Brunei is a small country (only about 5.765 km²) but very rich and prosperous. Not as famous as Singapore or Thailand, but Brunei is known as the world’s richest Muslim kingdom, traveling to Brunei you not only visit the famous places but also have the opportunity to explore and experience life lavish of this kingdom. With a small population and huge oil revenues, so the wealth in Brunei is evident in everywhere. Especially, It is very clear in the mosques. In recent years, Brunei has always been an attractive and extremely interesting destination with many features of natural as well as culinary and cultural. Now, let’s check it out our Brunei blog (Brunei travel blog) — The fullest Brunei travel guide for a wonderful and budget trip to Brunei for the first-timers below.
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Brunei blog: When to visit Brunei?
Like other Southeast Asian countries, Brunei’s climate is divided into two seasons, the rainy season and the dry season, but this division is not really clear and it also does not affect much on your trip. From September to January every year is a humid season with average temperatures between from 24 degrees Celsius to 31 degrees Celsius. The weather is quite humid and uncomfortable, with heavy rains, so you avoid traveling to Brunei in this time. The period from April to August, the weather during this period is very pleasant, so this is the best time to visit Brunei.
In Brunei, there are two main celebrations that you should know:
Ramadan: It takes place within a month starting in mid-May, this month the Brunei people will be eat vegetarian or not eat at all during the daylight, so when traveling in this time, you should avoid eating in front of the people.
Hari Raya Aidilfitri: It takes place after Ramadan in the middle of September, pilgrims from all over the world come here to meet, greet and receive souvenirs from the Sultan and the Queen (a chocolate bar is sealed by Royal stamp or 5 Brunei dollars (BND) if is a child) on the occasion the Royal palace open only once a year, to receive good luck.
Brunei travel blog: How to get to Brunei?
According to Brunei travel experience, there are no direct flights from Vietnam, so you have to transit in Kuala Lumpur or Singapore or Malaysia and then getting to Brunei. Here is how to getting from Vietnam to Brunei short and convenient by air as follows.
From Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City you can buy tickets from airlines such as: Air Asia, Vietnam Airlines to Kuala Lumpur. Then from Kuala Lumpur you can go to Brunei in two ways:
You can buy cheap air tickets from airlines such as AirAsia for round trip Hanoi – Kuala Lumpur or Ho Chi Minh City – Kuala Lumpur. Then you continue to fly round trip Kuala Lumpur – Brunei.
When arrived at Brunei Airport you must pay the airport fee of 12 Brunei Dollar or 12 Singapore Dollar (note that the airline only accepts paper money).
- From Miri Airport in Malaysia, you buy a taxi ticket to the Long Distance Bus Station, it takes 26 Ringgit (about $6.4) per trip.
- Then from the bus station you buy tickets to Brunei of PHLS Express company for 25 Ringgit (about $6.11). There are only 2 trips for a day at 7am and 15:45pm so you should keep in mind.
- In the opposite direction at the bus station of Bandar (Brunei), only PHLS Express company sells tickets from Brunei to Miri (Malaysia) for 18 Brunei Dollar or 18 Singapore Dollar.
Note: Israeli citizens may be banned enter Brunei. Southeast Asia countries has no need VISA.
Getting from Brunei Airport to the city center
In Brunei there is only one main bus station in the center of the capital, Bandar Seri Begawan Bus Station, so all arrivals / departures are pass this station. There is a very large details map of all bus routes in Brunei. If you a backpack visitor to Brunei remember get here to refer to it first!
There are 4 easiest bus routes from the airport to the city center (and back) are 23, 24, 34 and 38, blue cars. Buses in Brunei are quite old but run smoothly and safely. Ticket prices for all route or a half route are B$1 (1 Brunei Dollar), rno matter which bus route. That means you just have to pay B$1 and you want to get down at any place, at any time.
Brunei blog: How to getting around Brunei?
The main means of transport in Brunei are buses, cars and taxis. Each type of vehicle has its own advantages. If you want to go around to exploring the capital, you should take the bus, because here the bus system is very cheap, safe and convenient. But if you want to go deep in inner of the country, you must rent a car or take a train. As follows:
Taxi: Most of the Brunei people have their own cars so there are only about 50 taxis in the country. If you want to take a taxi from the airport to the city center it will take about 20 minutes at a cost of 25 – 30 Brunei Dollar. But you will be wait a long time.
Bus: The special feature of the Brunei bus has no waiting point, you stand at the edge of the road for 5 to 10 minutes, you can tell the driver about your destination. The fare for one bus trip is 1 Dollar Brunei.
Bus routes to distant locations
- Brunei International Airport: Bus No.23, 24, 34, 35, 36, 38
- Kuala Lurah: Bus No.42, 44
- Kuala Belait/Tutong District (pass the Proposed Rimba Terminal): Bus No.22, 57
- Kianggeh Jetty: Bus No.39
- Labuan/Kg Menumbok (Kota Kinabalu) pass Muara Passenger/Car Ferry Terminal: Bus No.33, 37, 38, 39
Bus routes to places of interest
- Brunei Royal Regalia Museum: All bus routes
- Jame Asr Hassanal Bolkiah Mosque: Bus No.01, 20, 22
- Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque: All bus routes
- Tasek Lama Recreational Park: Bus No.01
- Museums of Brunei: All bus routes
- Jerudong Park: Bus No.55
Brunei travel blog: Where to stay in Brunei?
