Bandar Seri Begawan

From Wikitravel
Earth : Asia : Southeast Asia : Brunei : Brunei and Muara : Bandar Seri Begawan
Jump to: navigation, search

Bandar Seri Begawan, also known as BSB or just Bandar, is the capital of Brunei.

Get in[edit]

The Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque.

See Brunei#Get in for Brunei's entry requirements.

By plane[edit]

Brunei International Airport [1] is the main airport in Brunei. See Brunei#By plane for airline details.

Getting there/away: A taxi from the airport to the city centre takes 20 minutes and costs around B$25. Some hotels (like Grand City Hotel) may provide complimentary transport between airport and hotel. A covered walk down to the end of the car park away from the Terminal (turn right when exiting from Arrivals) leads to a bus stop for Purple buses to the city centre (B$2).

By road[edit]

All main roads in Brunei (save for those in isolated Temburong Districts) lead to Bandar Seri Begawan. The main road into/out of Bandar connects to the coastal road to/from the Sarawak border via Tutong, Seria and Kuala Belait. Other main roads lead to Muara and Kuala Lurah where there is a border crossing into the Limbang division of Sarawak. Take this road if you are driving to Temburong but you will have to go through two sets of immigration checkpoints - at Kuala Lurah (Tedungan on the Sarawak side) and Puni (Pandaruan on the Sarawak side) - before you reach the district administrative center, Bangar.

By bus[edit]

The main bus terminal where all long-distance and local buses leave from and arrive is at Jalan Cator in the city centre. It occupies the ground level of a multistory carpark.

  • To/from Kota Kinabalu: There is a direct bus service from Kota Kinabalu to Bandar Seri Begawan. The service is provided by Sipitang Express +60-88-751722 [2]. The bus leaves once daily at 8am and takes 8.5 hours. The bus departs from a lay-by on the waterfront. The ticket is B$45 and can be purchased from the driver.
  • To/from Miri: PHLS Express runs a direct bus between Bandar Seri Begawan and Miri for B$20 (as of Dec 2015). The bus leaves Bandar Seri Begawan at 7AM and 1PM and takes about 4 hours. See Miri article for details.
  • To/from Seria: Regular buses leave for Seria (where you can change buses to Kuala Belait) that leave from the main bus terminal. They usually display the departure time on the windscreen. Journey time is about one hour and the fare is B$6 one way. Please note the local bus to Miri has been discontinued. PHLS express bus make stops in Seria and Kuala Belait and the fare to Miri is B$15.
  • To/from Kuala Lurah: Local purple buses run from the bus terminal right up to the Kuala Lurah checkpoint throughout the day. Journey is about half hour and fare is B$1 one way. At Kuala Lurah, walk across the border and either catch a bus or taxi into Limbang.
  • To/from Muara: Regular buses depart from the bus terminal, including some direct non-stop buses, to Muara. Not all Muara buses go to the Serasa Ferry Terminal so check before boarding. Take bus #39 to Pekan Mura and then get ticket stamped and board bus 33 that will take you to Serasa Ferry Terminal.
View from above Bandar Seri Begawan.

By boat[edit]

  • To/from Temburong: Speedboats leave regularly for Bangar in Temburong District from the jetty near the foodstalls at Jalan Residency just over the bridge across Sungai Kianggeh to the east of the city centre.
  • To/from Labuan Boats to Labuan leave from the Serasa Ferry Terminal in Muara. With a change of boats in Labuan, you can even make it to/from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, in a day.

Boats to any other destinations in Sarawak and Sabah were discontinued. You need to change boats in Labuan to reach these destinations.

Please note that the ferry terminal is quite a distance from actual Muara town where the container port is located. The terminal is about 25km from Bandar Seri Begawan.

Getting there/away: Purple buses leave for the ferry terminal from the Bandar Seri Begawan bus terminal in Jalan Cator. Please note that not all Muara buses go to Serasa.

The main ferry terminal in Brunei is the Serasa Ferry Terminal at Muara, where there are several ferries daily to/from Labuan and one daily ferry each to/from Lawas and Sundar, both in Sarawak.

