A comprehensive Brunei Travel Guide featuring the country’s top tourist attractions, must-try food and where to find them, and a sample itinerary ideal for first-time visitors.
A tiny rich country in Southeast Asia, Brunei Darussalam features extravagant mosques, well-preserved rainforests, and diverse culture. It is one of the least visited countries in Asia making it an ideal nation to visit if you love less crowded places.
TRAVEL GUIDE CONTENTS
- 1 Visa Requirements to Brunei
- 2 How to get to Brunei?
- 3 When is the best time to visit Brunei?
- 4 How to get to the city center from Bandar Seri Begawan Airport
- 5 Connecting to the internet in Brunei
- 6 Where to exchange local currency in Brunei?
- 7 How to get around Brunei?
- 8 Where to stay in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei?
- 9 Must-try Restaurants in Brunei
- 10 Top Tourist Attractions in Brunei
- 10.1 Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque
- 10.2 Sumbiling Eco Village
- 10.3 Kampong Ayer
- 10.4 Brunei River & Proboscis Monkey
- 10.5 Royal Regalia Museum
- 10.6 Jame’ Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque
- 10.7 Istana Nurul Iman
- 10.8 Eco Ponies Garden
- 10.9 Tasbee Farm
- 10.10 ATV Adventure at Katimahar AgriPark
- 10.11 Malay Technology Museum
- 11 Sample Brunei Itinerary
- 12 Follow Us!
Visa Requirements to Brunei
More than 50 nationalities can enter Brunei without a visa for a period of 90, 30, and 14 days depending on their citizenship.
|Country||Maximum Days of Stay|
|All European Union Countries||90|
|United Arab Emirates||30|
Visa on Arrival
Citizens of Australia, Bahrain, China, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Taiwan can enter Brunei with a visa on arrival.
Visa Fees for Brunei
The visa cost is BND20/USD15 for a single-entry visa and BND30/USD23 for a multiple-entry visa. To check more details about the application process per country, go to the official Brunei Ministry of Foreign Affairs website: http://www.mfa.gov.bn/Pages/Visa-Information.aspx
How to get to Brunei?
There are two ways to get to Brunei Darussalam, by air, and by land from Miri (Sarawak) or Kota Kinabalu (Sabah) in Malaysia.
By Air: The national flag carrier of Brunei is Royal Brunei Airlines. It has direct flights to Bander Seri Begawan from Bali, Bangkok, Brisbane, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Melbourne, Nanning, Shanghai, Singapore, Surabaya, Taipei, Tokyo, Dubai, Jeddah, and London. You can check and book cheap flights to Brunei now. From the Philippines, Brunei Airlines and Cebu Pacific have multiple weekly flights.
By Land: The easiest and fastest way to travel by land from Malaysia is via Miri. There is a direct bus service from Miri to Bandar Seri Begawan and vice-versa. The travel time is only 3 hours compared to the 7 hours travel time from Kota Kinabalu. You check the bus schedule here.
If you are in Sabah and want to travel overland to Brunei, you can get on a bus or ferry from Kota Kinabalu to Bandar Seri Begawan. Check out the bus schedule from Kota Kinabalu to Brunei.
When is the best time to visit Brunei?
The best time to visit Brunei is between the months of January and May. This is when the weather is good – dry and warm, but not too hot to endure. It’s also a lean season so expect cheaper rates on tours and accommodation. The high season, on the other hand, is from June to September, and in December. This is where tourists usually go to Brunei so expect a surge in hotel room rates.
How to get to the city center from Bandar Seri Begawan Airport
There is a public bus going to the city from the airport but the schedule is infrequent. The more convenient way is to book a car through Dart, a hailing cab app that works like Uber and Grab. It’s cheaper than taking a taxi that costs around BDN20-25.
Connecting to the internet in Brunei
Upon arrival at the airport, you can buy a local sim card with prepaid mobile data. You can choose a data plan depending on how many days you will to stay in Brunei. The unlimited data plan of Progresif for seven days is BND25.
Where to exchange local currency in Brunei?
There are only a few exchange centers in Brunei so you may have to exchange your currency at the airport. In the city, there are currency exchange centers in front of The Mall, inside Yayasan Mall, and a few others in the city center. Take note that most exchange centers close at 4:30 PM.
How to get around Brunei?
Public buses are the cheapest way to get around Brunei. Unfortunately, it only operates until 6:30 PM. If you plan to go around Bandar Seri Begawan at night, you may book a car via Dart or take a taxi.
Where to stay in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei?
There are a lot of places you can stay when visiting Brunei. Depending on your budget, you can opt to stay in a five-star hotel or in a hostel if you are backpacking.
Must-try Restaurants in Brunei
Here’s our recommendation for the must-try restaurants in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei.
Amina Ariff Restaurant
If you want to try Brunei’s national dish called Ambuyat, then Amina Ariff Restaurant is the place you should go to. Ambuyat is made from the starch of the sago palm tree. It’s basically tasteless so you have to dip it in a fermented durian sauce called tempoyak or pair it with other condiments as you like.
If you want good food and a panoramic view of Kampong Ayer, then Horizon Restaurant at the waterfront is the perfect place for you. It serves a wide variety of Asian and Western dishes and sumptuous seafood.
