ABOUT BRUNEI

officially the State of Brunei Darussalam or the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace(Malay: Negara Brunei Darussalam, Jawi: بروني دارالسلام), is a sovereign state located on the north coast of the island of Borneo, in Southeast Asia. Apart from its coastline with the South China Sea, it is completely surrounded by the state of Sarawak, Malaysia, and in fact it is separated into two parts by Limbang, which is part of Sarawak. It is the only sovereign state completely on the island of Borneo, with the remainder of the island belonging to Malaysia and Indonesia.

Brunei can trace its beginnings to the 7th century, when it was a subject state of the Srivijayan empire under the name Po-ni. It later became a vassal state of Majapahit [citation needed] before falling to Islam in the 15th century. At the peak of its empire, the sultanate had control that extended over the coastal regions of modern-day Sarawak and Sabah, the Sulu archipelago, and the islands off the northwest tip of Borneo. The thalassocracy was visited by Ferdinand Magellan in 1521 and fought the Castille War in 1578 against Spain. Its empire began to decline with the forced ceding of Sarawak to James Brooke and the ceding of Sabah to the British North Borneo Chartered Company. After the loss of Limbang, Brunei finally became a British protectorate in 1888, receiving a resident in 1906. In the post-occupation years, it formalised a constitution and fought an armed rebellion.Brunei regained its independence from the United Kingdom on 1 January 1984. Economic growth during the 1970s and 1990s, averaging 56% from 1999 to 2008, has transformed Brunei Darussalam into a newly industrialised country.

BRUNEI TOURISM BOARD

BRUNEI GOVERNMENT

 

BRUNEI GEOGRAPHY

GEOGRAPHY
Brunei Darussalam is situated on the north-west coast of the island of Borneo. It has a total land area of 5,765 km2 with a coastline of about 161 km along the South China Sea. The South China Sea surrounds the northern portion of the land while the Malaysian State of Sarawak borders all the other sides. To know more about the geography of Brunei, please visit the Brunei Government official website.
 
CLIMATE
Brunei Darussalam has an equatorial climate which is characterized by a uniform warm temperature, high humidity and heavy rainfall. Temperatures average at about 28 degree Celsius, while rainfall varies from 2,500mm annually on the coast to 7,500mm in the interior.
 
REGIONS
Brunei Darussalam is divided into four districts, namely, Brunei-Muara, Tutong, Belait and Temburong.

Its capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, is located in the Brunei-Muara district. The capital is the centre of Government and business activities. All the other major towns are within a 2-hour driving distance from Bandar Seri Begawan.

TOURIST TIPS

Banks
Banks in Brunei Darussalam are open Mondays - Fridays 9:00am - 4:00pm, Saturdays 9:00am - 11:00am. Islamic banks follow the same operation times except on Fridays when they are closed for prayers between 11:00am - 2:30pm. Some banks have started operations within shopping complexes and are opened till late.
 
Credit Cards
They are accepted widely in hotels, restaurants and major shopping complexes. Most widely accepted cards are VISA and Mastercard. Some establishments accept American Express too.
 
Money Changer
The service is available at the airport, at banks, hotels and some licensed money changers. To cash or exchange travelers cheques denominated in legal major currencies, visit major international banks in the capital.
 
Money Remittance/Transfer

All major banks in Brunei are able to transfer money overseas or other options include remittance agencies.

Tipping
Tipping is not widely practiced in Brunei. However, if the service is exceptional, you can do so.
 
Lost/Stolen Passports & Credit Cards
If you ever do find your passport missing, go to the nearest Police Station to lodge a police report and inform your embassy to seek further assistance. If your credit cards get stolen, make sure you call your bank to cancel the cards immediately.
 
Telecommunications
Most public phones operate on calling cards such as Hello card, Netkad and Payless. These cards can be purchased at any stores and comes in $5, $10, $20 and $50 denominations. Prepaid calling cards for the two mobile telephone operators; DST and Progresif can be purchased from their respective authorized dealers in all major shopping areas.
 
Smoking
Smoking is accepted in Brunei. However, as a sign of the times, many air-conditioned restaurants and cafes practice a non-smoking policy. A true and tried method to check: if there are ashtrays provided on the tables, it's ok to light up.
 
Alcohol
Travellers who enjoy a beer or a wine while on holiday can still indulge during their stay in Brunei. It is certainly not illegal for non-Muslim visitors to drink. The country has one of the most generous duty-free allowances in the world. Visitors can bring in two litres of spirits or wine plus 12 cans of beer.
Buses
There are six bus routes servicing the BSB area: the Central Line, Circle Line, Eastern Line, Southern Line, Western Line and Northern Line. They operate from 6:30am - 6:00pm. Central Line - runs every 15 minutes.
 
Taxis
There are metered taxis available from most hotels, shopping centres and the airport. In BSB taxis dock opposite the main bus terminal in Jalan Cator. Airport taxis ply the airport-hotel routes exclusively. There is a surcharge fee for taxi rides from 11:00pm - 6:00am. For further inquiries on destination fares you may call the Land Transport Department at 2451979 during office hours.
 
Water Taxis
Unique to Brunei, the water taxis are the most common means of transportation at Kampung Ayer. You can hail for a water taxi from the numerous jetties along the banks of Brunei River. The water taxi is an ideal way to view the Kampung Ayer up-close. Fares are negotiable. Regular boat services to Temburong operate between 7:45am to 4:00pm daily, and a round trip fare costs $15.
 
Ferry Services
Passenger ferry services to the Malaysian town of Labuan operates between 7:00am to 4:00pm and departs from the Serasa Terminal in Muara Town. The journey takes between 45mins to an hour.