LIVING IN BRUNEI
1 August 2007
1 LIVING IN BRUNEI .......................................................................................... 4
1.1 Introduction ........................................................................................ 4
2 LIVING IN BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN (BSB) ................................................ 6
2.1 Social Life .......................................................................................... 6
2.2 Shopping .......................................................................................... 13
3 LIVING IN KUALA BELAIT ........................................................................... 20
4 LIVING IN TUTONG ...................................................................................... 25
5 LIVING IN TEMBURONG .............................................................................. 28
6 OUT OF TOWN ............................................................................................. 33
7 GETTING AROUND BSB .............................................................................. 43
7.1 Public Transport ............................................................................... 43
7.2 Use Of Cars During The Orientation Course .................................... 44
7.3 Legal Formalities On The Road ........................................................ 45
7.4 Car Loans And Transfer Of Ownership............................................. 50
7.5 Driving In Brunei ............................................................................... 52
7.6 Road Accidents ................................................................................ 56
7.7 Buying A Car .................................................................................... 57
7.8 Cars In Kuala Belait.......................................................................... 60
7.9 Cars In Tutong ................................................................................. 60
7.10 Cars In Temburong ............................................................................ 61
7.11 General Car Maintenance .................................................................. 62
7.12 Motorcycles ....................................................................................... 64
2 August 2007
8 TELEPHONE SERVICE AND INTERNET ..................................................... 65
9 RADIO AND TELEVISION............................................................................. 68
10 BANKING IN BRUNEI .................................................................................... 69
11 MEDICAL MATTERS ...................................................................................... 69
11.1 Notes For Families With Young Children .................................... 83
11.2 A - Z Health For The Traveller .................................................... 88
12 SECURITY ...................................................................................................... 99
13 INSURANCE ................................................................................................. 100
14 RECRUITING AN AMAH (DOMESTIC SERVANT) ...................................... 101
15 CHURCHES IN BRUNEI DARUSSALAM ..................................................... 107
16 DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS .............................................................................. 108
17 A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO WILDLIFE .................................................... 110
18 AN INTRODUCTORY WORD LIST FOR BRUNEI ........................................ 116
3 August 2007
LIFE IN BRUNEI
1 LIVING IN BRUNEI
It is important for expatriates in Brunei to be conscious of the need for
appropriate behaviour. In the interest of good relations with your colleagues,
neighbours and government officials, it is essential that every effort be made to
behave according to local customs. Some important dos and don'ts are
mentioned below; heeding them will help you to settle happily into your new
Islam is the official religion of the country and is intimately woven into the culture
and life-style of Brunei Malays. Muslims take their religious beliefs and duties
very seriously and expect non-Muslims to respect these beliefs. There is a
government department of religious affairs to check on and prosecute breaches
of Islamic conduct, and there have been a few occasions when expatriates too
have been liable to prosecution in the Islamic Courts. Propagation of other
religions is a serious offence and could result in deportation.
Brunei has a number of beautiful mosques you may wish to visit. When visiting a
mosque you should remove your shoes and avoid walking in front of anyone in
prayer. Women should cover their heads and not have their knees or arms
exposed. You may be given a cloak to wear before you enter the mosque.
Avoid visiting mosques during prayer times especially on Fridays and religious
The traditional dress of Brunei Malay women covers them from the neck to the
ankles. Western dress, particularly casual dress, can often seem immodest to
Muslims and anything revealing should therefore not be worn in public places. It
is advisable not to wear transparent clothes or tops without a bra in public or you
might draw unwanted attention to yourself. At school, women should avoid form-
fitting outfits and see-through fabrics. High necklines, long skirt lengths (no high
slits) and long sleeves are the norm. Some female teachers adopt local dress in
school, which the Bruneians find flattering. Slacks are not permitted. Shorts are
appropriate at the beach but not at shopping centres.
Bruneian men are smartly dressed for school, long trousers, long-sleeved shirt
and tie, or Malay-style collarless shirt, shoes and socks and the same standard is
expected of expatriates. Around town, shorts, ageing T-shirts and flip-flops are
seldom seen apart from on tourists who may not be aware of the appropriate
standards of dress. If you have to visit a government office, dress as you would
Have a look at what your colleagues, both CfBT and locals, wear to work and let
that be your guide.
4 August 2007
Food and Drink
Pork is currently still on sale in Brunei, but is only available in certain
supermarkets. It is forbidden to Muslims by the laws of Islam and you should,
therefore, not offer it to Muslim guests. Any meat consumed by Muslims must be
'halal', i.e. slaughtered according to Islamic rites. There is great sensitivity to any
food thought to contain non-halal elements.
During the fasting month (Ramadan or more commonly known in this part of the
world as Puasa), Muslims do not eat or drink between sunrise and sunset and it
would be considered insensitive to eat or drink in their presence at those times.
At the present time, no alcohol is for sale in Brunei, although non-Muslims may
bring limited quantities into the country for their own consumption (12 cans of
beer and two bottles of wine or spirits, which must be declared to Customs).
Many gestures and behavioural traits, which are considered normal and
acceptable in Europe, are seen as being rude in Brunei society. Beckoning with
the index finger is not done. Avoid beckoning altogether but, if you have to, use
all four fingers with the palm down and wave them towards yourself. Pointing at
people with the index finger will not endear you to anyone; you should use the
thumb while clenching the fist lightly.
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. If you are
eating with your fingers, you should use only the right hand as the left hand is
When you visit a Malay household, you should remove your shoes and leave
them outside the house. If your Muslim friends visit you, make sure your dog (if
you have one) is out of the way. Dogs are considered unclean by Muslims and
any contact with them must be followed by purification rites.
Public displays of affection such as hugging and kissing are seen to be in bad
taste. Quite a number of Muslims will not feel easy about shaking hands with a
member of the opposite sex, so don't do this unless they offer their hand first.
Many situations, which in the West would be thrashed out and solved through
confrontation, must be approached in a more tactful and diplomatic way in
Brunei. Raised voices and gestures conveying anger will not get things done
more speedily or efficiently; rather they will delay and worsen matters.
In relationships between the sexes, Islam enforces strict legislation. If you, as a
non-Muslim, are found in the intimate company of a Muslim of the opposite sex,
that is, for instance, on a lonely stretch of beach rather than in a shopping street,
you could be prosecuted. If you are found committing 'khalwat', i.e. seen in a
compromising situation with a person of the opposite sex, you could be deported.
Forms of Address
There are many forms of address and special titles in Brunei. Malay (Muslim)
Bruneians use the normal Islamic mode: men use their father's name preceded
by their own given name(s) with 'bin' in between, e.g. Abdul Rahman bin Yahya.
5 August 2007
The usual honorific is 'Awang' although this is changed to 'Haji' after the
pilgrimage to Mecca has been completed.
Malay women also use their father's name preceded by their own given name(s)
with 'binti' in between, e.g. Fatimah binti Daud. The honorific for woman is
'Dayang'. A woman who has completed the pilgrimage takes the honorific 'Hajah'
and is addressed simply as 'Hajah'. You have to be more precise however in a
staff room where there may well be quite a few 'Hajah's'. Bruneians related to
the royal family have the title 'Pengiran'. Sons and daughters of Pengirans are
called 'Awangku' and 'Dayangku' respectively. They take on the title 'Pengiran'
when they marry. For teachers, the word 'Cikgu' is often used. The title for a
teacher of Islamic religious studies is 'Ustaz' (fem. Ustazah).
Chinese people usually put the family name first and the given names
afterwards, e.g. Chee Tiam Chin are Mr Chee. The name system for Chinese
women is the same and a married woman is generally known by her husband's
name. Consequently, Lim Sheau Mey becomes Mrs Chee when she marries
Chee Tiam Chin. However, she can hold property in her own name and is then
referred to as Madam Lim Sheau Mey. This form is usual for widows, and a
woman's own name appears on driving licences, identity cards and so on. Some
Chinese people have taken 'Christian' names, e.g. Daniel Kong. You might also
see names that include both customs, e.g. Susan Tan York Cheng. It is common
practice for Chinese people to drop the titles - Mr or Miss - and quite simply use
the surname, Chee, as a form of familiar address. This is quite common in a
staff room. When one is very friendly with a Chinese person, both given names
are used, e.g. Tiam Chin.
Awards are conferred (on expatriates as well as Bruneians) by His Majesty the
Sultan, and many awards carry titles. The most common are 'Dato' and 'Pehin'.
A person with a title may be spoken to with the title alone.
In formal speech and writing, the business of titles and correct address is very
important and quite complicated and, as most people are sensitive on this issue,
you should seek advice as to what the formal title and address is and make sure
you use it correctly.
2 LIVING IN BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN (BSB)
2.1 Social Life
Most expatriates find that they rely more heavily on their own resources for
entertainment than in their own countries. Organised nightlife in Brunei is
minimal and there is little live entertainment, other than in clubs such as the
Royal Brunei Yacht Club and the Panaga Club.
However, there are several well-established clubs and societies, which you can
join, sporting and otherwise. The Alliance Française is located at #29 Spg. 13-
15, Jalan Gadong, Kg Telanai and regularly shows French films.
Organised on a more informal basis are groups who get together because of
their interest in photography, art, pottery, keep fit, bridge, etc. Obviously, to
some extent, it depends who is in Brunei and with what particular interests as to
6 August 2007
what groups form, but if you have a strong interest in any subject which is not
catered for, then it is not too difficult to organise a club of your own.
In a small society there is a tendency to continually meet the same people, be it
at a club, society, or in a private house, which is where quite a lot of
entertainment takes place. Even though newcomers are welcomed by the local
and expatriate community, it is important to remember that it may take time to
find your own slot in Brunei. Generally speaking, after the initial three months
here, the main difficulty can be choosing which parties/functions, etc., not to go
to, as the social life builds throughout the year.
Below are details of some activities available in Brunei:
Brunei Music Society (BMS)
Concerts are usually performed every month or so, sponsored by embassies,
banks and CfBT in Brunei. The society makes an effort to cater for all tastes
from opera to classical guitar. Membership is presently $15 annually. Concert
tickets are usually $20 for adults and $7 for students. For any queries please
email the BMS secretary, David Prescott: email@example.com.
Brunei Amateur Dramatic Society (BADS)
BADS, or the Brunei Amateur Dramatic Society, comprises a group of people
who are interested in all aspects of theatre, either as participants (both on and off
stage) or as spectators. The group usually stages three to four productions each
year, from full length plays to play readings to dinner theatre to theme nights.
Membership costs $10 per year and ensures that you receive information on
upcoming workshops and productions. Lifetime membership is available for $50.
Membership also entitles you to discount vouchers towards the cost of tickets. At
present the group does not hold regular meetings but, with the strict censorship
rules, the group is not able to advertise productions publicly. Becoming a
member ensures that you will know all that is happening in BADS. Do not feel
your lack of previous experience will be a problem. Past productions include
"Black Comedy", "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (a theatrical musical
performance of an abridged version), Romeo and Juliet (with an Iban flavour to
the costumes and music), "Dimboola" and Under Milkwood". In addition, there
has been a comedy cabaret on the topic of 'families' for a dinner theatre night
and a Murder Mystery Dinner. Both Shakespeare plays were performed in a
stunning outdoor setting. BADS also has frequent visiting performers to Brunei,
including the Liverpool poet Brian Patten, "Loose Cannon", a live performing arts
trio, and "Dufflebag Theatre", a travelling group of actors specialising in audience
participation. For those interested in finding out more about BADS, either as a
performer, backstage crew and/or as an audience, please e-mail
The Serunai Singers practise every Monday at the International School, Berakas,
from 7.30 am to 9.15 pm and are supported by CfBT teachers. They sing choral
music from classical to light popular, practising for public and private musical
7 August 2007
evenings. They give performances about two or three times a year, including the
annual Carol Concert. New members are always welcome. If you are a
soprano, alto, tenor or bass and are interested in joining this group of singers,
please contact CfBT and we will put you in touch with a current member.
St Andrew's Society
The St. Andrew's Society in Bandar Seri Begawan holds several functions
throughout the year. You don't have to be Scottish to apply for membership, just
keen on having a good time and dancing is encouraged. Dancing classes are
held throughout the year at times to suit members. Membership is $10 to join
and a $10 annual subscription. For more information either contact Sue
Ferguson on 2456781 or 8621648 or email Sian Bloxham at firstname.lastname@example.org
Brunei Bridge Association
If you are interested in playing bridge, there are several groups which meet to
play duplicate bridge every week. All the groups are glad to have new members
and you can be sure of a warm welcome! Please contact Frank Ford 2410012,
8866475 for more information.
Brunei's first playground at Jerudong Park, 30 km from BSB along the Coast
Road, opened to the public in July 1994. This multi-million-dollar complex is
designed to cope with 8000 people although it is never usually very busy and is
becoming rundown. The grounds are open from 2.00 pm from Wednesday to
Sunday, though rides do not start until 5.00 pm. Closing time is midnight on
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday, and 2.00 am on Saturday. Please
note that rides stop at prayer times. The best time to go, therefore, is after 8.00
pm. There are also some food outlets next to the car park.
There is an admission charge of $1 or $15 for admission and unlimited rides and.
Car parking is free at the moment. There are also concerts in the big concert hall
in the grounds, where in the past there have been artists such as Blue, Westlife,
B*witched, A1, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Whitney Houston.
There are squash courts at the National Stadium. The three courts at the
Stadium can be booked by anyone. The booking office is also at the Stadium
and is open on Monday mornings from 7.45 am. The cost of a court is $5 per
hour in the mornings and afternoons, and $6 in the evenings. You can also book
for 30-minute periods. The courts are open from 9.00 am to 9.00 pm, but check
this as times do change periodically.
This is a popular sport among locals in Brunei and courts can be booked at the
Youth Centre (Pusat Belia) in the middle of town. Many schools have their own
8 August 2007
indoor courts, and a number of houses have illuminated courts in the back
garden for evening games.
Brunei has a full-size Olympic pool near the National Stadium: $2 for adults, $1
for children, and other pools including one Olympic size at the National Sports
Complex, adjacent to the Stadium. Some afternoons and evenings the pool is
reserved for clubs and societies; you can find out which days the pool is not open
for public use from the notice board at the pool. There is also the Brunei
Swimming Club, No 10, Simpang 406, Kg. Sungai Tilong, Jalan Muara. Tel:
2333031. Swimming lessons are offered by trained and qualified instructors.
(See also Mabohai Sports Centre and the RBA Club)
Swimming in the sea can be hazardous as there have been cases of serious
jellyfish attacks, and sting-ray injuries. It is advisable to wear sandshoes and
stinger suits and check for the incidence of jellyfish before venturing into the sea.
The beaches tend to be covered with flotsam but are great for barbecues,
jogging etc., and the South China Sea is lovely and warm.
Brunei's first bowling alley is in the Seri Complex, near Plaza Athirah, off Jalan
Tutong, and is open from 9.00 am to 10.00 pm. Games cost $5 each and
equipment can be hired. Membership cards are available after an initial
There is a good selection of golf courses with costs varying dramatically. These
include: Pantai Mentiri in Kota Batu, two at Jerudong Park Golf and Country
Club, the Royal Brunei Golf Club near the airport, two at the Empire Hotel and
Country Club, Berakas Army Camp and Panaga Club (Seria).
The Brunei Sub-Aqua Club is a mixed group of BSAC and PADI divers. The dive
boat goes out most weekends. For further information contact: Nigel
email@example.com or Paul firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hashing is basically jogging through natural terrain such as jungle, padi fields, or
anywhere else the trail leads. Based on the old notion of Hare and Hounds,
Hashing is a well-established pastime in Brunei. The Brunei Hash started in
1963 and is the third oldest Hash Club in the world. There are two men's clubs in
BSB, one ladies' club and a mixed club (Hetero Hash). The Hashes run in the
late afternoon on a Tuesday (Ladies' Hash), Wednesday (the two men's
Hashes), and on a Friday (Hetero Hash). The Ladies Hash is the world's oldest
Hash for women. There is also a Children's Hash Club with monthly runs.
9 August 2007
Tutong and Kuala Belait have their own hashes too. The Hash generates quite a
bit of social life.
The National Tennis Centre at the Hassanal Bolkiah Stadium has 12 outdoor
courts, two artificial grass courts and two clay courts. The courts are available
between 7.00 am and 10.00 pm every day, except on Thursdays when it closes
at 5.00 pm and on Fridays between 10.00 pm and 2.00 pm. Rates are between
$4 and $6 per hour depending on the type of courts used.
The Brunei Tennis Club is easy to join and membership can be on a full or
associate member basis. This is situated on Jalan Berakas opposite the Shell
station near the airport roundabout and has nine courts.
Royal Brunei Yacht Club
The Royal Brunei Yacht Club has two clubhouses, one at Serasa Beach and the
other by the river on Jalan Kota Batu. Membership gives you access to both
clubhouses. Membership also gives visiting privileges with other clubs in South
East Asia and elsewhere including the prestigious Singapore Cricket Club and
Hong Kong Yacht Club. You also get reciprocal rights at the Panaga Club in
Seria. There is a joining fee of $50 a refundable deposit of $500 and a monthly
subscription of $70. The RBYC also offers a new membership alternative where
you pay $50 to join and $70 for the monthly subscription. The normal $500
refundable deposit is waived if you decide to take up this membership. The only
difference from the standard membership is that you must buy coupons to pay for
food and beverages. There is also a three-month temporary membership which
is non-renewable, where only the monthly subscription of $70 is payable.
Brunei is a good place to learn how to dinghy sail. The Royal Brunei Yacht Club
at Serasa Beach has races every Sunday afternoon, with occasional team
matches against other clubs in the area. A beginners' course is held every year
and new sailors are always welcome. There is an „Optimist‟ Club for children
from six years of age upwards. It is also possible to go water-skiing. The Serasa
Club has two swimming pools (one for children). The restaurant offers a wide
range of Asian and Western food of good quality and reasonable price has
occasional band nights as well. The Serasa club now has a fairly active social
calendar which includes family days with barbeques and activities. There is a
relatively well-stocked library of mostly novels that members have left behind.
These books can be signed out.
The Kota Batu Club offers al fresco dining on the deck overlooking the river. You
can also eat in their air-conditioned restaurant and an excellent range of home-
cooked food is available. The Kota Batu Club has weekly film nights, regular
quiz nights and occasional band nights.
The Mabohai Club is a sports and social club, situated near the centre of Bandar
Seri Begawan. Facilities include tennis, squash and badminton courts, aerobics,
10 August 2007
a swimming pool, a weights room, a children's play area and a sauna. The
restaurant and poolside snack area offer a wide selection of food and drink.
There are about 300 members, and it costs $100 per month for individual or
family membership. CfBT has a corporate membership which costs $85 per
month deducted from salary. There is an initial payment of $255 (two months'
fees held as a deposit, plus $85 for the first month).
The Club is generally quieter than the other clubs during the day but gets very
busy in the early evenings.
Orchid Garden Hotel Fitness Centre
The OGH Fitness Centre offers a corporate membership to CfBT teachers at
$288 per annum ($476 per couple). This allows access to the gym, swimming
pool, jacuzzi and sauna, as well as the OGH Lounge where you can get
discounts on beverages. In addition, members get a 40 per cent discount on
massage and reflexology and 10 per cent in OGH restaurants. The OGH Lounge
is a popular place to gather and for those not interested in the fitness centre,
membership of the lounge only is $50 per year.
Jerudong Park Medical Centre Gymnasium
Located at the Jerudong Park Medical Centre, this gymnasium is open to the
public. There is a range of memberships available. Some examples include a
membership charge of $90 per month, $420 for six months or $600 for a full year.
This provides full access to the facilities including state of the art fitness
equipment, aerobics and yoga classes, badminton court and 25-metre swimming
pool. Other services include badminton lessons, baby splash swimming classes,
personal training and sports massage. Qualified instructors are available to write
personalised exercise programs. Ten Entry Vouchers can also be purchased for
$80. Opening hours are Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 7
a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more details contact
2611433 Ext. 2238. or log on to www.jpmc.com.bn.
Royal Brunei Airline Sports Club
This club is open to the public and it costs $150 for individual or family
membership. CfBT has negotiated a corporate rate of $100 per month for our
teachers and their families. Facilities include tennis, gym, squash and badminton
courts, swimming pool, an open field and a running track. There is also a
restaurant and bar/snack area.
This modern fitness club opened its doors in 2004 and has become very popular
with both locals and expatriates. There are a range of membership options
available from monthly to annual, including a discount on rates for off peak times.
The current rate for an annual membership with unlimited use of all facilities is
$960. Facilities at this club include; state of the art equipment, aerobics and
yoga classes, personal trainers and training programs, and spa facilities.
11 August 2007
Memberships can be frozen from one week to three months if you plan to be
away. Fitness Zone is located on Level 2 in The Mall, Gadong. A second facility
in Kiulap, with swimming pool opened in August 2007 and has reciprocal
membership privileges. Operating hours in Gadong are Monday to Thursday
from 6 a.m. to 12 a.m. and Friday to Sunday from 7 a.m. to 10.30 p.m. Any
enquiries please call 244 8488/9 or email email@example.com. Their
web address is www.fitnesszone.com.bn.
Empire Hotel and Country Club
A luxurious hotel: have a look at their website www.empire.com.bn. They
currently hold a family 'Sunday Splash' on the last Sunday of the month from
11.00 am to 5.00 pm with activities for children around the lagoon swimming pool
($10.00 per child).
The Empire Country Club has a variety of membership options available. The
joining fee is $1500 for 8 months and a monthly subscription of $100. This gives
you access to the luxurious gym facilities as well as the Empire Hotel outdoor
swimming pools. Membership at the country club gives discounts at the Empire
Jerudong Park Polo Club
CfBT has a corporate discount here. Ask Sophie in the office for details. There
is a restaurant, pool, gym etc.
BCL - British Community Link
In theory, this is a club for British ladies or for ladies of other nationalities married
to someone from the United Kingdom. In reality however, anyone is welcome to
join and it is not necessarily run by someone who is linked to the British
community. They organise a variety of activities from jungle walks to coffee
mornings, cookery demonstrations to aquarobics, and many more activities.
They give talks on a variety of subjects, which have included aromatherapy and
diving in Brunei, and organise events to raise funds for local charities. For more
information email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Brunei currently has two clubs where you can ride: Berakas Saddle Club which is
situated in Berakas Garrison (Tel: 393086), and is open from Monday to
Saturday 7.30 am to 9.30 am. The club is run by the Army, and the majority of
members are service people but there is also a limited number of places
available for civilians. In order to join, you need to visit the club and complete a
membership form, but you may then have to wait approximately six months for a
space. Experienced riders will be given preference over novice riders as the club
currently has a backlog of people waiting for beginner's riding courses.
Membership is $45 a month for both single and family membership. After that,
you pay $5 per ride. The Trijaya Equestrian Centre in Jerudong Park. There are
indoor and outdoor arenas, with professional instructors and well-maintained
12 August 2007
horses. A basic lesson will cost $20 for a 30-minute session and beach riding
costs about $10 per 15-minute session. Call 2611596 for details. Teachers in KB
should email Sue Hemingway (email@example.com) if they would
like to know more about horse riding there.
The Brunei Nature Society
The Brunei Nature Society meets on the second Tuesday of every month at 8.00
pm in the Central Lecture Theatre at Universiti Brunei Darussalam. Membership
is $20 per year for a family/individual. Once a month an outing is organised such
as a walk, bird watching trip, overnight stay in the jungle, that members can join.
Members receive a bi-monthly newsletter, which will inform them of upcoming
events and also provide them with reports on recent presentations and outings.
The easiest way to join is to come to the next presentation (see Bob What‟s On
weekly events update) and take out a membership after the meeting. For further
information contact the Secretary of the Brunei Nature Society at Brunei_Nature
There are several expat football teams, including one run by CfBT teachers
known as 'The Blues'. Watch out for news on notice boards or in Newsletters
about forthcoming matches. Contact Frank Ford 2410012, 8866475.
A national competition is held between March and June and consists of six
teams. Various expats are involved with coaching, management and/or playing
in each team. Touch rugby is also played on the odd occasion before and after
the rugby season. For more information please contact Johannas Hickey on
The Rainforest Gallery, located on the 2nd floor above Ecclesia (former Ethnics)
in Kiulap offer a range of art courses (watercolour, decorative painting, folk art,
sketching, oil painting and mosaic) for adults and children (ages 3 to 12),
designed both for beginners and advanced students. Adults are taught by well-
known local professional artists. Each course is typically 4 to 6 sessions and
prices range from $90 to $270. Call 223 9325 for details.
BSB has a full range of shops from department stores to smaller corner shops.
The Yayasan Complex in the centre of Bandar town, the Centrepoint Complex at
Gadong, the Seri Complex on Jalan Tutong, and Hua Ho at Kampong Kiulap,
opposite the new mosque, are the largest shopping centres. There are also
some department stores in the Sengkurong area including Hua Ho on Jalan
Tutong. There are also some new shopping centres on Jalan Muara in the
Serusop area and also the Hua Ho Department store shopping complex in Kg
13 August 2007
Manggis. The largest is the Mall in the Gadong area which is a shopping
complex comprising of a variety of shops, cafés, restaurants, a food court and
Most things that you may need are available in Brunei in varying degrees of
quality. There are some Western chain shops such as The Body Shop,
Giordano, Charles & Keith, Bata, Guess, British India and Guardian. For both
men and women who wear larger sizes, finding clothing and shoes that fit
properly could be challenging. For women, sanitary napkins and tampons are
readily available at Supa Save and Guardian. A range of cosmetic brands such
as Revlon, Clinique etc. are also available in various department stores.
Kerastase hair products can be found at salons. If you are particular about
certain items or brands, it is best to bring them along with you. Sun Block tends
to be quite expensive and linen sets in Brunei come without top sheets.
The situation in the centre of BSB has improved with the opening of the above
ground and underground car parks at the Yayasan Complex. There is also a
multi-storey car park, as well as kerb-side parking and other smaller car parks.
