Known as the world’s richest Muslim kingdom, coming to Brunei you can not only visit many famous landmarks, magnificent mosques, but also have the opportunity to explore and learn about a luxurious and regal life of the King who is ruling this country. After the trip, you should also buy gifts to give to friends and relatives. Brunei souvenirs are very diverse and fancy, from fabrics, embroidered handkerchiefs, embroidered baskets with rich patterns, to small icons of grand mosques printed on souvenir items, or handmade handicrafts made from wood, stone, jewelry… or even specialties such as durian. So, what to buy in Brunei and where to buy in Brunei? Let’s check out our Brunei shopping guide with the suggested list of +9 stop things to buy in Brunei as well as best shopping mall in Brunei, top souvenir shop in Brunei where you can find these meaningful Brunei gift and Brunei souvenirs to bring back!
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Popular souvenir items that you can shop for in Brunei and as gifts such as electronics, silverware, jewelry or fine textiles.
Durian is one of the most special foods in Brunei. Durian here is quite strange, there are ones as large as like jackfruits, there are ones as small as Marang or Artocarpus integer (chempedak or cempedak), especially its flesh is soft and very fragrant. Durian is a popular food of the Bruneians and praised by many tourists when tasting this famous delectable food. In the past, Brunei durian was only for Brunei’s Royal Family (House of Bolkiah). The large fragrant durian fruits with thick flesh are eaten directly. There are many other foods made from durian that are also quite delicious such as pies, candies, ice-creams, dried durian, durian powder, durian chocolates, snacks, or drinks. If you are a fan of this fruit, you can buy fresh durian or other products made from it as mentioned above to take home.
Where to buy: Local markets, supermarkets, shopping malls across Brunei.
Traditional fabrics & costumes
Brunei is a country with a rich handicraft industry. If you buy any handmade products in this country, make sure that each item always has its own uniqueness and value. One of them is fabric made from Jong Sarat yarns, the intricate traditional handwoven fabric. Jong Sarat design reflects the skill, artistic beauty and quality of an exceptional cloth. The Jong Sarat golden and silver threads of are two materials often used to create patterns, motifs, contributing to the uniqueness and elegance of this fabric. The fabric is also made with many different patterns, Muslim motifs as well.
The Jong Sarat threads are also used flexibly in textiles. These colorful fabrics woven from Jong Sarat yarns are sure to captivate tourists who love crafts. It takes a lot of work to weave this fabric, and the prices at the manufacturer’s main stores are always the best. If you cannot visit a store, you can still buy it at the airport or at the Brunei Arts and Handicraft Training Centre (Address: Address: Jln Residency, Bandar Seri Begawan BS8111, Brunei/Hours: 8AM–5PM, Friday: 8–11:30AM, 2–5PM/Phone: +673 222 2418) in Kota Batu, a historical as well as populated area in the capital of Bandar Seri Begawan.
The art of making this fabric has always been preserved by the Bruneians as a cultural heritage and passed on to the younger generations to continue promoting. In addition to domestic consumers, this fabric also conquers foreign consumers.
There is also another fabric that is popular with textile collectors, called Kain Tenunan.
Among the souvenir items to shop in Brunei, silver and copper utensils are very popular and widely used across the country because local artisans have utilized age-old techniques to create quality products at good prices. The most purchased items include bracelets, vases, mugs, plates, jars, gongs and napkin rings…
Hand-woven rattan baskets are also widely sold throughout the markets, attracting visitors thanks to the use of silver and golden threads called “jong sarat”.
Tamu Kianggeh Market (Address: Jln Sungai Kianggeh, Bandar Seri Begawan BS8111, Brunei/Hours: 8AM–5:30PM) in Bandar Seri Begawan is a good place to buy cheap handicrafts on Fridays. There is a special stall near the Chinese temple offers a wide range of unique Bruneian antiquities that you might want to check out.
However, the best quality original handicrafts are found in the city’s shopping malls. Therefore, for each certain item, you must determine your usage needs and purpose for that item to decide where to buy in Brunei.
Meanwhile, for Brunei wooden or stone carved furniture, including many small decorative items suitable for souvenirs, you can hunt them in night markets for a chance to find some bargains.
