Local traditions and culture in Brunei

  • Rice granaries at Kg Rimba
    Rice granaries at Kg Rimba
    by SangAji
  • An older version of rice granary
    An older version of rice granary
    by SangAji
  • Rice granary now home to birds
    Rice granary now home to birds
    by SangAji

Most Viewed Local Customs in Brunei

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    DO'S AND DON'TS

    by ancient_traveler Written Oct 26, 2008

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Bruneians are generally very tolerant and will understand that visitors are not familiar with all of their customs and Islamic traditions. Nonetheless, keeping these few things in mind will go far in showing the Bruneian people that you respect and appreciate their culture, enriching your experience:

    • Tourists should observe the local dress code and dress modestly. Clothing comfortable for hot weather is acceptable, except when visiting places of worship or for social and business functions.

    •Bruneians shake hands by lightly touching the hands and then bringing the hand to the chest. Some people do not to shake hands with members of the opposite sex.

    •You should not point with your finger; instead, use the thumb of your right hand with the four fingers folded beneath it.

    •When visiting a mosque, all visitors should remove their shoes. Women should cover their heads and not have their knees or arms exposed. You should not pass in front of a person in prayer or touch the Koran.

    •Gifts (particularly food) should only be passed with the right hand, although it is acceptable to use the left hand to support the right wrist.

    •It is polite to accept even just a little food and drink when offered. When refusing anything offered, it is polite to touch the plate lightly with the right hand.

    •During the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan, Muslims do not take food from sunrise to sundown. It would be inconsiderate to eat or drink in their presence during this period.

    •In deference to the Muslim majority, alcohol is not sold in Brunei, but private consumption by non-Muslims is allowed. Non-Muslim tourists are allowed a generous duty-free allowance of 2 bottles of alcohol (wine, spirits, etc) and 12 cans of beer per entry, and may consume alcohol with sensible discretion in hotels and some restaurants.

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Religious Travel
    • Backpacking

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  • cochinjew's Profile Photo

    alors. la vie bruneinne..

    by cochinjew Written Feb 5, 2008

    Le processus de décision est si lent que les 500 fonctionnaires du ministère du logement ne parviennent pas à produire plus de 300 logements sociaux par an, alors qu'il en faut 10 000. Toute dépense de plus de 25 000 euros doit être personnellement autorisée par le sultan. Aucun fonctionnaire ne part en mission sans lettre signée en haut lieu. Le "royaume des Trésors-Inattendus" est aussi celui des attentes éternelles

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  • cochinjew's Profile Photo

    alors. la vie bruneinne..

    by cochinjew Written Feb 5, 2008

    Le processus de décision est si lent que les 500 fonctionnaires du ministère du logement ne parviennent pas à produire plus de 300 logements sociaux par an, alors qu'il en faut 10 000. Toute dépense de plus de 25 000 euros doit être personnellement autorisée par le sultan. Aucun fonctionnaire ne part en mission sans lettre signée en haut lieu. Le "royaume des Trésors-Inattendus" est aussi celui des attentes éternelles

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  • cochinjew's Profile Photo