From 7.30 am to 5.30 pm roadside and municipal car park fees are 30 or 50
cents per half-hour depending on the location. Payment of parking tickets can be
made immediately to the numerous ticket girls, who are easily identifiable by their
blue uniforms and can be found at the wooden booths. If not, payment must be
made at the Car-Park section of the Municipal Board within a week or a fine of $5
per ticket will be imposed. Failing to do this will result in hefty fines at the local
court. The multi-storey also costs 50 cents per half-hour from 7.30 am to 7.30 pm
The Yayasan car park is $1.00 an hour (or part of) and you pay on exit. After
5.00 pm, it is $1.00 per entry. Parking at the Seri Complex and the Kiulap
Shopping area is relatively easy and free of charge. The Mall and the
Centrepoint Complex in Gadong have underground car parks and you pay a flat
rate of $2.00 as you drive in to stay as long as you like. This charge will be
refunded in any of the retail/restaurant outlets in the Complex (provided you
spend $30 and above) on presentation of the payment ticket.
Opening hours do seem to vary a little from organisation to organisation but
below is a short list of some useful times:
Soon Lee department store : 10.00am to 10.30pm
Supa Save supermarkets : 8.00am to 10.00pm
The Mall shopping complex : 10.00am to 10.00pm
Hua Ho department stores : 10.00am to 10.00pm
Yayasan shopping complex : 10.00am to 10.00pm
Electricity/Water Boards : Monday to Saturday 8.00 am to
2.00 pm (for payment)
Town shops : A variety of opening and closing
14 August 2007
hours but generally from about 9.00 am
to about 6.30 pm.
Business hours : Monday – Thursday/Saturday - 7.45 to 4.30 pm
Friday - 7.45 to 10 pm
(for bill payments) Monday – Thursday/Saturday - 8 am to 3 pm
Friday - 8 am to 11 am
- 2 pm to 3 pm
Postage costs are outlined on printed sheets available from the Post Office.
Generally, letters within Brunei cost 20 cents, postcards to other countries 50
cents, aerogramme 45 cents and airmail letters overseas are charged according
Per 10 grams: Singapore and Malaysia 30 cents
Within South East Asia 60 cents
Australia and New Zealand 75 cents
UK and the Middle East 90 cents
USA and Canada $1.20
Sending parcels by airmail can be very expensive but there is a cheaper
alternative called 747 service for parcels to the United Kingdom only. Write '747'
on the top left hand corner and tell the clerk in the Post Office that you wish to
send your parcel by this service before she weighs it. This will reduce the cost of
sending a parcel by over 50 per cent. The mail is sent via this service once a
week on Saturday so you need to ensure your parcel is at the Post Office before
then. It can take longer to reach the UK, so you need to allow at least two weeks
A full list of postal services is available from the Post Office.
Postage charges are much less expensive in Miri and Limbang, Malaysian towns
close to Brunei.
Around the corner from the Post Office in the town centre, in the same building,
is the Telecom Office where international calls can be made. You are also able to
make overseas and local calls from other post offices, but you will need to put
down a deposit of $100 for any overseas call. This facility is also available at the
airport. There are card phones in various locations, i.e. department stores,
supermarkets and shops, and cards can be purchased from any post office and
some department stores.
15 August 2007
c) Parcel Collection
Parcels are collected from the Post Office, Parcel Centre, situated at the Old
Airport Road. The Post Office issues a notification card with 'MPC' stamped on it
and you have to take this card to the Parcel Centre to collect your parcel. The
Mon to Thurs: 8.00 am to11.30 am and 1.30 pm to 3.30 pm
Saturday : 8.00 am to 10.30 am and 1.30 pm to 3.30 pm
You will be expected to open the parcel at the customs section so that they can
vet the contents. Videos may have to go to be censored although they are more
lenient these days. New items such as those from a mail order catalogue may
be subject to 10 per cent customs duty payable at the Post Office. Electrical
items can attract a 20 percent customs duty.
d) Other Services
Some Post Offices offer a range of other services such as renewal of road tax
and driving licences, payment of telephone bills (except Friday), and small
stationery shops. Find out what the Post Office near you can offer.
There are several supermarkets in the BSB area: Supa Save at Mabohai
Complex on Jalan Kebangsaan and on Jalan Gadong behind the Boy Scouts
Headquarters Building. Hua Ho supermarket has branches on Jalan Gadong,
Jalan Tutong, Kampong Kiulap, Jalan Muara, at the Yayasan Complex in town
and in Tutong town.. Jaya hypermarket is in the Centrepoint building and Soon
Lee department store is in the Seri Complex and Jalan Berakas. Hua Ho is one
of the most popular stores and has a reasonable selection. Supa Save has a
good range of European and Australian foodstuffs, but is also rather more
expensive than the other stores. Utama Grand, which is in the Mall usually sells
fresh fish and seafood. It also has a good selection of dried food and a variety of
kitchenware, stationery and toys.
There are several markets in the Bandar area.
a) The fish and meat market (or the wet market) is just off the Lebuhraya
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah (Highway), between the hospital and the Gadong
turnoff. Upstairs in the market are vegetables, fruit and dry goods. On the
ground floor, you will find meat and fish. Meat is slaughtered at dawn so
the earlier you shop, the fresher. Fish is generally brought to the market
during the morning between 9.00 am to 11.00 am and 4.00 pm to 6.00 pm
in the afternoon. Avoid lunchtime/siesta time i.e. from 12.00 am to 4.00
b) The Mulaut Abattoir on Jalan Kilanas Mulaut, run by Royal Brunei Airlines,
sells freshly slaughtered meat (chicken, lamb, beef), corned beef, smoked
tongue, fresh beef and chicken sausages. The Brunei Meat Company
16 August 2007
also sells meat from their abattoir at the Lambak Kanan Industrial Estate,
Jalan Penghubung Berakas.
c) The Tamu or open-air market is across the canal beside Jalan Sungai
Kianggeh. The best time is early in the morning, especially on Fridays or
Sundays, or in the evening when they sell barbecued fish and meat as
well as cooked noodles and rice, etc. Most produce, mainly fruit and
vegetables, is local and prices are excellent.
d) There are a number of fruit and vegetable stalls along Jalan Muara, Jalan
Berakas, Jalan Tutong and Jalan Gadong. While prices are low, do not
expect a wide range of produce as they only cater for Malay and Chinese
Bandar has a reasonable range of shops selling electrical goods. It is worthwhile
shopping around for the best price and warranty conditions. Note that all prices
are negotiable in smaller shops and that the more that is bought in one shop, the
better the discount. There is also a very lively second-hand market for all kinds
of electrical goods, so it is worth keeping an eye on the notice boards at Supa
Save or Hua Ho supermarkets and at the international schools and clubs as well
as on www.bobwhatson.com.
14" TV : $180 - $300 (depending on the brand)
21" TV : $250 - $550 (depending on the brand)
VCR : $200 - $300
DVD player : $88 - $300
Mini Combo music systems : $300+
Washing Machine (Top Loader) : $400+
Washing Machine (Front Loader) : $550+
Hardware - Domestic
Pots, pans, plates, etc., are easy to find in any of the department stores or
Hardware - Tools
The best area for tools is the Gadong shopping area, or Hua Ho Department
stores. There are also one or two shops selling tools in the town centre on Jalan
Sawn timber and plywood are readily available from yards along Jalan Muara,
Jalan Berakas, Jalan Jerudong and Jalan Tutong. They usually deliver if you are
not too far away.
17 August 2007
A second government horticulture centre selling flowering trees/shrubs is located
at Kampong Rimba, just off the Gadong Village road, not too far from the Old
Land Transport offices. There are also Friday and Sunday markets in the car
park of the Meat and Fish market, which sell a wide variety of plants. "Borneo
Landscaping" near Mentiri Golf Course, has a wide selection of plants and
flowers for sale.
Curtain material is available in many of the department stores and is quite
reasonably priced. Phong Ying Trading Company in the Kiulap Complex
(opposite Hot Mart) has a fairly good range and their workmanship is reputed to
be speedy and of a high standard, although a bit expensive. Kamil Hassan near
the Seri Complex Post Office has an extensive range of materials, including
cheap calico at $2.50. Fabrica in the Yayasan Complex and near QAF Plaza in
Beribi, and Apollo in Plaza Athirah, Seri Complex, both have good selections of
material. Glamour in Gadong, opposite Pizza Hut, has a good choice of material
but it is slightly more expensive.
Tailors and Dressmakers
There are plenty of both, but it is worth asking around to discover the current
places in favour of quality, cost and speed. It is always worth avoiding the weeks
prior to festive occasions: Chinese New Year, Hari Raya and Christmas. Yusra
in Gadong and at Yayasan, Hong Textile in Gadong, Kofom at Plaza Athirah and
Kiulap, as well as First Metro at Seri Complex, have a fairly good choice.
Buttons and Lace in the Kiulap Complex have a good variety of cotton and linen
fabrics. Nazmi have several branches, including a large branch at the Delima
Jaya Complex on Jalan Muara.
There are a number of gift shops in the capital selling local artefacts, imported
handicrafts, including furniture and clothes from Malaysia, India and Indonesia,
and pottery and household items from Europe. The following are popular:
Ecclesia (formerly Ethnics): In Kiulap, at the far end of the HSBC block and
another branch at the Home Centre on Jalan Tutong, on the way to Sengkurong.
They sell Balinese furniture and gifts.
Euro Classic Collection: The Centrepoint, Gadong, first floor. They sell pot
pourri, decorative and scented candles, greeting cards and many other gift items.
Knic Knacs: 2nd floor, Plaza Athirah, Seri Complex. A variety of gifts and
Cinnamon: Next to Mohan's Carpet Palace, Abdul Razak Complex, Gadong.
Sells imported furniture, clothes, Balinese artefacts, jewellery and much more.
There is a second location in KB.
Handy Handicrafts: Centrepoint Hotel lobby, The Mall and Yayasan. Hand
crafted souvenirs from Borneo and Selangor pewter.
Woodstock: Near Hua Ho in Kiulap. Sells mainly Balinese and Thai handicrafts
18 August 2007
There are a number of gift shops in the Yayasan Complex selling a variety of
different things including Borneo Handicrafts.
Cheap classical guitars (usually from China) are widely available in department
stores, as are recorders, mouth organs, etc. Pianos, organs and other keyboard
instruments are available from shops in the Teck Guan Plaza and in the building
opposite, as well as in Contessa Music School. Guitar strings and sheet music
are also available in some of these shops. Contessa Music School, at Block B,
Unit 4, Abdul Razak Complex, Gadong, has American guitar strings and Fender
guitars. Guan Hock Lee, A3, Complex Latifuddin, near Liang Toon department
store, sells guitars, amplifiers and speakers. Also try Guan Chuan near the traffic
lights at Hua Ho in Gadong. Starmaker in the Batu Bersurat Complex has a good
range and is good value.
Newspapers, Books and Magazines
There are now two local daily papers in English; the Borneo Bulletin and the
newly established Brunei Times. Both papers cover local, regional and
international news in some depth. The following papers are generally available,
usually one day late, though it is possible to get same day issues of those
New Straits Times*
International Herald Tribune
Asian Wall Street Journal
Newsweek, Time, Asiaweek, the Economist and the Far Eastern Economic
Review are all easily available in BSB, though regular readers of these
publications would be far better off taking out a subscription to them.
Booker International, at Block J, Abdul Razak Complex, Gadong, has a very wide
range of magazines and quite a good selection of books and cards. Bluestone
Bookstore in Gadong and Best Eastern in the Mall also offers a very good
selection of books. In Hua Ho basement at the Yayasan Complex, next to
Guardian Pharmacy, is a small bookshop called Wordzone which sells or rents
books at reasonable prices.
Bookers, Best Eastern and Bluestone in Gadong and Paul and Elizabeth at the
Yayasan Complex have a good choice of children's books. Ickle Books in
Kiarong, a few doors down from the CfBT office has a wide selection of children‟s
books. However, children's books are frequently available second-hand from
leavers. Most people order their children's books through mail order clubs like
Red House Books and the Good Book Guide. Children‟s books can also be
ordered through ISB. Contact the librarian. Most department stores have a wide
selection of toys.
19 August 2007
Plenty of these, too. Currently popular are Kefle or Alan at D'Bliss Salon,
Gadong, Zig Zag also in Gadong, Kenny or Hong at the 'I' Salon at the Kompleks
Haji Tahir 2 in Gadong, and Robert at Macy's, Mabohai. They are all unisex
salons and will do manicures and pedicures for a reasonable price. For men, the
local barbers are very cheap and efficient, $4 to $5 for a haircut, $1 for a shave
and $2 to $3 for a head and shoulder massage.
Bandar is an excellent place for buying computers, both new and second hand.
Complete PC systems sell for between $1,000-$3,000, with the latest software
available at a minimal price. Reliable computer dealers:
Concepts Computer in Gadong.
Comsoft, Abdul Razak Complex (Haji Tahir II Building), Gadong
Unitek in Gadong
Apple Macintosh, Kiulap complex.
3 LIVING IN KUALA BELAIT
Kuala Belait and Seria form the second largest population centre in Brunei and
the heart of Brunei's oil and gas industry. There is a large expatriate community
here mainly based around the oil industry and many people are of Dutch origin.
The branch of Supa Save in Seria sells many food products of Dutch origin to
cater for them. There is also quite a large Chinese community here and many
indigenous people in the more remote kampongs.
Belait District is the largest district in Brunei and the Belait River is Brunei's
longest river. Kuala Belait is the centre of local government administration and is
also a small port catering for small ships from Labuan, Singapore and other parts
Monday to Friday 9.00 am to 3.00 pm
Saturday 9.00 am to 11.00 pm
ATM machines are located at Supa Save in Seria, the Soon Lee Department
Store next to the Sea View Resort hotel in Kuala Belait, and at branches of
HSBC and Standard Chartered banks.
Monday to Thursday and Saturday 7.45 am to 12.15 am
1.30 pm to 4.30 pm
Friday and Sunday Closed
20 August 2007
During Puasa (Fasting month) 8.00 am to 2.00 pm (no lunch break)
Monday to Thursday and Saturday 7.45 am to 12.30 am
2.00 pm to 4.30 pm
Friday 7.45 am to 11.00 pm
2.00 pm to 4.30 pm
Cable and Telegram Office (Government Telecoms Department)
(Located opposite the Post Office on Jalan McKerron)
Monday to Thursday and Saturday 7.45 am to 4.30 pm
Friday, Sunday and holidays 8.00 am to 10.00 am
8.00 am to 2.00 pm
Brunei State Telephone Directories can be obtained from the Telecoms Office.
CfBT Belait Education Centre
(Block A, No.1, Lot 7421, Jalan Jaya Negara, Kg Pandan)
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 8.30 am to 5.00 pm
Tel: 3331586/3337041 Fax: 3332527 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Established in 1996, the Education Centre caters for the needs of CfBT staff in
the Belait District. Its facilities include computers, AVA resources and
photocopiers, as well as ELT materials.
In the downtown area, parking tickets charging 50 cents per half-hour are left
under the windscreen wipers by attendants in blue. You can pay for them on the
spot to an attendant or within the week at the Municipal Building, Jabatan
Lembaga Bandaran, just beside HSBC. If you fail to pay, you will be notified by
post to pay a fine.
Government Electrical Department
Ibu Pejabat (Head Office) is where you pay your electricity bills. The office is
located on Jalan Sungai, on the left as you leave downtown, near Jalan
Kampong China. The sign says "Kementerian Pembangunan", then something
in Arabic script. They fly the Brunei flag.
Monday to Saturday 8.00 am to 2.00 pm
21 August 2007
Opening Hours at the Outpatients Department of the KB Hospital are:
Monday to Thursday and Saturday 8.00 am to 2.00 pm
1.00 pm to 4.00 pm
Friday and Sunday Closed
Take your IC the first time. After hours and weekends, use the Casualty
Department which is swift and efficient.
Hours: A lot of the shops are closed on Tuesday. Some close for half a day or all
day Tuesday or Sunday. Many close for lunch. Most are open before 8.00 am
and close between 5.00 pm and 6.00 pm, although the grocers are open until
10.00 am or so.
There are many shops in KB that sell a wide and sometimes bizarre variety of
goods. Spend a morning or afternoon having a look in all the shops just to see
what there is. You'll be amazed! You can find just about anything you could
want, but patience is a virtue. If you would rather do your shopping under one
roof, go to Soon Lee Department Store on Jalan Maulana next to the Sea View
Resort hotel, although there is no guarantee they will have everything on your
The market in KB is best visited in the early morning as some things are sold out
by 9.00 am. The fish comes in at about 3.00 pm though, and all sorts of fruits
and vegetables are available there all day until everyone packs up at about 5.00
pm. There is also a weekly open market called the Tamu on Sunday mornings
where you will find vegetables and fruits approximately 20 per cent cheaper than
elsewhere. The Tamu is located next to the Complex Harapan, opposite the KB
Boat Club, and is open from dawn until 9.30 –10 am.
There is a small Indian grocery store across from the HSBC bank where you will
find loose spices and whole-wheat flour.
The Panaga Club provides extensive facilities for senior BSP (Brunei Shell
Petroleum) staff and their families. "Contractors" (other petroleum or
construction firms in KB) are also allowed to join, as are Government officers.
Many CfBT teachers join the Panaga Club, although there is a rather tedious
procedure to undergo before obtaining membership. You get Panaga application
forms from the Club and have these signed by your Principal (no problem) and
by two full members of the Panaga Club (again, no problem: any CfBT teacher
will put you in touch with these). You take your form to the District Office, and
wait for the District Officer to sign it. You pay $1,500 deposit (refundable at end
of contract). A couple of weeks later, your membership will come through.
22 August 2007
Although the process of membership may seem time-consuming, the running
about is worth it. All sports activities are catered for: football, tennis, golf, rugby,
sailing, swimming, aerobics, yoga, cricket, squash and so on. There is a library,
a CD library, a restaurant and a snack bar. Socially, there is a Music Society, an
Amateur Dramatics Society, Choir, Scottish Society. Again, the list goes on and
on. The interesting thing about the Panaga Club is that you can always find a
niche - and funding - for your particular hobby, if you are committed enough to
take the initiative. The monthly membership is $94, with an additional $8 if you
join the Boat Club and $25 for the golf section.
The Brunei Shell Recreation Club
This Club, situated a short distance from the Panaga Club, is for junior BSP staff.
Most of the facilities of the Panaga Club are found here, but the social life is not
as active. The deposit on joining is $1500 and $30 per month thereafter.
Mumong Sports Complex
Most sports facilities are here. This is a government-sponsored centre, free to all
government staff. There is a running track and adequate tennis courts (although
not flood lit) and a good swimming pool (30 cents admission).
Boat trips up the Belait River are popular at weekends. First port of call is often
the Skull House at Kampong Kuala Balai. The further you go, the more
adventurous you must be. For trips to kampongs, most would drive up the Labi
road and rejoin the river at Kampong Sawat, saving a four-hour river trip from KB
itself (but missing the Skull House and the Sago factory). There is an interesting
Iban longhouse at Kampong Apak-Apak, three hours up river from Kampong
Sawat. As a teacher, you can get to know which pupils live up river and go home
at weekends in Dad's boat.
General advice is the further from KB the cleaner. One of the lesser-known
beaches can be found opposite the Labi Road turning on a small metalled road
which leads to the "JKR beach". This is a good spot for picnics because of the
trees growing up to the sand. The beaches at Lumut and Anduki are worth a trip
but as with all beaches in Brunei, sandflies are a problem. Beaches in KB are
popular in the early evening with joggers and with locals fishing, swimming and
playing with their families. It is not advisable to visit the beach at night especially
Being less disturbed by humans, oil installations become part of the 'safe
environment' for birds and this district is a good place for the binoculars. The
Seria Estuary is an internationally important area for winter migrants. The area is
23 August 2007
on the flight path from Asia and Russia to the Southern Continent. There are two
hides near Seria for Panaga members. Their Natural History Section is very
welcoming and organises film evenings: special interest groups include
astronomy, photography, bird counts.
Trips and Rambles
A good way to start is to join one of the hashes in the area. The mixed hash
(KBHHH) meets on Wednesdays at 5.00 pm and explores jungle fringes, dirt
roads and coastlines. Occasional anniversary hashes can take you to kampongs
many miles inland where the hasher to be honoured (if it is a local) arranges for a
horde of noisy Europeans, Chinese and Bruneians to descend for a hash and the
inevitable "On On" social gathering afterwards.
It is very easy to visit Sarawak from Kuala Belait. Miri, a bustling oil town, is only
over the Baram River, two sets of immigration posts (Bruneian and Malaysian),
and one reasonably good road away. The Belait road bridge has a B$3 toll
charge and the Baram road bridge MR10.00. The journey is relatively easy but
expect to wait some time at Immigration at the weekends and on public holidays.
There is also a bus service to Miri (and on to the Niah Caves in Sarawak) which
costs $12 single and takes about 21/2 hours. There is good shopping in Miri:
pottery shops, rattan furniture shops, large market, hotels from high class to
basic, lots of pubs and discotheques. There is also a domestic airport in Miri
which offers very reasonable Air Asia fares to Kuala Lumpur and Johore Baru
from which it is easy to get to Singapore. Book through www.airasia.com There
are also MAS flights to various destinations. From Kuala Lumpur you get
Restaurants in KB
The Teratai at Panaga Club (Continental and local cuisine)
Orchid Room, KB
The Golden Bar, Seria
New China, Seria
Red Wing, Seria
Buccaneer, KB (Western & Eastern cuisine) – steaks are very good.
KB Boat Club - mainly Chinese food
KB Riverside stalls (behind Eng Hong supermarket)
KB Recreation club (near padang)
The Cottage, Jalan Pretty, KB
An Nabaa, Jalan Pretty, KB (Indian)
Fratini, Jalan Jaya Negara, (Italian)
24 August 2007
Situated on Jalan McKerron - good selection of English books.
Operates on Sundays only.
4 LIVING IN TUTONG
There are two routes to Tutong from the capital. The first route is along Jalan
Tutong, passing several petrol stations and taking you about 45-60 minutes (slow
moving along the winding road). The second, and more popular route is along
the Coast Road. This is dual carriageway and much quicker (30 minutes).
However, you will not find any petrol stations along the way. To get to the Coast
Road, take the Tungku Link Road from the Airport Highway and follow the signs
for Jerudong and Tutong. The speed limit here is 100 kilometres per hour and
on-the-spot fines are $50. There are occasional speed traps.
Tutong now has quite a comprehensive collection of shops for normal every day
use with the opening of three small shopping complexes behind the original row
of shop-houses bordering the river. There is also a large high-rise block, the
Halim Plaza, including apartments, a hotel, conference facilities and some retail
There are two supermarkets (and a number of 'corner' shops), a mini-department
store (a branch of Millimewah), the newly opened Hua Ho Mall,
newsagents/bookshops, hardware and haberdashery stores, hairdressers and
tailors, furniture shops and ironmongers, video and record shops, electrical
retailers, private doctors, photographers and picture framers, several reliable
garage workshops, as well as a large number of modest, friendly cafe-
restaurants offering a choice of Muslim/Malay, Indian, Chinese, Indonesian and
Western food at very reasonable prices. Most goods are available in
supermarkets in Tutong but the range is not as extensive as in Bandar or Kuala
Belait. If you find a particular favourite commodity is in stock, and you use it
regularly, then bulk buy. Shops can take a long time to restock. A cool
box/cooler/chilly bin/Eski is an early priority as fresh meat, fresh milk, cheese,
yoghurt and pork products are only available in Bandar or KB.
On Thursdays there is a 'tamu' (market) just outside town from 8.00 am to 6.00
pm where fresh fruit and vegetables, etc, can be purchased cheaply. There is a
night market every night in the car park of the administration building opposite
the post office. There is also a monthly market on the last weekend of the month
in the town centre which sells a variety of clothes, food, crafts, etc. Finally, there
is a daily fish market opposite the petrol station in town.
25 August 2007
There are two petrol stations in Tutong town, on either side of town, open from
6.30 am to 9.00 pm. Avoid long queues which may form directly after school at
about 1.00 pm, or at 8.30 pm or around pay day.
Tutong has branches of the main banks (HSBC, Standard Chartered, Baiduri and
IBB). HSBC is open from 8.45 am to 4.00 pm Monday to Friday and 8.45 am to
11.30 am on a Saturday. SCB is open from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm Monday to
Friday and from 9.00 am to 11.30 am on Saturday. All banks in Tutong have
Open from 8.00 am to 4.30 pm Monday to Thursday and Saturday. The hours
are the same for Friday except that it is closed between 11.00 am and 2.00 pm
Always send non-urgent heavy letters, small parcels, etc., to the UK by 747 (see
p11 above) as it is much cheaper. Write the number 747 very prominently in a
circle on the front of your post and hand it to the counter staff after putting on
your stamps. In Tutong, it has to be handed in at the Post Office by Tuesday at
the latest to get on the Saturday flight from Singapore. For mail to Canada,
Australia and New Zealand, there is a cheaper second class airmail rate for
heavier envelopes, provided their corners are exposed and they are unsealed.
Parcels that arrive at the post office have to be checked by customs officials and
duty has to be paid on some new items, for example clothing. Videos may have
to be sent to the police for censoring and this can take two weeks. Most CfBT
teachers rent Post Office Boxes (Peti Surat) for B$40 a year. Driving licences
and renewal of road tax can be completed at Tutong Post Office providing your
car is less than seven years old.
The office is open as follows:
Monday to Saturday 8.00 am to 2.00 pm
To avoid visiting every month, you might consider putting your account in credit
to reduce bill- paying excursions.
The office is open for the payment of bills at the following times:
Monday to Thursday 8.00 am to 2.00 pm
Saturday 8.00 am to 10.00 am
26 August 2007
This is opposite the Muda Hashim Secondary School and is open:
Monday to Thursday 8.00 am to 11.30 am
1.30 pm to 3.00 pm
Saturday 8.00 am to 10.00 am
For transfer of car ownership, renewal of car registration
Immigration and National Registration Department (for identity cards)
The Department is in the white bungalow in front of Land Transport, and its hours
Monday to Thursday 8.00 am to 12.00 am
1.45 pm to 3.45 pm
Saturday 8.00 am to 10.00 am
Monday to Thursday/Saturday 8.00 am to 3.00 pm
Monday to Thursday and Saturday 9.00 am to 12.00 am
2.00 pm to 5.00 pm
NB: All government offices close promptly, even if you are in the building.
