ask someone for directions.
Bandar Seri Begawan is not as confusing as other Asian cities. It is not all that big and there is a lot of space. The most confusing thing about it perhaps is the way the roads curve all over the place rather than form a neat grid. But that doesn’t make so much difference as you will probably walk or take a taxi to most places The main streets are marked. Taxi drivers respond to landmarks as well as street numbers. Before setting out anywhere it is a good idea to have detailed directions and a good map in English and Malay. Most taxi-drivers speak English. Take along the address of your destination(s) and your hotel so you can easily get back when you are finished
Taxis in Brunei
Taxis are not all that plentiful or cheap. They are generally only found in Bandar Seri Begawan and even there there are only a few dozen of them. Most Bruneians have accesses cars so there isn’t a strong demand for taxis. The normal charge for a metered is B$3.50 for the first kilometer or minute and $B0.80 for every kilometer or minute after that. There are often no meters so you have to bargain. make sure to agree on the fare upon before setting off (ask around what a fair price is). Hotels taxis have a fixed rate.
Taxi rates can be more expensive than in the U.S. It is sometimes possible to negotiate the fare before entering a taxi. The fare from the airport to Bandar Seri Begawan varies from about US$12-$30, depending on the availability of taxis and the driver. Most taxis are air conditioned and most drivers speak English. Even so, it doesn't hurt to have a map and an address for your destination and a nearby landmark near where you are going written in Bruneian. Tipping is not usually practiced. To call for a taxi, please contact: 2-222214, 2-226853. Kuala Belait: +673 3334581; Seria: +673 3222020, +673 3222155; Airport Taxi Service: +673 2343671. For inquiries on destination fares, you may call the Land Transport Department at 2-451979 during office hours.
Taxis can be hailed from the streets but you have a hard time finding one, hence it is better to catch one at a taxi stand Hotel or have one arranged for you by your hotel (there is often a charge for this). Taxis can be found at the airport Hotels, shopping centers, the multi-story car park at Jalan Cator and the central bus station in Bandar Seri Begawan and are metered. It is recommended that visitors use licensed, metered taxis or car services provided by hotels in Brunei. Fares go up at night between 11:00pm and 6:00am. There is usually an additional charge for luggage.
There’s a surcharge of B$3 for trips going to and from the airport, as well as an additional B$8 for travelling from one district to another. Travellers should also note that there are additional charges for more than two pieces of baggage, as well as carrying more than four passengers per taxi. Charges 6:00pm to 6:00am. Additional 50 percent of metered fare. Booking via telephone, B$2.00 Third and subsequent piece, B$2.00 per piece More than 4 passengers,B$2.00 per passenger Waiting charge, B$0.50 per minute, Toll charges - Borne by passenger. [Source: Bruneitourism.com]
Dart Dart is a local transport app like Uber or Grab (both of which are currently unavailable in Brunei). It can be competitively priced against Brunei’s taxis, with the additional convenience of booking a ride through the app. You can download it on the Apple App Store, and on the Google Play Store.
Buses in Bandar Seri Begawan
Buses in Brunei are cheap but infrequent and often unreliable. A bus system operates during the day in Bandar Seri Begawan, though routes and frequency are not convenient for use as a normal means of transportation. A limited number of buses also operate between city centers. There are six bus routes servicing the Bandar Seri Begawan area. Normal operating hours are from 6:00am. – 8:00pm. daily. Bus fares start from B$1.00. Buses heading to other towns in Brunei such as Tutong, Kuala Belait, and Seria depart from the bus terminal located at the multi-story car park on Jalan Cator in Bandar Seri Begawan. [Source: Travel.State.Gov, U.S. Department of State, May 2019]
Public buses in Brunei are called the Franchise Bus, formerly known as the Purple Bus There are six bus routes serving Bandar Seri Begawan (BSB) area and Brunei Muara District - the Central Line, Circle Line, Eastern Line, Northern Line, Western Line and Southern Line. They usually operate from 6.30am - 7.00pm Fares start from B$1.00. Buses to other major towns such as Tutong, Seria and Kuala Belait depart from the bus terminal located at the Jalan Cator car park in downtown Bandar.
