Brunei travel guide

How to get to Brunei

Brunei's sole airport of significance is Brunei International Airport (http://www.brunet.bn/gov/dca/fids/) (BWN), the hub of national carrier Royal Brunei Airlines (http://www.bruneiair.com/). The airport itself is small but clean and functional.

After over-expansion and huge losses in the 1990s, Royal Brunei Airlines (RBA) has cut down on its services considerably but still offers a reasonably comprehensive network, with daily flights to London, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, and Kota Kinabalu. There are also frequent flights to Brisbane, Perth and Auckland. Fares that transit via Brunei are attractively priced and you are guaranteed service with a smile. In addition, Singapore Airlines (http://www.singaporeair.com/) flies 5 times a week from Singapore, and Malaysia Airlines (http://www.malaysiaairlines.com.my/) flies from Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu (twice a week from both cities). In July 2006, discount, no-frills carrier AirAsia (http://www.airasia.com/) started flights from Kuala Lumpur, bringing some much-needed competition. AirAsia is the cheapest carrier to serve Brunei from an international Hub, with fares as low as US$35 one-way from Kuala Lumpur. AirAsia flies from 35 destinations in Asia to Kuala Lumpur, where connections to Brunei are available.

Departing by plane from Brunei involves paying a departure tax: B$5 for flights to Kuching and Kota Kinabalu and B$12 to other international destinations.

Getting there/away: A taxi to Bandar Seri Begawan takes 20 minutes and costs around B$25. A covered walk down to the end of the car park further away from the Terminal (turn right from Arrivals) leads to a bus stop for Purple buses to the city centre (B$1).

You can drive into Brunei from Sarawak, Malaysia. There are two entry points for the main part of Brunei, one from Miri at Sungai Tujuh and one from Limbang at Kuala Lurah (Tedungan on the Malaysian side). Both these crossings have drive-through immigration checkpoints at the border but queues can be horribly long, especially during weekends.

It is also possible to drive from the Sarawak towns of Limbang and Lawas to the Temburong district of Brunei. The drive from Limbang requires a ferry ride across the Pandaruan River (RM8 or B$4) which forms the border between Malaysia and Brunei. You can now conduct immigration formalities at Pandaruan (no longer at Limbang Wharf) with the opening of the Malaysian checkpoint in June 2007. Brunei immigration formalities are conducted at Puni, about 600m away from the ferry landing. From Lawas (which is connected by road to Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia), a ferry ride across the Trusan River (RM10) is required before you can proceed to the actual border at Labu. Malaysian immigration formalities are done in Trusan (the immigration office, officially known as the Mengkalap immigration checkpoint, is in a shoplot just east of the ferry crossing) about 8km away, and no longer in Lawas. Those for Brunei can be done at the Labu checkpoint at border.

It is possible to drive from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah to Bandar Seri Begawan in one day. See the Kota Kinabalu to Brunei in a day page for details.

Nationals of Israel are not allowed to enter Brunei, though other passports containing Israeli stamps and visas are not a problem for entry. Nationals of ASEAN and many industrialised countries (though not all) do not require an entry visa. Among those who do not need a visa are citizens of the US (90 days), EU, Ukraine (30 days), Singapore, EFTA, Japan (14 days), Switzerland (14 days), New Zealand (30 days), Canada (14 days) and China (including Hong Kong) (14 days).Proof of return or onward travel is required to check in for your flight to Brunei. If you plan to leave by ferry you will need to purchase a cheap flight out of Brunei before you arrive there. Australians can obtain a visa on arrival for B$20 or a 3 day transit Visa for B$5. Those who need a visa must apply in advance at a Brunei embassy, where processing can take up to 3 days and costs B$15 for a single entry visa. See Brunei Immigration Department (http://www.immigration.gov.bn/visiting.htm) for the latest details. Immigration officers at Sungei Tujoh between Miri and Kual Belait will not accept payment for Australian entry Visa other than in Brunei or Singapore dollars. There is no ATM. CHEQUES NOT ACCEPTED.

The main ferry terminal in Brunei is the Serasa Ferry Terminal at Muara, where there are several ferries daily to/from Labuan and one daily ferry each to/from Lawas and Sundar, both in Sarawak. With a change of boats in Labuan, you can even make it to/from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, in a day. See the Kota Kinabalu to Brunei in a day page.