The ready-to-wear industry in Brunei is very developed, you can find a lot of fake goods of famous brands’ designs, such as Diesel jeans, Ck, Levi’s, Camel…
For more upscale apparel options, try going to Nazmi Textile Mall (Address: Simpang 77-18, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei/Hours: 9:30AM–10PM) or Silk Shoppe Boutique (Address: Block A, No.5, Sutera Complex, Kampung, Bandar Seri Begawan, BB 2313, Brunei/Hours: 10AM–9PM), which has imported fabrics and silks made in Brunei with very good quality. The business focuses on selling high-quality fabrics from overseas and local silks. A Muslim headscarf (tudong) will make a meaningful souvenir that you can take home.
When strolling around markets, you will quickly be attracted by the diverse antiques. However, choosing antiques at the market is not a good idea because you will not be able to verify the origin of the item by yourself. One of the best places to buy the real antiques is the Home Center at Mile 9, Jalan Tutong, Brunei-Muara. This huge showroom sells a lot of furniture and lighting equipment, but also has antiques with legal documents for export, ensuring the safety of visitors when shopping in Brunei.
Jewelry, perfume, cosmetics
Brunei is well-known for being a rich country with gold-plated palaces. Therefore, it is not difficult to see that Brunei’s jewelry is more tend to gold jewelry than other countries. The jewelry is meticulously and sophisticatedly crafted, very exquisite and intricate as well.
For gems and jewelry, you should also go to large department stores and shopping malls to choose, although at the markets, prices are much more competitive. The reason is the same as for antiques as mentioned above.
In addition, perfume is also bought by many people for their loved ones.
Similar to Singapore where is an electronics paradise, Brunei is too, consumer electronics in Brunei are very popular and often attract tourists so much. You certainly don’t want to buy a bulky TV while traveling, but MP3 players or projectors, smartphones, headphones, cameras, game consoles, accessories… are things to consider if you have a need. Most of the major department stores in Bandar Seri Begawan, Seria town and Kuala Belait have electronics areas, including Jaya Hypermart and Hua Ho as we suggest below. Almost all electronic products here are imported, so you can rest assured of their quality.
In addition to souvenirs above, you can also buy other gifts to take home such as refrigerator magnets, keychains, T-shirts printed famous tourist attractions and landmarks of Brunei, paintings…
Where to buy in Brunei? Suggest 7 best shopping mall in Brunei & souvenir shop in Brunei
One of the main pleasures in Brunei is shopping. Visitors who traveling to the Kingdom of Brunei (officially the Sultanate of Brunei) for the first time may be amazed at the wealth of the capital city of Bandar Seri Begawan in the Brunei-Muara district (one of the four districts of Brunei). The shopping centers, malls and department stores here are full of quality goods no less than capitals of other famous tourist countries in the world.
When shopping in Brunei you will find modern and luxury shopping malls, many high-end boutiques whose main focus is on fine textiles and imported goods, as well as a variety of markets and traditional shops scattered throughout the country’s four districts, but most are still in the capital. The stores offer very competitive prices, and you’ll be able to find great deals on electronics, furniture and handicrafts.
Here are the best shopping places in Brunei including traditional markets, best shopping mall in Brunei and souvenir shop in Brunei.
Address: Jln Pretty, Bandar Seri Begawan BS8711, Brunei
Hours: 8AM–12:15PM, 1:30–5PM; Friday: 8–11:30AM, 2–5PM; Saturday, Sunday: Closed)
The famous shopping malls and centers of Bandar Seri Begawan stretch across a wide boulevard, including many smart buildings and flashy malls next to the bustling Tamu night market. In particular, the complex Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah is the largest shopping center in the capital with many high-end stores inside the beautiful building.
Yayasan Complex is an extremely modern shopping mall in Brunei, located in the heart of Bandar Seri Begawan capital. With a modern design, the center has many up and dow walkways equipped escalators and exits as well as shops selling many items and common products such as household goods, clothing, electronics…
Yaohan Department Store
Address: VWPJ+9HC, Bandar Seri Begawan BA1712, Brunei
In addition, the Yaohan department store in Bandar is very popular with tourists, with the most popular items are clothes, books and electronics. Right downstairs is a quality food store with imported goods.
