Living in Brunei As An Expats in 2021 – that will be the topic of today’s article.
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How does it feel to live in a small nation? Have you ever thought of that and probably want to experience one? Brunei Darussalam is a relatively small nation located on the northern shore of the island of Borneo. Most of the people living in this country practice Islamic large with Sharia laws.
The weather in this country is hot, humid, and at times rainy. Besides, the average temperature is 21°C and an average rainfall of almost 2.9 meters annually during their two monsoon seasons. With rain in Brunei brings unspoiled natural rain forests with an abundance of untamed wilderness couple with some beautiful iconic, white sandy beaches, it’s always a wonderful place to explore
Now, you would want to ask yourself that, what does it feel to live in a small country? If this is you, worry less. Nearly 40 percent of Brunei’s population consists of expat who resides in the country mainly on account of tax-free income and attractive employment packages.
Expats from North America and Western Europe will also find that the cost of living in Brunei is relatively low compared to other countries. Meanwhile, living in this country could bring a cultural shock. As said earlier, it is an Islamic country with strict rules and regulations. This way, foreigners are expected to respect and abide by the country’s local standards.
Have you been surfing the internet to get the right information about living in Brunei? Or do you want to get your visa but feel the need to know more about this country? Look no further, as we’ve got you covered. In this article, we have compiled the best places to reside in Brunei and many other things.
Top 10 Things to Do in Brunei in 2021
Brunei is considered to be a safe place for expatriates, as there are strict regulations. Drugs, laws, and alcohol are prohibited in this country. Not only is that, but the healthcare system is second to none. In this section, we will walk you through the top ten things to do in Brunei as an expat. Without further ado, take a look at it below.
1. Visiting a Central Mosque
Of course, there are many mosques you’ll see in this country. Having been a devoutly Islamic country, Brunei has a number of picture-perfect mosques. Two especially spectacular ones are the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque and the Jame Asr Hassanal Bolkiah Mosque.
The interior designs of these mosques are lavish, with the floor and walls made from the highest grade of Italian marble. In general, the mosque ripples with life, especially in the evenings, when people visit it for evening prayers or to eat and shop around.
2. Get a Glimpse of Life in a Water Village
Getting a taste of life in a water village is one thing you need to put into consideration. Kampong Ayer is known as the world’s biggest water village and is located on the outskirts of Bandar Seri Begawan. More so, it has been in existence for centuries, weathering the inconstancy of nature and time
However, this life in a water village stands as a significant landmark of Brunei and also serves as a trade center. You can as well explore the Bruner River, located in the middle of the city. Aside from this fact, there are also government officers and people working in the public sector.
3. Visiting the Royal Regalia Museum
Located on the outskirts of the downtown area, this wonderful museum places a lot to know about the country. It mostly exhibits gifts that the Sultans have received from the different heads of state of the world.
This museum also houses things that have been used in important events such as coronation ceremonies. Not only is that, but it has replicas of the Sultan’s throne, crowns, gowns, and even weapons. Therefore, a visit to Royal Regalia Museum will give you an idea of the absolute monarchy that rules the country.
4. Exploring Boat Ride to Banger
One of the fun things you’d ever enjoy doing in this country is to take an exciting boat trip from the capital city of Bandar Seri Begawan to the city of a banger. Often, this is done via speedboat, which weaves through many meandering rivers, and the feeling you get is similar to that of a rollercoaster.
In addition, the banger is a small, sleepy town and the capital of the Temburong district. Besides, it serves as the gateway to the Batu Apoi forest reserve and the Ulu temburong national park. But, always have it in mind that the best time to explore a boat ride in this city is from December to February.
5. Have a Wonderful Feast at Tamu Selera
Tamu Selera in Brunei literally means Appetite Park and is a popular nighttime food stall area where expats can try different cuisine and a variety of foods at affordable rates. This place is an open area that offers Malaysian and Indonesian dishes that you’ll undoubtedly enjoy.
Locals in this place operate the stalls, and expats may face a bit of a language barrier here. Besides, it would be a good idea to bring a native friend along while visiting this attraction. Some of the popular dishes you can explore here include; fried chicken, and noodles, satay, and many others, to mention a few.
6. Visiting Empire Hotel & Country Club
Another place to explore in this small nation is to stay or take a wonderful picture at the empire hotel and country club. This place is a vast property with several wings, a number of restaurants, and a spectacular lagoon pool, which offers stunning views of the South China Sea. So, if you want to take a picture and enjoy the cool weather of Brunei’s outdoor activities, this is the right place to go.
7. Joining a Barbeque in Brunei
Joining a Barbeque is a popular way to cook in this country, and there are a number of public barbeques scattered along the beaches. If you’ve not done something like this in Brunei, you’d never know how sweet the country is. Besides, two of the most popular places for a barbeque are Maura Beach and Berakas Beach, where you can barbeque some delicious food and also engage in a game of soccer or Frisbee.