Allow time for this by arriving at the latest 30 minutes before closing time.
Open from 7.00 am to 12.00 pm and 1.30 pm to 4.30 pm every day, it offers a
satisfactory range of services. There can be long queues to see the doctor. It is
also best to arrive just before 1.30 pm or after 3.30 pm for non-urgent GP
appointments. The dentist normally has a walk-in service. Malaria pills are
available for trips to Sandakan, Bali, Vietnam, etc. Contraceptive pills are usually
given to last a month, but you can ask for two months' supply to cut down on
waiting. If there is a queue in the Pharmacy, take a number and return later to
pick up your prescription.
There is a limited range of restaurants in Tutong. The Chinese restaurant next
door but one to HSBC facing the river has good food and does take-aways. A
second Chinese restaurant near the IBB bank is also popular. For Indian food,
try the restaurant two shops down from the Teguraya Supermarket (it cooks
27 August 2007
satay outside in the evenings). There is a Pizza Hut which delivers to your door,
and there is also an Express fast food restaurant for burgers, fish and chips and
pizzas. The Makanan Laut (Seafood Restaurant) does very good venison dishes
as well as all the other usual food. If you decide to buy food to take in to school
to share with the staff, make sure it is halal.
Sports and Leisure
Tutong has its own government sports complex, which is open Monday, Tuesday
and Wednesday 9.00 am to 1130 am and 2.00 pm to 9.30 pm, and Thursday and
Saturday 9.00 am to 11.30 am and 2.00 pm to 6.00 pm. There are two squash
courts, six badminton courts, two tennis courts and a tennis wall for practice, a
netball court, volleyball court and sepak takraw court. All the facilities are free.
Tutong is also ideally situated between Bandar (40 minutes by road) and KB (45
minutes by road) for sports-minded teachers to benefit from the facilities of both.
In Tutong itself, badminton is played at the Civic Centre or in school after hours,
and squash and tennis at the Army camp if you can get an invitation to play
there. There are also opportunities for football and cricket at school. Many
teachers find it easy to join and support the Bandar clubs of their choosing,
especially the Jerudong Park Medical Centre Gymnasium which offers good
facilities including a swimming pool and is only 20 minutes drive away.
Other than that, you can fish in the Tutong river, jog on the beach or cycle along
the spit and around town. Keen sea swimmers should purchase a lycra body suit
to protect them from the sometimes lethal stings of the box jellyfish which are
present in the water at certain times of the year. Generally speaking, the pattern
of your social life depends very much on your own initiative and your desire (or
otherwise) to socialise. In Tutong itself, the Monday 'Hash' offers the opportunity
to meet other teachers, expatriates in the army and locals socially.
5 LIVING IN TEMBURONG
If you like rural living, then Temburong is the place for you. It has yet to
experience its first traffic jam and the rivers and rainforests of Borneo are at your
doorstep. Wherever you go in Temburong, your backdrop will be forest-clad hills.
There is a constant sense of peace that you do not find elsewhere in Brunei.
Temburong is by no means remote: it is only 45 minutes by boat from Bandar
Seri Begawan and one and a half to two hours by car. Limbang and Sarawak
are only 30 minutes away. All government departments have offices here, so it is
possible to do most of the form filling of the first month here and there are no
It is up to the individual to make the most of this jungle paradise. If you crave
organised entertainment, specialist shopping and life in the fast lane, then
Temburong is not for you. If you like islands then think of Temburong in those
terms. Certainly, people tend to know your business, but they are also genuinely
concerned for your welfare and will readily lend a hand.
28 August 2007
Food essentials, hardware, stationery, basic kitchenware and household goods
are available here. There are Chinese shop houses in the main street and a
double storey complex behind that with a few speciality shops, including
hairdressers and tailors. There is not a lot of choice and prices are marginally
higher than BSB, reflecting freight costs. There is a vegetable and a fish/meat
market and, although the food from here is usually quite good, there isn't a wide
range and trips to BSB or Limbang are made for those extra items. Limbang is
very good for kitchenware, electrical items and other household goods. Most
people make shopping trips to BSB or Limbang market every week or two for
things they cannot get in Temburong.
Newspapers and Magazines
These can be ordered through a shop in town. The Sultan Hassan secondary
school library receives the Straits Times each day, plus the Borneo Bulletin and
various subscription periodicals. All are available to browsers, morning and
afternoon. If you live in Bangar town, newspapers and magazines can even be
delivered daily to your door. The local air-conditioned library near the town
centre stocks newspapers and magazines for in-house reading. The local library
staff are happy to sign you up as a borrower. Simply obtain a membership card
and have your head teacher witness your signature. The librarians also visit
outlying village schools once each month in the Temburong mobile library bus,
from which you and your students can also borrow.
The only bank in Bangar is the Islamic Bank of Brunei, which has an ATM. Other
than that teachers have to go to Bandar for their banking.
Renting a post office box at the Bangar post office is the most convenient and
reliable way to obtain your mail. Visit the local post office manager in your first
week in Temburong. You will have to complete some forms and will be required
to pay $40 annually. The forms are sent to BSB and your new box should be
available within three weeks.
Post Office opening hours:
Monday to Thursday and Saturday: 9.00 am to 12.00 am, 1.30 to 4.30 pm
(You need to post over the counter before 2.30 pm if you want mail to reach BSB
the same day.)
Power cuts in Temburong are sometimes a problem. It is wise to have candles
and matches accessible. Also, consider purchasing some power surge resistant
plugs for your valuable electronic equipment. A surge may frazzled TVs,
computers and microwaves and lightning can also cause damage to appliances.
29 August 2007
Electricity bills arrive monthly and can be paid at the Post Office complex
between 2.00 pm to 2.30 pm on working days.
Water supply is occasionally erratic - you may have no problems for months and
then have a bad month when the water is sometimes brown and occasionally has
been cut off completely for a day. This usually indicates that work is being done
on the pipes. Though irritating, the effects of this variability can be reduced by
buying a good water filter and keeping a big container full of water in the
bathroom at the ready at all times. Water cuts are usually localised: therefore
you can always visit a friend for a shower.
Water bills can be paid either monthly or annually (usually only B$2 a month) at
the JKR office on Jalan Batu Apoi.
Payment hours: Monday to Thursday and Saturday: 1.30 pm to 2.00 pm
There can be problems with phone lines in and out of Temburong. You may
have to wait a long time for a new house to be connected. Broadband Internet
access is available in Temburong but only at selected locations.
In the same building as the post office, the office is open in the afternoons until
about 3.00 pm. Take a copy of your passport, photos, etc. Do this as soon as
There is a Land Transport office in Temburong where you can complete all the
form filling necessary when getting a car, i.e. transfer of ownership, tax, etc.
There are four good local restaurants in the main street, one Indian and three
Chinese, including the Red Rose Café, which provides western cuisine, and the
Temburong café which has a vegetarian menu. They all close at approximately
8.00 pm. Above the market, there are a couple of smaller stalls with friendly
service and a nice view of the river. On the river's edge opposite the market,
there are usually a couple of fried chicken, burger and satay stalls. Across the
river is the very pleasant and modern government offices' outdoor café, which
welcomes townsfolk as well as government employees. It is only open during the
daytime until about 2.00 pm. In the surrounding kampongs there are a number
and variety of restaurants and food stalls. Hizadayani Restaurant on Jalan Kg
Menengah is a popular restaurant specialising in Indonesian food.
30 August 2007
PIHM Hospital has two wards, X-ray and laboratory facilities, three doctors,
dentists, an eye clinic once a week and a comprehensive pharmacy. Referrals
can be made to specialists in RIPAS Hospital, BSB, to which you will be
transported by the hospital's own boat. Emergencies are evacuated by
helicopter. There are no private doctors in Temburong. It is wise to visit the
hospital upon arrival and ask to register. The form filling will save you time at a
later stage when or if you are ill.
There is a dental clinic at the hospital with good dentists.
Boats operate between Temburong and BSB from 6.30am to 5.00pm. No set
timetable. You will need your IC or passport, as the trip to/from Bandar does go
through Malaysian waters. There is occasionally a brief stop at a jetty along the
way to enable the Brunei police to monitor passenger numbers and make the
occasional bag/cargo check. Travelling time to Bandar is about 45 minutes and
fares are $6 each way on both the yellow and blue boats.
Boat operating times:
BSB to Temburong: First boat departs at 7.00 am and last boat at 5.15 pm
Temburong to BSB: First boat departs at 6.30 am and last boat at 4.30 pm
Temburong teachers receive a salary supplement of $150 per month to
compensate for extra expenses such as boat fares across to BSB, taxi fares, and
so on. There is also a government boat that departs from BSB at 6.00am.
It is more difficult to buy a car in Temburong as there are fewer second-hand
cars on the market. Most teachers find a car in BSB and drive it to Temburong
after purchase. To drive to Temburong you take Jalan Tutong and turn off at
Jalan Benkurong Masin. You then follow the signs to Kuala Lurah where you go
through Immigration and Customs (see below "Trips to Limbang - Getting there
by Road" for more details on making this journey). The closing time of
Immigration at Kuala Lurah is 10.00 pm. Once through Immigration, you drive on
to Limbang. The roads are all easily passable in an ordinary car. Once in
Limbang, you must stamp your passport at the immigration in the town centre
(closing time 5.00pm) before driving on to Temburong. There is one more river
to cross, the Padaruan River. The ferries run until 10.00 pm. The cost is B$4.00.
This whole journey takes approximately 11/2 - 2 hours.
31 August 2007
Remember that to be driven through Malaysia, your car needs a third brake light
mounted in the rear window. There is only one petrol station in Temburong on
the Batang Duri road a kilometre from the town centre.
Social and Sports Activities
There is little in the way of organised entertainment in Temburong. There is,
however, the potential for a wide range of different activities, especially sporting
activities. Facilities in Temburong include badminton, netball and volleyball
courts and softball, football and hockey pitches, usually school-based. Each
kampong organises its own sports teams and would always welcome new
players. Temburong's largest resource is its jungle. It is there waiting outside
your door to be explored by foot, boat or pedal or just simply admired. On the
Labu road about 15 kilometres from town is the climb to Bukit Patoi, which is
along a board walk for most of the way. There are numerous other walks, tracks
and waterfalls to explore.
Just 30 minutes from Bangar is Limbang's airport and access to some very
competitive MAS airfares. See Mr Mah's MAS Travel Centre or Willing Travel for
some great Malaysian and international bargains plus easy reservations
(Malaysian school holidays are different from Brunei's). Leave your car at home
and travel with ease from Temburong!
Limbang has an Olympic-sized swimming pool and running track. It has several
good restaurants and fast food outlets in the Ngiu Kee building, which also has a
supermarket, department store and many small shops. There is also the
Purnama Hotel, which is popular with expatriates and very cheap for what it
offers. Ask for CfBT's special rate.
It must be remembered that a trip to Limbang - no matter how brief - means
leaving Brunei and proper formalities must be observed.
CfBT Temburong Education Centre (TEMBEC)
In November 1997, the Temburong Education Centre was opened. This forms
part of CfBT Education Services development of resources for teachers in all
districts. The Education Centre is managed by Anie Khan. The Education Centre
has Internet access, colour scanning and printing, and a number of computers for
materials development. It also has classroom space, reference book resources
and teaching materials, together with a meeting area, small library of paperback
books and extensive collection of VCDs that can be borrowed. Telephone and
fax facilities are also available. Mail is delivered regularly from BSB to TembEC.
Resources from the BSB Education Centre can be ordered and collected at
TembEC. All office administrative work such as renewing visas, etc, can be done
through the TembEC office. The current opening hours are as follows:
Monday to Thursday 12.00 – 6.00 pm
Friday 9.00 am to 4.00 pm
32 August 2007
6 OUT OF TOWN
There are many things to do outside of towns, revolving around beaches, rivers
and the jungle. Sensible precautions should be taken: sun cream, drinking water
and insect repellent for all three, an umbrella for river trips, and a torch, a small
medical kit, matches, drinking water and a parang (local machete) for longer
jungle walks. From BSB, you will need at least a day for KB and environs, and
similarly for Tutong and the Labi Road except where indicated. SC means that
the trip is suitable for (or to be tolerated by) older children (8+); SYC means that
even young children can go, though if the child is young enough to be put in a
backpack then such restrictions do not apply. 4WD means that this kind of
vehicle is advisable, particularly after heavy rain or during the monsoons.
It is worth the effort to get into the countryside. There are few roads but many
tracks, and the jungle is never more than a few minutes away, full of paths
particularly on the ridges, and often cooler than you would imagine, even in the
middle of the day. There is abundant wild life and the rivers especially are
highways for birds and butterflies. Beaches, many unfrequented, usually offer
bathing and are ideal places for barbecues. From a summit on the Labi Road,
you look over endless ripples of forest which stretch uninterrupted to the border
and, in the mind's eye, into the vastness of Sarawak and Kalimantan. It does the
1 Pantai Seri Kenangan (Tutong Beach) - SYC 1/2 day
From the far side of Tutong town, turn right to PSK/Kuala Tutong. Half a mile on,
the beach with the Tutong River behind, has shade, tables, shelter, is regularly
cleaned and tidied and is safe for swimming (in very calm weather keep an eye
open for jellyfish). Half a mile in either direction, by road or by track (to the right
of the Istana Pantai), the beach is normally deserted. There is a beach festival
once a year in July, with top-spinning, kite-flying and memorable talent contests.
2 Tasek Merimbun (Merimbun Lake) - SYC and 4WD often
From BSB: Drive out of Tutong towards KB along the coast road. Turn left into
Jalan Tanjong Maya/Layong, which is approximately 10km from Tutong. Drive
for 7km and then turn into Jalan Penapar Ukong. Stick to the main sealed road,
through Kg Bukit until you get to Tasek Merimbun.
From KB: Drive out of KB towards Tutong. Turn right approximately 10 km
before Tutong into Jalan Tanjong Maya/Layong. Drive for 7 km and then turn
into Jalan Penapar Ukong. Stick to the main sealed road, through Kg Bukit until
you get to Tasek Merimbun.
There is an alternative route via Kg Lamunin and Kg Rambai, although this route
is very difficult now, as the road has deteriorated considerably.
There is a pleasant lakeside walk to a series of wooden walkways and an island.
Birdlife is prolific, and it is a cool spot to spend time/have a barbecue. The lake
is shallow and there are signs warning of crocodiles, but these rarely appear. It
33 August 2007
is becoming very popular with visitors, particularly on Friday and Sunday lunch
times and on National Holidays. There is also a very good Environmental
Exhibition Centre which was sponsored by HSBC.
3 Lamunin - SC 1/2 day
A good area to drive in to see rural Bruneian life. Many interlinking roads and
tracks and probably many jungle walks, several looping back ways to BSB.
4 Tutong River Trip - SC
A trip up the Tutong River can be arranged from the Marine Yard at Kuala Tutong
- follow the road to Tutong Beach and keep going to the end of the spit, it is on
the left. For 10 or more people the cost will be $23 per head for half a day.
Make sure the hire of boatmen and petrol costs are included in the initial
estimate. Trips for smaller numbers can probably be arranged from the landing
stage in Tutong (opposite the shop-houses). The trip goes through estuarine
swampland, up through fairly heavily populated kampong areas (Malay and
Dusun) to quieter reaches beyond Layong. If you are lucky you will see many
birds, butterflies and monkeys. On the upper reaches, there are increasing
numbers of crocodiles which you may be lucky enough to see sunning
themselves on the sandbanks in the late afternoon.
A similar trip can probably be arranged (certainly if you teach locally) on the
Telamba River at Telisai, 10 miles from KB on the main road.
5 Louis Mini Zoo
A privately owned zoo with a variety of animals and birds such as camels,
donkeys, snakes, lots of monitor lizards, chimpanzees, porcupines, owls,
ostriches, peacocks and lots more. The zoo is situated along Jalan Tutong,
about half a mile from the Lamunin turn-off and just before you hit Tutong town.
Entrance fees are $4 per adult and half price for children. Rather a depressing
6 The Labi Road
The road from Sungai Liang to Labi and beyond (about 57 miles from BSB) goes
furthest into the interior of Brunei, crossing two ranges of hills. It is bordered by
magnificent jungle, with many old logging trails and other tracks off to right and
left, particularly along rivers and streams. A quarter of a mile from the turn-off at
Sungai Liang there is the:
On the right, a good place to familiarise yourself with local trees and
plants, though not necessarily with their names since many are numbered
Rampayoh Falls (SC)
34 August 2007
At Labi, the surfaced road stops. A quarter of a mile along the continuing
track, you will see a sign on the left for 'Wasai Rampayoh (Rampayoh
Falls), 120 minutes'. This is a beautiful, well-maintained walk by a river,
mostly in mature primary jungle. After 50 minutes there is a neat camp
used by the British Army with a large natural bathing area and many
places to laze around or do an assault course if the army is not in
occupation. Continue along the main river for another 70 minutes to the
falls, where there is a fine natural amphitheatre and a deep pool for
swimming and diving. This is a good place to camp if you have the
equipment and the nerve.
Other Waterfalls (SC, 4WD)
Continue to the end of the track from Labi. Park by the new longhouse and
then follow the stream to the left. A 30-40 minute walk, always following
the stream, brings you to another attractive, though more frequented,
waterfall with a basic picnic area. The path goes on, apparently, to more
falls higher up.
The Labi Valley is a real get-away-from-it-all place with strong reminders
of traditional village life, both Malay and Chinese. There are several
roadside shops for food and drink, including a Kedai Makan at the first fork
(coming from Sungai Liang) in the valley. There are also a number of Iban
longhouses dotted about, though lovers of the picturesque will find them
Visiting a longhouse (usually Iban and up the Belait or the Limbang River) is a
popular activity for a long weekend. Longhouse dwellers have a strong tradition
of hospitality and a high tolerance of visitors' behaviour and almost without
exception people come away from a visit impressed and touched by the gentle
courtesy of their hosts and the deft way they have been put at ease. Few of the
formal rules of etiquette necessary for acceptance in Malay society apply, but the
following general observations are worth noting:
1 If you stay the night in a longhouse, it will be the duty of the hosts to feed
you. Particularly if you arrive without warning, it's best to bring food that
can be added to the communal meal table: they will take it and cook it.
Meat, vegetables, fruits are all acceptable. Small presents of coffee, dried
fish, nuts, aji-no-moto (monosodium glutimate), sugar, salt, tinned food,
etc., can be given in addition to or in place of the well-known gift of beer or
spirits. For the children, balloons or a football are probably better than
2 As noted above, longhouses are very relaxed places and it is hard to
offend, but when you are welcomed, probably by the headman, and asked
to sit down with him and his immediate circle, try and make your feelings
known, even if your Malay is poor and your Iban non-existent. A few
words of conversation will always be appreciated.
35 August 2007
3 Try to eat with some enthusiasm when you are called to do so. The food
is quite tasty and not highly spiced. You may find that more than one
family will ask you to eat. If you can anticipate this, eat sparingly at first so
you don't have to reject later offers.
4 Later in the evening, there may be dancing. Be prepared to do the
Hornbill Dance! If you can sing or play an instrument, it will be much
appreciated. When (if) you get to bed, you will find that a lot of thought
has gone into making you comfortable. Finally, if you take photos - you
are usually welcome to do so - remember to get prints for the longhouse
and send them with the next party.
Boats go anytime during the hours of daylight. There is no fixed timetable, but
they are more frequent when the greatest number of people is travelling, i.e.
early morning and late afternoon: the last boat departs BSB around 5.15 pm.
Don't forget your IC or passport. All boats leave from the main jetty in front of the
food stalls by the fountain-like structure. There are two companies:
a) Syarikat (a cooperative) - yellow boats ($6 single fare)
b) YSY (Hj Salleh) - blue boats ($6 single fare)
Look at the number of people going and ask what time the next boat will be
leaving. The journey takes about 45 minutes. For the return journey, there is no
certainty of finding boats back to BSB after 4.30pm (when Co-op sends its last
Difficult, as there are very few taxis and very high fares. Unofficial taxis will take
you so ask around especially on and around the boat. YSY have a land cruiser
which they will hire out (with driver). See Hj Salleh (the boss), who is often on
the wharf, or Sulaiman. Negotiate the route, timing, e.g. if you want to be picked
up later, and the price. If they can't help they may point you towards someone
who can. A taxi ride around the district costs $30. You can put a motorbike on
the boat for $12 extra.
Temburong has one row of shop houses with a number of restaurants:
Hasinah Restaurant: Second from river. Indian Muslim, good rotis in the
morning until 11.00 am. Acceptable Malay food at lunchtime ($5 for chicken,
fish, two veg and rice). Will do takeaways.
Temburong Restaurant: Third from river. Chinese. Offers a greater variety of
food than above: venison, beef, sweet and sour fish, prawns, etc. Very
reasonably priced: $4 for beef in ginger with rice. Chicken and Chips for $5.
36 August 2007
Bangar Restaurant: In the middle of the row of shop houses, exactly the same
as in Temburong Restaurant; also cheap.
Red Rose Café: Under the TembEC office.
KPBT Hijrah Restaurant: No 8 from the river, serves buffet lunch and dinner
What to see/do
a) Climb Bukit Patoi, which is nine miles along the Labu Road across the
bridge, straight past the new hospital and the army camps. Forest
Reserve: a marked path begins on the right of the road with a steep climb.
Average time required is one hour through fascinating primary jungle
(shady, not too hot). A pity the trees are labelled only in Malay. Look out
for the wildlife: hornbills, monitor lizards, squirrels, monkeys. The view
from the top makes the climb worthwhile. The really intrepid could try to
continue along the ridge to Bukit Perdayan. For the descent use the same
route. The alternative (keluar: left at top of the 'wall') is impossible to
b) Visit Karangan/Taman Batang Duri, a garden picnic area with a mini-zoo.
There is a fine view over the Temburong River valley, and you can go
swimming. The zoo would not appeal much to animal lovers, but may be
your only chance to get near a civet cat, proboscis monkey or honey bear.
Location: Mile 10 on the main road running parallel to the Temburong
River. One mile further, at the end of the road, two paths go off. Left goes
to Batang Duri longhouse (they're fairly accustomed to visitors); right (just
about drivable for 300 yards) goes down to the riverside with a nice picnic
place provided that (i) the river isn't in full spate, and (ii) not too many
others have had the same idea and left their rubbish behind. You can
always walk further upstream. There are excellent possibilities for 'tubing'
on the river.
c) Picnic along rivers especially near Batu Apoi, 31/2 miles along the Labu
road. Turn right 100 yards after the bridge for an interesting logging track
going up into quite dense jungle. Not recommended if wet. Temada Road
has a number of longhouses, on or near Pandaruan River (this is the
border between Brunei and Sarawak). There is nice, unspoiled
countryside up here and plenty of jungle walks to be discovered.
d) Swim/BBQ at the very end of Batang Duri Road (walk the last 200 metres
down a track).
NB: If you swim in any of Borneo's rivers, it is advisable to always make
a quick mental note of the water-level. Heavy rainfall many miles
upstream can cause these rivers to rise unexpectedly.
e) Go boating in the river.
f) Jungle treks and walks galore.
g) Visit a longhouse along the Temada or Batang Duri roads.
37 August 2007
h) Cross over to Limbang for lunch/dinner and a beer by the river at Maggie's
Cafe. Pick up your choice of fruit and vegetables from the excellent
i) Make a round-trip: BSB to Temburong, across to Limbang and back to
BSB down the Limbang River (passport required).
j) Day trip to Lawas in Sarawak (easy onward access to Kota Kinabalu).
k) Arrange a house/car swap with a colleague in Temburong.
l) Enjoy a roti and a walk around town.
Ulu Temburong National Park
This is Brunei's first National Park in the Southern part of the Temburong District,
which forms part of the Batu Apoi Forest Reserve. All visitors must obtain a
certified permit before entering the Park. The permit may be obtained from:
The National Park Section
Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources
Bandar Seri Begawan 2067
E mail: email@example.com
Tour operators organise excursions to the National Park of one or two-day
duration with an overnight stay at the Park headquarters at Kuala Belalong.
Visits can also be arranged through the Outward Bound Centre in Batang Duri
(Tel: 2382970/2382971, Fax: 2382972, email: firstname.lastname@example.org). Their package
also involves additional activities such as rafting, abseiling and flying fox.
The journey in itself is an adventure. After arriving in Bangar, the journey
continues along a sealed road to Batang Duri, approximately 16km from town.
Then board a longboat for the journey up river. The duration of the journey
depends on the level of the river. During long spells of dry weather, the boat may
need to be pushed through the shallower areas. At the Park Headquarters, all
visitors are required to register. A boardwalk starts at the Park Headquarters and
continues over a suspension bridge then up the ridge to the start of the canopy
walk. The canopy walk is a series of interconnected bridges and towers above
treetop level. The climb up the towers to the canopy walk would not suit those
nervous about heights. At 65 metres at its highest point, the canopy walk affords
fine views over the rolling, jungle clad hills of Temburong and a close up view of
the fauna and flora that inhabits the canopy.
Limbang is a regional centre set on a river. It has a small water village, a large
market and a new shopping arcade. It is largely driven by Bruneian money spent
by the huge numbers driving in at weekends to take advantage of lower prices
and the weak Malaysian currency. It has the reputation of being a bit of a red
light area but this might only be so when it is compared to towns in Brunei. A
38 August 2007
day-trip or overnight stay makes a welcome break in a place with a very different
atmosphere. Market day (Friday) is very busy with four out of five cars bearing
Brunei number plates. Lots of local fruit and vegetables, dried fish, etc., and
sometimes traditional craft goods are available.
There is a multi-storey hotel in Limbang, the Purnama, with reasonable rooms
from M$65 to M$90++, as well as several others such as the National Inn and
Royal Park at about M$50. All are air-conditioned and have televisions. The
Purnama is in the centre of town, whilst the other two are on the left along the
main road from Immigration, past the mosque. They are both on the riverfront in
the last block - everyone knows them, just ask.
