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Brunei Travel Information

The Basics

Time

Local time is GMT +8.

Electricity

Electrical current is 250 volts AC, 50Hz. Plugs are of the 3-pin, rectangular blade type, commonly referred to as the British 3-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

Health concerns will depend on whether or not you are traveling to the remote areas of the Sultanate. In Bandar Seri Begawan and the large towns the tap water is safe to drink, no vaccinations are required, and world-class medical facilities are available. However if you are exploring the remote wilderness you should take the precaution of hepatitis, typhoid and tetanus vaccinations and drink bottled water only. Dengue fever outbreaks and other mosquito-borne diseases are common. Take precautions against mosquito bites including using insect repellent at all times. Frequently there is a smoke haze across some parts of Brunei, typically from July to October, which may cause respiratory problems. You are strongly advised to take out comprehensive medical insurance that includes the option of emergency repatriation. Certain foreign governments advise you to exercise caution and keep abreast of developments that might affect your safety in Brunei as since 2001 there is a heightened risk of terrorist attack.

Tipping

A 10% 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 on earth. Crime against people or property is virtually unheard of and penalties for such offences are severe.

Local Customs

It is considered rude to show the soles of your feet when seated opposite a person, so avoid crossing your legs. When pointing or passing something use your right hand. If you need to gesticulate, use the thumb of your right hand with the other fingers remaining closed. Greet business associates with a handshake although not with a member of the opposite sex. When making small talk be cautious about making comments regarding local issues, especially those pertaining to the royal family.

Business

Dress smartly for business meetings; a suit and tie is expected. Office hours are typically Monday to Thurs 8am to 5pm, Saturdays 8am to 12pm. Shortened office hours operate during the fasting month of Ramadan. Greet business associates with a handshake although not with a member of the opposite sex.

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. Mobile phone GSM 900 and 3G 2100 networks operate throughout the country. High speed internet access is widely available in the main towns and large hotels.

Duty Free

Travelers over the age of 17 may import the following into Brunei without having to pay customs duty: 200 cigarettes or 250g tobacco; 1l bottle of spirits or 1l bottle of wine (by non-Muslims and for personal consumption only); 60ml of perfume and 250ml eau de toilette. 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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