The six bus routes operating around Bandar Seri Begawan are: 1) Central Line – runs every 15 minutes and stops at Brunei International Airport, Post Office, Government offices, Terrace Hotel, Radisson Hotel, Youth Centre, Brunei Arts and Handicrafts Training Centre, Brunei Museum and the Malay Technology Museum. 2) Circle Line – runs every 20 minutes and stops at RIPAS Hospital, Jame’ ‘Asr Hassanil Bolkiah, Gadong Wet Market, Centrepoint in Gadong, Government offices, Immigration and National Registration Department/Labour Department, the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium, Islamic Dakwah Centre, Supa Save Mabohai, Terrace Hotel, Radisson Hotel and the Youth Centre. There is also the 3) Eastern Line, 4) Southern Line, 5) Western Line and 6) Northern Line. All of these bus routes end at the main bus terminal in the capital. The different lines, have distinctive colors. The Eastern Line, which is royal blue bus, and the Northern Line, which is green, pass through the international airport.
Water Taxis and Boat Service in Bandar Seri Begawan
Water taxis can be used to travel between some destinations in the Bandar Seri Begawan area. They are a popular means of transportation should you wish to explore the Kampung Ayer or water Village area. You can hail a water taxi at jetties situated along Brunei River. Regular boat services to Temburong district are also available which operates from 6:45am to 5:00pm daily. [Source: Bruneitourism.com]
Kampong Ayer is a sprawling water village. Water taxis there are a form of speed boat. Rides usually cost between B$4 – 10, but can be negotiated before setting off. Boats can also be hired to tour the waterways. It is probably best to have a local with you to help bargain the cost as well. In Kampung Ayer water taxis can be hailed from docking ports along the banks of the Brunei River.
Traveling by Road Around Brunei
Most Bruneians own cars. As a result, public transport and taxis exist but are not in great demand. A limited number of buses also operate between city centers. Chauffeur-driven or rental cars are available for hire through major hotels or the airport. There are no trains or domestic air service. Brunei is small. There is nowhere to fly within the country.
There are just over 2,100 kilometers of roads in Brunei. Road conditions are comparable to most Western countries. The country’s best-developed road network is in the Brunei-Muara district, home to the majority of the population. This road network is the primary means of movement for goods and services on land, and has seen an increase in the volume of traffic in recent years. [Source: Brunei 2019 Crime & Safety Report, OSAC, Overseas Security Advisory Council, Bureau of Diplomatic Security, U.S. Department of State]
Brunei has a lower traffic injury and death rate than any other Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) country, with the exception Singapore. Vehicle ownership is estimated to be greater than 277,000, but only about 151,000 are registered.
The Royal Brunei Police Force routinely sets up checkpoints, particularly at night and on holiday weekends, for the purpose of 1) performing routine license and registration checks; 2) preventing driving while intoxicated; and 3) conducting searches for contraband. If stopped, drivers should be prepared to show their identification card, vehicle registration, and insurance policy. In case of an accident, all three documents will be required.
Buses, Minibuses and Hired Taxis
Buses service some rural areas and oil towns. Often times the only way you can find out information about a particular bus route is to inquire in the town where the bus is leaving from. In Bandar Seri Begawan there is a central bus station with buses that leave at regular intervals. Some smaller towns have bus stations. If they don't have one, buses generally leave from the main square, taxi stand or bus company office. Buses heading from Bandar Seri Begawan to other major towns such as Seria and Kuala Beliat depart from the bus terminal located at the multiistory carpark on Jalan Cator in downtown Bandare Seri Begawan.
