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10 things I wish I knew before going to Brunei

Gunel Eyvazli Gunel Eyvazli 22 December 2020
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Most people still wonder Where is Brunei? It is a country located in Southeast Asia. Bandar Sari Begawan is the capital of the country. It has a sea border with China by being situated on the shores of the South China Sea. The country is located in the Borneo islands and distinguished from others by being the only independent country. Brunei currency is the Brunei dollar. The Sultan of Brunei is a monarch of the country and has legislative power. In 1984, Brunei gained its independence from Britain. In the early years of the 21st century, the country developed a lot, and its GDP saw a doubled improvement.

Along with another SouthEast country - Singapore, Brunei is one of the richest countries after its big brother - China. The 28th Sultan of Brunei initiated plans designed to improve the country. After him, three plans were added, and today, the government applies these projects. Even though the government is independent, several countries maintain their forces to protect the country for its rich oil resources. 

mosque

If you are not Muslim but going to Brunei, you do not need to worry at all. Although a minority, Christian people live in a stable and friendly situation with their Muslim counterparts. Sometimes questions arise, such as is it safe to travel to Brunei? Yes, definitely, due to 1959 doctrine rights of other belief system members under the protection of the government.  Brunei is economically the second significant country after Singapore in the region and developed country. 

Let me tell you how to travel to Brunei and things to consider before going to Brunei. 

1. Women's clothing

hijab

Most tourists complain about what to wear in Brunei. The country is indeed ruled by Sharia law, which suggests that everyone is responsible for others' concerns. Wearing short-shorts and racy clothes might disturb locals, and police approach you to close your body parts. But at the same time, no need to stress it a lot. As long as your tight and stripped wearing is not attractive, you can wear whatever you want. The main thing to note, use your judgment, be respectful toward other's ideologies and traditions. To take into note that you can wear whatever you want at home. Be free but respect others at the same time. 

2. How to dress in Mosques? 

woman and mosque

As the country is a Muslim country, the most beautiful places to see are mosques. Everyone can get in and see the magnificence of these praying houses. You don't even need to hesitate, whether if is it safe to travel to Brunei. You do not need to take a long garment with you whenever going to mosques, mostly in the door, special clothing provided for tourists. 
You might be asked to cover your hair in masjids completely. Let's accept that this place is for praying and related to faith. Wouldn't it be disrespectful if there were a lot of hair? To keep praying houses clean and tidy brings another beauty to them. 

Apart from mosques, you should wear as comfortable as you want—one suggestion for those who are fond of nature. If you were going to Brunei waterfalls, you need to wear light like long cotton shirts. Do not forget to bring swimming clothes, because they are not provided. 

3. Partying

alcohols

If you like to stay until midnight at bars and restaurants, I am sorry to say that, but it is impossible in Brunei. You cannot easily find a shop selling alcohol either. It is prohibited to sell alcohol or drinks that include alcohol. In that sense, it is not possible to have a party in the country. However, if you are a tourist and have good relations with the local Brunei population, you might find someone to provide homemade rice wine. There is one district called Temburong district where you can find rice wine during the harvesting festival. This district is also known for national parks. 

4. What is a famous drink in the country?

coffee

Most East Asian citizens drink coffee a lot. Brunei population come and go to restaurants even until midnight. Brunei people love to talk about everything, and I would say most of them are well educated and knowledgeable. All Bruneians are proud of their small country. 

5. Not well improved public transportation

woman sitting in the bus

Most of the Brunei population use private transport vehicles. They usually drive, and public transport is not well maintained. There are a few buses from the airport to the city center and the way back. Do most people ask what is the capital of Brunei? It is Bandar Sari Bagawan which is settled almost entirely on water. It is better to use the power of your feet to stroll around the city. During your travel to Brunei, you can use taxis, but it is expensive for most travelers. Another problem might arise with Brunei currency. There is a taxi service called Dart that will help you get around Brunei. 

6. Brunei Food

crab

Brunei's population are great food lovers. Someone who visited Singapore would think this country is the center of most delicious food, but Brunei food is much more delicious. Do you know Where is Brunei delicious foods? Ambuyat is one of the most known meals in Brunei. If you travel to Brunei this year, there are weird and interesting Brunei traditions, night meal markets. People open up little shops and offer a wide variety of local food. Sampling is free but hold yourself not to eat a lot. As in most east Asian countries, seafood is famous in Brunei. Locals get used to crab, squids, and even octopuses. Crab has a special place in the country's cuisine

7. Don't miss Ulu Temburong Park

ulu temburong park

Where is Brunei national park? Is there any wildlife around the country?

Those who travel to Brunei know this place even much before they pay a visit. It is a great attempt to plan your visit. Why should you going to Brunei National park? 

1. It is one of few untouched rainforests on earth.

2. There is a canopy walk in this park, and the height is more than 60m. 

3. Travel with boats. You can experience longboat trips in Ulu Temburong Park

4. On the waterfalls, you feel your toes sucked by little fish. 

8. Brunei isn't cheap

hotel in brunei

Singapore and Brunei are the most expensive countries in East Asia. If you visit Indonesia and Malaysia, do not think that it will be the same with Brunei. After you found out how to travel to Brunei from Indonesia, there are things to note. You will spend a lot in Brunei. A night in a hotel will cost you around 50$. 

Another disadvantage of the situation is that there are not many hotels in Brunei. Do most guests ask what is the capital of Brunei? Is the capital expensive? Even in the capital, there are few hotels. Kunyit 7 lounge is one of the hotels in the capital. It is important to book your places, especially if it's tourist season in Brunei. 

Although hotel prices are high in BSB, attractions are free. You can win some cash from attractions. But I recommend not to miss icy coffee. This is so delicious that you can not find a similar taste in any other place on the earth.

9. Money Exchange

dollars

Brunei currency is a Brunei dollar and different than RMB - mostly used money in Asia. After finding out what Brunei's capital, find the nearest exchange point to change your money to Brunei dollars.

10. When to visit?

dad and son

There are some days in a year worth going to Brunei

1. July 15th. This day has special importance because it's the birthday of the Sultan of Brunei. And guess what. You can be a guest of the Sultan of Brunei too. There are some suggestions as well. If you are a woman, you need to cover your hair and wear something that closes your body parts and arms. Expect to see a long line. You should be curious about what it is like Sultan's place.

children

2. Eid Day is one of the special days for Muslims. Everyone around the country is super excited and cherishes the beauty and renewing soul and body after one month of "meditation." Do not ask, is it safe to travel to Brunei at that time? Yes totally

3. June 1st  is a harvest festival in the country. You might be shocked as there are non-muslim citizens in the country. The Ibans have their own culture and holidays. If you visit their province and you are lucky enough, you might find homemade rice wine done by local Ibans is not for sale, but your out-going character might buy you the rarest thing in the country.

Take your time to plan how to travel to Brunei and see that paradise in the world. 

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Gunel Eyvazli

Gunel is from Baku, Azerbaijan, and for several years she studied in Russia. Gunel participated in a few Erasmus+ projects abroad, travelled to 9 countries, and wishes to explore many countries and continents in the world. As a person always receiving distinction in her studies, Gunel is enthusiastic about education, self-development, working in large-scale international projects and has a huge love for nature and animals. Also, she loves painting in her free time.

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