Most hotels in Brunei are very expensive. However, there are many cheap hotels in Brunei, but if you have a lot of money you can stay in more upscale hotels. The rental price is an average of $55 per night/per room. Here are some budget hotels you can refer to:
- Jubilee Hotel (2 star standard). Address: Jubilee Plaza, Jalan Kampong Kianggeh, BS 8111 Bandar Seri Begawan. Room rates from $40/night.
- The Brunei Hotel (3 star standard). Address: 95, Jalan Pemancha, BS8811 Bandar Seri Begawan.
- Badiah Hotel: (3 star standard). Address: Mile 1 1/4, Jalan Tutong , Kianggeh, Bandar Seri Begawan. Room rates from $55/night.
- Qing Yun Resthouse Sdn Bhd (1 star standard): Address: No 16 1st floor ,block I ,Abdul Razak complex,jalan Gadong BE3519,Brunei Darussalam. Room rates from $30/night.
- Palm Garden Hotel Brunei (3 star standard). Address: Lot 45328, Simpang 88, Kampong Kiulap, BE1518 BSB. Room rates from $40/night.
- Mulia Hotel (4 star standard). Address: EDR No. BD 30040 Lot No 31954, Kg Anggerek Desa, Mukim Barakas, Brunei-Muara, Kianggeh, Bandar Seri Begawan, agoda.
If you have more money then the following are high-end (luxury) hotels in Brunei with furniture, professional services, facilities, luxury equipment, modern that you refer to:
- The Rizqun International Hotel: Address: Abdul Razak Complex, Gadong, Gadong, Bandar Seri Begawan, 5 star standard and room rates from $121.66/night.
- The Empire Hotel and Country Club: Address: Jerudong Negara BG 3122, Jerudong, Bandar Seri Begawan, 5 star standard and room rates from $194.33/night.
- OSP Puni Indah Luxury Residence: Address: Jalan Ong Sum Ping, Kianggeh, Bandar Seri Begawan with, 4 star standard and room rate from $183.21/night.
However, there is a very interesting way to explore the culture and learn about the customs and habits of the people of Brunei is to apply for stay in homestay. The people of Brunei are very hospitable and willing to help others. You just login into the Couchsurfing Social Networking site to apply for homestay.
If there are no conditions to stay in the hotel you can rent a cheap guesthouse for about 10 Brunei dollars. Below is a list of some popular budget guesthouses you can refer to:
- Pusat Belia (Youth Center Hostel). Address: Simpang 336-17, Jalan Kebandasan, Bandar Seri Begawan.
- Harmoni Ria Guesthouse. Address: 21 Jalan Medewa, Km 7, Jalan Tutong, Bandar Seri Begawan.
Brunei blog: Best places to visit and top things to do in Brunei
Istana Nurul Iman – Sultan’s Palace
In Arabic the Istana Nurul Iman means “Palace of the Light of the Saints”. This is the largest and richest palace in the world. The Royal Palace of Brunei is located on a high hill next to the lower of Brunei River. The palace’s door towards Bandar Seri Begawan capital. This is the main residence of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and his royal family.
With a total construction cost of about $ 1.4 billion, when visiting the Royal Palace, visitors will admire the unique Islamic architecture with extremely expensive luxury furniture. The palace is decorated by high-end furniture, luxuriously decorated with gold and silver materials, diamonds and gems, etc. Inside, there are a throne, tables and chairs for guests, paintings, bowls, glasses, all made from gold. Some lucky visitors have the opportunity to enter the palace of gold, will feel like to sink into the world of the King’s fairy and do not want to come out realistic.
Royal Palace is a must visit place in Brunei. Normally, the palace is not open to the public, except for the annual Hari Raya Aidilfitri festival, where visitors visit the Sultan to be blessed and receive the presents.
Kampong Ayer Water Village
As a village with a history of more than 600 years, there are still big nose monkeys living in simple houses on the peaceful river. In the village there are schools, hospitals, administrative offices … To get here you have to go by wooden boat or also called water taxi. But the price is not cheap, about $20- $40 for a tour around the river. Another trip from shore to floating village cost about $1- $2.
Unlike the outside appearance of the village, looks like “slums”, the inside space of the village is very … good, every home is full of modern facilities. Each house in Kampong Ayer is linked by a Brunei-style road system made of special wood on the island of Borneo.
The rustic life but also very romantic with wide yards and common paths are planted a lot of flowers and bonsai. The floating villagers are very focused decoration for their home, this is where you can not miss when traveling to Brunei.
Jame Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque
Brunei is dubbed the kingdom of the mosques. With an area of only 6,000 square kilometers and a population of nearly 400,000 people, but Brunei has over 100 mosques. The devotion of the people of Brunei is a great source of inspiration for creating spectacular, beautiful mosques. Among them, the Jame Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque in Brunei is the largest mosque in Southeast Asia with the stunning and magical of five tons of gold plated all over the mosque.
All the columns, the stairs are made of marble, the carpets in the mosque are imported from Arabia, the tiles paved wall are imported from Europe and the sparkling chandeliers are made of gold and diamonds are very brilliant.
Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque
Considered as Asia’s largest mosque at this time and also the first in Brunei, with a dome plated with 5 tons of pure gold. Interior and exterior are also used luxury materials imported from many countries in the world.