There are plenty of places to eat in Limbang, including Maggie's Place near the
National Inn for good seafood in the evenings. Try the little Malay places by the
Bus Station (behind the Muhibbah Hotel in the town centre) for breakfast/lunch,
or on the first floor of the wet market. The Chinese restaurants generally serve
beer but the Malay ones do not.
There are a few bars in the area near Maggie's, and the Purnama has a lounge
where live bands perform in the evenings.
Getting there from BSB
The journey takes one and a half to two hours, depending on how long it takes to
get through Immigration and Customs at the border. It is an easy drive along a
surfaced road. If you plan to go on Thursday or Saturday, it is advisable to book
a hotel room in advance.
The process of negotiating the Brunei and Malaysia Immigration and customs is
A. Departure from Brunei
1 Take your passport and a photocopy of your blue card and insurance
certificate (in case of an accident). Complete the Malaysian Immigration
forms and the Brunei car export permit form before you leave home if
possible. (The same form is valid for this border and the Miri border)
2 When you reach the Brunei border at Kuala Lurah, join the queue to drive
through. Present your completed car export permit form at the first
window (customs) to have it stamped and details recorded. Present your
passport at the second window.
B. Entering Malaysia
1 Take your passport to the Immigration booth, together with a completed
immigration card for Malaysia.
2. Take your copy of the blue card to the customs counter and complete a
Malaysian car permit form to have stamped. These permits are valid for
multiple entries to Malaysia for three months.
39 August 2007
Back to Brunei:
A. Departure from Malaysia
1. Have your passport stamped at Immigration and the Malaysian car permit
form stamped at Customs.
B. Entering Brunei
1. Have your passport stamped. Any visitors to Brunei or dependants with
visitors visas only will also have to complete a Brunei Immigration form.
2. Complete an alcohol declaration form (if you have bought any in Malaysia)
in duplicate and present these to Customs, together with the Brunei car
form. Keep your copy of the alcohol form. (Your allowance is 12 cans of
beer and 2 bottles of wine or spirits. Do not exceed this.)
If in any doubt about what to do, don't be afraid to ask your fellow travellers who
will be pleased to advise you.
This is at the border between Brunei and Malaysia by road as described above.
This is a collection of ramshackle buildings that has sprung up to accommodate
visitors from Brunei who wish to cross the border to buy alcohol but do not wish
to drive all the way to Limbang. Drive to the border from Brunei but leave your
car on the Brunei side so that you do not have to complete the formalities for
taking your car into Malaysia (at present, cars are prohibited from parking within
500 metres of the border post. A B$50 fine is in effect. Inform CfBT of any
intention to cross the border). You can then walk to and across the border
completing the normal immigration procedures as described above. A number of
small bars have sprung up here that are popular with Chinese expatriates and
they can be quite lively at weekends. The border crossing can be very busy at
weekends and patience and courtesy to the Immigration officers is welcomed.
Your duty free allowance can be purchased from here. Don't forget that the
border closes at 10.00 pm so you need to think about leaving the bar by about
9.30 pm as you do not want to be stuck out at Kuala Lurah on the wrong side of
the border without a car.
Labuan is a duty-free island and as a result has become increasingly popular
over the years with visitors from Brunei. This means that ferry tickets need to be
booked in advance, particularly over long weekends.
Getting there from BSB
The trip takes about one hour by boat and you need to book in advance.
Passports must be taken. Ferries leave from the Serasa Ferry Terminal, off the
coast road just before Muara town. It is clearly signposted. There are several
ferries a day and ferry times are printed in the Borneo Bulletin.
40 August 2007
The fare is $25 return (half price for children) and tickets are available from travel
agents in BSB, Muara town and the ferry terminal itself. It is possible to book
outward journeys on one ferry and return on another, two separate tickets being
issued. People over 55 years of age are entitled to a senior citizens' rate.
You can get an onward boat from Labuan to Kota Kinabalu in Sabah.
What to do in Labuan
The duty free shopping is becoming a great attraction in Labuan, and the range
of shops is improving. There is also a daily market selling a variety of products
including fabrics and Philippine handicrafts.
There are some nice beaches on the west coast of the island and if you hire a
car you could visit these. The Japanese War Memorial and the Allied Forces
cemetery are outside the town centre and worth a visit. In the evenings there are
bars, with dancing, discos and live bands.
There are plenty of hotels and a number have been refurbished in answer to the
growing need for overnight accommodation.
The Manikar Resort Hotel, on the north side of the island opened in 1993, had
good facilities and reasonable food but is now very run down. It is quite far from
town but a courtesy bus runs every hour.
The Waterfront Hotel and the Labuan Sheraton are two good hotels in town.
The Tiara is a little bit further out of town ($6 Malaysian in a taxi) but offers very
Miri is an oil city in neighbouring Sarawak that is good for entertainment and
shopping. It is possible to get there and back in one day, but it is much more
relaxing to have a couple of days. The queues at the border can be lengthy
during public holidays and weekends after payday.
Some travel agents in Miri have good bargains for international flights so, if you
are based in Kuala Belait, you may want to establish a contact in Miri but do be
wary of where you leave your car in Miri. Cars are much more expensive in
Malaysia than in Brunei, so there is always a risk of theft.
Getting there from BSB
Take with you:
Photocopy of your blue card for your car
Photocopy of your insurance cover note
Brunei car permit form (can be obtained at the border)
Malaysian Immigration form
From BSB, follow the coast road towards Kuala Belait, (about 110 km). Don't
leave this road. Close to KB you will reach a toll booth, where you pay $3. You
then cross the Belait river and eventually you come to the Customs and
41 August 2007
Immigration Post for Brunei. Submit your completed car permit form at Customs
to register your car. The stamped form is valid for travel to Malaysia for three
months. You must have it stamped on entry and exit each time you cross the
border. After customs go to the Immigration window where you show your
passport. There is then a short drive to the Malaysian Immigration Post. Go to
Immigration first and submit your passport and completed Immigration forms.
Once you have been through the immigration procedure, then you will need to
park your car and go to the Customs window on the right, fill in a Malaysian car
permit form with the details from your blue card and have it stamped. This is also
valid for three months. Continuing the journey, from the Malaysian Customs Post,
follow the road to a roundabout and bear left to the bridge over the Baram river
(on a clear day Mount Mulu will be clearly visible on the lefthand side as you
cross. The toll charge is MR10.00. From the bridge, the route to Miri is
signposted. Total trip time is normally two-three hours, but can be longer at
On your return journey you have to show your car pass at the Malaysian customs
office and complete Malaysian exit formalities by handing in your passport for
stamping. Then in Brunei you have to submit your passport. You must then
hand in your Brunei car form to Customs, along with duplicate alcohol declaration
forms for your allowance, which is currently two bottles of wine or spirits and 12
cans of beer per non-Muslim adult.
What to do in Miri
Shop, party, eat and drink. There are a couple of resort hotels located near
Brighton beach to the west of the town. The Park City Everly is very reasonably
priced, and has special prices for some weekends and at various times of the
year, e.g. Christmas but it is a little run down but still perfectly acceptable. The
Marriott Hotel has recently been renovated and is more expensive but worth it for
a bit of luxury. The Marriott now offers a corporate rate for CfBT employees.
Mention that you are with CfBT when you book your room. Travel agents in
Brunei can book these for you and advise you on any special rates (make sure
you ask for special rates even if none are advertised). Don't be afraid to ask for
special rates or extras such as breakfast included. There are also some very
nice serviced apartments, such as the Imperial Court in the centre of town, which
can be rented by the day or week.
Miri is also a starting point for getting to Niah Caves, Mulu Caves (by air or on
organised trips - see travel agents), and the National Parks of Sarawak. It is also
possible to drive from Miri to Kuching, although the road is not the best, so either
travel with someone else in convoy or get good information from someone who
has done it before. It is about 1000km so you would need to do it in two days,
staying overnight in Sibu on the way. Some people do it in a day, but it is not
There is also a domestic airport in Miri. Air Asia offers very reasonable fares to
Kuala Lumpur and Johore Baru from which it is easy to get to Singapore. Book
through www.airasia.com . There are also MAS flights to various destinations.
From Kuala Lumpur you can get international connections. Masugara Travel (tel:
242 3963) based in BSB offers taxi drop-off and pick-up to and from Miri airport
for a reasonable fixed rate.
42 August 2007
7 GETTING AROUND BSB
7.1 Public Transport
Run daily from the BSB bus station from the multi-storey car park in Jalan Cator,
just off Jalan Sultan.
Approx Length of
Destination Fare Frequency
Berakas 40 minutes $1 Every two hours From 7.00 am
to 5.00 pm
Muara 1 hour $2 Every 45 minutes From 7.30
am to 5.150 pm
Tutong 1 hour $2 Seria Bus: see below
Seria 2 hours $4 Every 35 minutes From 7.10
am to 3.00 pm
Kuala Belait 30 minutes (from $1 (No through buses to KB.
Seria) Change at Seria)
There are also buses which cover routes from BSB to RIPAS Hospital, the
airport, Muara, Centrepoint in Gadong, etc. These buses are purple and the fare
is $1.00 for adults and 50¢ for pensioners and children, regardless of length of
journey. However, bus services cannot be seriously regarded as a regular and
reliable means of transport although things are improving in this area. Bus route
maps are available at the bus station and are also to be found in recent
White and tan taxis are expensive and rather elusive. Always make sure the
meter is switched on. A surcharge may be added after 9.00 pm. If you take a
taxi from the airport, always make sure you agree the price before. There are
taxi stands outside the airport and bus station. Taxis become scarce after 4.00
pm. Try phoning 2222214. If you find yourself in need of a taxi for the day, you
can trying calling Mr. Lim on 8734082 who provides reliable service for a
negotiated flat rate.
Destination (from centre of BSB)
Airport $20 Tutong $60
Berakas $25 Seria $100
Kota Batu $25 Kuala Belait $120
43 August 2007
Boats are a very common and traditional form of public transport in Brunei for
travel around the water village (Kampong Ayer). Water taxis crossing from the
wharf along Jalan McArthur to Kampong Ayer cost 50 cents or $1 per person.
A pleasant half hour trip around Kampong Ayer via the Palace should cost no
more than $10 per person from Jalan Kianggeh next to the Tamu.
7.2 USE OF CARS DURING THE ORIENTATION COURSE
During your Orientation Course, a car will be hired for you from a private
company. The car is available for up to two weeks.
Hiring costs are at CfBT's expense for two weeks from the date of renting.
Thereafter a car may be used for a further two weeks at an approximate cost of
B$150 per week.
CfBT Inspection Form
This will be given to you on arrival. Refer to this form for confirmation of who
owns the car, and check it for accuracy of completed details. Sign and return the
form to the CfBT office as soon as possible. Make a written note of any
discrepancies on the form before returning it.
Report any mechanical faults during the hire period to CfBT in the first instance
or direct to the Hire Company. Details of the Hire Company will be given to you
during the Orientation Course.
When returning the car, please make an appointment with the office so cars can
be mutually checked. Please return the car in a clean condition or you may be
charged the cost of a car wash, and fill the petrol tank.
Accidents and Insurance
You are responsible for the first $1000-$2000 worth of damage incurred in the
event of an accident involving a hire car. Ensure you read the section on Road
Accidents (page 49). In the event of an accident involving a hire car or CfBT car:
Stress the car is borrowed rather than hired
Co-operate but do not give up your passport under any circumstances.
Use the CfBT address and office telephone numbers for contacts
When involved in an accident, it must be reported to the Police within 24 hours if
you wish to make a claim on insurance. If the police are called to the scene of
the accident, you may be interviewed or asked to go to the police station to make
44 August 2007
a statement. If there is time, you may wish to contact CfBT for advice first. It
might also be helpful to have a Malay speaking member of CfBT 's staff with you
to help with any language barriers. If the police intend to prosecute you will be
asked to pay a bail bond of $500. Don't lose the receipt.
7.3 Legal Formalities on The Road
Land Transport is the government department dealing with the legal
requirements of the road, i.e. driving licences, vehicle ownership, road tax and
driving tests. Offices are located in Bandar and regional centres. Post Offices
can renew driving licences and road tax on vehicles less than seven years old:
older vehicles require a certificate of roadworthiness.
Monday to Saturday 8.00 am to 11.45 am
1.45 pm to 3.00 pm
Friday (Road Tax renewal only) 8.00 am to 11.00 am
Bandar Seri Begawan Old Land Transport Building
Enquiry counter All application forms for driving licences, road tax, etc
Room A or B Interview with Licensing Officer
Counter 3 International Driving Licence
Counter 4 Renewal of Driving Licence
Counter 5 Payment for Driving Licence + processing of papers
Bandar Seri Begawan New Land Transport Building
(Vehicle Testing Site on Jalan Gadong)
Vehicles Under 7 Years Old - Submit application and supporting documents
- For payment and collection of disc
- Lost Blue (Registration) card
- Learner Drivers
Vehicles Over 7 Years Old - Road tax (for vehicles over 7 years old - after
inspection, cash payment and issuance of
- Road tax (for vehicles over 7 years old -
payment of inspection fee)
Land Transport offices are located in the other three districts of the country and
you are advised to refer to your copy of the map book in your Welcome Folder to
45 August 2007
It is legally permissible to drive on this licence for 90 days from the date of arrival.
Licences from Other Countries
It is sometimes acceptable to drive in Brunei on the strength of an overseas
licence, provided it is currently valid. Once you have a work permit and multiple
re-entry visa, you are legally obliged to apply for a Bruneian licence.
Applying for a Bruneian Licence (Full or Provisional)
Applications are made at Land Transport offices. Before submitting the
application, prepare the following documentation and cash fee:
Completed computerised green application form
Original driving licence and photocopy
Passport or IC and photocopy
Fee: $10 for one year
$30 for three years (for subsequent licences only)
In BSB, submit your documents to the Licensing Officer at the Old Land
Transport building in Room A or B. He will check the documentation and, on
very rare occasions, recommends the driver sit a test. Once approved, you will
be referred to Counter 6 for processing and payment. Driving licences are
usually issued for one year. On renewal, you can apply for a three-year licence.
Renewal of Driving Licence
The same procedure is followed for renewals, but this time include the original
driving licence. Alternatively, you can renew your licence at the post office
before the expiry date. It is essential that your Bruneian driving licence be
renewed on or before the licence expires. Driving without a valid driving licence
is an offence and carries a heavy fine or driving ban. Also, driving without a valid
licence invalidates the Third Party Insurance on your car. This also is an offence
and carries a heavy fine, and you will be suspended from driving for one year.
Road Tax and Road Tax Renewal
Complete Form A (Regulation 64) - Pink
Current Insurance policy or cover note with photocopies
Fee of $2.25 per 100 cc (e.g. 1600 cc - fee is $36 per annum)
Inspection Fee: $5 for cars over seven years old
Section One: Road tax for cars under seven years old. Submit application
and supporting documents to Counter 6. Make payment and
46 August 2007
collect disc at Counter 7. This can also be done at Post
Section Two: Road tax for cars seven years and over. The car must
undergo a manual roadworthy inspection. This is carried out
at the New Land Transport building on Jalan Gadong (see
map in your road atlas). Prepare the following supporting
completed Form A
current insurance policy and cover note
fee ($2.25 per 100 cc)
inspection fee $5
Take car and documents to the Land Transport Testing
Station. Join line 3 or 4 and submit documents to the office.
Car is then inspected. Road tax is issued upon passing
inspection. If the car fails, a list of faults is given, and the car
must be repaired and re-tested before road tax is issued.
Allow two hours for this test. Some workshops will do this
for you for a fee of about $30.
1st Roadworthy Test $5
2nd Roadworthy Re-test $10
Tax Disc is collected from the New Land Transport building on Jalan
Loss of Road Tax (Log Book/Blue Card)
This must be reported to the Police. Take a copy of the report with valid
insurance policy and receipt to Land Transport and make an application for a
Learning to Drive
A learner driver may only drive accompanied by a qualified government approved
instructor. All learner drivers must use a government approved driving school to
learn how to drive. The minimum requirement for eligibility to sit for a driving test
is attendance at three lectures on the rules and regulations of driving, and ten
hours of driving lessons.
First apply for a provisional driving licence. Whilst making the application, obtain
a copy of the government appointed driving schools.
The next step is to choose a driving school with an instructor who speaks
English, and register with them. Driving instructors who can speak English are in
short supply, demand is high and they have long waiting lists.
Fees Payable to Driving School
$15 per driving lesson (45 mins to one hour)
47 August 2007
$100 for three lectures
$10 for learner insurance
$80 for driving test
$10 for highway code test (paid to the driving instructor for payment to
The test has a written and practical component:
Lectures (and sometimes videos) are given as preparation for this. The test itself
is divided into two parts - the first 24 questions are multiple choice and you may
get up to six wrong answers and still pass. The next 16 questions are road signs
and one wrong answer means an automatic failure. One person failed because
they identified the familiar road sign showing two children crossing as 'School'
when strictly speaking it should be 'Slow, Children Crossing'. Should you need
to, and at the discretion of the examiner, you can sit this test again.
This involves general driving and some very precise reversing, where turning
rulers are used to measure the clearance. It is unusual but not impossible to
pass first time. However, if you fail the practical test, you cannot re-apply for two
BSB Bernard Shak (Tel: 4425169)
Tutong Sitihara Driving School
1290 Kg. Sg Kelugo Tutong
Tel: 4240048 (Contact Stella)
The legal minimum requirement is Third Party insurance. Below are general
details on the type of insurance available and some points to consider. Purchase
of insurance is entirely a personal choice and it is advisable 'to shop around' the
various companies listed in the Yellow Pages when selecting insurance. In view
of recent acts of vandalism and an unfortunate accident when a tree collapsed on
a parked vehicle, it is advisable to give serious thought to purchasing
Once insurance has been purchased, please make sure you are familiar with the
Company's procedure and expectations in the event of your being involved in an
48 August 2007
a Comprehensive Insurance
Advisable for new and relatively new cars
Annual premium is based on the car's engine capacity
Excess on new and used cars is 3% of the value of the sum of the
No Claims Bonus: 1st year - 0%
2nd year - 20%
3rd year - 25%
4th year - 33%
(If insured with a local company, maximum can be 40%)
In the event of a write-off, the company pays compensation
according to market value of car at time of accident.
Comprehensive Policy does not cover:
1. damage to windscreen by stones/gravel - can be insured
against for an extra 15 per cent premium. (GRE Insurance
Company includes this insurance in its premiums.)
2. theft of cassette player from car - can be insured for an extra
$40-$250 per annum.
b Third Party Insurance
Covers damage or injury to a third party only
Insurance covers unlimited liability to claims by third parties.
c Third Party Fire & Theft Insurance
This costs three-quarters of the Comprehensive Insurance premium, so it
is not worth taking out. For extra cover, you may as well take out a
Can be up to 25% once a new car is on the road.
Ask the company about the car's value on each annual policy
renewal to ensure cover for correct value.
e Insurance & Road Tax through Car Dealer
If buying a new car, the salesman will register it for you and take
out insurance, usually with a local company but you can specify
which company you want.
Ensure the salesman arranges Full Comprehensive cover. Many
local companies issue policies with limited cover.
49 August 2007
Commercial Union charges about 5% more than local companies
but has no limitations on its cover.
e.g., for 500 cc: Comprehensive $300 per annum
Third Party $40 per annum
If soft-top, 25% loading: otherwise same as cars if used for social and
h Accident Procedure and Insurance Claims
Procedure as outlined by Commercial Union:
Report to the Police within 24 hours
Obtain a claim form from the Insurance Company
Complete this and submit it, together with photocopies of
your driving licence and passport and the original "Notice of
Intended Prosecution" form
Take the car to a workshop authorised by the insurance
Road Tax and Driving Licence must be valid at the time of
making insurance claims.
Minor accidents may be settled by cash on the spot. All other accidents should
be reported to the police within 24 hours if an insurance claim is expected or
intended. If a police statement is not obtained, the insurance companies will not
Some drivers may not report to the police if it is their fault. Some do not want to
report it to the police even if it is not their fault. The police can take 8/9 months to
send notices of prosecution. Telling them you will be in Brunei for two years is
likely to guarantee prosecution. Some insurance companies specify both who
may tow the car from the accident site and who can repair it. Damage has to be
photographed by the insurers and repairs can only be made with the permission
of the insurer, if you intend to claim. Most damage is repaired on a 'knock for
knock' basis, each driver paying for their own repairs.
Please note that if you are found to be under the influence of alcohol or
drugs, you will not be covered by your insurance.
7.4 CAR LOANS AND TRANSFER OF OWNERSHIP
1. Car Loans
The maximum amount of the CfBT loan available to all teachers is $10,000. It is
interest free and repayments are made over 20 months (or the duration of the
contract if less than twenty months)
50 August 2007
The repayments are debited directly by the Finance Department from the salary.
Before making an application:
Consult the notice boards, colleagues, workshops, or the grapevine to find a
Check the Blue Card/Log Book: do the logged specifications match the
merchandise? Colour, Engine/Chassis number? Do the logged owner's
details match the IC details of the seller?
Check if there are any existing loans - government or private. Is a letter of
Agree on price.
Consider insurance: purchase own or transfer? Please be aware that you
cannot upgrade an existing policy. If you wish to upgrade insurance, you will
need to buy a new policy. It may be possible to cash in the existing policy
with the brokers for any time remaining and begin again.
2. Making an Application for a Car Loan
Bring to the office: Car logbook or photocopy for initial checking
Any documentation or photocopies for clearing existing loans
Completed loan application form.
All documentation will be checked by CfBT and, if in order, a loan will be
recommended and approved and a cheque issued. It should be noted
that, if the price appears to be too much for the car in question, approval
for the loan may not be given.
Finalising the Sale
Green transfer of ownership form completed by the seller (must
Any documentation to clear loans
Insurance documents if transferred (policy and paid receipts).
Pay the cheque and obtain a receipt.
3. Transfer of Ownership
Prepare the following documentation in preparation for the transfer:
The logbook/blue card and photocopy
Green transfer of ownership form completed by both the seller
and the teacher (buyer). Section II to be completed by the seller
and Section III to be completed by the teacher (buyer) - obtain
an extra form (see below)
Photocopy of buyer's passport - including personal details and
51 August 2007
Signed photocopy of seller's passport or I.C.
Insurance - policy originals or cover note and photocopies
Any supporting documents stating clearance of bank and
government loans (normally a stamp on the blue card:
"OWNERSHIP CLAIM CEASED").
Bring the above to the CfBT office for checking. The additional green Transfer of
Ownership form is necessary since CfBT will be part-owners of the car until the
loan is repaid. This form, signed but not dated, is kept on the teacher's file until
the loan is repaid. CfBT also requires a copy of the blue card.
Take the car, together with the original blue card (ensure your name, address
and signature are on this), plus a copy of the blue card, insurance cover note and
a completed green form to Land Transport. You will also require a 'CfBT
Ownership Claim' letter from the Accounts Department. A fee of $5 is levied at
Land Transport to cover the cost of inspection. The Blue Card with the CfBT
ownership claim in must be brought back to the CfBT office and a copy made for
the Housing/Finance Department.
When the car loan is repaid in full, a letter indicating 'Cease of Ownership Claim'
can be obtained from Azizah in the Housing Department. This has to be
presented to the Land Transport Department with the Blue Card to obtain
another stamp to indicate that CfBT has no further claim on the car.
Outstation teachers should be able to arrange the transfer independently, but
please contact the office if you need assistance.
7.5 DRIVING IN BRUNEI
Driving is on the left
Road signs are in Malay but they follow international conventions and are
not difficult to understand.
Seat belts are compulsory for the driver and passenger seat. If you want
to install rear seat belts, Hock Motor Company at No 19, Simpang 21, Km
3 Jalan Gadong (Tel: 2425133), have been recommended
Child seats are now compulsory as is the wearing of rear seat belts but
not adhered to.
Driving under the influence of alcohol is a very serious offence.
Traffic regulations in Brunei will be familiar, but the local attitude towards them is
quite different. Driving habits may differ considerably to those you are used to.
You may need to make considerable modifications to your style in adapting to
Bruneian road conditions and driving tendencies. In the early days here, allow
time for a period of adjustment as you acquire experience and adapt to driving in
Give yourself plenty of time to meet appointments and arrive at your destination.
This will give you the chance to find your way and allow time for mistakes en
route without rushing. Drive slowly and carefully, keep alert and maintain
52 August 2007
concentration. Make sure you indicate to tell people exactly what you are doing,
even if other drivers fail to do so.
The police are not routinely armed and are usually friendly and unthreatening.
Traffic police and radar traps are less in evidence here compared to your own
country. Consequently the rules, as we know them, are frequently not observed.
Most drivers are sensible, but some drivers rarely miss the opportunity to
overtake, turn into the line of traffic or to run red traffic lights. There are drivers
who do not hold a driving licence, are not insured, and many are under-aged.
There are occasional police roadblocks where speeding drivers are stopped.
MAKE SURE YOU ALWAYS HAVE YOUR LICENCE WITH YOU.
1. Road System
The road system is overloaded with the number of vehicles continuing to
increase, although nowhere near as bad as other Asian capitals.
Types of Roads:
Jalan (Jln): Main roads (eg Jalan Kota Batu, Jalan Muara)
Simpang (Spg): Side roads (off main roads) - these are usually
numbered but can be named.
Lebuhraya: This is the main dual carriageway that links the
airport with Jalan Gadong and the capital.
Coast Road: From Muara to Tutong, this is a lit, dual
carriageway. There are no petrol stations along
the route. From Tutong to KB, the road has
been widened. Some sections are still single
carriage, unlit, and drivers need to exercise
caution. However, work is in progress along
this stretch to make it into a Highway. On this
stretch, petrol stations are scarce - there is
only one at Telisai 15 minutes beyond Tutong.
Watch out for unexpected U-turns or right hand
turns where there is no visible exit.
2. Road Conditions
Road surfaces tend to be reasonable but large and small potholes can
occur overnight. They can constitute a real hazard.
Storm drains are everywhere and are deep and damaging. Speed humps
(sleeping policemen) are often unmarked and therefore completely
Take extra care when driving at night as some roads are poorly lit.