For authentic Bruneian Soto or noodle soup, head over to Soto Pabo, a family-run restaurant located in the water village. Soto is basically like batchoy in the Philippines. It’s a noodle soup with lean beef, beef fats, and internal organs. Aside from Soto, it’s also interesting to try their mixed skewers – chicken, beef, and beef fats – sinfully good!
Nasi Katok Mama
Nasi Katok Mama is popular for its rice and chicken meal for only 1 Brunei Dollar. It’s an ordinary and simple meal but what makes it popular is its sambal. You can choose regular or spicy sambal depending on your preference. This is highly recommended.
Top Tourist Attractions in Brunei
Less crowded and definitely clean? If you enjoy this kind of vibe, then visiting these top tourist attractions in Brunei should be in your next travel plan.
Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque
Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque is located in Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital of Brunei. It is one of the most popular Islamic mosques in the Asia Pacific, which the Muslim community considers as a major historical site and a place of worship.
Most tourists are impressed by its beautifully made Italian marble walls and floor; chandeliers crafted in England, and elegant carpets from Saudi Arabia. Imagine seeing the crafts of different countries in one place!
Sumbiling Eco Village
Brunei is one of the best places in Southeast Asia to experience an untouched rainforest. Community-based ecotourism is thriving in this tiny rich nation. Many visitors go to Brunei to experience the rich culture and explore its unique environment. If you are one of those travelers who love nature, culture, and adventure, then the Sumbiling Eco-village is the right place for you. They offer guided jungle trek, water tubing, and other activities. Plus, you also get to eat local dishes prepared by the villagers. This is a must-try when you visit Brunei!
Kampong Ayer, which means “water village”, consists of a cluster of villages built on the river. It was formerly the center of traditional industries like gold and silversmithing, weaving, and boat making. So as you come to Kampong Ayer, expect to see the place as a reflection of Brunei’s wonderful arts!
Brunei River & Proboscis Monkey
Most travel agencies in Brunei include roundtrip transportation to the famous Brunei River. It allows you to see exotic species like the Proboscis Monkeys in the mangrove forest, and pass by the water village to immerse with the locals!
Royal Regalia Museum
The Royal Regalia Museum houses the replicas of Sultan’s belongings. This includes His throne, gowns, crowns, and other weapons. You can also find crystal, ivory, jade, and silver gifts that is a clear sign of Sultan’s wealth.
Jame’ Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque
The Jame’ Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque is built in celebration of the 25th year of Sultan’s reign in 1992. It is one of the top tourist attractions in Brunei and the largest mosque in the country with terrazzo-tiled minarets in its surroundings. Apart from that, the complex has 29 golden domes that are lit up like a golden flame every night. Finally, its lavish exterior matches its interior with several woven rugs scattered in the praying hall.
Istana Nurul Iman
The Istana Nurul Iman was included in the Guinness Book of Records for being the largest living residence of a state head in the world. This palace houses the country’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah. It is both a massive and luxurious royal palace that has golden domes and minarets scattered around the complex.
Eco Ponies Garden
.Eco Ponies Garden started in 2015 as a small farm stay in Lamunin, Brunei. Today, it has grown into a popular ecotourism destination in the country, attracting both local and foreign visitors. It carries the farm-to-table-concept so you will be assured that the food you eat here is from fresh ingredients.
Owned by Hj Mitasby Hj Mamit, Tasbee Farm is a meliponiculture farm located in Kg Sg Kelugos’ old Tutong Road. It all started with Mitasby’s fascination with bees then he decided to commercially produce honey from different species of stingless bees. Actually, it’s more than just beekeeping for Mistasby as he also educates people about the importance of bees in the ecosystem.
ATV Adventure at Katimahar AgriPark
If you like some sort of an adventure in Brunei, then head over to Katimahar AgriPark. I tried their ATV ride and it was the longest one I’ve had. It was definitely exciting. I had so much fun!
Malay Technology Museum
The Malay Technology Museum is made up of three exhibition halls: Water Village Traditional House Gallery, Water Village Traditional Technology Gallery, and Inland Traditional Technology Gallery. The museum is actually well-curated and well-maintained. It’s something you should visit if you want to learn more about Brunei’s past.
Sample Brunei Itinerary
Day 1: Flight from Manila to Bandar Seri Begawan
5:00 PM: Arrival in Brunei
7:00 PM: Dinner at Amina Ariff Restaurant
Day 2: Explore Temburong District
7:30 AM: Pick up at the hotel for the Sumbiling Eco Village Tour
8:00 AM: Speed boat ride to Bangar Town, Temburong
9:00 AM: Arrive in Sumbiling Eco Village and do the jungle trek, water tubing, and lunch
2:30 PM: Depart Sumbiling Eco Village to BSB
4:00 PM: Arrive in BSB
7:00 PM: Dinner at Horizon Restaurant
Day 3: Explore Tutong District
8:00AM: Depart hotel to Eco Ponies Garden and Tasbee Farm
12:00 PM: Lunch and ATV at Katimahar AgriPark
4:00 PM: Travel back to BSB
7:00 PM: Dinner at Sato Pabo
Day 4: Bander Seri Begawan City Tour
Visit the tourist attractions in Bander Seri Begawan: Royal Regalia Museum, Malay Technology Museum, Jame Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque, Istana Nurul Iman, Water Village, Omar Saifuddien Mosque.
Lunch at Nasi Katok Mama
Depart BSB to Manila
For tour services, you may contact Pan Bright Travel Service at +673-224-0980