    Life in Brunei part 3

    by cochinjew Written Feb 5, 2008

    Depuis, chacun s'interroge sur la signification profonde du "raid du Sheraton". "Il y a incontestablement une montée de l'islamisme dans le sultanat", assure un diplomate non européen. "La brigade ne comportait personne du ministère des affaires religieuses, contredit un éminent homme d'affaires brunéien. En fait, c'était l'initiative isolée d'un jeune policier zélé." Mais tout le monde s'accorde sur un point : pour un pays qui cherche à attirer les touristes, l'effet est désastreux.
    Car certains, au Brunei, se sont mis en tête de penser l'avenir. A l'heure où les émirats du Golfe construisent l'après-pétrole, quelques esprits éclairés ont réalisé que l'or noir à 100 dollars le baril n'était peut-être pas éternel. Certes, le fonds souverain local, la BIA - Brunei Investment Agency -, qui gère des actifs de 30 milliards de dollars, essentiellement investis à l'étranger (le groupe hôtelier Dorchester, par exemple, auquel appartiennent à Paris le Plaza-Athénée et l'Hôtel Meurice), permet de voir venir. Mais, puisqu'il faut diversifier, Brunei songe à son tour au tourisme écologique, à la finance islamique, au méthanol, voire à un procédé de certification halal qui, à partir du bétail produit par les vastes ranches du sultan en Australie, permettrait de vendre la marque Brunei Halal aux musulmans du monde entier. C'est le Plan qui le dit : en 2035, Brunei fera partie des dix pays les plus riches du monde.
    Seulement voilà, il ne suffit pas d'avoir des idées, encore faut-il les mettre en oeuvre. Et, là, les rares visionnaires du sultanat s'arrachent les cheveux. La structure de l'économie ne la prédispose pas naturellement au dynamisme et encore moins à l'efficacité :.
    75 % des Brunéiens sont fonctionnaires, et, de l'aveu même d'un responsable, ce chiffre pourrait être réduit de moitié sans troubler la gestion du pays, au contraire. "On pourrit mollement", observe-t-il en privé.

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  • cochinjew's Profile Photo

    Brunei and Alcohol

    by cochinjew Written Feb 5, 2008

    Ni danseuses, ni karaoké, ni poker - mais là, trônant sur une table, incongrues et sans défense, quatre bouteilles d'alcool ont fait office de corps du délit. Les convives ont été priés de se séparer en deux groupes, étrangers d'un côté, Brunéiens de l'autre, et de présenter leurs papiers d'identité. Puis il a été demandé aux propriétaires des bouteilles de s'identifier. Dans leur grande clémence, les policiers sont repartis sans arrêter qui que ce soit ; plus personne, cependant, n'avait envie de faire la fête. D'autant que l'hôtel avait oublié de demander l'autorisation, comme il est de règle pour toute réunion de plus de dix personnes.

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  • cochinjew's Profile Photo

    Islam and Alcohol in the Benevolent State

    by cochinjew Written Feb 4, 2008

    Brunei, le royaume des attentes éternelles, par Sylvie Kauffmann
    LE MONDE | 04.02.08 | 13h24

    e Tout-BSB en parle encore - BSB : Bandar Seri Begawan, capitale du sultanat de Brunei. Sultanat de Brunei : ancien protectorat britannique au nord de l'île de Bornéo qu'il partage avec la Malaisie et l'Indonésie, pays musulman de 380 000 habitants, dont le pétrole et le gaz assurent 90 % des revenus. Régime : monarchie absolue dont le train de vie défraie régulièrement la chronique. L'un des frères du sultan vit à Londres après avoir dilapidé la moitié des réserves du pays ces dernières années. La nuit du 1er janvier, donc, à 0 h 20, cinquante policiers ont débarqué au petit Hôtel Sheraton de BSB, le seul du pays sous enseigne internationale. L'escouade est montée directement au 6e et dernier étage, celui du Signature Executive Club, réservé aux VIP locaux et aux bons clients, et a fait irruption dans une pièce où quelques dizaines de personnes fêtaient gentiment la nouvelle année.

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  • Xtian's Profile Photo

    Shaking Hands.. and other cultural guidance

    by Xtian Written Oct 27, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Members of the opposite sex do not shake hands.

    It is impolite to point with the index finger (use the right thumb instead) or to beckon someone with fingers upmost. Instead the whole hand should be waved with palm facing downwards.

    The right fist should never be smacked into the left palm.

    Gifts, particularly food, are passed with the right hand.

    When sitting, the sole of your feet should not be pointed towards your companions.

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  • kokoryko's Profile Photo

    tree nursery

    by kokoryko Written Mar 5, 2006

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    This is a tree nursery in the forest; the young trees are kept in shade as they would if growing naturally; the young trees here are durian, as one can see from the remaining burs. The Durian is a very appreciated fruit in all over South East Asia.