It is still possible to meet wandering water buffaloes at night. Monkeys
can also cross the road unexpectedly. Dogs and cats tend to roam freely.
53 August 2007
Hot daytime temperatures, particularly at peak hours where the sun is
directly overhead, make driving uncomfortable as the air conditioner loses
its effectiveness. Try to stay cool 'mentally'.
Tropical rainstorms do appear suddenly. They can cause sudden heavy
flash flooding. Reduce speed to avoid aquaplaning and put your lights on.
When visibility is poor and it is impossible to proceed, pull off and wait for
the storm to abate (floodwater disappears quickly). Some drivers tend to
see puddles as a hazard and will actually slow down or drive around them
unexpectedly (in some cases this makes sense as they can conceal
potholes or other hazards).
4. Traffic Jams
Traffic jams are part and parcel of commuting in Brunei.
Peak times include:
School Days: Both shifts at drop-off and pick-up times
Government Offices rush hours: 7.30 am, 11.30 am to 12.30 am, 1.30
pm, and 4.30 pm to 5.00 pm
Private Sector rush hours 5.00 pm to 6.00 pm
Mosque (Prayer times) 11.30 am to 2.00 pm (Fridays)
Government Pay Day Last few days of the month
Police checks Police arrange these at random and will usually
inspect the vehicle and driver, and may request
additional checking of licence, logbook,
insurance and road tax so carry photocopies of
these in the car.
Break Downs Vehicles are sometimes abandoned by the
road. An open bonnet, flickering hazard lights
or a branch sticking out of the bonnet or boot
may indicate this.
Royal Escorts Members of the Royal Family are often
encountered on the roads. They are usually
accompanied by several outriders (policemen
on motorcycles), who will expect you to stop
and give way. Follow any instructions given by
an outrider immediately.
Roadworks Appear very unexpectedly, can be poorly sign-
posted and are often unlit at night, including
large road construction equipment. Sometimes
there is insufficient space allowed for braking
and filtering. A real hazard.
54 August 2007
5. Road Habits/Practices
It is necessary to adapt your experience and expectations of other drivers
to local interpretation and practices of the road code. There is a wide
cross section of types of drivers with a matching range of ability, so you
must display constant vigilance and concentration to cope with these
common features of driving. Patience, a good sense of humour and
lightning reactions are essential in order to enjoy your driving and avoid
Overtaking: Is frequently done without signals on blind bends, on the
brow of a hill, on the inside, at high speed and subsequently
slowing to a crawl.
Overtaking from Practised particularly during traffic jams the inside:
Traffic lights: On green - nearly always means it is safe to proceed but be
alert. Be particularly careful where there is a filter light.
There is no amber before the lights turn green and green
lights are often anticipated. Running red lights is very
common. Avoid doing this. Approach a red light with
caution and give a long brake signal to warn traffic behind
you that you intend to stop.
Lane Discipline: Not a strong point - on dual carriageways cars will weave in
and out of traffic at high speed and the outside lane is
frequently occupied by slow drivers. Consequently,
overtaking from the inside is very common and the hard
shoulder often used.
Parking: Often illegal, double, multiple and especially at schools' drop
off/pick up times, and Friday mosque time.
Roundabouts: Approach with caution as cars frequently approach in the
wrong lane. Exit roundabout with extra caution.
Giving Way: Affirmative driving is common, so it is not unusual for cars in
simpangs to pull out in front of traffic in main roads.
Conversely a line of traffic on the main road may stop
unexpectedly to allow a number of cars to join the road from
the left or the right.
Indicators: Are not necessarily a signal of intent. Often not used,
particularly on fast stretches of road, and when there is a
signal it can come after the manoeuvre has started.
Horn: Use is not generally acceptable as it causes 'loss of face'.
Airconditioner: Reduces the engine's power in a small car and the car can
fail to accelerate at critical points.
6. Petrol Stations
Petrol is cheap - around 53 cents per litre. Only unleaded petrol and diesel are
available. Most petrol stations are closed after 8.00 pm, although some operate
55 August 2007
from around 6.00 am to midnight. Petrol stations close a couple of hours for
prayers on Friday. You can purchase oil, coolant, distilled water, etc, and you
can also inflate tyres at petrol stations. Some offer car cleaning and mechanical
7.6 ROAD ACCIDENTS
Road accidents are common. A few CfBT personnel have been involved in very
serious road accidents. Several others have had minor accidents.
Carry with you: - Driving Licence
- Photocopy of Log Book (Blue Card) and Insurance
Policy (be familiar with your company accident
procedure; check when purchasing policy)
- Identity Card
- Emergency contact numbers.
Identify: - Other vehicle involved (make, colour and registration
- Other driver (name, address, telephone no.)
- Insurance details
- Witness with commitment (name, address,
Police are more in evidence at road accidents. Harsh penalties exist for those
convicted, but the way to a conviction can be fraught with difficulties, especially if
involved with an unlicensed, uninsured, under-aged driver.
These are typically road accidents involving damage to vehicles with minor or no
personal injury. They do not necessarily involve the police.
If involved, stay cool and accommodating. Try to assume a non-committal
apologetic air, even if it is not your fault. Aim to save the other driver's face. Be
helpful when giving personal details, i.e. give name, CfBT address and telephone
number as contact. Details need to be accurate for the police.
On the spot cash payments are acceptable. Be prepared to negotiate cost, but
also be aware that it is sometimes better to settle for a slightly higher cost to
avoid continuing hassle.
These are typically those accidents involving personal injury and serious damage
to vehicles. The police will be called.
If the police do ask you to make a statement, you are advised to discuss the
implications with either a member of CfBT staff or our lawyer. Be as helpful as
possible but hold firm that you need advice on what to do next.
56 August 2007
It is a good idea to be accompanied by a friend or a member of CfBT staff when
making reports at the police station.
As a bystander, be prepared to help in whatever way you feel most
confident. There may be a need to:
o Assume the role of co-ordinator and organise other willing passers
o Administer first aid
o Telephone ambulance/rescue service/police
o Transport injured people to nearest hospital.
There is now a Borneo-wide 24 hour breakdown service: Advance Global Auto
Services in Kiulap (Tel: 2237472). They provide all the usual auto club services
for a cost of $120 a year for a car up to seven years old, then $170 a year for a
car more than seven years old. Some workshops such as Sabli on telephone
number 2391122 or mobile phone number 8812112 also provide a 24-hour
Another 24 hour roadside service is 247 ASSIST. Call the administration office
on 245 5247 for details on rates and membership. They provide the usual auto
club services and send a Road-Service Technician to deal with the immediate
problem when you call the 24 hour access hotline.
7.7 BUYING A CAR
To the newcomer to Brunei, the cost of cars is a shock. The situation is,
however, fairly fluid at the moment. In November 2001, the previous car tax
rates, which ranged from 40 per cent up to 200 per cent, depending on the size
of the engine, were all abolished and replaced by a flat 20 per cent. New cars
have subsequently come down in price and this is beginning to affect the second
hand market. The implications of this are that there will be a glut of second hand
cars on the market, but sellers will still be trying to recoup most of what they paid
for their cars, so it might take some time before the prices come down
significantly on the second hand market
There are number of new car dealers located on Jalan Gadong, Jalan Tutong
and on the Beribi Industrial estate. The majority are very helpful and can arrange
finance. It should be possible to buy a new car in the 1000 to 1500cc range
between $17,000 and $25,000. The initial interest-free loan extended by CfBT to
new teachers can be utilised.
Second Hand Cars
Dealers are mainly located on Jalan Gadong and Jalan Tutong, although few
treat second-hand business very seriously and private sales through notice
boards at shopping centres tend to be a major route to buying. However, NBT
Toyota Dealer seems to have a reasonable selection of second hand cars
available. Beware though - dealers are importing second hand cars from Japan
and these are not always the bargain they appear. Best avoided as spare parts
can be hard to obtain.
57 August 2007
The Borneo Bulletin carries lists of finance company repossessions and
suggested tender prices. You would think you might get a good buy here, but
again be wary. The tender reserve prices are always a lot more than the car is
worth and you would need to know what you are looking for and have time to
look as well. You are free, however, to tender any price you wish.
There are some good second hand buys about, but be prepared to look long and
hard. When you find your vehicle, get it checked over by a mechanic before you
make an offer. No seller with a genuine vehicle for sale will object to this.
All Japanese makes such as Honda, Nissan, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Subaru,
Daihatsu, Suzuki are popular, but Korean cars such as Hyundai and Daewoo
have a poor reputation. Having said that, this does mean that you can buy much
newer Korean cars for a very low price. Avoid exotic cars, which may prove
expensive and difficult to maintain with spare parts being very expensive or
unavailable. European cars are best avoided for that reason. Four-wheel drives
are popular but unnecessary for everyday use and tend to be more expensive to
run than sedans. They rust quickly if used on the beach.
Where to Look?
Notice boards (Supermarkets, International School, Yacht Club, CfBT, etc)
Personal contacts - make general enquiries - CfBT teachers, other teaching
Finance company/bank repossession sales
Bobwhatson.com a newly established website that advertises events, clubs,
things for sale, etc., in Brunei.
The classified ads on www.brudirect.com
What to pay?
You should be prepared to bargain hard, as it is definitely a buyer's market. Ask
advice before agreeing to anything.
Indicative car prices:
CAR Year ASKING PRICE
Mitsubishi Lancer 1997 $10,500
Nissan Sunny 1.5 1997 $8,000
Toyota Corolla 1.3 1992 $4,500
Suzuki Esteem 1996 $6,800
58 August 2007
Age and Size?
Try to get a car less than five years old, which should ensure two/three years
relatively trouble-free motoring. Air conditioning is considered essential in this
climate. Remember it does take power from the engine and the car can fail to
accelerate at critical times, so give careful thought to the size of engine you
choose. With such heavy use, air-con units do not last much more than about
five years before they start to give trouble. Replacement parts are expensive
and bills of $1000 are not unusual.
NB: Cars being driven into Malaysia must be fitted with a third brake light also
known as an eye height brake light.
Garages and Workshops
CfBT does not officially recommend any particular mechanic. Ask around for a
reliable mechanic convenient to where you work or live. Reputations and
locations tend to change over a period of time but, if you can find a reasonable
workshop, your regular business will be valued and you will be more likely to
receive good service than if you flit about. The grapevine amongst CfBT
teachers and other expatriates is a useful way of getting information about good
or bad places to take your car. It is advisable to consult other people before you
take your car to a workshop.
The car dealers and workshops are mainly situated along Jalan Gadong shortly
after the first bridge. There are many workshops along Jalan Muara and on
Jalan Berakas. There are some more in the area of Jalan Gadong and Jalan
Tutong. The dealers have a good reputation in relation to the actual work carried
out, but are usually more expensive. There follows a list of workshops which
people tend to use.
Reliable and obliging and is willing to
Remus Wong at C-Ray's Auto
be called out more or less any time.
He will pick up/deliver cars for repair.
Jalan Pasir Berakas.
His prices can be high, however, and
it's a good idea to get a couple of
alternative quotes and present these
to him when he's pricing a job.
Han Lee Engineering Lot 386, Spg 40, Jalan Kota Batu,
near junction with Jalan Muara. Very
good for bodywork repairs.
Lau Motors 51 Jalan Gadong, Subaru Agents
Bakat Motors Jalan Tasek Lama. Gives good,
accurate estimates, and completes
the work fast. They also drive you to
work or home if you are going to
Bandar, and this is especially useful if
you work at SOAS, SMJA or STPRI
as most jobs can be finished during
Castrol Jalan Gadong (on the left by Isuzu).
Does various kinds of servicing. $55
for oil filter change, spark plugs
59 August 2007
change, greasing and engine
washing. Small problems are
normally spotted at an early stage by
Sin Hup Huat Tyre & Auto Service Spg 261, Jln Berakas (Tel:2425836,
2423384). Very reliable but
CAC Car Aircon Centre Simpang 22, Jalan Gadong (Tel:
Autorama Mr Clifford (Tel: 2448984).
Maj Enterprise No 58, Jalan Muara, Kg. Delima Satu
(Contact Simon Tel: 2339635)
Mobicare Services (see Ernest or Very good mechanics who will pick
Raymond) your car up for you. Simpang 639,
Mile 5, Kampong Bunut, Jalan
Tutong. Tel: 2656511 or 8713875
7.8 CARS IN KUALA BELAIT
A fair selection of cars is usually available, depending on such factors as garrison
movements, outflow of Shell staff, government recruitment and availability of
government loans for car purchase. The main sources of information are listed
below but don't forget the best source, your school staff room. Every other
person seems to know somebody who wants to sell a car.
Information also obtainable from:
Supa Save, Seria main Seria-KB road, opposite F9 road sign
Hong Eng Supermarket near the river, west end of Jalan Pretty
Panaga, SRC, KBRC Shell Clubs - ask a colleague for help
"Tradio" BFBS Radio 7.00 am and 5.30 pm daily
Salam monthly Brunei Shell Newspaper,
with many small ads
Borneo Bulletin daily local newspaper.
Garages and Workshops
The following have been used by CfBT teachers in KB:
Castrol Services, Komplex Harapan, KB (Tel: 3333360)
Gan Brothers Workshop, Lot 2355, Jalan Pandan Tiga (Tel: 3332927)
7.9 CARS IN TUTONG
Teachers posted to Tutong have the best of both worlds in terms of finding a car
as KB is as accessible as Bandar. Look out for vehicles parked on the roadside
which are for sale, particularly outside the insurance companies
60 August 2007
Maintenance and Servicing
There are a number of good garages in and around Tutong:
Shell Garage: Ah Yang (4222066) on Jalan Tutong opposite the mosque
(they service the local driving school cars!)
Kah Huat Brothers, Kg. Petani (4221367/4241570) - behind the old
Masa Enterprises on Jalan Seria
Sekolah Latehan Syarikat Saldi Zul, Kg. Surau (Tel: 4221334)
7.10 CARS IN TEMBURONG
For teachers posted to Temburong, a car is just as necessary as elsewhere in
Brunei. The following workshops have been used by teachers for
Ah Meng - Kg. Sibulu. Competent service but often a long
wait since popular with locals
Lim's - Jalan Puni, Bangar A tyre and battery service - not really
a mechanic, though he will do basic
servicing including oil-change. He will
sell you a new exhaust to be fitted by
Hj Mohd Hussin (see below). Friendly
and helpful. Service: $40 approx
including parts (oil and filter).
Hj Mohd Hussin & Sons - Kg. Batang Mostly do welding and paint jobs -
Tuan. quite good and not too expensive.
Partial respray and partial derust:
Ampuan Hj Daud/Hj Salleh - Kg. Batu General Mechanics and the most
Apoi popular with CfBT teachers. He is
helpful and reliable, willing to tow your
car if you have a breakdown. Prices
are reasonable but spare parts may
have to come from BSB.
Shell Garage, Jalan Batang Duri. Toyota specialist. Reasonable prices
but only one mechanic. Car washes
Yi Tien Siong, Kg Belingos Able to do most things except
resprays. Popular with the locals.
Car washes available.
Hj Radin & Anak-Anak (IBB Bank Tyre service only.
61 August 2007
7.11 GENERAL CAR MAINTENANCE
You will probably find that you are using your car a lot more in Brunei than you
did elsewhere, even though point-to-point distances are not great in most cases.
Consequently, the need for repairs and general maintenance will increase in
proportion. Basically, the same rules apply as they would in your own country.
The sensible approach is to shop around, get a few quotes and don't be
frightened of asking for a price, you will not offend local sensibilities - they expect
However, bazaar-style bargaining is not the norm, often the first price quoted is
very near to what the workshop expects to be paid, but it might be slightly
modifiable if you use a correct, gentle approach. Check what a service entails
and be specific about exactly what you want done. Don't take anything for
granted as a tune-up/service might just mean changing the oil, oil filter and
putting in new spark plugs.
Hints on Preventive Maintenance
It is a good idea to develop a few simple habits which may avoid unnecessary
Jump leads: Buy a good set and know how to operate them.
Battery: These can fail quite suddenly and don't seem to last more than a
couple of years. Keep topped up with distilled water. Keep the
terminals clean. It is often a good idea to buy a new battery when
you buy a car, then you can be sure.
Tyres: Use manufacturer's specifications for pressure/size. Keep in a
roadworthy condition and bear in mind that you will be driving on
very wet roads at times. Regularly check that the spare tyre is
pumped up and make sure your car has a jack and the other tools
you might need to change a wheel. Practice changing a wheel at
home as your first puncture will undoubtedly be at night in the
pelting rain. Make sure wheels are properly aligned.
Coolant: Keep your radiator topped up.
Wipers: Replace perished rubbers quickly. If the car is parked in the sun for
a long time, lift the wipers off the windscreen. Keep water reservoir
Air Con: Turn off air conditioning switch when starting the engine to avoid
battery overload. Have it checked for gas regularly. A top up costs
$20 and will increase the life of the unit.
Belts: Have fan and air-con belts checked regularly for wear and tension.
Less readily visible but no less important is the belt which drives the
valve camshaft. (the "timing belt"). If this breaks, the damage to
valves and pistons could cost you over $1000.
Lights: Make sure that your headlights are correctly aligned and bright
enough to get you home on a wet, dark night. Have your indicator
and brake lights checked regularly.
62 August 2007
Brakes: Have the brake pads checked regularly.
If your car breaks down, the public are usually very helpful. It is usually quite
safe to lock and leave the car in order to find a mechanic. Do not, however,
leave your car unattended for too long, especially at night, as there have been a
few cases of vandalism and thefts. The mechanic may fix on site or tow to the
workshop. There are a few 24-hour towing services operating now (see above
page 50). They are listed in the Yellow Pages and it's worth carrying their phone
numbers in your car. A mobile phone is also very useful.
Labour is usually charged at between $8-$12 per hour and you shouldn't pay
more. (The low cost of labour is often the reason that repair bills seem low.)
Replacement parts are generally expensive, particularly if the part has to be
imported. The following is a list of some of the costs incurred for repairs and
replacements. This list is by no means comprehensive, but it might give you a
general idea of the prices you can expect to pay.
Batteries : $70 - $110 depending on the quality of the battery.
Tyres : The cost of tyres seems to vary according to your
requirements. The cheapest quoted are Yokohama at $65
each. The most expensive are Michelins at $125 each.
Michelins were, however, considered excellent quality by the
purchaser. Generally the cost of tyres was quoted at
between $75 - $90 depending on size. You can make
savings by buying them in Malaysia.
Servicing : Annual service with a number of replacement parts
including oil filter, contact points, plugs, oil,wipers, bulbs etc.,
$80 - $150.
General : The following is a short list of some repairs people have
had to pay for. It may give you an idea of the prices you
should expect to pay.
Parts of exhaust pipe $60 - $80
Tie rod ends and cost of call out $79
Outer drive shaft replacement $440 - $1200
Gear stick bolt and shift link $50 - $100
replaced plus towing charge
Exhaust repair $60 - $80
Damaged car wing, beating out, spray $100 - $200
Total respray with welding $700 - $1400
63 August 2007
Towing charges BSB + environs $25 -$50
Brunei differs from other South East Asian countries in that there are fewer bikes
on the roads. Recently, motorcycles have become more popular amongst the
local community. Except for real enthusiasts, new bikes are recommended since
major repairs are not always easy to arrange and parts can be difficult to obtain.
However, there are some excellent motorbike mechanics.
You may need a back up car or have access to one when it rains heavily.
Kim Hock Motor Co Unit 6 #01-A Hj Daud Complex,
Gadong. Considered the best place.
Deals in new and second hand
motorcycles. Delivery for new bikes
can take three months. Spares for
Yamaha bikes can be ordered,
repairs are available for any make of
bike. The staff are helpful and
Soon Teck Motor Jalan Gadong, first on left coming
from Berakas Road. A repair and
spare-parts shop, also deals in some
second hand bikes: (Tel:
2420223/2426470). Boss and staff
are quite friendly and helpful, and
may know of someone selling a bike
Shariff Auto Services Agent for Suzuki motorcycles.
Komplex Warisan, Simpang 24, Jalan
Motorcycles in KB
They are available from time to time but there are no facilities for maintenance or
for buying spare parts except at Kim Hock, Jalan Gadong, BSB. You can easily
go to Miri once your visa is in order to get spares, which are readily available in
Prices range from approximately $2000 - $7000 depending on size. The same
sources as for cars apply. Be prepared to get wet 30 per cent of your
motorcycling life. Protective clothing is unbearably hot.
Make sure that your driving licence is valid for Brunei. It may be necessary to
take a test.
64 August 2007
Helmets are compulsory. They are available locally but not top quality.
Protective clothing is generally not available. Locals tend to ride in T-shirts and
sandals, but this is not recommended. On a bike in Brunei, extremely defensive
driving is advisable since motorists are not used to bikes and make no
allowances for them.
Watch out for a lack of awareness of motorcycle braking distances, driving too
close, lack of indications, pedestrians, unfenced animals (water buffaloes and
Road surfaces can be treacherous for bike riders, e.g. potholes, grit and water.
8 TELEPHONE SERVICE AND INTERNET
New telephone applications from Green IC holders are subject to regulations
which involve a payment of $100 ($50 deposit and $50 connection fee) from the
applicant. In order to avoid the deposit, CfBT invites landlords to apply for the
telephone line in their own names as Yellow IC holders, but they are under no
obligation to do this. If landlords are unwilling to provide lines in their own
names, teachers can still apply by following the procedures below.
1. Obtain an application form and necessary letters from the Housing Department
2. Complete the application form and deliver it to TelBru Sales Department with
the following information keeping copies for future reference:
Standard letter of guarantee from CfBT
Copy of CfBT's certificate of registration
Copy of own passport (personal details pages and EMPASS)
Ministry of Education letter indicating approval of appointment (the
Professional Department of CfBT can provide this)
Copy of your CfBT employment contract showing contract dates
Copy of Green IC (take the original also).
3. If a telephone line or points are not already installed in the property, request
TelBru to proceed with this. A contractor will be sent out and all installation costs
are to be paid directly to this contractor by you. It should be about $50.
4. Await written approval from TelBru Sales department. The installation
contractor may deliver this personally. This process can take about two weeks
but if nothing is heard after this time contact the Sales Department directly.
5. Once approval has been granted, proceed with the following:
Deliver the approval letter to TelBru Sales Department
65 August 2007
Show your IC and pay the connection fee of $50 and the IDD deposit
of $50. Remember to keep your receipt to reclaim your deposit on
leaving the property.
6. Purchase a handset ($50.00 - $120.00). Your phone service should be in
operation within a few days.
To have an existing line reconnected, proceed with steps 1,2,4,5, & 6 above.
The reconnection fee is $50, plus the installation fee of $50 and three months
rental deposit ($13 x 3), the total charge being $139. The reconnection fee of
$50 can be reclaimed when leaving the property by producing the original
receipt. Please note that the $500 IDD deposit has to be paid as well if the
landlord is unwilling to have the line installed for you.
If you have any problems with any of these steps, please contact the Senior
Officer in the TelBru Sales department.
You are advised to pay your bills by the due date at TelBru or Post Offices or you
will incur a late payment charge of two per cent and very possibly have your
phone cut off, incurring a $50 reconnection fee. If your bill does not arrive in the
post, go to the payments counter of TelBru and ask for a print out of your bill. It
can then be paid on the spot.
Rather than using the 00 prefix for phoning overseas, which can be expensive,
there is the alternative 098 prefix "economy rate" which is quite a bit cheaper,
e.g. $1.10 per minute to Australia instead of $1.80, $1.50 instead of $2.50 to New
Zealand. There is also a 097 option, which is even cheaper but not available for
all countries. You can also use 095 on a mobile phone at the same rates. Skype
is increasingly popular and works well with a broadband connection.
Mobile telephone services in Brunei are provided by DST Comm and by
b.mobile. Mobile phones start from around $90 and can be purchased from a
number of stockists in the country. After that there are two possible options:
Take the phone to any DST office to register. Registration costs $100 and there
is a $400 deposit to pay. After that the line rental is $50 per month. To register,
take the following to any DST office:
Completed application form
Valid IC and signed photocopy
Letter of employment or contract letter verifying period of service and
66 August 2007
Bills need to be paid promptly before the date due on the monthly bill, otherwise
the line will be disconnected immediately and there is a reconnection charge to
There is also a GSM roaming service available to allow the phone to be used
while overseas. There is a $30 registration fee for this service and then a charge
of $10 per month. Caller ID is also another of the range of services they offer
and this is available for a $10 registration fee and no further payment.
This allows subscribers to make cellular telephone calls via a prepaid service.
To register for this service, you first need a GSM telephone then you need to
purchase an Easi starter pack at $30 available from DST or from mobile phone
stockists. INCOMM has a good selection of mobile phones, although DST at the
airport usually stock Easi starter packs. Some mobile phone shops will only sell
you an Easi starter pack if you buy a phone from them. This enables you to
register and gives you your first $20 subscription that is valid for 35 days. Easi
recharge cards are easily available through a variety of stockists including some
supermarkets and you can opt for a $10 card, valid for 15 days, a $20 card, valid
for 35 days, a $40 card, valid for 75 days, or a $100 for 180 days. Provided the
next recharge card is purchased and installed before the previous one has
expired, the outstanding credit is carried over. There is also an annual $25
licence fee which will be deducted from your Easi card balance but you will be
warned when it is due. SMS and roaming service are available through Easi.
“post paid package”
You can register for b.mobile services at TelBru Headquarters and The Mall.
They are also available in KB, Tutong and Temburong. Registration costs $80
and there is a $100 deposit to pay. After that the line rental is $38 per month.
“pre paid package”
The starter pack for b.mobile is $49. This includes the connection and license fee
as well as $18 worth of phone credits. After that, you can opt for the $8 top up
card, valid for 30 days and the $18 and $38 cards which are valid for 180 days.
Connection to the Internet is a fairly painless process. Application forms can be
obtained from the main TelBru office in each district. Usually the application
procedure can be completed within twenty-four hours. You will need to have a
copy of your IC (a photocopy of the IC receipt will do as it has your IC number in
the top right hand corner), your telephone number and the $20 registration fee.
