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Guide: Brunei




State of Brunei

CAPITAL: Bandar Seri Begawan GOVERNMENT: Sultanate
NATIONAL DAY: February 23 LAND AREA: 5,765 sqkm (as big as Nueva Ecija)
LOCATION: Southeastern Asia, bordering the South China Sea and Malaysia
TERRAIN: Flat coastal plain rises to mountains in east; hilly lowland in west
CLIMATE: Equatorial; high temperatures, humidity, and rainfall
NATURAL HAZARDS: typhoons, earthquakes, and flooding
POPULATION: 359,027 (est. July 2010)
PEOPLE: Malay, Kedayan, Tutong, Belait-66%; Bisaya, Murut, Chinese-11.2%; other races-11.8%; Iban, Deyak, Kalabi-6%
LANGUAGES: Official-Malay; Others-English and Chinese
RELIGION: Muslim (Islam is the official religion)-64%; Indigenous Beliefs-11%; Buddhist-9%; Others-8%
WORKING WEEK: Monday to Friday 8AM to 5PM, Saturday 8AM to noon
CURRENCY: Bruneian Dollar (BND), Exchange Rates: 1BND = 34.594100 PHP (As of September 2011)
CODE: COUNTRY DIALING =  +673 1     INTERNET  =  .bn  
TIME DIFFERENCE: GMT +8; same with the Philippines
TRANSPORTATION: Driving is on the left side. Left turn is permitted at red light unless otherwise indicated by a sign at the intersection. Direction signals are required for turning and for changing lanes. Only a driver and a passenger are allowed in the front seats. Passengers in the front seats are required to wear seat belts.



Brunei Darussalam is a Muslim country.  The culture, customs and traditions practiced by its people are based on the teachings of Islam.

1.  Pork and alcohol are forbidden for Muslims.  Alcohol is for consumption of Non-Muslims only.

2.  It is customary for Bruneians to eat with their fingers rather than use spoons and forks.

3.  The right hand is used when giving and receiving.  When eating with the hands, use the right hand.

4.  To point, use the thumb while clenching fist tightly instead.  Pointing with the index finger is considered rude.

5.  On entering a Malay house you shold take your shoes off and leave them outside.

6.  When sitting on the floor, the correct way for men to sit is with legs folded at the knees and crossed at the ankles.  Women should sit with the knees to one side and the feet tucked under away from view.

7.  The polite way of beckoning at someone is by using all four fingers of the right hand with the palm down and motioning them towards you.  It is considered extremely impolite to beckon at someone with the index finger.


DON'Ts:  Living in BRUNEI

1.  It is disrespectful to sit in such a way that the soles of the feet are pointing at the other people.

2.  Don't rest your feet on the table or chair.

3.  Never smack your fist into the palm of your other hand, as this is also a rude gesture.

4.  If you own a dog, keep it out of the way if you are expecting a Muslim visitor.  Dogs are considered to be unclean, and contact with their wet hair, tongue or saliva must be followed by purification rites.

5.  It is not customary to shake hands with a member of the opposite sex, so it is wise to wait until, and if the person's hand is offered first.

6.  Public display of affection such as hugging and kissing are seen to be in bad taste.  Even casual physical contact with members of the opposite sex will make Muslims feel uncomfortable.

7.  Non-Muslims found in the company of a Muslim of the opposite sex in a secluded place rather than where there are a lot of people, could be persecuted.

8.  If you are found committing 'khalwat' that is seen in a compromising position with a person of the opposite sex who is a Muslim, you could be deported.

9.  Don't touch children's head.

10.  Don't cause someone to lose face.

11.  Don't weat figure-hugging clothes and those that show shoulders and thighs.

12.  Don't carry any firearms.  Do not bring drugs such as cocaine and heroine into the country.

13.  Don't eat and drink in the presence of Muslims who fast during Ramadam.