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Home >> Travel Guide >> Brunei >> General Info

General Info

currencyCurrency
Local currency is Brunei dollars and cents . Dollar notes are available in denominations of 51, X5, $10, X50, $100, $500, 51000 and $10,000. Coins are in 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 cents denominations. Brunei currency is on par with the Singapore dollar.

Banking Hours
9.00 am to 3.00 pm on Weekdays and 9.00 am to 11.00 am on Saturdays. Most banks handle travellers cheques and currency exchange, and are government approved for these transactions.

Time
Brunei is eight hours ahead of GMT and 16 hours ahead of U.S. Pacific Standard Time.

Common Courtesies
The life of the average Bruneian revolves around his religion, Islam, with certain things being forbidden (haram), certain things tolerated but not encouraged (makruh) and certain things which fall under the embrace of Islam (halal). Pork, the consumption of alcohol, eating meat not slaughtered under Islamic guidance, casual touching, adultery, and coming into contact with the wet nose or hair of a dog are baram. Smoking and eating shellfish are considered makruh. Bruneians shake hands by only lightly touching hands and then bringing the hand back to the chest; it is not customary to shake hands with members of the opposite sex. You should not point your finger, instead use the thumb of your right hand with the four fingers folded beneath it. To call a taxi or attract someone's attention, wave the whole hand with the palm facing down wards. Do not smack the fist of your right hand into your left palm, because it has a different meaning in Brunei to that of Western countries. When visiting a mosque, you should always remove your shoes first and you should not pass in front of a person at prayer or touch the Koran. Women should cover their heads and not have their knees or arms exposed. Gifts and particularly food should only be passed with the right hand, although it is acceptable to use the left hand under the right wrist for support.

Business Hours
Government offices are open from 7.45 am to 12.15 pm and from 1.30 pm to 4.30 pm in the afternoon and are closed on Fridays and Sundays. Private of offices generally work from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm on weekdays and from 8.00 am to 12.00 noon on Saturdays. Most shopping centres are open daily from 10.00 am to 10.00 pm. Shortened office hours operate during the fasting month.

Language
Bahasa Melayu (Malay) is the official language, but English is widely spoken. Mandarin, Chinese dialects and native languages of Borneo are also spoken by segments of the population.

Any small effort to demonstrate your enthusiasm for learning Brunei’s culture will be most appreciated by the Bruneians, who have a deep respect for their centuries-rich Malay culture. While no Bruneian expects a visitor to have mastered the Malay language and most speak at least conversational English, a few useful words and phrases will help make your stay even more enjoyable.

   
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