Get around[edit]

Water Taxi[edit]

You can hail a few water taxis at almost any dock but the most popular place to find one is at a stand behind the Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah mall or at the canal market. They are great fun to ride in. A short ride costs B$1 (e.g. from Yayasan across the river to the water village).

By bus[edit]

Public buses are the cheapest way to travel in the city even though they do not operate at frequent intervals (usually 20-minute intervals) and end service quite early (at about 6 pm). All of them begin and end service at the bus terminal at Jalan Cator. They cost $1 regardless of distance and stop anywhere along the route to drop or pick up passengers (so if you want to stop, just indicate it to the conductor on the bus, and the same thing if you want to get on). The buses are actually in the form of purple-colored large vans which can seat about 20 people at the most, and are generally clean and comfortable to ride. Main bus routes include bus service 01 (Circle Line) and 20 (Business Centres Line). The detailed routes of the bus services are written on a board placed on the front window of the buses and are also drawn on the information board at the Jalan Cator terminal.

By tour van[edit]

Try asking the counter tickets for a tour van to drive you around Brunei and bring you to the places. Discuss the price first before you agree to board the van.

See[edit][add listing]

BSB at Twilight

Don't expect to find much tasteful and stunning architecture like you would normally find in Southeast Asia. Here, most of the buildings are just plain and box-shaped. However, an interesting twist to the billboards around here, is that the "Jawi" (Arabicized Malay writing) are prevalent among them. Sometimes, foreign names are translated literally, e.g. "Pizza Hut" to "Pondok Pizza".

  • Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque is open to visitors when it is not being used for prayers. The Mosque is very welcoming and you will be given a robe upon entry. Remove your shoes before entering and be respectfully quiet inside as there may be some people there meditating and praying. Consider visiting other mosques too. The mosque is visible from around the centre of the city, but the entrance is located on Jalan McArthur, just south of Jalan Elizabeth Dua. Visiting hours for non-Muslims: Sat-Wed: 08:00-12:00, 13:30-15:00, 16:30-17:30; Thurs: closed all day; Fri: 16:30-17:30; any religious activities: closed. (As of Dec 2015.)
  • Jame' Asri Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah is another mosque, that resembles Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque. Whereas Omar Ali Saifuddin mosque is built to commemorate Sultan Omar, this mosque is to commemorate the current reigning Sultan.
  • Kampong Ayer (the water village). Best visited by taxi boat. It's a beautiful sight to see hundreds of houses seemingly floating on water. The water village people are very friendly and many open up their homes to visitors year-round. Water taxis can be found by walking along the Brunei river or the main market in Bandar Seri Begawan and waving one down. Try to negotiate the price down. You shouldn't pay more than B$30 for an hour-long tour (B$15 for half an hour) of Kampong Ayer. Even though the water taxis are not wheelchair-friendly, their drivers are very willing to lend a hand and even team up and carry a person in a wheelchair on board; ask for a larger boat though. If you'd rather not pay for a water-taxi tour, consider wandering around the villages yourself. You can start from behind the Sultan's Mosque or from the other side in towns like Batu Satu. There is a small, free, water village museum across the river from the town centre. A boat ride there will cost B$1
  • Royal Regalia Museum (Bangunan Alat Kebesaran Diraja) near the city center displays the royal accessories utilized during the coronation, and gifts received by the Sultan from all dignitaries around the world, and civilians alike. Definitely worth checking out. If you don't have time to visit both, and need to choose between this museum or "Brunei Museum" at Kota Batu, choose this one. The entrance is on Jalan Sultan, next to the Brunei History Centre, between Jalan Stoney and Jalan James Pearce. Hours: Sun-Thurs, 09:00-17:00; Fri, 09:00-11:30, 14:30-17:00; Sat, 09:45-17:00. Free entrance. (As of Dec 2015)
  • Istana Nurul Iman is the residential palace of the Sultan. The palace is only open on the first 3 days of Hari Raya, immediately after Ramadan, when you will be treated to a banquet and a fleeting audience with the Sultan. Otherwise it is closed, yet the huge size of the palace attracts tourists to snap picture in front of the gate. The palace is however, hidden behind the landscapes, so a better picture can be seen in flyers or souvenirs that feature it.
  • Brunei Museum on the Kota Batu road has an excellent display in the Islamic Art Gallery. It is highly recommended.