    Durian tree nursery Durian tree nursery
    Related to:
    • Jungle and Rain Forest
    • National/State Park
    • Eco-Tourism

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  • kokoryko's Profile Photo

    Drink water

    by kokoryko Written Oct 21, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Alcoholic beverages
    Brunei is a “dry” country, so, no alcoholic beverages; non- Muslims are allowed to import some (24 beer cans and 2 bottles of wine, if you really “need” that), but no “provocation” is allowed, so, no drink in open view (except some restaurants where it is allowed to “bring your own” (drinks)).

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture

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  • kokoryko's Profile Photo

    hands off !

    by kokoryko Written Oct 21, 2005

    3 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Bruneian people are very polite and rely on etiquette, so, the foreigner has to be polite ; never try to shake hands with a lady; it may be a big offence and if the lady does not raise her hand do not try to take it.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture

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    Visiting a Mosque

    by Wild_Orchid Written Apr 27, 2005

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    The Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Mosque welcomes visitors. Visitors are allowed into certain public areas within the Mosque but certain areas are only open and accessible to those of the Muslim faith.

    Please note that you should remove your shoes before entering the mosque. All women, regardless of religion, are required to cover their hair, arms and legs and therefore it is best to wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts plus carry a shawl to cover your hair before entering.

    It's open to visitors
    Related to:
    • Business Travel
    • Family Travel

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  • sim1's Profile Photo

    The sultan, the sultan and more sultan

    by sim1 Updated Jul 1, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness


    The sultan, the sultan and more sultan.... and his family of course :-)) While visiting Brunei you can't escape from the world of the Sultan. Everything in this little Sultanate seems to evolve around him. In almost every sentence of my guide the word 'Sultan' appeared.
    I've learnt lots about his life during my short visit, seen many of the palaces of him and his family and I've seen that he is a very generous man, taking good care of his people. My guide through Brunei was quite proud of his country and most of all the fact that they didn't have to pay tax :-)) But the Sultan is the absolute ruler of this country, which means no freedom of speech. A fact I was well aware of while being here.

    The Sultan of Brunei

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    Brunei is a muslim country

    by sim1 Updated Jun 28, 2004

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    Brunei is a Muslim country and for me that meant adjusting a bit to the local customs. I already mentioned the dress code, but there are a few more things. You can't buy any alcohol in Brunei or pork meat. If you wish you can bring a little bit of alcohol into the country, but be aware of where you drink it.

    Another thing is not to give or accept anything with your left hand. At home I am a 100% 'left-hander', so for me that meant quite a bit of adjusting. But I think I managed rather well :-))

    Jame' Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque

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    Money

    by sim1 Updated Jun 28, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness


    The currency used in Brunei is the Brunei Dollar. Although this is the official currency, Singapore dollars are equally exchanged and can be used.
    As I was never expected of visiting Brunei I didn't have any Brunei dollars with me. But the ATM machine at the shopping centre was of great use and I was the proud owner of some Brunei dollars in no time :-))

    The current exchange rate (June 2004):
    1 Brunei dollar = 0.59 U.S. dollar or 0.48 Euro.

    Credit cards are widely accepted in larger stores, hotels and restaurants. Smaller shops and restaurants often only accept cash.

    Brunei dollars

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    Visas

    by sim1 Updated Jun 28, 2004

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    I was in luck that I didn't need a special visa to enter into Brunei. Dutch (and Swedish) citizens together with several other countries (Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Indonesia, Japan, Luxembourg, Republic of Maldives, Norway, The Philippines, Peru, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand and The Principality of Liechtenstein) can stay 14 days in Brunei without a visa.

    British, Malaysian, German, The Sultanate of Oman, South Korea, New Zealand and Singaporean citizens can stay 30 days without a visa.

    US citizens can stay up to 90 days without a visa.

    Australians are issued a visa upon their arrivals at the Brunei International Airport, but only for visits not exceeding 14 days.

    It is best to check your local Embassy of Brunei to know the most current visa rules so you know whether you need to apply for a visa or not. You can find more info about visas to Brunei on this website : http://www.mfa.gov.bn/consular/

    Fountain at the Jame' Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque

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