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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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Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque. Brunei is famous for its magnificent mosques
Hassanal Bolkiah Mosque, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, Borneo
Jame Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque
Kampong Ayer floating village
Kampong Ayer Floating Village

surfing beach brunei

brunei street food
Brunei street food

Brunei blog: When to visit Brunei?

Jame' Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque
Jame’ Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque

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.

sunrise-brunei-rainforest
Sunrise in rainforest

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.

Ramadan

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's Sultan celebrates Muslim festival of Hari Raya Aidilfitri in Bandar Seri Begawan
The Sultan of Brunei, Haji Hassanal Bolkiah (Red T-shirt)
Picture: brunei blog.
Picture: brunei blog.

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.

Brunei_International_Airport
Brunei International Airport

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:

By plane

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.

Tourist Information Centre at Brunei Airport
Tourist Information Centre at Brunei Airport

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).

By road

miri-to-brunei-coach
Miri to Brunei Coach
  • 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

Bandar Seri Begawan Bus Station
Outsite of Bandar Seri Begawan Bus Station. Credit image: brunei travel blog.

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!

brunei bus routes map
Brunei Bus routes map

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.

bus 38
Bus No.38

Brunei blog: How to getting around Brunei?

Water-Taxi-in brunei
Water Taxi

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:

Bandar Seri Begawan.
Les crowed street in Bandar Seri Begawan.

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.

taxi in brunei

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.

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Bus to Bandar station
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Transportation in Brunei has distinct characteristics

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 no23 brunei
Bus No 23 to airport

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
Bus No. 45
Bus No. 45

Brunei travel blog: Where to stay in Brunei?

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

Hotels

The Empire Hotel
Inside the Empire Hotel

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
Jubilee hotel
  • 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.
Palm Garden Hotel Brunei
Palm Garden Hotel Brunei

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
The Rizqun International Hotel
The Empire Hotel and Country Club
The Empire Hotel and Country Club

Homestay

brunei homestay

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.

Guesthouses

brunei guest house

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.

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You can find, check rates, availability & booking for other hotels in Brunei on Agoda.com or Booking.com.

Brunei blog: Best places to visit and top things to do in Brunei

Istana Nurul Iman – Sultan’s Palace

Istana Nurul Iman - Palace of the Sultan of Brunei

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.

Istana Nurul Iman behind water village
Istana Nurul Iman behind water village
Istana Nurul Iman - Sultan's Palace
Picture: brunei blog.

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.

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Men-and-women-are-segrated-in-a-second-waiting-room-before-meeting-the-Sultan-or-Queen-Consort-of-Brunei
The inside of Istana Nurul Iman – Sultan’s Palace. Credit image: brunei travel blog.

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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.

Istana Nurul Iman - Palace of the Sultan of Brunei

Kampong Ayer Water Village

Kampong-Ayer-Water-Village-1

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.

Water-Taxi-in brunei2 Credit image: brunei travel blog.
Water Taxi. Credit image: brunei travel blog.
Kampong Ayer, the world's largest water village54
The beautiful and color house. Picture: brunei blog.

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Kampong Ayer, the world's largest water village
Kampong Ayer, the world’s largest water village
Kampong Ayer Water Village the venice of brunei
Kampong Ayer Water Village the Venice of the Orient

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.

Kampong Ayer Water Village School Pickup Time
Kampong Ayer Water Village School Pickup Time

Kampong Ayer (Water Village) Afternoon Visit

Kampong Ayer (Water Village) Afternoon Visit

Kampong Ayer (Water Village) Afternoon Visit
Feast Your Eyes on Brunei’s Magical Village on Stilts. Picture: brunei blog.
A boat passes through the Kampong Ayer water village at dusk as the Sultan Omar '
A boat passes through the Kampong Ayer water village at dusk as the Sultan Omar’. Picture: brunei blog.

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.

kampong ayer village

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Jame Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque

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.

Jame Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque interior

Jame Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque interior

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.

Jame Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque interior

Jame Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque interior
Picture: brunei blog.

Jame Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque interior

Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque

Istana Nurul Iman - Sultan's Palace

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.

Istana Nurul Iman - Sultan's Palace

Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque2
The dome
Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque
Interior. Picture: brunei blog.
Istana Nurul Iman - Sultan's Palace
Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque at night. Very beautiful!

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Living Nomads celebrates and is inspired by explorers and their passion for travel, curiosity about the world and unique points of view. Travel is eye-opening. Curious. Daring. Fun. We are here to help you travel better, cheaper & longer! Discover the art of traveling anywhere you want.

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