A few shared taxis and minibuses run regular routes between towns, villages and cities. As a rule they service more off-the-beaten destinations than buses and are used by travelers to reached off-the-beaten path sights. Sometimes they are fast and comfortable. In some rural areas, however, they can be crowded and slow if a lot of stops are made and a lot of people are squeezed in.
Minibus and shared taxi trips to specific tourist spots are often arranged through tourist agencies. Signs outside the front of the agencies give prices and destinations. Some cities and towns have taxi and minibus stands, which are usually located near the bus stations. Large cities and towns sometimes have stands in different parts of town, each with vehicles heading to destinations in different directions. It is recommended that you go early to the place where the shared taxis and minibuses leave because generally that is when everybody sets off. Otherwise you might have to wait for a long time or pay a higher price to shove off with less people.
Shared taxis and minibuses can also be hailed from the side of the road, but often they don't stop because they are full. The fares are set according to distance. It is not necessary to bargain unless you are hiring a vehicle. Shared vehicles leave on a when full basis, and you can get off where off ever you want just let the driver or his assistant know.
Vehicles with a driver can be hired formally through hotels, tour companies, travel agencies or rent-a-car agencies, or informally at a taxi or mini bus stand. If you are interested in hiring a vehicle ask around first to find out how much you should pay. They can he rented with a driver for about B$100 to B$200 a day. The daily price for a car with a driver depends on the condition of the vehicle and your bargaining skills. Minivan rates vary depending on the side of the vehicle.
Driving in Brunei
Driving in Brunei is on the left side of the road (different from United States and the same as Britain), the road signs are generally in English, and distances and speeds are measured in kilometers and kilometers per hour. The roads between the major cities are paved, but those in mountains, forests and rural areas are primarily dirt and gravel. Some of them are in poor condition, especially during times of heavy rain when they may become impassable.
Driving is not a big problem in Brunei; there are not really that many vehicles on the road. Even though the driving laws in Brunei are more or less the same as those in the U.S., people don't necessarily obey them, so drive defensively. If you are driving yourself, make sure your car has a spare tire, jack, spare battery water, an extra fan belt and an emergency triangle. There are also military checkpoints and lots of bored police so make sure papers and car are in good working order.
Brunei has an extensive network of roads comparable to those in most western countries, and they are well maintained. Drivers must obey traffic rules at all times and should take extra caution when approaching traffic signals. The Royal Brunei Police Force routinely sets up checkpoints and traffic stops, particularly at night, normally for license and registration check or DWI and contraband. If you are stopped by police, you will need to show your identification card, vehicle registration, and insurance card. [Source: Travel.State.Gov, U.S. Department of State, May 2019]
Drivers of vehicles not registered in Brunei can only purchase motor fuel at 10 designated filling stations throughout the country, to a maximum of 250 litres. Filling a foreign car is more expensive as the purchase price does not include a government subsidy. Traffic will not always stop at red lights or pedestrian crossings. Speeding and non use of seatbelts is common. Road conditions are generally good but you should take extra care while driving through heavy rain as road surfaces are uneven. If you’re involved in a road accident as a driver, you should not leave the scene or move the vehicle until the police have attended. Traffic accidents should be reported to the police within 48hours. [Source: gov.uk United Kingdom government, Foreign travel advice, 2019]
Off Road Driving in Rain Forest
Police advise individuals against driving in the forest, including at well-known recreation areas. It’s easy to get lost when visiting the rainforest. Use recognised and well-known guides. The best thing to do is hire a vehicle and driver through your hotel or a travel agency. Many of the roads in the forest and rural areas are tracks. Some tracks are surprising hard and smooth. Generally, though, they are bumpy and in poor condition. After it rains they often become impassable.
Off the beaten track, drivers have to deal with quagmires (during the rainy season), deep sand, deep ruts, big rocks, dust, steep hills, landslides, and washed out surfaces. In the some places the roads are only wide enough for one car so be careful around blind turns (honk to let cars coming the opposite direction know you are coming). The biggest obstacles are rivers and streams. Big rivers simply can not be crossed unless there is a bridge.