Address: WW48+6MP, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday: 10AM–9PM/Thursday: 11AM–8:30PM/Friday, Sunday: 9AM–10PM/Saturday: 10:30AM–9:35PM/Monday: 9:30AM–9:30PM
The Mall is one of the leading shopping centers in Brunei, with a combined model of a shopping mall and an entertainment area as well as modern cuisine. It has a harmonious design, with a basement parking and a spacious parking, walkways and escalators always in operation. The shops, stalls inside the shopping center offer a wide range of goods, products, here visitors can freely choose for themselves many items such as: textiles, wood carvings, clothes, jewelry…
The Mall shopping mall in the nearby Gadong district is also popular in the capital, while the towns of Seria and Kuala Belait in the Belait district also offer good shopping options.
Address: Jalan Sungai Pandan, Kuala Belait, Brunei
This shopping center daily welcomes a large number of tourists to visit and shop. With a modern and spacious design, the center has a basement car park and a shopping area with various stalls. Coming to Soon Lee Megamart, visitors will freely visit and choose for themselves the gifts they like.
The items that are often bought here are ready-made clothes, high-end fashion, jewelry, and cosmetics for women. The center also has souvenir stalls for tourists with exquisite handicrafts or textiles.
Address: Jln Sungai Kianggeh, Bandar Seri Begawan BS8111, Brunei
Located right across the small Kianggeh tributary, Tamu Kianggeh market is a place that gives visitors the opportunity to shop cheaply with necessities and souvenirs at much lower prices than other places in the capital where famous for its expensive living cost.
Address: Jln Kubah Makam Diraja, Bandar Seri Begawan BA1912, Brunei
Hours: 9AM–10PM/Friday: 8AM–12PM, 2–9PM
Located in the capital, Banda Seri Begawan, Athirah Plaza is a large commercial complex where visitors can find a wide range of imported silk fabrics in a variety of designs. In addition, there are many other items such as ready-to-wear clothes, jewelry, perfumes and cosmetics for women. Athirah Plaza also has an entertainment area combined with a rich and unique food court.
Address: Lot 22083, Block C, Setia Kenangan Building, Bandar Seri Begawan BE1518, Brunei
Hours: 10AM–10PM/Friday: 10AM–12PM, 2–10PM
Hua Ho Department Store is always full of consumer goods, food, especially vegetables. The goods here are neatly displayed at the shops located along the aisles. Inside Hua Ho Department Store, there is also an area specializing in selling ready-made local dishes.
The standard of living of the people of Brunei is higher than that of other countries in the region, so Brunei is a country where the cost of living is very expensive. In return, the quality of the goods is very good. You can go to Labuan – the international garden island, Malaysian Borneo. This is an international financial center off the coast of Brunei, about 45 minutes from Brunei by hydrofoil. This is where you can buy duty free goods at relatively cheap prices.
Brunei shopping guide: Some shopping tips you should know
- Currency: Because USD is a common currency, when traveling abroad, we often have the habit of exchanging from our currency to USD for convenience. However, when traveling to Brunei, you need to note that this country does not use USD but only accepts Brunei dollar or Singapore dollar. 1 USD dollar will be equivalent to about 1.37 Brunei Dollar (BND). Another note for you is that you can only bring 7,000 Brunei dollars in cash when exiting this country. Please pay attention to this issue, so you don’t have a problem with customs!
- Bruneians are mostly very honest, and scams here are usually much less serious than in other Asian countries. One of the rare places where you can get in trouble is in the night markets, so it is advised that you do not bring too much cash when you go to these places, whether traveling to Brunei or anywhere.
- In a place with a lot of high-quality goods like Brunei, you will also be able to buy fake goods if you are not careful. The most common types of counterfeits on the market are sunglasses, watches, and DVDs. To distinguish what is genuine and what is fake, you should do a round of evaluation, do not rush to buy at the first store. This is the Brunei shopping tip that experienced people have passed on.
- The last important note is to never forget bargain when shopping in Brunei. Try halving the price from the seller, remember to always smile and be friendly while bargaining, then gradually increase it to about 70%. If the seller doesn’t agree, you should walking away and find a better price in another store, because the same item will often be sold in many places. Even if you go to a store with a list price, don’t be afraid to ask for a discount, as this is completely normal in Brunei.
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Bandar Seri Begawan you can refer to
- Brunei Half Day City Tour in Bandar Seri Begawan
- Brunei Water Village Tour
- Half Day City & Water Village Tour in Brunei
- Proboscis Monkey Encounter Tour in Brunei
Read more Brunei blog — The fullest Brunei travel guide for first-timers and Brunei guide here.