BRUNEI TRAVEL GUIDE 2019: DIY Itinerary, Things to do + How to get there and more

Brunei Darussalam Travel Guide, and Travel Information

Masjid Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque
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2019 Travel Guide to Brunei for First-time Travelers

(Bandar Seri Begawan) Brunei is a less-visited country on the north coast of Borneo but don’t let this fool you for the place is beaming with so many attractions to see. This wealthy country ruled by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah is famous for its low crime rate and beautiful spots where tourists can enjoy.

Brunei Travel Guide
Brunei Travel Guide

About Brunei

The country is an independent Islamic sultanate. It lies in near the South China Sea to its north and Sarawak, East Malaysian State. The soils found along the rivers and areas of the coastal floodplain are regarded as fertile soil. A big part of the country consists of virgin tropical rainforest where plants and creatures thrive.

Masjid Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque
Masjid Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque
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In this Brunei Travel Guide Blog, we listed some tips on how you can do your own DIY Day trip to Brunei. We also included Brunei Itinerary, Things to do and see, how to get there and more.

Visa Requirements

Foreign travelers from the following countries 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, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, and the United States.

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

For up to 14 days: Cambodia, Canada, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Macau, Maldives, Myanmar, Peru, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Currency of Brunei and Accessibility to ATM Machines

The currency of Brunei is Brunei dollar. It’s used in establishments so tourists must have their currency exchanged for the local currency to get around and do stuff. Singapore coins can also be used in Brunei. ATM machines are common in Brunei in large and small cities and tourist areas.

Language

The official language of Brunei is Malay, but due to its British colonial past, English is widely spoken and understood in urban areas.

WIFI Access

There are hotels that offer free Wi-Fi while there are telecom companies who sell broadband sim card which tourists can use while in the country.

Best Time to Visit Brunei

There are two seasons in Brunei; dry season and wet or rainy seasons. January to May is the best time to visit the country because this is what they consider spring although the peak tourist season is from June to August which is too hot.

How to Get to Brunei

Manila to Brunei Flights
Manila to Brunei Flights

Cebu Pacific and Royal Brunei Airlines have daily flights from Manila to Bandar Seri Begawan in Brunei.

Brunei’s sole airport of significance is Brunei International Airport (BWN), the hub of national carrier Royal Brunei Airlines. 

How to get to the City from the Airport

A taxi to Bandar Seri Begawan takes 20 minutes and costs around B$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 center (B$1) along with other busses for tours & hotel shuttles. The reason for the long walk is an extensive construction of airport upgrades.

Getting Around Brunei

The taxis in Brunei are not plenty but they’re available at the airport to transport tourists to their locations. Tourists can also ride taxis by booking in advance through their hotel. There are car rentals like Hertz and Avis at the airport but booking in advance is required. It’s also available for exploring for B$85 per day. The drop-off and pick-up service for car rental cost about B$100 per day.

A cool way to go to Bangar and Temburong from Bandar Seri Begawan is through Water Taxis located at the Canal Market or behind Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah. There’s a rail travel but it’s not available to the public.

Where to Stay in Brunei

The Empire Hotel and Country Club

The Empire Hotel and Country Club
The Empire Hotel and Country Club

Address: Jerudong Negara BG3122, Jerudong, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam

Deluxe Room price starts at USD249++ via Agoda

This 5-star hotel is one of the best in Bandar Seri Begawan. It has 518 guestrooms and has high-class amenities for guests to enjoy. There’s actually something for everyone. There’s a business center and conference rooms for working guests, a fitness room for guests who want to continue with their workout, kids club for younger ones and swimming pool.

The Rizqun International Hotel

The Rizqun International Hotel
The Rizqun International Hotel

Address: Abdul Razak Complex, Gadong, Gadong, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam

Deluxe room price starts at USD115++ via Agoda

The Rizqun is located inside of a large shopping complex. By this, tourists can enjoy a lively setting where they can go to local cafes in the afternoon and foodie adventures at the night market which isn’t far away. The hotel is adorned with ornate decorations which feature world-class elegance. It’s near the airport and features a luggage storage.