Distances off road are deceptive. Vehicles are slowed by ruts and potholes and it is not unusual for journey of a 100 kilometers on narrow, twisting, potholed roads to take four or five hours. If you are going four-wheeling in the Bruneian interior remember to bring a winch, wooden planks, an air pump, spare parts and tires, an ax, extra fuel and oil, a first aid kit and enough food and water to last an emergency. A global positioning System (GPS) is useful for figuring out where you are and avoiding getting lost if you are driving in the wilderness.
Driver's License, Insurance and Roadside Assistance :
Holders of a foreign driver’s license are permitted to drive in Brunei Darussalam for 90 days only. For longer stays, a foreign driver’s license must be endorsed to a Brunei driver’s license, available at any Land Transport Department office. [Source: Travel.State.Gov, U.S. Department of State, May 2019]
It is best to have an International Driving Permit (IDP). In the U.S., an IDP can obtained through AAA (American Automobile Association) at AAA office or online ( aaa.com/vacation/idp ) for US$20 and two passport size photographs. IDPs are a legal identification document that translates driving license information into 11 languages, including English, and intended to be used as a supplement to a valid driving license. . Technically, the IDP is so that your license can be read and identified by the Traffic Police, in the event you are checked. Your US driving license is already in English, so technically you would be fine without it, but just get it for peace of mind to be fully within the letter of the law. You don’t want to have a traffic accident and have issues with your driver’s license. A Brunei driver's license may be obtained in Brunei on presentation of a valid license and a passport.
Foreign motorists arriving in Brunei in their own vehicle generally must also have a vehicle registration document and green card or insurance certificate showing that the car has accident liability coverage. Third party liability insurance is mandatory. Vehicle liability insurance is required by law in Brunei. Motorists from abroad must either present the green international insurance card or take out temporary liability insurance at the point of entry into the country. Insurance coverage available at the point of entry can be purchased for 15 days or one month. Should the insurance coverage expire, you may apply for an extension at automobile club offices located throughout the country.
Rental Cars in Brunei
Automobiles and SUVs can be rented in Brunei.Visitors wishing to explore Brunei beyond its capital, Bandar Seri Begawan can rent a car prior to reaching the country, through online booking at a number of services. Prices range between B$60 to B$100 per day, depending on the size of the vehicle. Self-drive or chauffeur-driven cars are available for hire from major hotels and the airport. Since driving in Brunei can be a little iffy it may not be a bad idea to hire a driver. The cost of hiring a driver is about US$75 a day for 10 hours and visitors must also pay for the driver's meals and hotel expenses.
1) Avis Rent-A-Car, +673 242 6345 / 244 2284 / 244 6380 / 242 4921, 2) Branch - Sheraton Utama Hotel, +673 222 7100, 3) Azizah Car Rental, +673 222 9388 / 785 9888 / 881 8880, 4) Booklink, +673 244 6380, 5) Budget-U-Drive, +673 234 5573 / 4, 6) Ellis and Sukma Car Rental, +673 242 7238 / 242 3777 / 875 0285, 7) Hani Car Rental, +673 261 1666 / 883 7845, 8) Hertz Rent-A-Car, +673 245 2244, 9) L&W Automobile Rental & Services Sdn Bhd, +673 875 2783, 10) Qawi Enterprise (Rent-A-Car), +673 265 5550 / 1 / 2, 11) Sabli Development & Eng. Co., +673 239 1122 / 877 9421
Most rental companies operate out of the large cities and airports. Since rental vehicles may be in high demand, you should try to book one in advance. To save money get a group of people together and split the costs. To save yourself a hassle you may want to rent a car with an American car rental company that has offices in Brunei. Third party liability insurance is mandatory for all vehicles traveling in Brunei. Before you make a reservation check with your auto insurance or credit card company about liability and accident coverage in an overseas rent-a-car. You may already be covered. Also, get a written confirmation from the rental company in the local currency, and inquire about additional costs, such as sales tax, airport surcharges, drop-off fees, mileage and theft insurance. When you return the car get a final bill; it is difficult to dispute charges once back in your home country.