Those who would like a taste of barbequed food but don’t want to cook it themselves can also head to Gadong night market, where they can find fresh, inexpensive barbequed chicken or fish. Also, if you prefer something else, you can easily get them around. Meanwhile, this is an excellent opportunity to enjoy a meal in the outdoor cabana while taking in the stunning sunset.
8. Opportunity to Walk in the Wild
As research made it known, over 80 percent of Brunei is still an unspoiled jungle, lush and humid. In this case, a walk through the virgin jungle will feel like a walk back in time. Aside from this fact, there are also some beautiful waterfalls to explore. So, if you’re unsure about walking through the thick humid jungle, you can definitely go walking at Tasek Lama and Bukit Shabandar.
Moreover, the Tasek Lama is popular among locals, and many expats go there to get their morning exercise. Not only is that, but it is also a family-friendly park as there are a number of playgrounds throughout the park. But Bukit Shabandar is a hill with several walking trails that get people’s attention.
9. Exploring Kampong Ayer
One of the most exciting things to do in Brunei is to rent a boat from the harbor to motor through the world’s largest water village with 30,000 people and the mangrove area around it to enjoy our stay. If you want to experience this place better, you can visit kampong Ayer at night to get a different view.
10. Exploring Ulu Temburong at Night
As opposed to the rest of Borneo, where logging and palm oil plantations are the sources of much concern from environmental agencies and the public as a whole, Brunei’s jungle is virgin, and this place is known as one of the most visited places in the country.
Best Places to Resides in Brunei as an Expat
Undoubtedly, Brunei has some of the world’s best travel destinations and cities in the world. The independent Islamic sultanate is well known for its various beaches and the dense rainforests of Borneo Island. In this section, we have compiled some of the best places to live in Brunei. Without further ado, check it out now.
Bandar Seri Begawan
This is known as one of the most developed cities in Brunei. In a nutshell, it is the capital and the largest city with a vibrant cultural place known for its golden-domed mosques along the lagoon. Some of the things to do in Bandar Seri Begawan include the following.
- Fall in love with the architecture of Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque because of its luxurious settings
- Visit Istana Amal, which is the royal residence of the Sultan of Brunei
- Taste the authentic cheap yet delicious street food in the Gadong night Market
- Learn more about the royal life in the Royal Regalia Museum while watching the chariots and many ceremonial functions.
- Shop different works of art, including the vegetables, snacks, and other food in the zippy Kianggeh market of the town
This is known as the park city of Brunei, with several urban settlements. Not only is that, but it is famous for its free amusement park, which seems to be the largest in Southeast Asia. Without further ado, below are the things to do in Jerudong.
- Expats will enjoy a large number of thrilling rides in Jerudong Park, featuring playgrounds, gardens, and a free amusement park
- You can cool down yourself while enjoying the watery rides in this beautiful park
- Expatriates can also locate the Jerudong Park Musical Fountain, a recreational center where you can enjoy beautiful monuments and the Brunei tradition.
- You can go shopping and dining in the beachside shops and restaurants in the vicinity
Gadong is the commercial center of Brunei, and it is also famous for having one of the best shopping centers in the country. The best time to visit this country is from January till May during the nighttime. Some of the things to do in this city include the following.
- You can take a boat ride in the river to get a different perspective of the whole city
- Expatriates can quickly get treated with the melodious Bruneian food in various restaurants available in the street
- You can also roam across the city’s traditional streets where you can see famous mosques in the country
- Always have it in mind that you can take a taxi to reach anywhere you’re going while having an endless shopping experience
This city is known to have some unique historic settlements near the city of Bandar Seri Begawan that literally means water village. If you’d love to see where the best schools in Brunei are located, this is the right place. Meanwhile, check below some of the things you need to do in Kampong Ayer.
- Take more adorable photographs to create beautiful memories
- You can meander through the narrow streets and look at thousands of tiny houses in the country
- Opportunity to take a speedboat ride in order to explore the village better
- Here, you can also get used to the locals and see them fishing through the Verandah of their house. We can tell you that the best time to visit this country is during the months of January, February, and march
This is another place to take into consideration. It is a large lake in Brunei Park but also part of the forest reserve in the country. If you want to experience a touch of tropical sunrise from the Luagan, this is the best place. Without much talk, below are some of the things to do in this area.
- You’ll have the opportunity to feel the tranquillity of craved peace and serenity of the lovely region
- You can end your trip after admiring the mesmerizing sunrise and sunset views from the lake.
