Country Overview :
Brunei is a small coastal
state just 443km (277 miles) north of the equator in the
northwest corner of Borneo, bounded on all
landward sides by Sarawak (Malaysia), which splits Brunei
into two parts. The landscape is mainly equatorial jungle cut by
rivers. It is a heavily forested state, and most human activity is
restricted mainly either to coastal areas or estuaries. There are
beaches with facilities at Kuala Belait, Lumut Beach near
Tutong and at Muara. Tourist sights in Bandar Seri Begawan, the
capital, include the minaret crowning the golden-domed Sultan Omar Ali
Saifuddin Mosque and the Churchill Memorial, incorporating the
Churchill Museum and Aquarium. Outside the capital, it is possible to
travel upriver to visit village settlements, such as the Kampong Parit
Resort. Kampong Ayer, a water village, is reputed to be the largest
collection of stilt habitations in the world. Local food is similar to
Malay cuisine with fresh fish and rice and is often quite spicy.
Alcohol is prohibited.
5765 sq km (2226 sq miles).
Brunei is a small coastal state just 443km (277
miles) north of the equator in the northwest corner of
Borneo, bordered on all landward sides by Sarawak (Malaysia),
which splits Brunei into two parts. The landscape is mainly equatorial
jungle cut by rivers. Most settlements are situated at estuaries. The
state is made up of four districts: Brunei-Muara (the capital
district), Tutong and Belait (Brunei’s centre of oil and gas
exploitation, in the west of the country); and Temburong, the eastern
district, which has large areas of virgin rainforest. The islands in
Brunei Bay fall within the Brunei-Muara or Temburong districts.
Bandar Seri Begawan. Population: 50,000
(official estimate 1995).
Traditional Islamic monarchy. Gained
independence from the UK in 1959. Head of State and Government :
Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah since 1967.
Malay is the official language. English is
widely used and Chinese dialects are also spoken.
Most of the Malay population are Sunni Muslims.
There are also significant Buddhist, Confucian, Daoist and Christian
GMT + 8.
220/240 volts AC, 50Hz. Plugs are either round
or square three-pin.
338,000 (official estimate 2000).,
Population Density :
58.6 per sq km.
Full IDD is available. Country code: 673.
Outgoing international code: 00. Public telephones are available in
most post office branches and main shopping areas and there is a
private internal service. There are both coin and card operated public
telephones in Brunei. Telephone cards can be obtained at post offices
or at the Telecom office.
Mobile telephone :
GSM 900 network. Main
operators include DST Communications Sdn Bhd (website :
is good coverage around main cities and business areas, particularly
in the northwest.
ISPs include BruNet (website
http://www.brunet.bn). A wireless
network supporting ISDN lines is being launched, initially in the
Facilities are available from the government
telecommunications office in Bandar Seri Begawan.
Airmail letters to Europe take 2 to 5 days. Registered, recorded and
express postal services (‘Speedpost’) are all available. Post office
opening hours: Mon-Thurs 0745-1630.
The only independent English-language newspaper is the daily Borneo
Bulletin. News Express is also published daily. The Government
publishes a Daily News Digest and a fortnightly Brunei Darussalam
Newsletter, both in English.
BBC World Service (website
and Voice of America (website :
can be received. From time to time the frequencies change and the most
up-to-date can be found online.