The CentrePoint

The CentrePoint Hotel Bandar Seri Begawan
The CentrePoint Hotel Bandar Seri Begawan

Address: Hotel Abdul Razak Complex, Gadong, Gadong, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam

Deluxe room starts at USD83++ via Agoda

Accommodations in the Hotel include sports activities like tennis or racquetball and dining options at the food court located at the ground floor or trying out Italian cuisine at Fratini’s. There are electric stoves and kitchenettes in the executive rooms. Also, the hotel is located in Gadong’s shopping district so there’s a lot to see and buy.

Mulia Hotel

Mulia Hotel Bandar Seri Begawan
Mulia Hotel Bandar Seri Begawan

Address: EDR No. BD 30400 Lot No. 31954 Kg Anggerek Desa, Mukim Barakas, Brunei- Muara, Kianggeh, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam

Standard room price starts at USD73++ via Agoda

Mulia Hotel offers high-quality accommodation with a much lower price than the first two. The hotel features rooms with big beds, big living rooms complete with cable TV and other standard items. Guests can have their currency changed at the travel counter inside the hotel. A salon is located inside the hotel for last minute beauty services.

Easybox Budget Hotel

Easybox Budget Hotel
Easybox Budget Hotel

Address: No. 4&5 First Floor Block E Abdul Razak, Gadong, Brunei Darussalam, Kianggeh, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei- Muara, BE3159

Standard room price starts at USD20++ via Agoda

The hotel ensures guests get special treatment through their 24-hour front desk. All rooms have free Wi-Fi and a convenience store in the vicinity. It’s in the middle of Gadong so guests can have access to all that the city has to offer. There are English, Filipino and Malay language speakers in the hotel.

Qing Yun Rest House

Qing Yun Rest House
Qing Yun Rest House

Address: No.16 First floor, Block I, Abdul Razak Complex, Jalan Gadong BE3519, Brunei Darussalam, Bandar Seri Begawan

Standard room price starts at USD25++ via Agoda

Travelers who wish to stay in a budget hotel without sacrificing comfort will find this Rest house ideal. There are non-smoking rooms in the rest house and air-conditioning in some of the rooms. It’s near town facilities for easier access.  They have a taxi service, daily housekeeping, and a car park and free Wi-Fi in all their rooms.

Also Read: List of the Best Hotels in Bandar Seri Begawan

Where to Eat

Kaizen Sushi Waterfront

Kaizen Sushi Waterfront Brunei photo via FB Page
Kaizen Sushi Waterfront Brunei photo via FB Page

Address: Waterfront, BSB or Kiarong Complex, Hassanal Bolkiah Highway

The restaurant overlooks a river. Its serene ambiance is the perfect setting for their menu.  This restaurant serves Japanese food like sushi. It has vegan, Halal and gluten-free options. Their sashimi looks fresh and sumptuous. Their serving is enough to satisfy cravings. They’re open for families with children, business meetings, special occasions, and large groups.

Roti Culture Brunei

Roti Culture Brunei photo via FB Page
Roti Culture Brunei photo via FB Page

Address: Block H, Unit 8&9, Ground Floor, Gadong, BE3719, Brunei Darussalam

This vibrant restaurant’s history started in the home kitchen of the owners in 2004. Since then, they’ve been serving delicious Roti Prata made by their celebrity chef. The restaurant has received praises from their guests. They serve Indian, Asian, Indonesian, Malaysian, Vegan and Halal dishes.

It’s a Grind Coffee House

Chocolate Dulce Mocha photo via FB Page
Chocolate Dulce Mocha photo via FB Page

Address: Simpang 13, Berkas, Citi Square/ G20, Ground Floor, Citis Square, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam

This coffee shop is an American franchise. They serve espresso based and non espresso-based drinks. They have cakes and pastries for guests who have sweet tooth but also prepares sandwiches. The café can serve 40 guests and has a free Wi-Fi. They also have Halal and vegan options.

Just Momos Nepali Restaurant

Garlic Naan at Just Momos Nepali Restaurant photo via FB Page
Garlic Naan at Just Momos Nepali Restaurant photo via FB Page

Address: Sdn Bhd, Jalan Bunga Tajong/Lot 82 Units A and B, Kuala Belait KA1131, Brunei Darussalam

This is the restaurant of its kind in Kuala Belait town. They serve Nepali/ Tibetan dumplings called momos and Nepali style fried noodles and fried rice. They do serve other Nepali dishes as well as some Indian dishes. They boast of cooking with no MSG and using only a small amount of sunflower or mustard oil.

