Brunei Travel Tips
Understanding and respecting the locals’ customs is one of the best learning experiences when you travel. The same is true when you visit the tiny sultanate of Brunei. While generally the people of Brunei are regarded as friendly and welcoming, there are a number of local customs and Islamic traditions that you could learn to complement your traveling experience. Sunshine Borneo Tours and Travel is pleased to share these tips with you:
- Dress modestly. Comfortable but non-revealing clothing for warm weather are acceptable except when visiting mosques or attending official functions.
- Remove shoes when visiting local’s house and mosque.
- During mosque visits, do please wear non-revealing clothing or long trousers that cover the knees. 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.
- Bruneians are familiar with the western hand shake. But where possible,shake hands or ‘salam’ with the locals by lightly clasping their hands, then bring your hand to your chest. This symbolizes ‘I greet you from my heart’. Do take note that shaking hands with members of the opposite sex is not recommended.
- Gifts, especially food should only be passed with the right hand. 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. If you turn down anything offered, it is polite to smile and say no, thank you then touch the plate lightly with the right hand.
- When pointing something, do not use your index finger because this is considered rude. Instead, use the thumb of your right hand with the four fingers folded beneath it.
- When observing the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan, Muslims do not consume food from sunrise to sundown. While it’s alright to eat and drink, it is advisable that you do not consume anything in their presence as sign of respect.
- Alcohol is not sold in Brunei in light of the Muslim majority. While private consumption by non-Muslims is allowed, tourist are allowed a generous duty-free allowance of 2 bottles of alcohol (wine, spirits, etc) and 12 cans of beer per entry. Consuming alcohol with sensible discretion in hotels and some restaurants is alright.
- Smiling and slightly nodding your head with eye contact with the locals is also a polite way to greet them.
By Willie Ki