The account type you choose will vary, as there are a number of options
available depending on the amount of Internet time you intend to use.
67 August 2007
Typical options are:
Account Name Monthly Fee Free Hours
E-mail economy 3.95 8
Student 8.00 14
Personal 15.00 20
Personal Special 30.00 40
In addition to an email address (two for the Personal Special account), you will
also be allocated 2MB of disk space for each email account.
There is also an option called "e-speed" which provides a permanent broadband
connection at a higher speed but it is quite expensive ($98 per month for 256
DST Com has also begun an ISP service called Simpur.net. The charges are
higher than Brunet but more facilities are available. Contact DST to register.
There is also the option to buy prepaid Internet cards for various amounts of time
and there are many cyber cafés around.
9 RADIO AND TELEVISION
There are several local radio stations, such as Pilihan Network which broadcasts
on 95.9 FM with a variety of music, documentaries and in various languages.
There is also Kristal FM on 90.7 FM. In KB, it is also possible to hear British
Forces Broadcasting Service on 92.0 FM.
Three local television channels are available in Brunei. The local television
station is Radio Television Brunei (RTB) which has good reception. Malaysia
television channels 1 and 2 have variable reception and are obtainable by a VHF
aerial. An internal aerial costs from $40-$80 and an external aerial $300-400.
There is now only one option available:
This is a digital satellite service, requiring a small dish and a decoder, which
costs about $300 to install, then about $50 a month depending on which plan you
choose. Basic packages typically offer STAR World, BBC and CNN, Discovery
Channel, National Geographic Channel, Animal Planet, Travel and Living,
Cartoon Network and music channels. Movie channels and sports are usually
You need to apply in person with a valid IC and passport containing an
employment pass with a validity of more than six months. The office is upstairs
in Gadong Properties building, Gadong.
68 August 2007
10 BANKING IN BRUNEI
There are several different banks in Brunei, the two largest and best-known
being HSBC and Standard Chartered. There are branches of these banks in
BSB and in the main towns outside the capital. Temburong has a branch of the
Islamic Bank of Brunei (IBB) only.
All banks offer the usual facilities: remittances, personal loans, travellers
cheques, and automatic teller machines.
Banking hours are normally 9.00 am to 3.00 pm, Monday to Friday and 9.00 am
to 11.00 am on Saturdays but HSBC has slightly longer hours, being open from
8.45 am to 4.00 pm Monday to Friday.
Standard Chartered is also open from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm Monday to Friday and
11.30 am on Saturdays.
Baiduri Bank has one branch at Supa Save Supermarket in Gadong and another
at The Mall that open seven days a week until 9.30 pm.
Only HSBC has internet banking however.
Banks get very busy on government servants' payday, so you are advised to
avoid the bank on those days. Some teachers, in fact, prefer to bank with a sub-
branch, as the main branch is often very crowded.
CfBT pays teachers' salaries into their bank accounts by the end of each month
11 MEDICAL MATTERS
There is no reason to be especially worried about your health in Brunei; given a
pleasant climate and an interesting life, it can, in fact, be even better than it is at
'Tropical Diseases', many of which are diseases of poverty and under-
development, have a lower incidence in Brunei than other SE Asian countries.
They still exist but as a resident you are in an excellent position to protect
69 August 2007
yourself against them.
You have control over your immediate environment; you can ensure your food is
hygienically prepared, your water supply is pure, your home protected from
mosquitoes and other pests, and that your car is properly serviced and
Teachers are most vulnerable to these types of tropical illness when travelling
during holidays. At these times, to a certain extent, you lose control over the
environment (having once chosen your destination) and therefore need to take
extra thought and care about the food you eat, water you drink, brush your teeth
with and swim in as well as the ice that goes into your drinks. You also need to
protect against insect bites. There is also a tendency while on holiday, away
from constraints and conventions of home and work, to take risks or take part in
activities which lead to an increase in the number of accidents.
Serious illnesses and accidents do occur, but because of the lifestyle and length
of time abroad these tend to be the same kind of illnesses you would get at
home, such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. With worldwide
increase in tuberculosis and its prevalence amongst migrant workers in Brunei,
teachers are advised to have the Mantoux test to ensure they are protected.
Residence in Brunei will have little to do with their appearance. More important
is access to medical facilities should you require them and adequate insurance
cover for repatriation should that prove necessary.
In the short term it is common for teachers in their first months in Brunei to
experience minor coughs and colds as you would at anytime when you make
major changes to your home and work environment. It takes time to develop
immunity to new strains of bacteria or virus.
Due to the very humid climate wound healing can be slow and problematic. Cuts
and bites need to be treated carefully; they should be thoroughly cleaned and
kept dry to avoid infections.
There are four hospitals in Brunei:
1. The General Hospital in Bandar Seri Begawan, known as RIPAS (opened
520 beds - operating every speciality except interventional cardiology
(which is available at JPMC) and radiotherapy for cancer treatment.
2. Kuala Belait Hospital, known as Suri Seri Begawan
200 beds operating a majority of specialities.
70 August 2007
3. Tutong District Hospital, known as Pengiran Muda Mahkota Pg Hj Al-
125 beds. Twelve permanent doctors. Serious cases would be sent to
4. Bangar (Temburong) District Hospital, known as Pengiran Isteri Hajah
50 beds. Three permanent doctors.
There is also a private medical clinic at Jerudong Park (JPMC), which is open to
the public. It offers a range of services and the Welfare Department at CfBT can
provide further details and a scheme of charges.
Government Hospitals or Outpatient Clinics.
CfBT provides medical insurance cover for all employees and subsidised medical
insurance for all dependants at 50 per cent of the premium. This excludes
children under 12 years of age as they are entitled to free medical treatment at
government hospitals and clinics. The policy covers outpatient and inpatient
treatment, other than the excess of B$100.
Patients in KB, Tutong and Temburong can go direct to the hospital outpatient
department without a referral. Patients in BSB can go to their respective
outpatient clinic. However, a patient seeing a specialist has to be referred by one
of the following:
Child Health Clinic
Referrals from private general practitioners and dentists are subject to a referral
fee. Your private doctor or dentist should be able to give you a precise amount,
but it is a minimum of $25.00.
Most of the specialist clinics at the General Hospital do have appointment
71 August 2007
Outpatient Clinics (Pusat Kesihatan)
This list (below) will tell you which clinic you are supposed to go to, depending on
where you live:
Berakas “A” Health Centre Berakas “B” Health Centre
Block 22, No 8, Simpang 485,
Bangunan Flat Kerajaan, Kg Sungai Hanching, Jalan
Kg Anggerek Desa, Jalan Berakas Muara
Kg Serusop Kg Lambak “A”
Kg Pg Si Raja Muda Kg Lambak “B”
Kg Delima Satu and Delima Dua Kg Salambigar
Kg Panca Delima Kg Sungai Orok
Anggerek Desa Kg Sungai Hanching
Kg Jaya Bakti Kg Sungai Tilong
Kg Pulaie Kg Manggis Satu and Manggis Dua
Kg Orang Kaya Basar Imas Lambak Kiri
Maktab Melayu Paduka Seri Begawan
Lambak Kanan 1,2,3,4 and 5
Maktab Teknik Sultan Saiful Rizal Kg Madang
Jalan Kebangsaan Lama and Baru Kg Sungai Akar
Barrek Polis Berakas Berakas Kem
Kg Jaya Setia Kg Tanah Jambu
Kg Burung Pinggai Berakas Kg Subok
Lapangan Terbang Lama
Kg Perpindahan Terunjing
72 August 2007
Muara Health Centre
Gadong Health Centre
Al-Warasah Commercial Centre,
Dialysis Centre Building, Kg Rimba
Gadong Industrial Area Kg Kapok Kanan and Kiri
Kg Gadong Estate Kg Meragang
Kg Menglait Kg Sabun
Kg Pengkalan Gadong Kg Serasa
Kg Rimba Kg Masjid Lama
Kg Katok Pekan Muara
Kg Tungku Tanjong Pelompong
Rimba Government Housing Perpindahan Serasa
Kg Beribi Government Housing Kg Mentiri
Jalan Babu Raja Police Housing Kg Sungai Buloh
STKRJ Mata-Mata Kg Batu Marang
Gadong Police HQ Kg Pangkalan Sibabau
Kg Batu Bersurat Kg Salar
Mentiri Government Housing 1 and
Kg Mata Mata
Kg Beribi Kg Sungai Besar
Kg Kiarong (Maktab Duli)
Kg Perpindahan Mata Mata
Government Flats Kiarong
STKRJ Kg Tungku
STKRJ Kg Rimba
Universiti Brunei Darussalam
73 August 2007
Pengiran Anak Puteri Hajah Rashidah Sa’adatul Bolkiah,
Kg Sungai Asam
Kg Lupak Luas Kg Pengiran Bendahara lama
Kg Buang Tengkurok Kg Burong Pinggai Ayer
Kg Kelugus Kg Lurong Dalam
Kg Panchor Kg Pandai Besi “A”
Kg Lumapas Kg Pandai Besi “B”
Kg Buang Sakar Kg Pandai Dalam
Kg Kasat Kg Sungai Pandan “A”
Kg Baong Kg Sungai Pandan “B”
Kg Putat Kg Pg Setia Negara
Kg Tarap Bau Kg Pekan Lama
Kg Sungai Kebun Kg Sungai Asam
Kg Ujong Klinik Kg Peramu
Kg Sungai Siamas Kg Bakut Pg Siraja Muda “A”
Kg Setia “A” Kg Bakut Pg Siraja Muda “B”
Kg Setia “B” Kg Bakut Berumput
Kg Bolkiah “A” Kg Lurong Sikuna
Kg Bolkiah “B” Kg Setia Pahlawan
Kg Tamoi Ujong Kg Pekilong Muara
Kg Tamoi Tengah Kg Saba Darat “A”
Kg Pg Tajuddin Hitam Kg Saba Darat “B”
Kg Pg Kerma Indera Lama Kg Saba Tengah
Kg Limbongan Kg Saba Ujong
Kg Ujong Bukit Kg Saba Laut
74 August 2007
Jubli Perak Health Centre, Sengkurong
Kg Sungai Tampoi Kg Sinarubai
Kg Selayun Kg Burong Lapas
Kg Sengkurong “B” Kg Kilanas
KgTagap Kg Jangsak
Kg Sengkurong “A” (Pasai) Kg Sentol
Kg Mulaut Kg Tanjong Bunut
Kg Bukit Bunga Kg Bebatek
Kg Bukit Anggor Kg Masin
Kg Peninjau Kg Parit
Kg Jerudong Kg Pengkalan Batu
Kg Jerudong (Polo grounds) Kg Batu Ampar
Jalan Jerudong Kg Batong
Kg Tanjong Nangka Kg Pancor Murai
Kg Lugu Kg Bebuloh
Kg Katimahar Kg Junjongan
Kg Kulapis Kg Kuala Lurah
Kg Medewa Kg Limau Manis
Kg Perpindahan Bunut Kg Batang Perhentian
Kg Bunut Kg Wasan
Kg Tasek Meradun Kg Kupang
75 August 2007
Bandar Seri Begawan Health Centre, Jalan Ong Sum Ping
Pusat Bandar (Town Centre) Kg Ujung Tanjong
Kg Kianggeh Kg Sungai Kedayan “A”
Kg Berangan Kg Sungai Kedayan “B”
Seri Complex Kg Bukit Salat
Kawasan Bangunan Badiah Kg Kota Batu
Maktab Perguruan Ugama Kg Pelambayan
Taman Chempaka Kg Dato Gandi
Kawasan Istana Nurul Iman Kg Sg. Matan
Jalan Tutong (Kg Temasek) Kg Serdang
Jalan Tutong (Telanai) Kg Sungai Belukut
Kg Kiulap Kg Menunggol
Padang Baru Kg Riong
Tasek Kg Pudak
Pusar Ulak Kg Pulau Baru-Baru
Kg Mabohai Kg Pulau berbunut
Perumahan Perkerja Lembaga
Kg Sultan Lama Kg Pintu Malim
Kg Sumbiling Lama Kg Belimbing
Kg Pengiran Pemancha Lama Kg Sungai Lampai
Kg Kuala Peminyak
It is perfectly easy to switch from one GP to another if dissatisfied. However, a
patient will not necessarily be seen by the same doctor on each subsequent visit
to the clinic. If you wish to see the same doctor, make a note of his/her name
76 August 2007
and ask for him/her next time. If he/she is on duty, there will be no difficulty.
Most doctors are extremely competent and well qualified.
Patients are seen on a 'first come, first served' basis in clinics. Waiting times
vary but a wait of two hours to see the doctor is not unusual. However, once
referred to a specialist clinic any follow up is by appointment. Referral from
outpatient clinic to specialist may be on the same day if a specialist clinic is being
Outpatient Office in Brunei-Muara District:
Monday to Thursday and Saturday 7.45 am to 12.00 am
1.30 pm to 4.15 pm
Ong Sum Ping Clinic:
Monday to Thursday and Saturday 6.00 pm to 9.00 pm
Friday, Sunday and Public Holidays 2.00 pm to 9.00 pm
In All Other District Hospitals:
Monday to Thursday and Saturday 7.45 am to 12.15 am
1.30 pm to 4.15 pm
Friday, Sunday and Public Holidays Closed
This department, like all other specialist departments, is not segregated. Only
accident and emergency cases are dealt with here. However, there is a
provision for common illnesses to be seen to outside the above working hours in
the form of an Outpatient Clinic but the public are not encouraged to attend
unless absolutely necessary as medicine stock is limited. The Casualty
Department is staffed 24 hours. If you have an emergency at home, you can:
1. Ring the hospital (Tel: 2242424) and ask for Casualty. There is a flying
squad service with a doctor and resuscitation equipment.
2. Ring for an ambulance (Tel: 2222366 at present) or the Emergency No. 991
There is open visiting for parents in the paediatrics department and parents can
stay overnight in the case of inpatient treatment. All meals are provided free of
charge for inpatients.
Private, fee paying services are also available at between $50 - $150 per night
Staying in RIPAS Hospital
If you are admitted to hospital you need to be prepared. Conditions are basic
and you will need to make sure you have the following essential items:
77 August 2007
flip flops or shoes that can get wet (the toilet floors can be wet so good
shoes are not recommended)
plastic/waterproof bag (no hooks or shelves in the toilets so you need
something to protect your things)
cardigan or jumper (the air conditioning is very effective so nights get very
light duvet/extra blanket
flask with hot water for tea.
You are expected to provide everything for your child, including nappies, formula,
bottles, wipes: an extra blanket is a good idea as well.
Visiting hours are on the wall. These are largely ignored and you are only asked
to leave if the doctors are making their rounds. Women patients are expected to
wear the sarong and shirt provided to prevent any embarrassment for male
visitors. These are usually somewhere on a trolley, along with sheets and
blankets. Help yourself and, as supply can be erratic, put a spare set in your
locker if you can. Similarly, the changing of sheets is erratic, so you may want to
do it yourself.
Food and Drink
Nothing is available other than the three meals a day and afternoon tea. There is
a canteen and there is a small shop where you can get bread, biscuits,
newspapers etc., but it is a good idea to bring supplies with you. If you have a
thermos/flask, you can get it filled early in the morning so you have hot water to
make coffee, tea, which you provide yourself.
Doctors and Nurses
The doctors are very good but may not tell you what is happening; so do ask
them if you are unclear. Also, be clear on medication dosages, as information is
not always passed accurately to the nurses. Also, if something is being
mentioned (other than temperature), you will need to keep a note as the nurses
will only ask at the end of their shift and you will be expected to know what has
If you want your husband to be present at the birth, you must have it written on
your notes by the antenatal doctor. Otherwise your husband will not be allowed
in. It is not the norm for husbands to be present, so the midwives may be a little
uncomfortable with this. You will be asked for details of your Passport and
Identity Card for yourself and your spouse in the delivery area so take these
documents with you.
After the birth, they will ask you for a towel or blanket. This is to wrap the baby
up in to go to the ward. You will need to provide baby blankets, clothes, nappies,
wipes, plus all the items previously mentioned.
78 August 2007
Reasons for using private doctors are:
Avoiding long waits at the hospital when feeling ill
Provide continuity of treatment
To build a relationship with a particular practitioner.
Fees are similar for KB and BSB: $20 - $30, $25 + medication charges, $100 for
a smear test. Clinics without laboratories may use Singapore (see list). All have
their own dispensary. CfBT does not pay for private treatment. Jerudong Park
Medical Centre is now open for maternity packages and IVF.
CfBT teachers should not take time off during schools hours unless this is
unavoidable (e.g. emergencies or where the teacher is too sick to go to school).
In most cases, specialist appointments can be made to avoid clashing with
Should the doctor issue a Medical Certificate, please ask for the diagnosis to be
written on the MC. Bear in mind that a Medical Certificate from a government
doctor is preferred and is a requirement if the period of illness is for more than
two days and includes a Friday or Sunday.
Jag Therapy is a well established and long running natural therapies clinic run by
Jagdesh and his daughters. They are all trained and qualified and provide
natural remedies for a diverse range of conditions. Consultations are on a walk-
in basis and patients normally donate $20 which covers the visit as well as any
treatment and natural herbs etc. that you may need to take home to complete
your treatment. There are also yoga classes and massage available. Jag
Therapy is located at #18, Spg. 538-13, Sungai Akar, behind the new Manggis
Hua Ho Department Store. Call 234 3128 for further information.
In BSB and KB there are both private and government dental clinics. In
Temburong and Tutong, there is a hospital-based service. CfBT will not pay for
any dental treatment.
In a CfBT survey, government dentists in all districts received positive comments
for a good, cheap service.
Prices quoted for government dentists includes:
$15 for a check-up
$5 for an extraction
$100-200 for a crown
$20-80 for a filling
$1800 for an implant
Private dentists are good but not cheap, although it is felt that a private dentist
would be more inclined to try to save a tooth rather than extract it.
Prices quoted for private clinics includes:
$30 for a check up, $50 for a filling
79 August 2007
$200 for a root filling over three visits
$500 for a crown, $675 for gold
In BSB, there is no shortage of opticians who will give you a free computer eye
test and offer a very good range of frames.
There are no services in Tutong and Temburong. Very good prices and services
are available in Limbang, Miri and Labuan.
In general, frames range from $80 to $150 (although designer frames are more
expensive); single focus lenses are about $50, bifocals $110 to $150 and
varifocals $180 to $450.
Vision Works Optical Company, offers a discount to CfBT staff.
Although there is no official family planning in Brunei, contraceptives are
available. You can get an IUD fitted at RIPAS hospital. Diaphragms are not
available. Oral contraceptives can be bought from pharmacists. Women already
taking these are required to produce a letter from a doctor in order to purchase
new packs. First-time users should go initially to the antenatal section of the
hospital and make an appointment to see a gynaecologist. After an examination
(this should be requested, even if it is not suggested at the hospital) the woman
will be supplied with a sample pack of pills, which she should take to an outside
pharmacist in order to buy a supply.
Oral contraceptives are not available free at the hospital. The cost of a month's
supply varies: the price depends on the type of pill. (Note: CfBT does not pay for
these.) Condoms are available in pharmacies and department stores or
supermarkets as well.
RIPAS Hospital 2242424/2232188
RIPAS Pharmacy 2242424 Ext. 287
Blood Bank 2242424 Ext. 338/315
Jerudong Park Medical Centre 2611433
Tutong Hospital 4221011/4260721/4260723/4260724
Kuala Belait Hospital 3335331/3335332
Temburong Hospital 5221526
Sports Medicine and Research 2380700 Ext.109 & 2380689 (Physio)
80 August 2007
J Lim and Chung Dental Surgery 2448290
Unit 3 Block E (Dr Chung and Dr Janet Lim)
Abdul Razak Complex, Gadong
Leslie Ong 2451122
No 9, 1st floor, Block 1, They also have a night clinic Monday,
Abdul Razak Complex, Gadong Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 7.00 to
Hart Medical Clinic 2225531
Wisma Setia, 1st floor, Unit 4, (Dr Hart)
Jalan Pemancha, BSB
Riverview Medical Clinic 2238238/8753403
Next to Riverview Hotel, (Dr C D Reynolds)
No.179, Jalan Gadong, Gadong
Lim Medical Clinic 2422788
Block D, Unit 1, 1st floor
Abdul Razak Complex
Dr Chhan Paediatric Clinic 2422141/2
Ground floor, Unit 9, They also have a night clinic,
Block C, Kiarong Complex Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 7.30 -
(opposite CfBT office)
Dr Prema (Gynaecology) 2421727
Next to Nyonya Restaurant
Lee Clinic & Dispensary 2426468/2448049/2448073
Unit 2 1st floor, Block E Uses a Singapore laboratory for
Abdul Razak Complex investigations
Yayasan Complex, BSB
Seria Plaza, Seria
Jerudong Park Medical Centre 2611433
81 August 2007
There are several Maternal and Child (MCH) Health clinics. They provide a
health worker type of service including immunization. (This is in addition to the
Inoculation Centre in RIPAS). The MCH clinics have a 'Road to Health' card to
guide and record immunization.
Inoculation Centre - Ong Sum Ping Clinic, 4th floor
Meningitis A & C type
Hepatitis B (adults only)
Chest Clinic - RIPAS
Mantoux test (for tuberculin sensitivity)
BCG (for tuberculosis)
School Health Service (Ministry of Health, First floor)
All school aged children
Hepatitus B Every Wednesday 1.30/3.30pm at the Inoculation Centre
BCG All children not already vaccinated
BCG Booster Primary 1
CDT/Polio Booster (Cholera, Diphtheria Tetanus) Primary 1
Rubella Primary 6 girls
Baby Health Clinic
Children under 5 years old
BCG (NB: Mantoux test at RIPAS)
Tetra Hip & Polio (diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, influenza type b)
MMR (measles, mumps, rubella)
Malaria Prophylaxis - Entomology Unit (Tel: 2381640)
Ministry of Health
Injections available privately
82 August 2007
Blood Group/Blood Donation
On CfBT's Medical and Immigration Record Form, you will see that we ask for
your Blood Group. This is an "awareness raising exercise" carried out by us on
your behalf. It is to bring your attention to the special circumstances in Brunei.
The local population predominantly belongs to RHESUS POSITIVE blood
groups. As a result, the collection for donation of RHESUS NEGATIVE is by
expatriate groups for expatriate groups and visitors.
The Blood Bank at RIPAS Hospital keeps only small amounts of each group (A
NEG, O NEG, B NEG, AB NEG). They therefore, from time to time need to
supplement their supply and, in an emergency, would contact CfBT to help them
find a suitable donor. Names will not be given without prior consent.
If you wish to become a regular Blood Donor (whether your group is POSITIVE
or NEGATIVE), please contact the Blood Bank, Tel: 2242424 ext 338, 315 or see
Mandie Whitehouse. All donors are screened for Hepatitis, VDRL & HIV.
It follows that if you are Rhesus NEGATIVE you might like to "team up" with
someone with compatible blood if you would be willing to donate to each other in
an emergency. Refer to the CfBT Welfare Department for more information.
11.1 NOTES FOR FAMILIES WITH YOUNG CHILDREN
Baby Food, Nappies and other Vital Equipment
Everything you will need and can get in the UK, Australia or New Zealand is
available in Brunei. However, supply can be erratic and prices are higher. If
there is a particular brand you use that you cannot live without - bulk buy!
'Huggies' and 'Pampers' are available but tend to be very expensive and the
sizes are not generous. A lot of people find the brand 'Sealer' as good, if not
better, than these, and half the price. Be careful when buying though as there is
a difference between the various packs, and those with the solid blocks of colour
are better as they have a little extra 'frill' around the edge of the nappy and do not
leak. „Huggies‟ swimmers for toddlers and babies are also available.
Pull-up nappies for potty training are available but supply can be erratic, so you
would be advised to buy several packs at a time.
Napisan can be found in the Children's Section in department stores, together
with sterilising tablets, teats, bottles, etc.
The main brands, Heinz, Farleys, Milupa and Gerber, are generally available,
and occasionally organic brands are available at Supa Save. Jars range in price
from $1.10 to $1.80, and tend to be fruit, vegetables, desserts and chicken
83 August 2007
dishes. The best selection is probably in Supa Save. Milupa 'baby rice' is
always available, but products such as Heinz Muesli Cereal tend to run out
This is located on the lower ground floor of the Yayasan complex, opposite the
Hua Ho Supermarket and another branch next to Jaya supermarket, at the back
of Centrepoint in Gadong, Delima Square, ground floor of Hua Ho Mall at
Manggis, Jaln Muara and the Seria Plaza, Seria. They import a lot of products
that you will use, such as Sudocream, Calpol, Liquid Panadol, and a variety of
baby products and children's medicines. You do not require prescriptions, but
usually need to talk to the pharmacist for medication. It is advisable to telephone
the pharmacist first and ask them to leave your item behind the counter for you to
collect, as they are not always there.
There is a baby clinic for each area and these are sign posted by a mustard or
blue sign with a red crescent and star. It also says 'Bidan Kerajaan'. You can
register at the clinic with your baby/toddler, or if you have your baby at RIPAS
Hospital it is done automatically.
Immunization programmes are done at the clinics, as are progress checks and
also general appointments. A doctor attends at least one day a week but you
usually need to make an appointment. The clinics provide vitamin supplements
and liquid panadol free of charge. They are generally very busy in the morning so
it is best to go in the afternoon (1.30 to 3.30 pm/3.45 pm).
The main clinics are:
Jalan Muara : just after Simpang 485 on the left-hand side
(if you are driving towards Muara).
Kota Batu : on the right-hand side driving towards Muara,
just after the Seafood Centre.
NB: The sign is on the left-hand side of the road.
Jalan Subok : as the road changes its name to Jalan Sungai
Akar, on the right driving towards Jalan Muara.
Places to go with Pre-school Children in Brunei Muara District
The climate in Brunei and the lack of pavements for long pushchair walks
presents some challenges for parents of children of this age. Gadong is a
terrible area for buggies as you spend most of your time lifting the pushchair over
However, most of the big department stores and the new complexes are much
better and, increasingly, have ramps, lifts and escalators so it is possible to use
84 August 2007
pushchairs some of the time. However, Brunei is generally a safe place and the
local people love children so you can be certain to receive a warm welcome.
