Earliest ferry to Labuan in Malaysia is scheduled to leave at 8:30am but they seem to wait until 9am. The ticket price is B$15 (B$10 for senoirs/children) plus a B$2 departure tax. You will get there in plenty of time to take the ferry to Kota Kinabalu but you need to purchase that ticket as soon as you exit the arrival area. It is located to the right as you come out.
Contrary to information I have read online there was no direct bus from the terminal in BSB to the Serasa Ferry Terminal to catch the ferry to Labuan. Instead take the first bus from the terminal (#37, 38 or 39) at about 6:30am to Maura. From the Maura bus lot take the #33 to the ferry terminal.
If you have a stopover at the airport there will not be much to do there and there are only two cafes giving basic food, a few souvenir shops and of course the country is alcohol free so there are no drinks available. Best to bring your own food if possible.
Getting around town by taxi is quite expensive - basically a rip-off. The taxis don't seem to be metered. It's BND25 from the airport to town. And basically travel within the town is always fixed at BND25 regardless of the distance. If you intend to do lots of travelling around the town or out of town, it's better to just rent a car. Driving is pretty easy and convenient in Brunei. There's not much traffic and the drivers are courteous.
You can go by ferry to Labuan, 1 hour from Muara (port) witch is 1 hour by bus from Bandar Seri Begawan, from there by ferry to Kota Kinabalu, 2,5 hours, total cost about RM 60 / 25 Brunei Dollar, if you take the early boat with waiting time about 6-7 hour, or stay a night or 2 in Labuan. You can also go by bus, look for Borneo Express (was in march every day, maybe every seconde day now)
Borneo Express goes every day at 7.45 am from Kota Kinabalu to Brunei and Miri, about 10 hour and RM 90 to Miri.
Jesselton Express goes every day at 8 am to Brunei.
Both companies leave from the City Park / Jl.Tun Razak station in the town center.
You can go also by ferry at 8 am to Brunei, via Labuan 2,5 + 1 hour to Muara and 1 hour by bus to Bandar Seri Begawan, total cost about RM 60, with waiting time about 6-7 hour
The Brunei Airport is a relatively small airport located about half an hour drive away from Bandar Seri Begawan. There are not many flights coming into Brunei or going away, so the customs clearance and baggage claim is quite fast. Do take note that there is restriction to the amount of alcohol that can be brought into Brunei (because it is an Islamic country) and that drug trafficking carries a death penalty just like Singapore. Please see part 2 of this tip for more information.
Once you are out of the customs check and claimed your luggage, just go straight out and there are taxis waiting for you. A taxi trip from airport to Bandar Seri Begawan (about 30 minutes) will cost about $20-25 Brunei Dollars. There are also several car rental booths e.g. Avis and Hertz as well as an information counter next to the car rental booths (you can communicate in English here, no problems). Other than taxis and cars, the purple buses (no. 11, 23, 24, 36, 38 and 57) will get you to the city at $1 Brunei Dollars.
Some hotels can arrange for airport pick-up services, so do check with your hotel so that you can save some money here :)
We arrived in Brunei from Labuan Island via the Ferry.
Going through Customs, we told the Officer's we needed a Visa, so we were taken into a small office where we were interrogated?....it felt like that with the questions the officious lady asked. Finally, out we came with the visa. We didn't have a problem getting it, the officer just wasn't the most pleasant person to deal with!
As we were only staying for 2nights, we were able to get the transit visa, which is valid for 72 hours. Being Australian, we could also get multiple entry visas on arrival.
The visa fee has to be paid in cash in either Brunei or Singapore dollars.
There is a money changer in the arrival hall of the airport beyond the immigration control point if you aren't prepared.
COST IN 2011.............
Single Entry - Brunei $'s......$20.00
Multiple Entry - B$30.00(For less than 3 months)
B$50.00(For more than 3 months)
You need 6mths left on your passport, and exit ticket out of Brunei.
If you are from Israel, then unfortunately, you can't visit Brunei.
It's a rather convoluted journey if you want to get from Miri to Brunei that involves five buses and a river crossing. First you need to get to the bus station in Miri which is located near the Park Hotel and the Padang and catch a Belait Transport Company bus from Miri to Kuala Belait for the first leg. Buses leave at 7am & 10am and cost RM13 with the trip taking about an hour. You'll then pass through Malaysian immigration and then get onto another bus that takes you over the border into Brunei and through Brunei immigration. You then transfer onto a Brunei bus that takes you to the Sungai Belait river which you'll cross over in a free boat. On the other side of the river is a terminal building beside a gas and oil storage depot. You then get on another bus which will take you past nodding donkey oil wells and loads of pipes through Kuala Belait and onto Seria which costs B$1. From Seria, we had to wait an hour for a bus to BSB and so had some lunch near the bus station. The final bus took us right into the centre of BSB and this cost B$6.
The main bus station in the city is located in Jalan Cator underneath a multi-story car park. We took a bus from here to the ferry terminal at Muara, 25km northeast of BSB in order to get a ferry to the island of Pulau Labuan and then from there another ferry to Kota Kinabalu. The bus costs B$2 and takes about an hour to get to the ferry terminal and then we took a ferry to Pulau Labuan at 10.30am which cost B$17. From there we just managed to get onto the next ferry to KK which cost B$16 (as they still take Brunei dollars on Pulau Labuan).
We walked down past the Chinese Temple towards the bus station and found this bus with a sign in the front saying that it goes to Kota Kinabalu. As we were heading towards KK ourselves but via the two ferry option, we enquired about how much it cost and how long etc. It costs B$45, leaves at 8am from outside the Brunei Hotel, takes some 7 hours and goes through some 5 border checkpoints! It sounded like a good idea to get all those passport stamps but my friend didn't have many pages left in his passport and so we plumbed for the 2 ferry option (see next tip) instead plus ferries are more interesting than boring buses aren't they?
The main bus station in the city is located in Jalan Cator underneath a multi-story car park. There are six bus routes servicing Bandar Seri Begawan area; the Central Line, Circle Line, Eastern Line, Southern Line, Western Line and Northern Line. The buses operate from 6.30 am till 6.00pm except for Bus No. 1 and 20 which have extended to the night. All bus routes begin and terminate their journey at the main bus terminal. We took a bus from here to the ferry terminal at Muara, 25km northeast of BSB in order to get a ferry to the island of Pulau Labuan and then from there another ferry to Kota Kinabalu (see my other transport tips). The bus costs B$2 and takes about an hour.
Kampung Ayer is a traditional village on stilts in the heart of Bandar Seri Begawan that offers a glimpse at how the people of Brunei lived way before the country became an oil-rich nation. Even today, there are still 30,000 people living here, whose name means "water village". Kampung Ayer is actually composed of 28 waterborne villages stitched together, that stretch for 8km on either sides of the Brunei River. You can take a tour around by hiring one of the water taxis that buzz around between downtown BSB and the jetties on the other side of the river. Try to negotiate the price down to around B$10 which is what I paid for a 45-50 minutes tour.
100,000 guest workers in Brunei rely on these purple buses to get around Brunei and Muara district... ask them!
$1 per trip for purple buses
Bus terminal also serves buses going to Tutong and Belait/Seria.
and is a multi-storey carpark....
and houses shops and local foodstalls on first floor, and 7th floor of Municipal dept building opposite of terminal.
Taxis are also based here, from 6am to 6pm only.
'private' cars operators supplement the service and go to places not served by the buses or taxis.