Please note that the ferry terminal is quite a distance from actual Muara town where the container port is located. The terminal is about 25km from Bandar Seri Begawan. Getting there: There are purple buses (No. 38) linking the ferry terminal with BSB. Or you can just take a tour van / taxi.

There is a car ferry service from Brunei to Sabah (http://www.pkljaya.com/Timetables.htm)

Please note that you need to pay a tax ("cukai kepala") to get out of Brunei (currently, B$ 2 per ferry ticket). Enquire the counters/travel agent if you didn't get the tax coupon when purchasing the tickets.

To/from Miri: - The Miri Belait Transportation Company runs buses between Kuala Belait in Brunei and Miri in Sarawak, Malaysia. The journey requires a bus change at the Sungei Tujoh border checkpoint. Through tickets are however available at RM12.20 from Miri. Note that there have been reports that buses from Miri occasionally refuse to go all the way to the border and stop just before the Asean Bridge at Kuala Baram because of the high toll charge of the bridge. You may have to use taxis to complete the final 5km between the border and the bridge. From Kuala Belait, there are buses to Seria (B$1) approx. every 2o minutes, where you can change to another bus for Bandar Seri Begawan (B$6). The entire journey takes about 5 hours. Buses depart Seria every hour.

There are also two express buses a day between Bandar Seri Begawan and Miri, run by PHLS (+673 277 1668). One runs early in the morning (dep 7am?), and the second around lunchtime (dep 1pm?). Fares are reasonable, less than B$25

  • To/from Limbang: - There are no direct buses between Bandar Seri Begawan and Limbang in Sarawak. However, you can catch a local bus from Bandar's bus station to Kuala Lurah on the border, walk across the checkpoint into Tedungan in Sarawak and catch a Syarikat Bas Limbang bus to Limbang. Do the reverse if coming from Limbang to Bandar. Buses depart from Limbang bus terminal several times a day and bear the destination "Batu Danau". Taxis are also available on both sides of the border but bargain hard for the fare. You can also get to Temburong district by bus from Limbang, although again, there are no direct buses into Bangar; all buses (destination "Pandaruan") stop at the ferry landing at Pandaruan, where there is now a Malaysian immigration checkpoint. Cross the river by ferry and catch a taxi for the 5km to Bangar.
  • To/from Kota Kinibalu: - There is a daily bus from Bandar Seri Begawan to Kota Kinibalu. The bus departs opposite Tamu Kianggeh approx 9am

Entry Requirements

Foreign nationals of the following countries/territories can enter Brunei visa-free as long as they present a passport valid for at least 6 months:

For up to 90 days: All European Union member states, United States

For up to 30 days: Iceland, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates

For up to 14 days: Cambodia, Canada, China (including Hong Kong SAR and Macao SAR), Japan, Indonesia, Laos, Liechtenstein, Maldives, Peru, Philippines, Switzerland, Thailand and Vietnam

Nationals of Israel are not allowed to enter Brunei, though other passports containing Israeli stamps and visas are not a problem for entry.

Citizens of Australia and Kuwait can obtain a visa on arrival for 30 days. Citizens of Bahrain, Qatar and Taiwan can obtain a visa on arrival for 14 days. These citizens can obtain a visa on arrival for B$20 or a 3 day transit Visa for B$5. Immigration officers at Sungei Tujoh between Miri and Kual Belait will not accept payment for a visa on arrival other than in Brunei or Singapore dollars - there is no ATM and cheques are not accepted.

Proof of return or onward travel is required to check in for your flight to Brunei. If you plan to leave by ferry you will need to purchase a cheap flight out of Brunei before you arrive there.

Those who need a visa must apply in advance at a Brunei embassy, where processing can take up to 3 days and costs B$20 for a single entry visa. See Brunei Immigration Department (http://www.immigration.gov.bn/visiting.htm) for the latest details.

If you require a visa to enter Brunei, you might be able to apply for one at a British embassy, high commission or consulate in the country where you legally reside if there is no Bruneian foreign mission. For example, the British embassies in Addis Ababa (http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/countries/ethiopia/commonwealth-bots/?langname=null) and Belgrade (http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/countries/serbia/commonwealth-bots/?langname=null) accept Bruneian visa applications (this list is not exhaustive). British diplomatic posts charge £50 to process a Bruneian visa application and an extra £70 if the authorities in Brunei require the visa application to be referred to them. The authorities in Brunei can also decide to charge an additional fee if they correspond with you directly.