Where to Shop

There are notable places to shop in Brunei. Below is a list of those places.

Gadong Night Market by IQRemix via Flickr CC
Gadong Night Market by IQRemix via Flickr CC

Gadong Night Market

What to find

  • Street food
  • Plenty of shops and some stores which sell Muslim fashion

Hua Ho Department Store

What to find

  • Daily necessities
  • Supermarket
  • Household items
  • Restaurants
  • RTW
  • accessories
Tamu Kianggeh by Kuba via Flickr CC
Tamu Kianggeh by Kuba via Flickr CC

Tamu Kianggeh

What to find

  • street food
  • souvenirs
  • other items

Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Complex

What to find

  • budget items

Paul and Elizabeth Book Services

What to find

  • different kinds of books

Arts and Handicrafts Training Centre

What to find

  • textiles
  • silverworks
  • carved wood
  • ceremonial swords
  • brass mini-cannons

Things to do and see in Brunei

Brunei is currently improving their tourism efforts and with this, tourists can take part in tours and take pleasure in what the country has to offer. Brunei is rich with wildlife and takes pride in their temples and establishment such as Omar Ali Saifuddien. Below are some of the things you can do while in Brunei.

Pay Respect at the Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque

Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque photo by Daniel Weiss via Wikimedia CC
Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque photo by Daniel Weiss via Wikimedia CC

Location- Jalan McArthur, Bandar Seri Begawan BS8711, Brunei

This place of Islamic worship is touted as one of the most beautiful mosques in the Asia Pacific. It’s a major historical site and a renowned tourist attraction. The building which was completed in 1958 is named after Omar Ali Saifuddien III who’s the 28th sultan of the country. Visitors can come every day except Thursday and Friday. Entrance fee is free.

Check Out Brunei History Centre and Royal Regalia Museum

Royal Regalia Museum by Hajotthu via Wikimedia CC
Royal Regalia Museum by Hajotthu via Wikimedia CC

Location- Jln James Pearce, Bandar Seri Begawan BS8610, Brunei

The Brunei History Centre is Brunei’s go-to place for the history records and other pertinent details about the country. The construction of the History Centre was approved in 1982 by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.

The Brunei History Centre is open every Monday to Thursday and Saturday at 7:45am-12:15pm and 1:30pm-4:30pm. The entrance fee is free.

The Royal Regalia Museum (formerly Royal Regalia Building) houses ceremonial objects of the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and the royal family. Visitors can also see the exhibits pertaining to the Silver and a Golden Jubilee celebration of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah’s ruling.

Location- Jln James Pearce, Bandar Seri Begawan BS8610, Brunei

Water Taxi Your Way to Kampong Ayer

Kampong Ayer photo by Bernard Spragg
Kampong Ayer photo by Bernard Spragg

The settlement features clusters of traditional stilt villages on the Brunei River. It’s often called the “Venice of the East” and used to be the main settlement of the country. It was sort of the principal settlement in Brunei before serving as a social and economic center. The water village can be reached by water taxis.

Experience the Gadong Night Market

Location-  Simpang 37, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei

Pasar Gadong or Night Market is a busy place where visitors can enjoy street foods like chicken wings, fried kuey teow, meat satays, sweet pancakes with peanuts, raisins and sugar fillings, etc. What’s tempting with all the foods they served there is that they make it after you order. Dishes usually cost B$1-B$3. The night market opens from 4pm until 12 midnight.

Experience Nature at Ulu Temburong National Park

Ulu Temburong National Park by Stefano Ferro via Flickr CC
Ulu Temburong National Park by Stefano Ferro via Flickr CC

Don’t miss the chance of seeing what nature in Brunei looks like. It’s located within Apoi Forest Reserve and in it you’ll see virgin forest called “Green Jewel of Brunei”. Lots of fruiting figs and common plants like ginger, begonias, and aroids abound in the park while different types of mammals, reptiles, butterflies, insects and birds can be seen.

