Islamic Etiquette

Although Islam is the state religion of Brunei Darussalam, it is also a country that prides itself on the diversity of its people – including their religions. Visitors are welcome in the mosques, however, proper attire is required; women are required to cover their head, shoulders, and knees. Some mosques will provide simple robes and shawls to meet these standards. Shoes are to be removed before entering.

If you need to gesture or point in Brunei, you should point with the thumb of your right hand instead of your index finger. It is also customary in Brunei to lightly touch hands and bring your hand to your chest while shaking hands. Many Muslim women do not shake hands with men due to religious reasons so please do not be alarmed by this.

It is polite to accept even just a little food and drink when offered. When refusing anything offered, it it polite to touch the plate lighlty with the right hand. Gifts (particularly food) should only be passed with the right hand, altough it is acceptable to use the left hand to support the right wrist.

Please do not pass in front of people in prayer, and it is highly advised for non-muslims to not touch the Holy Al-Quran. As a courtesy, please ask for permission before taking photographs of locals, landmarks or government buildings (especially inside areas such as museums or mosques).

Mosques are usually closed on Thursdays and Fridays (12 noon and 2pm on Fridays to observe the Friday prayer time for Muslims) and during prayer times.




Friday Prayers

All banks, businesses, offices, places of interest, retail, food and beverage outlets are closed between 12 noon and 2pm on Fridays to observe the Friday prayer time for Muslims.




Month of Ramadhan

During the holy month of Ramadan, visitors are advised to refrain from drinking and eating in public areas between sunrise and sunset. Dine-in at restaurants is not allowed but you may do takeaways to be consumed in private. It is also a good idea to dress conservatively during this holy period while observing local laws and customs.




Banks

Banks are usually open Mondays to Fridays, 9am - 4pm and on Saturdays, 9am - 11am. Some banks have branches with later closing times. Cash withdrawals and deposits can be made from Automated Teller Machines (ATM) that can be found in various shopping complexes and bank branches all over the country.

ATM cards affiliated with the international Plus or Cirrus systems are accepted at most ATMs.




Credit Cards

They are widely accepted in hotels, restaurants and major shopping complexes. Most widely accepted cards are VISA, MasterCard and Union Pay. Some establishments accept American Express.




Lost/Stolen Passports And Credit Cards

If you ever do find your passport missing, go to the nearest police station to lodge a police report and inform your embassy to seek further assistance. If your credit cards get lost, make sure you call your bank to cancel the cards immediately.




Money Changer

This service is available at the airport, banks, hotels and some licensed money changers. To cash or exchange travelers cheques, visit major international banks in the capital.




Money Remittance / Transfer

Transferring money overseas can be done at all major banks or remittance agencies in Brunei.




Telecommunications

Most public phones operate on phone cards and prepaid cards. These cards can be purchased at TelBru counters and authorised dealers. Tourist Sim Cards are also available for the two mobile telephone operators, DST and Progresif Cellular, which can be purchased from the Brunei International Airport (upon arrivals) and their respective authorised dealers in all major shopping areas. A passport is required upon registration.




Smoking

Smoking is prohibited in both air-conditioned and non air-conditioned areas in Brunei Darussalam. Smoking is banned in specific places including government buildings, hospitals, recreational and educational centres, public transport and restaurants. Offenders could be fined.




Tourist Information Centre

Located at the Kg. Ayer Cultural and Tourism Gallery. Visitors can obtain information about Brunei and related pamphlets and maps free from here during working hours Mon-Thurs & Saturday (9am – 12:15pm & 1:30pm – 4:30pm except Fridays 11:30am - 2pm). Visiting hours are from 9am – 4:30pm (Mon-Sun except Fridays 11:30am - 2pm).




Buses

Many of Brunei's attractions lie within walking distance of each other in the heart of the capital city, Bandar Seri Begawan. A comphrehensive public system serves the capital and other destinations.

There are six bus routes servicing the BSB area. Normal operating hours are from 6am - 8pm daily. Bus fares start from B$1.00. Buses heading to other towns in Brunei such as Tutong, Kuala Belait and Seria depart from the bus terminal located at the multi-storey carpark on Jalan Cator in Bandar Seri Begawan.




Taxis

Taxis can be found at the airport, hotels, shopping centres, and the central bus station in Bandar Seri Begawan. There are no metered taxis in Brunei, therefore it is advisable to negotiate your fare before getting into one. For your convenience it is also recommended to take your preferred taxi driver's number to pre-book your trips. Please check the regulated metered taxi rate from Brunei Public Transport Systems Transformation Project.




Water Taxis and Speed Boat Services

Unique to Brunei, the water taxi is the most common means of transportation in Kampong Ayer. You can hail a water taxi from the numerous jetties along the banks of Brunei River. The water taxi is an ideal way to view the water village up close. Fares are negotiable but usually a standard ride costs about B$1.00. Regular speed boat services to Temburong (ticket counter located at the Kianggeh Jetty in Bandar Seri Begawan) operate between 7.45am to 4pm daily and a round trip costs B$15.00.




Ferry Services

Passenger ferry services to the Malaysian island of Labuan operate from 7am to 4pm and departs from the Serasa Terminal in Muara town. The journey takes about 45 minutes to an hour.