After visiting the Brunei Museum, walk along the road toward BSB to visit two tombs: the first is the Tomb of Sharif Ali, the third sultan of Brunei. The green sign by the road is written entirely in Arabic lettering. Further down the road is the Tomb of Sultan Bolkiah, the fifth sultan of Brunei. Both tombs are in easy walking distance from the Museum.

  • Malay Technology Museum, (Walk a short distance down from the brunei museum). This place has many exhibits featuring the different style of houses and lifestyle of those who live on the water village. Free.  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • The Mall. Probably the best place to shop. Located in Gadong, it is also combined with the Rizqun Hotel.
  • Yayasan, [3]. Built by the sultan to support the welfare of the people. Located in central Bandar.  edit
  • Arts and Handicraft Center (Pusat Kesenian dan Pertukangan Tangan Brunei). Overlooking the waterfront on Jln Residency, it offers various exhibit halls organized by types of handicraft (e.g. silversmith, wood work, etc). It is an official outlet organized by the government, but the selection is rather limited, quality is average, and tend to be on the more expensive side.

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Aminah Arif Restaurant. One of a few local restaurants that features the Bruneian delicacy ambuyat and a pretty good range of other food too.
  • RMS Portview, opposite the Yayasan Shopping Center. The terrace offers a great view overlooking Kampong Ayer, great for cooling down after sightseeing.
  • Gerai Makan, on the waterfront in the southeastern corner of the city, just across a bridge. Here there are a number of outdoor restaurants serving cheap and tasty fare. It's a great place to relax and soak in the local atmosphere. Great views of stilt villages and water taxis speeding back and forth.
  • PGS Cafe, near the Palm Garden at Kiulap. Charges buffet dining at B$ 6 per head in a pleasant air-conditioned restaurant, it's a steal.
  • Tarindak Restaurant, overlooking the waterfront and located at the first two floors of the Arts and Handicraft Center, Tarindak Restaurant offers a wide variety of local buffet, including Brunei, Malaysian, and Indonesian food/drinks. It is a very good choice to sample different local cuisines without stuffing yourself.
  • Tamu Selera, located across the street from the Terrace Hotel and by the St. Andrews Church, it is one of the most bustling night spots for local food stands/shops. It is open until 11pm, a rare handout spot where you can see the locals and taste a wide variety of fresh seafood, curries, local cuisines, young coconut, etc.

There are plenty of small local Kedai Kopi (coffee shops) in town that sell simple, cheap and tasty food and are frequented by locals.

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • Tagz Lounge, Sheraton Utama Hotel. The closest you can get to a bar in an alcohol-free country, here you can bring your own booze and buy the mixers. Access theoretically only for hotel guests, but getting in is rarely a problem.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Houses in Bandar Seri Begawan.

Most hotels in Brunei are in the middle to higher price range.


Next to the water village museum

  • Pusat Belia (on Jalan Sungai Kianggeh) is Brunei's only youth hostel, designed more for school groups than for backpackers. Dorm beds are B$10/night, making it the cheapest sleep in town. There's also a swimming pool. Male and female sleeping quarters are separated, so this can be an inconvenience for couples. The location, however, is quite convenient as it is close to downtown BSB. It is best to arrange a bed in advance. Tel: 222-2900; 876-5515. Email:
  • APEK Utama Hotel is another budget option at B30/night. On the Kota Batu road towards the Brunei Museum. Cozy and a great deal. The only disadvantage is that it's 2km from downtown BSB, but Bus 39 (B$1) or water taxis (B$1-2) can solve this problem. Tel: 222-0808.
  • KH Soon Resthouse, 140 Jalan Pemancha (near bus station, across the Brunei Hotel), tel. 222-2052, [4]. Its major advantage is its excellent location, right downtown near the bus terminal, with an ATM on the corner and an Internet cafe in the adjacent alley. The staff are friendly and helpful, the rooms are spacious but somewhat Spartan. An air-conditioned single room with attached bathroom (HW) is B$39/night (As of Dec 2015.); B$33 without bathroom. Shared toilets are only squat toilets while the attached bathrooms are Western. 24 hour reception and good security.
  • Jeruton Hotel. Convenient only for the Jerudong area but excellent value at B$40 per room with a/c and restaurant. Car or taxi essential.


