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Brunei Travel Information

The Basics

Time

Local time is GMT +8.

Electricity

Electrical current is 220 - 240 volts, 50Hz. Plugs are of the three-pin, rectangular blade type, commonly referred to as the British three-pin plug.

Language

The official language of the Sultanate is Malay although English is spoken widely and is the medium of instruction in secondary and tertiary education.

Travel Health

Travellers arriving from infected areas are required to produce proof of a yellow fever vaccination, and vaccinations may be recommended for hepatitis A and hepatitis B, though these are not required. Health concerns will depend on whether or not visitors are traveling to the remote areas of the Sultanate.

Tap water is safe to drink in Bandar Seri Begawan and in the large towns, and world-class medical facilities are available. However, travellers who explore the remote wilderness should drink bottled water only. They should also consider additional vaccinations for typhoid, tetanus, rabies and Japanese encephalitis, depending on the duration of their stay, and their planned activities. Dengue fever outbreaks and other mosquito-borne diseases are common. Visitors should take precautions against mosquito bites, such as using insect repellent at all times.

Parts of the country experience a frequent smoke haze, typically from July to October. The conditions may cause respiratory problems. Visitors are strongly advised to take out comprehensive medical insurance that includes the option of emergency repatriation.

Tipping

A 10 percent service charge is normally included in all hotel, taxi, bar and restaurant bills, and further tipping is not necessary.

Safety Information

Brunei ranks as one of the safest countries in the world. Violent crime against people or property is virtually unheard of and penalties for such offences are severe. However, there are occasional incidents of petty crime against travellers, and tourists should take care of their belongings. Protests and street demonstrations should be avoided. Although the risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks exists globally, Brunei is considered to have a low terrorism risk.

Local Customs

Visitors should observe local manners and avoid showing the soles of their feet, which is considered rude. One implication of this etiquette to avoid crossing their legs when they sit.

They should also use their right hand when pointing or passing an item. If they need to gesticulate, they should use their right hand with the other fingers remaining closed. They can greet business associates with a handshake, though not if they're from the opposite sex.

When making small talk, foreigners should be cautious about commenting on local issues, especially those relating to the royal family.

Business

Business people dress smartly for meetings; a suit and tie is expected. Office hours are typically Monday to Thursday 8am to 5pm, and Saturdays 8am to 12pm. Shortened office hours operate during the fasting month of Ramadan. Business associates greet members of the same sex with a handshake.

Communications

The international country dialling code for Brunei is +673. The outgoing code is 00, followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom). City/area codes are in use e.g. 2 for Bandar Seri Begawan. High-speed internet access is widely available in the main towns and large hotels.

Duty Free

Travellers over the age of 17 may import the following into Brunei without having to pay customs duty: 2 bottles of alcoholic spirit (maximum total of 2 litres) and 12 cans of beer/lager (by non-Muslims and for personal consumption only); 60ml of perfume and 250ml eau de toilette. Duty is charged on all tobacco products. It is strictly prohibited to import firearms, drugs and pornography. The penalty for trafficking drugs is death while possession of any quantity of drugs carries a mandatory 20-year jail sentence. All medication must be declared and relevant prescriptions presented. Curiously there is also a strict ban on entering the country in possession of amulets or lucky charms made from bullets.

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