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Brunei Darussalam

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Summary

  • Exercise normal safety precautions in Brunei Darussalam. Use common sense. Look out for suspicious behaviour. Monitor the media and other sources for changes to local conditions.
  • From 3 April 2019 the full sharia penal code (law) takes effect in Brunei. It applies to Muslims, non-Muslims and foreigners even when on Brunei registered aircraft and vessels. Under this code some offences can attract physical punishment while others attract executions. Offences that attract the death penalty include blasphemy, sodomy, adultery, rape and murder. See Laws.
  • Penalties for drug and some other serious offences can include the death penalty. See Laws.

Entry and exit

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Australian Government cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

Visas

You can get a visa on arrival for transit (up to 72 hours) and single and multiple entry. You'll need to pay the visa fee in cash in either Bruneiean or Singaporean dollars. There is a money changer at the airport before the immigration control point, but no ATMs or banking facilities.

Immigration regulations are strictly enforced. Check your entry stamp in your passport to confirm your permitted length of stay. Closely monitor your immigration status and visa expiry date.

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact the nearest Embassy, High Commission or Consulate of Brunei for up-to-date information. More information: Brunei Department of Immigration and National Registration.

Other formalities

You'll need to pay a departure tax (in Bruneian dollars) at Brunei International Airport and the Muara and Serasa ferry terminals. Check with your airline whether your airfare includes departure tax.

Passport

Check the expiry date of your Australian passport before you travel. Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months from the date you intend to return to Australia and has at least six blank pages back-to-back, as recommended by Brunei authorities. Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.

Be aware of attempts to get access to your passport by deception. If you're forced to hand over your passport, contact the Australian High Commission Brunei for advice.

If your passport is lost or stolen, you must notify the Australian Government as soon as possible.

Money

The local currency is the Bruneian dollar (BND). Singaporean dollars can be used and have the same value as the BND. Credit cards are accepted at some establishments. Australian dollars can be exchanged at banks, hotels and authorised exchange bureaux.

Safety and security

Crime

Serious crime is rare. Foreigners are occasionally the victims of petty crime, such as theft and burglary.

  • Carry only what you need. Leave other valuables, in a secure location.
  • Pay close attention to your personal belongings.
  • Secure your home or other accommodation, including when you're there.

Civil unrest and political tension

Civil unrest is rare but any protests or demonstration could lead to violence.

  • Avoid protests and demonstrations.
  • Follow the advice of local authorities.

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world.

More information: Terrorist threat worldwide

Local travel

If you're planning to visit the neighbouring states of Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak), read our travel advice for Malaysia.

If you're planning to visit nearby Kalimantan, Indonesia, read the Indonesia travel advice.

Road travel

Driving can be hazardous. It is common for drivers to drive through red lights, exceed the speed limit and not use seatbelts. Drivers may be unlicensed and/or uninsured.

  • Check you have adequate insurance cover before driving.
  • Familiarise yourself with local traffic laws and practices before driving.
  • Drive defensively and legally.
  • Avoid 'road rage'. Don't react to poor driving practices of other drivers.
  • If you're involved in a road accident as a driver, don't leave the scene or move your vehicle until the police have attended.

There are limits on the sale of diesel and petrol for vehicles not registered in Brunei.

More information:

Driver's licence

A valid international driving permit (IDP) and an Australian driver's licence will allow you to drive in Brunei up to a year. Driving without an IDP could void your travel and vehicle insurance. You should get a local driver’s licence if you need one for more than a year.

Motorcycles

Check with your travel insurer whether your policy covers you when using a motorcycle, quad bike or similar vehicle. Your policy may not cover you for accidents that occur while using these vehicles. Wear, and ensure your passenger wears, a correctly fastened and approved helmet.

Taxis

Only use registered taxis and authorised limousines, which can be arranged through your hotel
or at the Brunei International Airport. Alternatively, book a DART Taxi online.

Public transport

A very limited public bus service operates between 6:30 am and 6:00 pm. Bus service is often unreliable.

Sea travel

International cruise lines stop over in Brunei.

More information: Cruises

Air travel

The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Brunei Darussalam.

More information: Air travel

Laws

You're subject to local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

The following activities are illegal:

  • eating, drinking or smoking in public places between sunrise and sunset, during Ramadan
  • homosexual activity (more information: LGBTI travellers)
  • persuading or inciting a Muslim to neglect their religious duties
  • preaching religions other than Islam
  • failing to attend Friday prayers, if you are an adult male Muslim
  • teaching Islamic doctrine outside your own home or to anyone outside your household, without permission
  • selling alcohol
  • importing alcohol outside legal limits – if you import alcohol, keep documents to prove you did so legally
  • possession of pornographic material
  • gambling
  • smoking in government buildings, hospitals, recreational and educational centres, public transport, restaurants or other specified public places
  • photographing government or military infrastructure or equipment, places used by security forces, communications or civil infrastructure, any other prohibited places or areas in the vicinity of such places
  • carrying firearms or related items, such as ammunition, including empty cartridge shells.