Ferries and Boats in Brunei
Speedboats link Bandar Seri Begawan with Bangar (in Brunei's Temburong District), and car ferries go from the Serasa Ferry Terminal in Muara, 25 kilometers northeast of Bandar Seri Begawan, to Pulau Labuan and Menumbok in Sarawak, where ferries can be caught to Kota Kinabalu in Sabah. Car and passenger ferry services to Malaysia depart from Serasa Terminal in Muara. The journey ordinarily takes forty five minutes to Paau Labuan and two hours and the half to Menumbok. The only way to get to Ulu Temburong National Park is by motorised longboat.
River taxis or longboats provides service on the Brunei River from Bandar Seri Begawan to Kampung Ayer in Brunei and Limbang in Sarawak. Water taxis there are a form of speed boat. They taxis are a popular means of transportation should you wish to explore the Kampung Ayer or other water village areas. You can hail a water taxi at jetties situated along Brunei River.
Regular boat services to Temburong district are available which operates from 6:45am to 5:00pm daily. Rides usually cost between B$5 – 10, but can be negotiated before setting off. There are also services to the towns of Limban, Lawas, Sundar and Labuan Boats can also be hired to tour the waterways. It is probably best to have a local with you to help bargain the cost as well. In Kampung Ayer water taxis can be hailed from docking ports along the banks of the Brunei River.
Scheduled for Speedboat Services Between Bandar Seri Begawan and Bangar:
Departure from Bandar Seri Begawan to Bangar: Boat, Time, Cost
Syarikat Amp Hj Salleh Amp Hj Judah & Anak - Anak, 6.45 am to 5.00pm, Adult: : B$6.00 Senior Citizen: B$5.00 Children below 12: free;
Koperasi Pengangkutan Bersatu Temburong dgn Tanggungan bhd, 6.45 am to 5.00pm, Adult: B$6.00 Senior Citizen: B$5.00 Children below 12: free.
Departure from Bangar to Bandar Seri Begawan: Boat, Time, Cost
Syarikat Amp Hj Salleh Amp Hj Judah & Anak - Anak, 6.30 am to 4.30pm, Adult: B$6.00 Senior Citizen: B$5.00 Children below 12: free.
Koperasi Pengangkutan Bersatu Temburong dgn Tanggungan bhd, 6.30 am to 4.30pm, Adult: B$6.00 Senior Citizen: B$5.00 Children below 12: free.
Scheduled for Boat Services :
Departure from Brunei, To, Time; Arrival to Brunei, From, Time
Seri Anna, Labuan, 07.30am; Beng Seng Speedboat, Sundar, 09.15am
Suria, Labuan, 08.30am; Utama Lawas, Lawas, 09.30am
Mutiara Laut II, Labuan, 09.00am; Rajawali, Labuan, 09.45am Beng Seng Speedboat,
Sundar, 10.15am, Duta Muhibbah, Labuan, 09.45am
Utama Lawas, Lawas, 11.30am; Seri Labuan 3, Labuan, 01.30pm
Rajawali, Labuan, 01.00pm; Duta Muhibbah 3, Labuan, 02.30pm
Duta Muhibbah, Labuan, 01.00pm; Suria, Labuan, 04.00pm
Seri Labuan 3, Labuan, 03.30pm; Mutiara Laut, Labuan, 05.00pm
Duta Muhibbah 2, Labuan, 04.40pm; Seri Anna, Labuan, 05.30pm
Scheduled for Ferry Services:
Brunei to Labuan: 9:30am
Labuan to Brunei:4:00pm
Departure from Brunei To Shuttle Hope, Menumbok, 9.30am
Arrival to Brunei From Shuttle Hope, Menumbok:3.00pm
For more details regarding ferry services, visit www.pkljaya.com or email to email@example.com
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