Tamu Kianggeh

Location- Jln Sungai Kianggeh, Bandar Seri Begawan BS8111, Brunei

The marketplace opens early and there you can buy local vegetables like pucuk piai, langkubok and lamiding. Other more familiar vegetables can be bought like bamboo shoots and chillies. They also sell different herbs, spices, dried fish and fermented fish and shrimps at this market. Some non-food products which tourists can buy as souvenirs are parang (machete-like knife) and decorative food covers. There are plenty more to buy in this place.

Visit Jame Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque (Kiarong Mosque)

Jame Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque by BAlou46 via Wikipedia CC
Jame Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque by BAlou46 via Wikipedia CC

Location- Kampung Kiarong, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei

This impressive Islamic temple has 29 golden domes in honor of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah’s spot as the 29th ruler of Brunei. The mosque was built in 1992 and features minarets and woven rugs in the men’s prayer hall. The towering house of prayer is so lavishly designed that tourists won’t miss it even from afar. The entrance fee is free.

Take a Look at Istana Nurul Iman Palace

Location- Jln Menteri Besar, Bandar Seri Begawan BA2112, Brunei

This is the official residence of the Sultan of Brunei and it’s the seat of the country’s government. Brunei River cradles the palace which often serves as the location for state celebrations. It’s called the “world’s largest residential palace”. The name Istana Nurul Iman comes from the words Istana (Malay word) and Nur-ol Imaan (Arabic word) which mean Palace of the Light of Faith.

Book Tutong River Cruise

The river cruise will take tourist on a journey where they can see a mangrove river and possibly the endangered Proboscis monkeys. Tourists will be pick-up by the designated driver from their hotel and will be taken to the meeting place for the tour. They will then ride a pontoon boat where they can also see Nipah palm trees, sea eagles, Kingfishers, white egrets, and long-tail macaques. They might catch a glimpse of salt-water crocodile and langurs.

Brunei Sample Itinerary 2N/3D

Day 1

10:05 pm – Arrived at Bandar Seri Begawan
11:35 pm – Arrived at the hotel
6:00 am – Eat breakfast
8:00 am – Visit Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque (open daily except for Thursday and Friday morning, the entrance fee is free)
10:00 am – Visit Brunei History Centre and Royal Regalia Museum (located near each other)
12:00 NN – Have lunch
2:00 pm – Visit Kampong Ayer (can be reached through water taxis)
7:00 pm onwards – Visit the Gadong Night Market (street foods and other items)

Day 2

6:00 am – Eat breakfast
7:30 am to 5:00 pm – Take a day tour of Ulu Temburong National Park (see native wildlife)
6:00 pm – Eat dinner
8:00 pm onwards – Have a drink or two

Day 3

6:00 am – Eat breakfast
7:00 am – Visit Tamu Kianggeh
8:30 am – Visit Jame Asr Hassanal Bolkiah Mosque (Kiarong Mosque, the entrance fee is free)
9:30 am – Go to Istana Nurul Iman Palace
12:00 NN – Eat lunch
1:00 pm – Visit shopping areas
3:00 pm 6:30 pm – Join Tutong Proboscis Monkey Cruise
7:00 pm – Eat Dinner
8:00 pm – Get ready for departure
10:00 – Flight to Manila

Important Brunei Travel Tips

  • Book a car or taxi in advance to get to the places you need to go to
  • Take advantage of the places where you can visit for free
  • You can use the wooden walkways instead of hiring water taxis in visiting water villages (in case you’re on a tight budget)

Important Contact Infos

When in another country, it’s important to know contact details of some agencies like the tourism office, hospital and police department.

Brunei Tourism Website: www.tourism.gov.bn
Tel: +673 2382 822

Brunei Police Department Website: www.police.gov.bn
Telephone: +673-2242334

Ministry of Health, Brunei: www.moh.gov.bn
Ambulance:991
Fire & Rescue: 995
Police: 993
Search & Rescue: 998
Talian Darussalam: 123

Check out our complete list of best hotels and resorts in Bandar Seri Begawan via Agoda or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.

Want more stories like this? Please follow #TeamOutofTown on Facebook, and Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for more travel ideas.

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