- You can also take photographs of the mirror clear waters of the lake with an alluring background
- Expatriates can also go for a picnic around the lake, spot a number of birds, and meditate in the undisturbed environment
Muara is also known as the top beach destination in the country. It is a busy port city in the northeasternmost part of Brunei Muara district known for incredible Islamic architecture and long beaches. Again, we have compiled some of the things to do in this small city. Without further ado, take a look at it.
- Opportunity to stroll over the vast Maura beach, a vast white sandy common for kids and adults
- You can learn about and visualize the protected area of Pelumpong Spit
- Expats can also enjoy different outdoor activities including snorkeling, and scuba diving in the Pelong Rocks, which is a cozy island near the town
Cost of Living in Brunei as of 2021
As we all know that Brunei is a country located in South-Eastern Asia, it is bordered by Malaysia. This country covers an area of 5,770 square kilometers, and it has a population of about 400,000 residents. The currency is Brunei, while the official language is Malay. Below is a detailed description of the cost of living in this country.
|Cost of living in Brunei (2021)||One person||Family of four|
|Total cost of living with rent||$1,500||$3,000|
|Total cost without rent||$597||$1,700|
|Rent and Utilities||$900||$1,500|
|Foods and drinks in Brunei||$350||$1,480|
|Monthly salary after tax||$1,800||$2,500|
|GDP per capital in Brunei||$18,600||$28,500|
As of the time of writing this article, the cost of living in Brunei is relatively low ($1200, maximum), which is 1.2 times more expensive than the world average. In addition, this country has been ranked 50th out of 197 countries in the world by the cost of living and the 68th best country to live in.
Ultimate Guides to Apply For Brunei Visa and Its Requirements
Applying for a Brunei visa is relatively straightforward if you follow the due process. At first, you need to find the nearest embassy or consulate of Brunei. To understand the details, and the guide to follow, take a look at the list below.
- Ensure you contact the embassy to make an appointment regarding your visa to the country
- Complete the Brunei Visa application form at the website of the Brunei Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Collect the required documents for the Brunei visa application and
- Submit your application
Furthermore, you need to know that the processing time takes about three working days for your visa to be processed from when you submit your completed application. In addition, you can apply for a Brunei visa in any of the following methods listed below.
- You can apply at the nearest embassy or consulate of Brunei
- You can apply for a Brunei visa on arrival if you’re eligible for the Visa On Arrival program
- Expats can apply for visas when their sponsor applies on their behalf at the Department of Immigration and National Registration
Frequently Asked Questions about Living in Brunei
What are the dos and don’ts of living in Brunei?
Well, since this is an Islamic nation, there are many things you need to be wary of. Moreover, Bruneians greet each other by lightly touching hands and then bringing the hand to the chest. If you’re planning to travel to Brunei, these are some of the things you should know. Also, some people do not shake hands with members of the opposite sex, and you should not point with your forefinger; instead, use your thumb.
Can I smoke in Brunei?
Just like we’ve said earlier, this country has certain rules, and they operate with Islamic Sharia laws. With that being said, you should know that smoking is prohibited in virtually all enclosed public places and workplaces in the country. Not only is that, but smoking is also prohibited on all means of public transportation in Brunei.
Is everyone in the country rich?
Of course, we can tell you that Brunei is a rich country, also considered one of the richest in Asia. According to the article published by Global Finance Magazine, the country has been known as one of the wealthiest countries for multiple decades due to its abundant oil and gas reserves.
How does Brunei make money?
Since Brunei dependent on oil and gas is about 90 percent, we can disclose by saying its main source of income is crude oil. However, the country has a mixture of foreign and domestic entrepreneurship, government regulation, village tradition, welfare measures, and many others to mention a few.
Is it easy to get a job in Brunei?
Job hunting in Brunei is relatively low as people get jobs easily. And this is one of the reasons why you’ll see a lot of expats relocating to the country. Given the nature of the economy, it is very likely that expat will land a good-paying job in a couple of weeks after traveling to this country with notable skill. And thanks to the country’s preference for English as a business language, you’re unlikely to encounter any language barrier.
Is there a poverty rate in Brunei?
Well, as of the time of writing this article, we can tell you that the data on poverty in Brunei is scarce. Meanwhile, results show that about 5 percent of the country’s population lives in poverty. Nevertheless, we also have another phase of poverty named the poverty of freedom and opportunity in Brunei.
Is Brunei a good country to work?
To answer your question, yes Brunei is a good country to work. On the flip side, high-quality state-funded healthcare and education also contribute to Brunei having one of the world’s highest living standards. So, if you’re opportune to have the Brunei work permit, you should be joyful and happy.
Brunei is a small country, but the locals and most expats are satisfied with what it offers. Bruneians pay no tax, and there are many benefits attached to living in this country as an expat. The cost of living to expects and the average prices of goods and services have been listed above. So, what are you waiting for? Get your visa now to begin the process.