Don't forget to take sun cream, insect repellent and plenty of water.
Jerudong International School (JIS) Toddler Group takes place every
Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the Kindy section of the school from 8.00 am
to11.00 am The group is open to anyone, not just JIS parents, and provides
three large carpeted rooms with toys, climbing equipment, play dough, sand tray
and coffee. Phone the JIS Primary office for up-to-date details on the cost at
2411000. This is a good place to make friends.
Berakas Camp Toddler Group takes place every Tuesday and is open to
anyone. Find your way into Berakas Camp following the main road through the
camp towards the mosque. With the padang on the left, turn left at the mosque.
The toddler group meets in the first bungalow on the right after the turn to the
Get your own group together and take it in turns to meet at each other's houses
or different clubs for a swim. Keep the group fairly small and decide on some
basic rules beforehand, such as, phone and let someone know if you can't make
Can't be missed as there is a big sign. It is on the left-hand side of the next block
to Centrepoint as you stand facing it. This is probably one of the best play areas.
It has quite a good-sized area upstairs and is popular for birthday parties. Toilets
are usually clean.
Sugar Bun, Hua Ho Manggis Mall, Jalan Muara.
This is on the fourth floor, and has a big ball pit/play area. Lots of fun but once
the children are in it is quite hard to actually get them out without going into it
yourself. Sugar Bun food is similar in style to KFC.
Jollibee, Seri Complex (next to Utama Bowling Alley)
Again, there is a small children's play area with a couple of things to play on.
Yayasan Shopping Complex
There are two small play areas in here at Jollibee and KFC, both on the ground
floor, which is quite a nice place to take small children.
Bebeland next to Mothercare in Kiulap
There is a large playroom upstairs.
Jungle Gym at Kiulap
Very popular with toddlers and children up to 10 years old. Children are charged
$6.50 for two hours
85 August 2007
Some people find the heat makes outdoor activities uncomfortable, so these
places are most popular early in the morning or after 5.00 pm
Located on the coastal highway after the turn-off to the Empire Hotel and before
you get to Jalan Jerudong. The upper picnic area is shady and a good place to
take small tricycles and a snack. There are also swings, slides and two mazes.
Located just after the Sultan's palace (Istana Nurul Iman), as you drive along
Jalan Tutong going out of Bandar. It is one of the few places you can use a
pushchair and children's bikes. There is a climbing area and a collection of
tractors and farm machines are dotted around the far end of the park. Also, there
are a couple of restaurants that open about 5.00 pm. Protection against
mosquitoes is needed.
Located on the right-hand side of Jalan Kebangsaan, at the end of Jalan Tasek
Lama and in between the new high rise cream and brick-coloured flats. It is a
cool and shady park, even when it is quite hot. The path/road follows a small
stream up to a pool and waterfall. If you are feeling energetic the road that forks
to the right goes up to the reservoir but it is a steep climb.
There are some attractive picnic areas and it is a pleasant walk, plus you can use
pushchairs and bikes on the main path. Be careful on the side paths as these
also have suffered from erosion.
Trijaya Jerudong Equestrian Park
Located in the grounds of Jerudong Polo Park. It is shady and safe for
pushchairs. There are lots of tarmac routes and some more overgrown tracks for
the more adventurous. A pony ride that lasts about 30 minutes costs $10.00
(more suitable for an older sibling).
Kids' Hash takes place on the third Sunday every month at different locations.
Take a walk in the jungle in the company of other children and parents. You can
choose between a selection of three runs to suit the age range from 2 months to
15 years old. If you would like to know more and where we are next running
please contact us at email@example.com
Jerudong Clinic sometimes holds a baby splash class at the clinic's pool in the
Medical Centre. Call the gym on 2611433 to find out more.
Jerudong Park playground is also a great place to take children. Head for the
small climbing frames or the Caterpillar ride and Carousel. You can take your
own picnic or eat at one of the food outlets. Please refer to the Social Life
section for more details.
86 August 2007
Private Nurseries and Kindergartens in BSB
Those listed below are not the only ones available, but they are the main ones
used by expatriate families. Hours vary, as do facilities and cost. Like all these
things, it is best to visit and see which comes closest to your requirements.
International School Brunei
The pre-school kindy runs from 7.30 am to 11.30 am Mon-Thurs and Sat,
although you can choose which days you want your child to attend for the term,
e.g. only Mons and Weds, or every day.
Little Stars (coming from Tiong Hin along Jalan Muara, turn left into Jalan Sg
Tilong. Turn right into Simpang 255, then left at the first turning. The drive
leading to Little Stars is between the first and second house on the left in
A popular choice, particularly with working parents, as the school has a minibus
that collects and returns children within a certain distance - currently five
kilometres - so the hours are not a problem. New premises are being built and
these will be ready soon. Again, it is small with a friendly atmosphere with plenty
of assistants in each class to help the teacher. Children do not need to be potty
trained and the school will help with your efforts! A fairly structured day is
followed, for example, on Tuesday the Nursery 1 and 2 classes do singing, and
each day there is a variety of activities. Also optional afternoon activities,
including Art and Craft and Cookery have been introduced. A uniform is worn.
Holidays follow the Bruneian school system. The school has a more formal
atmosphere then you might expect.
Berakas Camp Kindergarten
Situated next to the football pitch and also very popular. Drive on to the camp,
bear right at the roundabout, go past the parade ground on your left, then turn left
after the football pitch and it is signposted. Open Monday to Friday, 8.15 to
11.45. It costs $540 per 12-week term. Call Jackie (2393853) or Cathy
All these work on a part-time basis, i.e. you can go to as many or as few
sessions as required. Appointments are not usually needed, and visitors are
welcomed by all.
Joyful Kids Montessori School
This pre-school which takes children ages 3-6 years is located in Beribi, #17,
Simpang 130, Jalan Telanai. The school‟s mission is to provide each of its pupils
with an environment in which they can develop their full academic, social and
physical potential, based on the Montessori principles of learning. The
Montessori system of education is based on two fundamental beliefs regarding
the nature of young children: early childhood education should encourage the
child‟s innate desire to learn, and not attempt to fill the child with facts and
individual differences must be recognized and respected in order to encourage
87 August 2007
each child to develop to his/her fullest potential. The Joyful Kids Montessori
School follows the structure of the curriculum on the five areas in Montessori
learning: Practical Life, Sensorial Arts, Language Arts, Mathematics and Cultural
Arts. For further information on enrolment and registration call 2652 229.
11.2 A - Z HEALTH FOR THE TRAVELLER
The body possesses mechanisms to survive in a hostile, hot climate but it is an
adaptive process which takes one, two or three weeks. The strain on the body is
shown by a high pulse rate and body temperature, and serious illness can result
unless the stress is lessened or muscular activity reduced. By gently increasing
activity the sweat glands are trained to:
start more quickly
retain more salt in the body.
In addition, the body learns to absorb more water from the stomach and bowel,
transport it to the sweat glands where it emerges to be evaporated, thus cooling
the body. In circumstances where air temperature is higher than body
temperature (37.5°C) the body relies solely on evaporation of sweat for cooling.
Unfortunately, high humidity, for example the hot and wet environment of the
jungle, inhibits evaporation of sweat and this cooling mechanism.
Children adapt to hot environments very quickly and happily, especially thin, wiry,
active children who have a large surface area to weight ratio, which facilitates
Individual responses and tolerance to alcohol are variable but a consumption of
more than 20 grams daily (equivalent to approximately one pint of beer or two
glasses of wine or two single measures of spirit) is often related to deterioration
in work performance and an increased incidence of disease and risk of injury: for
example almost half of all drownings are associated with alcohol consumption.
Just as with drinking and driving, alcohol and swimming make a bad mix.
Cholera is a disease usually associated with slums and extreme poverty, and an
absence of the most basic hygiene facilities and education. However, in 1999
there was an outbreak of cholera in Brunei attributed to contaminated food. The
authorities took immediate action to isolate and eradicate this and it is not
normally a disease associated with Brunei.
Summary of advice:
Cholera is spread by contaminated food and water; hygiene precautions
are the most reliable way of avoiding risk.
88 August 2007
There are no official vaccination certificate requirements for travel to any
The current cholera vaccine is not recommended by the WHO and is not
considered to provide worthwhile protection.
Our thirst sensation is not reliable in telling us our body's needs in the tropics.
The message is to drink water or watery drinks (beware of alcohol which
dehydrates) BEYOND the point of thirst quenching, OR drink sufficient water to
produce urine which is consistently pale in colour: Dark urine or low urine output
are signs of developing dehydration. There should be sufficient salt in the diet to
replace that lost through sweat otherwise painful heat cramps or salt deficiency
heat exhaustion could occur. This is more common during early acclimatisation,
after two or three days' heavy sweating and work, with drinks but no salt
replacement because of lack of appetite or vomiting and diarrhoea. This advice
runs counter to current recommendations to reduce dietary salt intake in an effort
to lower the prevalence of hypertension. You should seek the advice of your
medical practitioner if you already have hypertension, heart disease or chronic
Dengue (See personal protection against insect pests)
Illness is spread from person to person by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes and, after
an incubation period of five to eight days, there is a sudden onset of fever,
headache, and severe joint and muscle pains - the latter giving rise to the
popular name of "breakbone fever". The initial bout of fever resolves only to
recur, and a rash usually appears between the third and fifth days of the illness.
The rash starts on the trunk and spreads to the limbs and face, and consists of
small spots. Within a few days the fever subsides and recovery follows.
Although undoubtedly an unpleasant illness, serious complications are
uncommon, and in particular there is no persisting arthritis.
Unfortunately, immunity to infection does not last long and so second attacks,
perhaps with a different strain of virus, are possible. There is no vaccine
Gastro-enteritis is simply the technical name for a stomach or intestinal infection
leading to diarrhoea, and is not necessarily severe or life-threatening. The
seriousness of diarrhoea depends on how much fluid is lost from the body:
because a child's total fluid volume is greater in proportion to body weight than
an adult's, the effect is greater the younger the child. A baby can become
dehydrated within a few hours of the onset of severe diarrhoea.
Diarrhoeal disease is usually contracted by contact with infected food or fluid, but
also from hands that have touched infected material. Faeces of an infected
person are highly contagious, and therefore very careful hand-washing is
essential after using the toilet.
89 August 2007
If the diarrhoea is bloody, very profuse and watery, or associated with a high
fever, or if the diarrhoea goes on for longer than three days (one day in a baby),
medical help should be sought. However, in most cases a rotavirus or similar
infection will be the cause, and the natural course is only two to three days.
Replacement of fluid loss is the most important part of treatment. Drugs are
quite ineffective in the vast majority of cases. A suitable fluid-replacement
solution may be made with a finger pinch of salt and a teaspoon of sugar added
to 250 ml (about one mug-full) of boiled water, with a squeeze of orange juice to
provide flavour (and a token amount of potassium). The concentration is very
important as the sugar helps aid the absorption of the salt, but too much of either
is harmful. Taste the solution and if it tastes saltier than tears, discard it and start
again. Eight level teaspoons of sugar (white, brown or honey) plus half a
teaspoon salt added to one litre of water should be about right.
Special packets of powder (e.g. Dioralyte, Rehidrat) for adding to water may be
obtained from your doctor or at a pharmacy. Give one cupful of mixture for each
loose stool. For children, seek medical help if the child vomits or appears
drowsy, has fast breathing, or is dehydrated (eyes become sunken, tongue is
dry, skin loses elasticity).
Diet: Feeding should be continued during diarrhoea if the child feels like eating -
especially high-calorie, low-residue foods. Bananas, cereals, bread and
margarine or butter, biscuits, eggs, and milk are all suitable - concentrate on the
foods the child likes most. For children who are breast-feeding this should
continue. Starving a child suffering from diarrhoea is now thought undesirable,
although appetite is often reduced.
Drug treatment: is necessary only for some of the specific types of diarrhoea
mentioned, such as severe dysentery, typhoid, cholera, and giardiasis - all of
which are much less likely than a viral cause.
Anti-Diarrhoeal Agents: Such as Raolin, Codeine, Lomotil, Immodium, Awet.
While they may give some measure of relief, they may also prolong infections. In
principle, they hold back part of the body's natural and appropriate response,
which is literally to flush out the infection. Their use is only recommended when
sanitary arrangements are difficult e.g. on long journeys, and then limited to 2 to
They should never be used when the sufferer has bloody diarrhoea
They should never be used for children under the age of 10.
Prevention: The likelihood of diarrhoea can be minimised by observing these
Pay close attention to household hygiene - particularly hand-washing
before meals and after using the toilet
Maintain good hygiene in the kitchen by washing hands before food
preparation; keeping stored food in the fridge (especially meat); covering
90 August 2007
all food left out in the open, even for short periods; cooking meat
thoroughly; boiling water if there is any doubt about its purity (then keeping
it in the fridge - it will taste better); washing fresh fruit and vegetables
thoroughly before eating; and not permitting flies in the kitchen.
Avoid the use of pre-cooked foods bought in the streets; milk and other
dairy products (especially ice cream) unless you are quite sure they are
manufactured hygienically; salads and other uncooked foods, and cold
meat except in hotels and restaurants.
The illness seen in all forms of hepatitis is similar, and results from acute
inflammation of the liver. It is frequently heralded by symptoms such as fever,
chills, headache, fatigue, generalised weakness, and aches and pains
How it is spread
Hepatitis A virus is spread by the faecal-oral route, usually by person-to-person
contact, particularly in conditions of poor sanitation and overcrowding.
Food-borne outbreaks, which have become more important and frequent in
developed countries, may be due to the shedding of the virus in the faeces of
infected food handlers during the incubation period of the illness: the source of
the outbreak can often be traced to cooking. Raw or inadequately cooked
shellfish cultivated in sewage-contaminated tidal or coastal water, and raw
vegetables grown in soil fertilised with untreated human faeces, are associated
with a high risk of infection with Hepatitis A virus.
Consequences of Infection
Although the disease has a low mortality, patients may be incapacitated for many
weeks. There is no evidence of persistence of infection with Hepatitis A virus,
nor of progression to chronic liver disease.
Hepatitis A and the traveller
Hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for persons who are not already immunized
(this can be checked with a blood test), and who are travelling to endemic areas.
Where the vaccine is not yet available, normal human immunoglobulin
(commonly referred to as gamma globulin) contains the Hepatitis A antibody and
will prevent or lessen the severity of the illness. This injection needs repeating
every six months or for every period of travel.
Other preventive measures include strict personal hygiene, avoiding raw or
inadequately cooked shellfish, avoiding raw vegetables, and not drinking
untreated water or raw milk.
91 August 2007
How it is spread
Transmission of the infection may result from accidental inoculation with minute
amounts of blood, which may occur during medical, surgical, or dental
procedures; during immunization with inadequately sterilised syringes and
needles; sharing of needles during intravenous drug abuse; during tattooing, ear
piercing, and nose piercing; during acupuncture, during laboratory accidents, and
accidental inoculation with razors and similar objects that have been
contaminated with blood.
However, Hepatitis B is not spread exclusively by blood or blood products.
Hepatitis B surface antigen has been found in other body fluids such as saliva,
menstrual and vaginal discharges, and seminal fluid, and these have been
implicated as vehicles of transmission of the infection.
Consequences of Infection
The symptoms and manifestations of Hepatitis B are similar to those of Hepatitis
A. Chronic liver disease may follow the infection. This may be severe and may
progress to primary liver cancer.
Hepatitis B vaccines have been developed. They are safe and effective, and
have been licensed in many countries, including the UK and USA. The course
consists of three injections given over a six-month period.
Malaria is still the single most important disease hazard facing travellers to most
tropical countries, where it remains a serious and usually neglected public health
problem. Drug-resistant malaria continues to spread at an alarming rate.
Travellers have a clear responsibility to protect themselves, by taking appropriate
anti-malarial medication as well as precautions against mosquito bites.
Malaria is a parasitic disease spread by the bite of Anopheles mosquitoes.
Travellers may acquire malaria from mosquitoes in about 105 countries, although
many of these countries under-report their cases of malaria - perhaps so as not
to harm their image or their tourist trade.
Effects of Malaria
The incubation period following the bite of a mosquito bearing the infection is at
least five days, but as long as a year may elapse before symptoms appear,
especially if anti-malarial drugs have been used.
The principal symptoms are fever, malaise, chills with sweating, and headache;
abdominal pains, jaundice, and coma sometimes develop rapidly. Diarrhoea
may also occur.
92 August 2007
The early symptoms of malaria, of which fever is the most common, are non-
specific. This is why, especially when symptoms do not appear until after the
traveller has returned home, the possibility of malaria is not always considered
and the diagnosis may be missed.
If malaria is suspected, a blood sample should be taken immediately and
examined under the microscope. Detection of parasites under the microscope
confirms the diagnosis but requires experience and skill.
Should preferably be carried out under medical supervision. Anyone with
suspected malaria should seek medical help urgently.
In many countries over several centuries, malaria has been controlled or
eradicated by reducing the amount of stagnant water, which mosquitoes need in
order to breed. Prohibition of stagnant water in Singapore was effective.
The most important way of reducing the number of mosquito bites is the
application of insect repellent (containing diethyl toluamide or "deet") to the skin,
especially in the evening and, when out of doors, at night. Mosquito nets over
the bed are a time-honoured way of avoiding bites at night, and nets impregnated
with permethrin should be used. A wire mesh across the windows can also be
Anti-malarial Drugs for Prophylaxis
The drugs at present available are not true prophylactics because they do not in
fact prevent infection, as they do not prevent the uptake of the parasites. The
main effect of prophylactic drugs is to suppress the development of the red blood
cell forms of the parasite, which is why prophylaxis has to be continued for so
long after leaving the malarial area, if it is to be truly successful.
Personal Protection Against Insect Bites
Many serious diseases in the tropics are spread by insects. Insects spread many
diseases for which drug treatment is difficult, dangerous, or non-existent, and for
which we do not yet have vaccines. Prevention of insect bites is the single most
sensible and effective precaution a traveller can take to avoid these diseases.
93 August 2007
A chemical repellent is the best, and perhaps only suitable personal protection
against outdoor biting insects. As far as is known, repellents act by interfering
with the sense organs with which insects locate their victims. Most of the
commercially available insect repellent preparations contain diethyl toluamide
(commonly known as "deet" or DET), ethylhexanediol, or dimethylphthalate
(DMP). These preparations come as lotions, sticks, gels, creams, or in aerosol
cans or pump-action dispensers.
Citronella oil is distilled from a tropical grass and is used as a soap perfume. It
has long been sold as an insect repellent but does not remain effective for as
long as deet. However, some people prefer its lemony smell to the less
agreeable smell of deet.
Some users believe that these devices work, but every time their effectiveness
has been put to the test under controlled conditions, no difference has been
found between the biting rate with the device on and with it off.
Long sleeves and long trousers have for many years been recommended to be
worn after dark to minimise the risk of mosquito bites.
Protection against Insects Biting Indoors
In addition to the repellents already described, several other useful counter-
measures can be employed when the "target area" is confined to a house or
Mosquito Nets, Spray, Coil, and Vaporising Mats
Screening windows is seldom completely effective in keeping mosquitoes out of
rooms, so other lines of defence may also be needed. Aerosol spray cans of
insecticide contain pyrethroids, which are synthetic near-relations of the natural
product pyrethrum and are very safe, although they should not be used over
uncovered food. They do not harm pets or domestic animals. They have no
residual effect on mosquitoes that enter later on during the night. The old-
fashioned, but still effective, way of dealing with these insects is to light a slow-
burning "mosquito coil" which will smoke gently, giving off pyrethrum or
pyrethroids for 6-8 hours. A modern version of the same idea is a small mains-
operated heating plate that slowly vaporizes a mat containing pyrethroids.
Vapona strips slowly give off vapour of the insecticide dishlorvos without any
need for heating. The vapour emitted by coils, vaporising mats, or vapona strips
kills mosquitoes in sealed rooms, but in comfortably ventilated rooms the vapours
may do no more than repel or stun insects so that they do not bite. Care may be
needed to achieve even this, for example, on a porch or veranda one should
94 August 2007
always place the source of vapour upwind of those to be protected and perhaps
at floor level, to deter mosquitoes heading for the ankles.
Ornamental ponds should be stocked with small fish to eat any mosquito larvae
that may start to develop there. Other water containers around houses are likely
to be rubbish and should be either removed, flattened and buried, or punctured
so that they cannot hold water.
Control of Domestic Non-Biting Pests
Although they do not bite, house-flies, cockroaches, ants, and termites are often
worrying pests in the tropics, and some may be a serious health hazard. Flies,
for example, are able to carry more than 100 different types of harmful disease-
producing organisms, and may transfer them directly from excreta to food and
children's faces. In the kitchen, exposed food, unwashed plates, crumbs, and
rubbish are an open invitation to flies, cockroaches, and ants. Very attractive
foods such as sugar and jam should be kept in the refrigerator and others, such
as breakfast cereals, biscuits, or bread, should be kept in screw-topped
Ants and Cockroaches
Ants' nests can often be located by following the trail of ants back to its source,
and can then sometimes be destroyed with boiling water. Pyrethroid insecticides
may also be effective in irritating cockroaches and driving them out of the
crevices in which they hide. Otherwise, the best insecticidal approach for a
cockroach infestation is to scatter a carbamate insecticide such as "Baygon" in
powder form near crevices, drain-inspection covers, and in the bottoms of
cupboards and closets.
Polio is common in countries with poor hygiene, and is a serious hazard to
travellers who have not been immunized.
Polio is caused by a virus, which is spread from person to person either in mucus
from the nose and throat, or by contamination of food or drink with infected
faeces. Once the virus has travelled to the motor nerve cells in the spinal cord
and brain, it damages these cells and causes paralysis of the muscles they
People who have never been immunized or who have no record of immunization
should receive three doses of polio vaccine, preferably at monthly intervals
95 August 2007
before they travel. People who have been fully immunized at any time in the past
need only a single booster dose of oral polio vaccine every ten years, if they
intend to travel.
One of the commonest skin troubles to affect teachers on holiday is an attack of
hives or nettle-rash (urticaria) which can follow the eating of contaminated food.
A sudden outbreak of itchy red or white weals, occurring either on its own or with
diarrhoea and vomiting, should point to the probability of some dietary
indiscretion. Most attacks do not last long, but if the weals continue to appear for
longer than three days it is wise to seek medical advice.
Keratin - the more or less impermeable material that forms the outer layer of the
skin - unfortunately provides a suitable home for various types of fungi. Moisture
and sweat tend to encourage invasion and spread of the fungi through the keratin
layer, and the result is an annoying and often itchy rash.
Some fungi cause ringworm, which is itchy, red scaly patches that spread
outwards while clear in the centre. The advancing edge consists of small blisters
that develop as a reaction to invasion by the fungus. Medication applied to the
affected area is usually successful.
Ringworm Infection of the Scalp
Fungi that affect hair produce circular patches of red, scaly hair loss on the scalp.
This occurs only in children and takes several weeks to develop. Children may
acquire these infections from local playmates or pets (cats or dogs with mangy
skins should be carefully avoided). Treatment (tablets) should only be prescribed
by a doctor.
Several sorts of keratin-inhabiting fungus prefer to take up residence between
and underneath the toes; these sites are also popular with various yeasts,
especially the Candida variety which causes thrush. Individuals whose feet
remain wet for long periods, with water from a swimming pool, the sea, rivers, or
in floods, will find that soaking the skin encourages invasion by these organisms,
and an itch that starts between the fourth and fifth toes is followed by scaling and
splitting of the skin that slowly spreads to other toe webs and other parts of the
96 August 2007
The use of open footwear with no socks usually ensures that toe webs are
adequately ventilated, and prevents the condition. Powders such as Mycota will
ease the condition.
The Candida group of organisms are yeast-like fungi that proliferate in any moist
area of skin. They are the cause of oral "thrush" in babies' mouths, exacerbate
athlete's foot, and also frequently cause a shiny red soreness in the folds of the
Nystatin (Nystan) or miconazole (Daktarin) cream are useful and those who are
overweight or wear nylon "jockey" shorts, should wear loose-fitting cotton shorts.
For women, Canesten cream and suppositories are available over the counter
from JPMC pharmacy.
Prickly heat is a very common condition in warm, sunny environments and is due
to plugging of sweat ducts; if the mouth of the duct is blocked, tiny shiny vesicles
appear which may quickly dry up. Deeper blockage results in the small, irritant
red papules which form the rash called prickly heat, and which break out on the
trunk and around the neck. Sufferers should avoid washing too frequently, and
simple application of calamine lotion or Nivea cream will relieve discomfort. The
condition disappears as the traveller becomes acclimatised.
If bacteria called pyococci penetrate the skin following damage, the itchy, crusty,
or blistering condition known as impetigo may develop. This is best prevented by
washing grazes twice daily with warm water and soap - more frequent washing is
unwise since removal of protective greases from the surface will only make it
easier for bacteria to penetrate undamaged skin.
A suntan is often considered attractive and socially desirable, but obtaining one
can have harmful effects both in the short and long term. Moderate sunshine
improves the quality of life, and has been claimed to improve a person's overall
work performance. Unfortunately, in many circumstances, it may damage
exposed tissues: well-recognised examples include effects on all human skin
such as sun-burning, ageing, and cancer, and cataracts of the human eye.
Other skin reactions affecting only some exposed subjects may also occur.
These include polymorphic light eruption, often mistakenly called prickly heat, a
harmless condition usually kept in check by high protection factor sunscreens
and avoidance of strong sunlight. Other relatively common abnormal reactions
include excessive sun-burning from photosensitivity caused by certain perfumes,
cosmetics, sun barrier creams, and medications taken by mouth or applied to the
During man's evolution, protective responses have developed which tend to
protect against these phenomena, namely tanning and thickening reactions of
97 August 2007
the exposed skin. These occur, however, only as a result of sun damage and not
before: thus a tanned skin may give protection against further exposure, but
unless already genetically present its acquisition through sun exposure is always
associated with skin injury.