  • Brunei Hotel, (673) 224 2372, [5]. Located along Jalan Pemancha, a 15-minute drive from the international airport. Rooms are air-conditioned and equipped with satellite TV, a mini-bar, IDD telephone, and Internet access. 95, Jalan Pemancha, Bandar Seri Begawan BS8670, Brunei Darussalam. From B$125.  edit
  • Le Gallery Suites Hotel, In the Seri Comlex, 673 222 1228, [6]. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. A boutique hotel located in the heart of the Seri Complex. Offers friendly and artistic ambience with resonable rates. from B$58.  edit
  • The Holiday Lodge Hotel, Lot: 27192, Kg Jerudong, Jalan Pulau Kubu P.O.Box 555, Sengkurong Negara Brunei Darussalam, 673 - 2611618, [7]. The Holiday Lodge Hotel, in restful tones of terra cotta and cream with deep green trim, features a two-storey foyer where guests are greeted with traditional hospitality. Well-known for warm and friendly service, located near Jerudong Park, on the coastline of the South China Sea, and roughly equidistant from Brunei International Airport and Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam's Capital, The Holiday Lodge Hotel offers a relaxing environment and proximity to the country's attraction: Jerudong Park Playground. Jerudong Park Playground is a mere 5 minutes' walk or a complimentary shuttle from The Holiday Lodge Hotel. .  edit
  • Orchid Garden Hotel, Lot 31954, Simpang 9, Kg. Anggerek Desa, Jalan Berakas BB3713, (02) 335544, [8]. Four star hotel. Best rates on official website start at B$ 150″.  edit
  • Capital Residence Suites, Simpang 2, Bandar Seri Begawan BS8211, Brunei, (02) 22 0067, [9]. Located about 15 minutes walk from the waterfront on a quiet residential street, this hotel offers comfortable mid-price air-conditioned rooms. It offers simple complimentary breakfast and shuttle services between the airport and hotel, as well as to major tourist spots. The staff is very friendly and helpful.  edit


  • The Empire Hotel and Country Club, [10]. Asia's Ultimate Family, Beach and Spa resort that overlooks the South China Sea. A 5-star property that is itself one of Brunei's tourist attractions. from US$150.  edit
  • Radisson Hotel Brunei Darussalam, Jalan Tasek Bandar Seri Begawan BS8211 Brunei, (673) 2244272 (fax: (673) 2221579), [11]. checkin: 3 PM; checkout: 12 noon. Walking distance to several tourist attractions in the city Rates start at $162.  edit
  • Grand City Hotel, Tel: 2452188. A useful hotel near the airport. Will arrange transport even for a short rest of a few hours.
  • Traders Inn Blk. d, lot 11620, Jalan Gadong. Coffee Lounge offers various Asian and western cuisine as well as coffee and treats. Free Wi-Fi is available in every room. Make sure to book at appointment at the Foot Reflexology Center after a long day of sightseeing.

Stay Safe[edit]

Brunei is a very safe place to visit. Crime does occur, but is much less common than in many other Asian destinations. Locals are very helpful and will usually assist you if you ask for help. If you do get in trouble, the police can be bureaucratic and inefficient - only call them if you can't resolve the situation yourself.


Embassies and High Commissions[edit]

  • Ca-flag.png Canada, 5F, Jalan McArthur Bldg No. 1, Jalan McArthur, +673 222 0043 (, fax: +673 222 0040), [12]. M-Th 8:30AM-noon and 1PM-5:30PM, F 8:30AM-2PM.  edit
  • Ch-flag.png China, NO.1,3,5 Simpang 462, Campong Sungai Hanching, Jalan Muara, +673 2 334163 (, fax: +673 2 335710), [13].  edit
  • Ja-flag.png Japan, 33, Simpang 122, Kampong Kiulap, +673 222-9265 (, fax: +673 222-9481), [14]. M-F 8:30AM-noon, 1PM-5PM.  edit

Get Out[edit]

This article is an outline and needs more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. Please plunge forward and help it grow!