Sharia Penal Code 

In 2014, Brunei introduced a Sharia (Syariah) Penal Code. From 3 April 2019, the full sharia penal code (law) takes effect in Brunei. It applies to Muslims, non-Muslims and foreigners even when transiting on Brunei registered aircraft and vessels. Under this code some offences can attract physical punishment while others attract executions. Offences that attract the death penalty include blasphemy, sodomy, adultery, rape and murder.

More information: Syariah Penal Code (Brunei Attorney-General's Chambers)

Drug laws

Some drug offences carry a mandatory death penalty. Other penalties include lengthy prison sentences and corporal punishment.

More information: Carrying or using drugs

Other laws

Brunei’s common law and courts will continue in parallel with the Sharia Penal Code and Sharia courts. Penalties for serious crimes, such as drug offenses, include the death penalty, physical punishment and imprisonment.

Australian laws

Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you may be prosecuted in Australia. Laws include those relating to:

  • bribery of foreign public officials
  • child pornography
  • child sex tourism
  • female genital mutilation
  • forced marriage
  • money laundering
  • terrorism.

More information: Staying within the law

Dual nationals

Brunei doesn't recognise dual nationality. Australians entering with a Bruneian passport will be treated as Bruneian by local authorities.

Local customs

There are conservative standards of dress and behaviour in Brunei. Take care not to offend. If in doubt, seek local advice.

Be cautious when making comments about local issues, particularly those relating to the royal family. Such comments could cause offence and in some cases, could attract legal consequences.

The Islamic holy month of Ramadan will fall between early May and early June 2019. During Ramadan, take particular care to respect religious and cultural sensitivities, rules and customs. Don't eat, drink or smoke in public, or in the presence of people who are fasting.

More information: Ramadan

Health

Travel insurance

Get comprehensive travel insurance before you depart to cover overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. Ensure your policy includes adequate coverage for any pre-existing conditions.

Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government won't pay for your medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs. This can be very expensive and cost you many thousands of dollars upfront.

Confirm:

  • what circumstances and activities are and aren't covered under your policy
  • that you are covered for the whole time you will be away.

More information: Travel insurance

Physical and mental health

Consider your physical and mental health before travelling, especially if you have an existing medical condition.

  • At least eight weeks before you depart, see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and implications for your health.
  • Get vaccinated before you travel.

More information:

Medication

Not all medications available over the counter or by prescription in Australia are available in other countries. Some may even be illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.

Before you leave Australia, check if your medication is legal in each country you're travelling to and find out if any quantity restrictions or certification requirements apply. Consult your doctor about alternatives well in advance of travel.

Take legal prescription medicine with you so you remain in good health. Always carry a copy of your prescription and a letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you'll take and that it's for personal use only.

More information: Prescription medicines

Health risks

Mosquito-borne diseases

Mosquito-borne diseases, including dengue fever and Japanese encephalitis, occur.

Protect yourself against mosquito-borne diseases:

  • ensure your accommodation is mosquito proof
  • take measures to avoid insect bites, including using insect repellent and wearing long, loose fitting, light coloured clothing
  • get vaccinated against Japanese encephalitis before you travel
  • seek medical advice if you have a fever, muscle pain, rash or severe headache.

HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS is a risk for travellers. Exercise appropriate precautions if engaging in activities that expose you to risk of infection.

Other infectious diseases

Water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases (including hepatitis, hand, foot and mouth disease and tuberculosis) are common, with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time.

  • Avoid raw and undercooked food.
  • Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering diarrhoea.

More information:

Red algae

When red algae reaches certain levels, local authorities may issue Red Tide warnings for swimming in certain areas and eating certain types of seafood. Warnings are printed in local newspapers, including in English language publications.

  • Take official warnings seriously.
  • Follow the advice of local authorities.

Medical facilities

Medical facilities in Brunei's public hospitals are of reasonable quality. Private hospital facilities are of a high standard.

If you become seriously ill or injured, you may need to be evacuated to Australia or Singapore. Medical evacuation can be very expensive.

Natural disasters

Flooding and mudslides are common during the wet season (September to January and May to July). Essential services, such as power supplies, can be affected at these times.

If a natural disaster occurs:

  • secure your passport in a safe, waterproof location or carry it in a waterproof bag.
  • closely monitor local media and other sources such as the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System
  • follow the advice of local authorities
  • contact friends and family in Australia with regular updates about your welfare and whereabouts.  

Where to get help

Depending on what you need, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurance provider. Your travel insurer should have a 24 hour emergency number.

Emergency phone numbers

  • Fire and rescue: 995
  • Medical emergencies: 991
  • Criminal issues: 993 or contact local police.

Always get a police report when reporting a crime.

Tourism services and products

For complaints relating to tourism services or products, contact your service provider directly.

More information: Tourism Development Department

Australian Government

Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas. For consular assistance, contact the Australian High Commission in Bandar Seri Begawan.

Australian High Commission, Bandar Seri Begawan

Level 6, Dar Takaful IBB Utama building
Jalan Pemancha
Bandar Seri Begawan BS 8711
Brunei Darussalam
Phone: (673) 222 9435
Fax: (673) 222 1652
Email: austhicom.brunei@dfat.gov.au
Website: bruneidarussalam.embassy.gov.au
Facebook: Australia in Brunei Darussalam

Check the Australian High Commission website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

If you can't contact the High Commission in a consular emergency, contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra on +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information

Additional resources