Get travel and medical insurance
Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.
We advise Irish citizens visiting Brunei Darussalam to take normal precautions.
Because there is no Irish Embassy or Consulate in Brunei, we’re limited in the help we can offer you in an emergency. However, if you need assistance, you can contact the Irish Embassy in Singapore.
We suggest you learn as much as you can about Brunei before your trip from travel agents, tour operators and guide books. The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems when you’re in Brunei, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.
EU Directive on Consular Protection
Under the EU Consular Protection Directive, Irish nationals may seek assistance from the Embassy or Consulate of any other EU member state in a country where there is no Irish Embassy or permanent representation.
Our tips for safe travels
- Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities
- Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
- Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly in an emergency, such as a natural disaster or a family emergency.
- Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates
- Read our Topical ‘Know Before You Go’ guide
Safety and security
Safety and security
Crime levels are low, but there are occasional incidents of petty crime against tourists. Take particular care of your passport, avoid carrying valuables with you and do not leave possessions in unattended vehicles, even if out of sight in a locked boot.
Following an incident in September 2014, the police advise individuals against hiking alone in the forest, including at well-known recreation areas.
There is a low threat from terrorism, but you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could be in public areas, including those frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.
Drivers of vehicles not registered in Brunei can only purchase motor fuel at 10 designated filling stations throughout the country, to a maximum of 250 litres. Filling a foreign car is more expensive as the purchase price does not include a government subsidy.
If you wish to drive in Brunei, we recommend that you bring your full, valid Irish driving license as well as your International Driving Permit.
Driving standards differ from Ireland. Traffic will not always stop at red lights or pedestrian crossings. Speeding and non-use of seatbelts is common. Road conditions are generally good but you should take extra care while driving through heavy rain as road surfaces can be uneven.
If you are involved in a road accident as a driver, you should not leave the scene or move the vehicle until the police have attended.
It is easy to get lost when visiting the rainforest. Use recognised and well-known guides, and stay on the footpaths.
Avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings of people. International news events can sometimes trigger anti-Western demonstrations. Keep yourself informed of developments, and if you become aware of any nearby protests, leave the area immediately.
Local laws and customs
Local laws and customs
Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal.
Local laws reflect the fact that Brunei is an Islamic country. You should dress modestly and respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times, especially during the holy month of Ramadan, or if you intend to visit religious areas.
His Majesty The Sultan and other members of the Bruneian Royal Family are highly revered and public criticism of them would cause great offence.
On 22 October 2013 a new Sharia criminal code was enacted. The new code sets out severe corporal penalties and punishments, including death, for a variety of offences and in some cases applies to non-Muslims. Phase 1 was implemented from 1 May 2014, with offences punishable with a fine, imprisonment or both. Phases 2 and 3, which include more severe penalties, are subject to further legislation before implementation.
Adultery (involving a Muslim) and close proximity between the sexes is deemed an offence under Bruneian Law and may attract a fine, imprisonment or both. In some circumstances, it may also attract corporal punishment. Under the new Sharia criminal code it is also an offence for any person who consumes any food, drink or tobacco in public during the fasting hours of Ramadan. You could be fined up to B$4,000 and/or imprisoned for up to 1 year.
Possession of pornographic material is illegal.
Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including fines, long prison terms and the death penalty.
There are severe penalties for all drug offences in Brunei including, in some cases, the death penalty. Other crimes may attract caning and lengthy prison sentences.
The sale of alcohol in Brunei is prohibited. Non-Muslims over 17 years of age may import duty free two bottles of wine or spirits and twelve cans of beer on entry into Brunei, but must declare them to the customs authorities on arrival and consume them in private. There must be at least a 48-hour gap between each import. Keep the customs slip in case of inspection.
Smoking is prohibited in certain public places, including shopping and eating areas, bus stops and stations and government buildings. Offenders may be fined. It’s difficult to buy cigarettes in Brunei and there’s no duty-free allowance for tobacco or tobacco products, even for personal consumption.
Homosexual activity is illegal.
Entry requirements (visa/passport)
If you are unsure of what the entry requirements for Brunei are, including visa and other immigration information, ask your travel agent or contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Brunei.
You should ensure that your passport is valid for a minimum of six months after the conclusion of any trip to Brunei and other countries within South East Asia.
Check with your doctor well in advance of travelling to see if you need any vaccinations for Brunei.
Health and medical services in Brunei are generally acceptable, though basic hospital supplies can run low from time to time. Medical evacuation to Singapore may be necessary if there are complications. Always get comprehensive medical insurance before you travel to Brunei that will cover this eventuality.
Take precautions against malaria by getting up-to-date medical advice about anti-malarial medication before you travel. When you arrive, take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.