New arrivals should be aware that the damaging rays in sunlight, ultra violet
radiation (UVR), are strongest when the sun is high in the sky, namely in the
middle of the day, particularly at low altitudes near the equator. Adjacent
reflecting surfaces such as rippling water mean exposure is increased. Sunburn
is therefore particularly likely on beaches and at sea. Furthermore, cool winds,
haze, light clouds, swimming in water and thin, close-fitting or loose weave
clothing do not do much to reduce the ray's intensity.
If a tan, however, is considered a social necessity, it should be acquired
gradually, moderately and carefully to minimise damage and its unpleasant
consequences, namely sunburn in the short term and skin ageing and cancer in
the long term. As the Australians say: SLIP, SLOP, SLAP (slip on a T shirt, slop
on some sunscreen and slap on a hat!)
All teachers should be immunized against tetanus, because the risks are
widespread and correct treatment following injury may be difficult to obtain.
How Infection Occurs and How Disease Is Spread
Tetanus is caused by infection of wounds with a bacterium called Clostridium
tetani, which damages the nervous system and muscles with a powerful toxin.
The toxin causes forceful, continuous muscle contraction and severe spasm,
often leading to death from respiratory problems and exhaustion.
The best method of prevention is by immunization with tetanus toxoid in infancy,
with booster doses every ten years (although immunity probably lasts for longer
than this). Those who suffer an injury may require a further dose, especially if it
has been longer than five years since their last immunization.
BCG has been shown to provide a very valuable degree of protection against TB,
lasting at least ten years. In Brunei BCG is given at birth or soon after; its overall
effectiveness in infancy is not known, but it appears to prevent the most serious
complications of childhood TB. It would be of doubtful value in adults over about
thirty-five (for whom we have no evidence of its efficacy), even if they are
Domestic staff can get infective TB and be a real risk for an expatriate family.
Anyone who develops a chronic cough for three or four weeks or more (often the
only sign of TB) should be sent to the local government chest clinic for chest X-
ray and sputum examination.
98 August 2007
The level of crime in Brunei is lower than in cities or towns in the UK, Australia,
New Zealand and Canada, although it is on the increase. There have been
some instances of serious crime involving CfBT teachers, although usually it is
just burglaries, the majority of which occur when people are out of the house, at
school or on leave. Items stolen are of the easily portable and disposable type:
cameras, cassette players, video recorders, watches, jewellery, cash and, in a
few cases, clothes.
It is strongly recommended that you take out a personal home contents
insurance policy. (See below for further details)
At home you assess the risks/dangers within your own environment. They are
topics of conversation with friends and colleagues. You read newspapers and
listen to television reports. On arrival in Brunei, and when travelling in the region,
you are outside your usual environment and therefore need to reorientate
yourself regarding the factors which affect your safety.
Back home you are not normally conscious of your own race, colour, religion,
class, gender, nationality or dress, nor do you think of such things in terms of the
reaction they may produce from others, or any offence they might give.
If you are a non-Muslim in Brunei you must be aware of Islamic values in an
Islamic country, and behave in an appropriate manner, having regard not merely
for what is illegal, such as alcohol, but for what may be considered rude or
abusive, such as public displays of affection. 'Modesty' in dress and behaviour is
recommended to avoid unwanted attention.
CfBT asks landlords to make their houses as safe as possible.
Make it a habit to lock your car. Do not leave valuable items, e.g.
handbags, in cars even if they are locked as they can provoke break-ins.
Close and padlock your front gate if possible.
Fit small alarms on all windows and doors (about $6 each).
Close windows and lock all doors on leaving the property even for a short
Secure sliding glass doors with blocks of wood.
Use bolts and both locks (Yale + handle lock) where these are provided.
Lock your doors if you decide to take a nap or shower during the day:
anyone could be wandering around.
Inform neighbours and friends if you are going to be away for a week or
more, and leave an inside and an outside light on, preferably on a timer.
Keeping a dog is certainly a deterrent to thieves. However, you must
balance this against the problem of finding someone to look after your dog
while you are on holiday. Also you should bear in mind a dog will deter
any Muslim friends from visiting and that some landlords will not allow
dogs to be kept. Check with the Housing Department.
Missing keys should be reported to the Housing Department immediately.
99 August 2007
In the past there have been cases of men breaking into female teachers' houses.
There have been some very serious incidents, which have been very traumatic
experiences for the women concerned.
Please take the following precautions in an attempt to avoid these incidents:
Never undress in front of a window (common sense really).
Never walk about the house or garden, and particularly do not answer the
door, scantily dressed. You never know how far you can be seen or who
will turn up unexpectedly to read the meter.
Do not leave underwear on the clothesline overnight. Not only is there a
risk it will be stolen but it also indicates who lives in the house if it is only
Do not go to the beach alone.
Wear a one-piece swimming costume on public beaches. If walking along
the beach or to and from your car, cover up with a T-shirt and/or sarong.
There are reports of flashers, for example, encountered by females
walking/jogging. Remember to vary your route.
On rare occasions both male and female teachers in cars have been
followed and harassed by local drivers after dark and during the day. Stay
calm, avoid eye contact, lead the other car away from your home towards
a friend's house or local police station if necessary.
It is a wise precaution to be insured at all times. Remember that once your
heavy baggage arrives in Brunei, or after 60 or 120 days - depending on which
insurance option you choose - you are not covered.
If you are robbed, make a report at the police station in person, and get in touch
with the CfBT office.
There are several reputable insurance companies operating in Brunei. More
information will be given during the Orientation Course, but Willis (2427800) offer
the following services:
Home Protector Insurance
As the name implies, this covers household items including cameras,
television, hi-fi equipment, against fire, theft, lightning strike etc and can
be taken out at any time for a 12-month period.
Details of specific medical insurance plans are available in the C(BT
office. Full up-to-date information will be given on the Orientation Course.
100 August 2007
Insurance Companies Used by CfBT Teachers
Commercial Union, Jasra Harrison, BSB.
Willis Sdn Bhd, Scout Headquarters Building, Jalan Gadong BSB Tel.
AIA, Wisma Jaya, Jalan Pemancha, BSB Tel. 2239112/3/4
Insurance is a personal matter. It is up to the individual to select suitable
insurance if desired. Check around and ask colleagues for advice before
Workman's Compensation Domestic Policy
This is legally required by the Labour Department for anyone in your employ. For
a premium of $50.00 per annum, a domestic servant is covered for injury or
death in the course of work. Wages are paid to the sick worker while he or she is
incapacitated. If the domestic worker is not covered by this type of policy, the
employer's maximum liability, e.g. death, is $28,800 in line with the labour law.
There is a much more comprehensive policy available now through National
Insurance Company for $125 per person, including medical and repatriation in
the event of death.
14 RECRUITING AN AMAH (DOMESTIC SERVANT)
The following procedures are undertaken at:
Department of Labour, Immigration and IC Offices
Only a working married couple with a child or children are likely to obtain
permission to employ an amah/domestic servant. As this is a long and, at times,
frustrating process, newcomers to Brunei should not dwell too long on whether or
not to employ an amah.
Steps in employing an amah
1. Obtain a Licence
A "Licence" is the legal permission granted by the Labour Department to a
specified individual allowing them to employ a domestic servant.
Application forms are available from the 4th floor of the Department of
In order to obtain a licence, submit the following documentation:
Completed computerised application form (BUR 301)
101 August 2007
Photocopy of back page of applicant's employment contract
Photocopy of applicant's passport (pages to include personal details and
Photocopy of IC of applicant and spouse
Photocopy of Tenancy Agreement
Letter in support of application from CfBT
Photocopy of husband and wife's salary slip
Return all documentation to the 4th floor, Department of Labour. (This
process takes about two weeks). The outcome of your application is verified
in writing in Malay. (NB: 'Disokong' means Approved, 'Tidak' means not
approved.) Do not be deterred by 'Tidak' - you should re-apply. Take the
letter personally and see the officer who signed the letter if possible and
explain your situation to him. The acceptance letter will have two copies of
the licence (LESEN) with all the important numbers printed on them. If you
do not receive this letter after two weeks, you should return to the Department
of Labour to follow it up. Your dossier will have a reference number
beginning with PJB.
2. Selecting an amah
Once the Licence is approved, arrange to:
a) Import a new amah (NB: although the majority comes from the
Philippines, you can import an amah from all ASEAN countries)
b) Bring back an amah who has previously worked in Brunei
c) Transfer an amah from another employer in Brunei
NB: Non-Muslim families may not employ Muslim amahs.
3. Payment of the Bond
This refundable bond of $600 has to be lodged at the 5th floor of the
Labour Department. The bond is taken to ensure that the amah has a
guaranteed return ticket home. A receipt will be issued - take good care of
this receipt as you will need this to obtain a refund.
4. The Contract
You will require four copies of the Contract for Domestic Servants from
STP stationers or the shop at the Immigration Department. If your amah
is coming from the Philippines, you will also need four contract forms from
the Philippine Embassy. Take the contracts with a $1.00 stamp, to the
Registrar in the Magistrate's Court, Mile 1, Jalan Tutong, to have them
legally certified. You need these to apply for the Employment Entry Visa.
102 August 2007
5. Application for Employment Entry Visa
Obtain visa application form from the Immigration Department (2nd floor)
and complete. Then submit following documentation:
a) Completed Visa Application Form.
b) Two copies of the letter supporting the Visa application.
c) Photocopy of Licence, together with the original and the receipt for
the $600 Bond.
d) Photocopy of amah's passport.
e) Photocopy NBI clearance (National Bureau of Investigation,
f) Two passport photographs of the amah.
g) Completed white card.
h) Two copies of Borang 23.
Submit at the 2nd floor of the Immigration Department. A preliminary
interview with the immigration officer is required prior to approval. The
Immigration Officer will check all documents and, if approved, initiate a
telex to the Brunei Embassy in Philippines. Allow seven days for the telex
to be sent (you must follow this up quite persistently). The visa will be
issued to you in one week. It is in the form of a letter, to which the
Immigration Department will attach Form A. Take a few photocopies of
the visa, the letter and Form A.
6. Authentication Certificate
You will need the following papers:
a) Four Philippines Embassy contracts which have been certified by
the Registrar of the Law Court.
b) Photocopy of own IC.
c) Photocopy of Licence.
d) Flight details of amah.
e) Authentication Certificate form (completed) and a payment of $60.
NB: The Philippine Embassy is no longer processing amahs hired
directly. The employer must find a local amah agent who is
registered with the embassy to do the paperwork.
After three days, collect the 'Authentication Certificate', which is a statement to
the effect that your legalised contract has been deemed genuine by the
Now you are ready to bring your amah to Brunei. Go to any travel agent, take a
photocopy of the visa and book a flight. The travel agent will not issue an actual
ticket, but will give you an MCO, a voucher enabling someone to collect a ticket
overseas. Send the amah the authentication and adjoining contract, the original
Visa (keep a photocopy), and the MCO. You can use the courier service, LBC
Mabuhay, located at the top left corner up behind the Seri Complex Post Office.
For a small fee they will hand deliver in about 5 - 7 days. This is a much safer
method. Make sure the amah has a few working days clearance to complete any
103 August 2007
final paperwork prior to departure. First timers pay an overseas worker
registration tax of about B$300. This can cause a delay in departure.
7. Application for an Employment Pass
When your amah arrives:
a) Arrange for her to have a blood test and X-ray. Application forms for chest
X-ray and blood test are available from the Immigration Department (2nd
Blood tests are carried out at the new building on the airport roundabout in
Chest X-rays are carried out at RIPAS Hospital.
Results of chest X-rays and blood tests are obtained from the above
A second blood test for HIV is carried out three months later.
There is a charge of $15 and $5 for the above tests.
b) Take the above, a copy of your Licence and four copies of the Contract of
Service previously purchased from STP, to the 4th floor, Labour
Department. Two copies of these contracts should have $1.00 stamps
attached. The signing of the contract takes place in the presence of a
Labour Officer (4th floor, Labour Department). The amah may have a
brief interview with the Labour Officer prior to signing the contract.
c) Submit the following documents to the Department of Immigration:
Photocopy of Licence.
Two passport photographs of amah.
Immigration form (BUR A) completed by the employer and a copy of the
agreement issued by the Immigration Dept.
A Worker's Compensation Insurance Policy. These are a legal
requirement and are available from most insurance companies at $50 p.a.,
for the minimum legal cover. Bear in mind, however, that you are liable for
any medical costs for your amah, and in the event of her death in your
employ, you would be liable for repatriation of remains to the Philippines
which can be very expensive (more than $10,000). There is a more
expensive policy ($125) with National Insurance Company which will cover
The Employment Pass is issued on the spot for the period of validity of the
104 August 2007
8. Apply for Identity Card
Take the amah with her passport (and photocopies of the relevant pages
of the passport) to the IC Department, fill in and submit an application for
an Identity Card. Take two IC size photos and $2. Collect IC on date
specified on the receipt, usually four to six weeks later.
9. Annual renewal of an amah's documents
The following documents are needed:
Licence renewal form Borang 302.
Completed Contract forms.
Blood test & X-ray report.
Copy of air ticket (if amah is returning on completion of contract leave).
Single Entry visa form.
NB: The procedure for getting the necessary documentation is subject to
change at short notice. All efforts have been made to update the information, but
be prepared for any changes. You need a lot of patience. If all the above
seems a little off-putting, you can choose to pay an agent to do all the paper
work. For $1000 (this includes the single entry airfare,) the agent will offer a
choice of amahs, do all the paper work, and even renew at the end of each
contract for an additional fee of approximately $150. This is strongly
recommended in the case of working couples. Employing the amah yourself
without using an agent involves a great deal of running around and long waits in
line at Immigration. A reliable agency is Ivyan Link Agencies, Unit 14, Block A,
2nd floor, Bangunan Begawan Pehin Dato Hj. Mohd. Yusof, Spg 88, Kiulap,
AMAH'S TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT
This is a rather grey area with most employers setting the terms and conditions
of employment to suit their own family needs.
Generally speaking, the amah attends to all household chores and the care of
the child/children as required by the parents. Her day usually begins at 6.00 am
and finishes after the evening meal and the children are in bed. She will work six
days per week and have Sundays off (the day off is negotiable). Having public
holidays off is at the discretion of the employer.
Monthly wages range from $250 to $400 (food provided) or $350 to $500 (no
food provided) depending on experience. Accommodation and basic furnishings
are provided as part of the wages.
105 August 2007
Initially it may be an uncomfortable feeling having a strange person living in your
home and having to tell someone how you like your housework done and your
children cared for. As time passes, most employers enjoy having an amah.
Perhaps the secret to a good amah/employer relationship is to be friendly,
approachable, flexible, firm and allow for some human error.
A part-time amah can be employed locally without all the trouble of applying for a
licence etc. This is ideal for singles and couples without children who would
normally not be eligible to apply for a full-time amah, or for families who just do
not want an extra person living in their home. Although common, such
arrangements are unofficial and not sanctioned by the Immigration Department
however. Part-time amahs normally charge between $5 to $7 per hour and can
normally be recruited by word of mouth. Just ask around among friends and
neighbours who have amahs of their own. There is an extensive amah network!
106 August 2007
15 CHURCHES IN BRUNEI DARUSSALAM
Bandar Seri Begawan Location English Services
St Andrew‟s Jalan Kumbang Pasang 7.30 am to Sunday
(Anglican) Tel: 2222768/2235578 9.30 am to Sunday
6.00 pm to Evensong
Our Lady of the Jalan Kumbang Pasang 6.30 pm to Saturday
Assumption Tel: 2222261 7.30 am to Sunday
(Roman Catholic) 9.30 am to Sunday
Rev: I. Fang 5.30 pm to Sunday
Christian Fellowship No.4 Mdm Tay Giok 10.30 am to Sunday
Centre Lian Also evenings
(Independent) Flat, Jalan Berangan
(Near Capital Hostel)
Bethel Church St Andrews's Church 5.45 pm to Sunday
Seria Location English Services
St Margaret's Lorong 3, Seria 8.00 am to Sunday
(Anglican) Tel: 3222303 Rev: Noel Chin
Our Lady of Conception Jalan Raja Isteri 5.45 pm to Saturday
(Roman Catholic) Tel: 3222304 8.00 am to Sunday
Rev: Cornelius Sim 5.30 pm to Sunday
Bethel Chapel Lot No 3258 9.30 am to Sunday
(Independent) Tel: 3222779/3222783 10.30 am
Pastor: Geoffrey Yong
Kuala Belait Location English Services
St James Church Jalan McKerron 8.00 am to Sunday
(Anglican) Tel: 3335139 10.30 am
Rev: Dunstan Chua
St. John‟s Church Near the hospital 8.00 am to Sunday
(Roman Catholic) Tel: 3334207 5.30 pm to Sunday
Christian Fellowship Tel: 3335103
Centre Michael Lee
Most of the churches have other meetings during the week and also run Sunday
schools. Some have other Sunday services but in Chinese and/or
Malay/Iban/Murut. There are also other churches which have services only in
Chinese or one of the other local languages.
107 August 2007
16 DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS
The British High Commission
There is a British High Commission in Bandar, with a High Commissioner and a
staff of twelve. The High Commission is situated on the 2nd floor of the Yayasan
Complex in Bandar Seri Begawan. The postal address of the High Commission
is PO Box 2197, Bandar Seri Begawan BF8674.
The Consular section deals with passports, and can renew a passport within five
working days, but if you wish to travel to the United States, you will need a
passport with a bar code which will take longer as it has to be done in Singapore.
It will register a birth, but this is merely a registration and has nothing to do with
nationality. All CfBT teachers with British nationality should register with the High
Commission so that there is a record of your presence and whereabouts in any
emergency. Registration formalities can be completed through their website.
The High Commission in Brunei has always stressed that it cannot offer any help
beyond legal advice to any British Citizen who breaks the law in Brunei.
Monday to Thursday (Visa/Passport Section) 9.00 am to 2.00 pm
Friday (Visa/Passport Section) 9.00 am to 12.15 pm
Saturday & Sunday Closed
(Consular Section) 2226001 Fax: 2226002
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.britain-brunei.org.bn
The Australian High Commission
The High Commission has recently moved and is now found on the 6 th floor of
the DAR Takaful IBB building just past the Coffee Zone on the corner of Jalan
Sultan and Jalan Pemancha. The postal address of the High Commission is
PO Box 2990 Bandar Seri Begawan, BS 8675. The Consular Section deals with
issuing and renewing passports. Renewing takes approximately ten days. A
baby born in Brunei to Australian parents can be registered at the High
Commission. Information about Australia as well as visa regulations and
frequently asked questions can easily be found on their website
108 August 2007
All Australian nationals should register with the High Commission on their arrival
in Brunei and are urged to advise the High Commission of their email address
and any subsequent changes of house address and telephone number.
Monday to Thursday 8.00 am to 12.30 pm
1.30 pm to 5.00 pm
Friday 8.00 am to 1.00 pm
Saturday and Sunday Closed
Monday to Friday 8.00 am to 12.00 pm
(Consular Section) 2229435 Fax: 2221652
Canadian High Commission
The Canadian High Commission is located at 5th floor, No 1, Jalan MacArthur
Building, BSB, BS 8711. They keep a register of Canadian nationals living in
Brunei, and encourage all Canadians to register. Application forms for passports
can be obtained from the High Commission, but passport applications must be
forwarded to the Canadian High Commission in Singapore to be processed. The
postal address of the High Commission is P.O. Box 2808, Bandar Seri Begawan
Tel: 2220043 Fax: 2220040
New Zealand Consulate
The High Commission responsible for Brunei is in Kuala Lumpur and the postal
address is PO Box 12003, 50764 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Tel: ++603 238 2533 Fax: ++603 238 0387
THE BRITISH COUNCIL
The British Council office opened in Brunei at the end of 1985 and is located in
the British High Commission offices. Its main purpose in Brunei is to give the
public information and advice about study opportunities in the UK. The
Representative or any of the staff will be pleased to see you.
109 August 2007
Monday to Thursday 9.00 am to 12.15 pm
4.45 pm to 4.30 pm
Friday to Saturday 8.00 am to12.30 am
17 A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO WILDLIFE
Borneo, lying astride the equator and being forested by tropical rainforest is one
of the richest areas of the world for flora and fauna. There are dozens of books
about its wildlife and scope no doubt for dozens more. Even if you want to, you
couldn't even scratch the surface in describing what one may encounter on this
island. So this is not intended for the wildlife enthusiast nor for the hardened
expatriate, with years of experience of various plagues of frogs and invasions of
insects, but for those new to the tropics and its abundance of creatures and who
feel put out at having to share their space with hordes of wee beasties.
Spiders and insects make up by far the most numerous and diverse group of
animals that you will encounter. All spiders are poisonous but very few have
mouthparts that are tough enough to penetrate human skin. There are no
spiders here that can kill but there are some that could give a nasty bite but only
if one were to try and handle them. As with anything that bites or stings, the only
real causes for concern are if a person produces an allergic response or if the
victim is a small child. In most cases simple first aid will suffice.
The commonest household spider is the Huntsman; it is pale brown in colour and
the female is easily identified by the large, circular egg case which it carries slung
beneath its body. It doesn't build a web but hunts its prey. It can grow quite
large, up to about 4" across and is useful in keeping down household populations
of cockroaches. You will almost certainly come across these spiders and they
could bite if handled, though I know of no such incidents. They always run away
Other large spiders are not particularly common though occasionally one may
encounter a rather hairy species. I've seen a few, they are darker brown than the
Huntsman, possess much larger mouth-parts, and seem quite aggressive but
again retreat rather than attack when disturbed. Web-building spiders are to be
found outdoors, and are usually inaccessible.
By far, the commonest insects are ants. There are many different species, they
are present in all houses and it would cost a small fortune in insecticide to keep
them at bay. None cause any harm, though there are some that give sharp bites
especially the Weaver ant which is to be found outdoors only. It builds its nest
from living leaves in bushes and trees and defends its territory viciously. A useful
method of keeping ants from cupboards and tables is to stand the legs of the
cupboard etc in dishes of water. It is also possible to buy paper impregnated
with insecticide to line the shelves of cupboards. It has the unlikely name of "No
Bugs M'Lady"! They don't seem to like chalk either.
110 August 2007
Termites make periodic invasions into our homes but create no problems other
than the eventual destruction of untreated wooden articles.
Cockroaches are extremely common and can grow to quite large sizes. They are
scavengers and eat almost anything. The easiest way to keep them down is to
be quite scrupulously clean in the kitchen and occasionally spray around nooks
and crannies where they are likely to hide.
Bees, wasps and hornets are often to be found in the home though are much
more common in the jungle. Some do not possess stings; others can deliver
enough poison to make one quite ill indeed. Treat them like you would wasps
and bees back home, i.e. don't anger them and you'll be OK. The only incidents
of stings I know have all been accidental.
It is impossible to be specific about insect stings; some are initially very fierce yet
the effects very short lived. A sting from a large wasp may be nothing much
initially yet make one feel feverish an hour or so later. Treatment by home first
aid with soothing creams is usually sufficient but in rare instances individuals
show allergic responses to the venom and should be taken to hospital.
Other "nuisance" insects include mosquitoes and sand flies and both these bite
through design and not by accident.
Mosquitoes are very common and everyone takes measures to keep them out of
the house. Screens may be put up at doors or windows, mats may be electrically
heated to produce a vapour that kills them or chemical coils lit to drive them
away. None of these methods are totally successful and everyone will
experience bites. Most people however seem to react less and less to bites the
longer they stay here. The population of mosquitoes in the immediate vicinity of
your house can be kept down by making sure there is no standing water for them
to breed in. They need very little and even an eggcup of water would do.
Sand flies are found at beaches, especially where there is a lot of rotting wood,
as this is where they nest. They are extremely small and difficult to see yet their
bite may sometimes irritate for a fortnight. One should use repellent at the beach
and possibly also light a fire or coils if having a barbecue.
There is currently no incidence of disease that may be borne by mosquitoes and
sand flies in Brunei, though this is not so in other parts of South East Asia.
There are many other insects that will invade your space, yet are quite harmless:
moths and butterflies may reach 10" across, stick insects up to 12" are not
uncommon, neither are very large beetles, and cicadas may have a 4" by 11/2"
body and 8"wings and fly around your living room at speed, stupid but harmless.
There are a couple of other nasty invertebrates to mention; the centipede and the
scorpion. Neither are particularly common and like to nest under logs or stones
or in piles in vegetation. The centipede should not be confused with millipedes,
which are quite harmless; centipedes have one pair of legs to each body
111 August 2007
segment, move quickly and sinuously and can bite.
Millipedes have two or three pairs of legs to each body segment, move more
slowly, almost regally, and cannot bite.
Scorpions have a sting in their tail and may sting rather like a wasp. They are
much less potent than the large African Scorpion and their sting, though painful,
is not lethal.
Newcomers to the tropics are usually most keen to know about snakes, which of
course are relatively common here. Snakes are abundant in Borneo and Brunei
yet encounters are rare and usually involve the snake heading for a hiding place.
The vast majority of snakes are afraid of large creatures, such as man and will
have retreated to a safe spot, having felt the vibrations of one's footsteps long
before. Should we encounter a snake unexpectedly it is most often going to be
harmless, though of course it, if unable to escape, may imitate the striking
actions of a poisonous snake to fool us. It usually does!
Species of non-poisonous snakes number over a hundred, poisonous snakes
less than 40. Many of the poisonous snakes are not dangerous to people, either
because their mouths are too small or because their poisonous fangs are set at
the back of the mouth and they cannot bring them to bear. The poisonous
snakes that could be dangerous can be divided into two groups according to their
Neuro toxic venom is carried by cobras, kraits, coral snakes and sea snakes.
Their bite is not particularly painful and should sufficient venom be injected death
will be due to respiratory failure as muscles become paralysed. The other group
carry extremely painful bites, localised swelling and pain, though these are rarely
If bitten by a snake, examination of the wound will indicate if it was poisonous or
not. If poisonous there will be one or two puncture marks, if not there will be a
row of teeth marks and no larger puncture marks. Identification of snakes is not
particularly difficult though one shouldn't rely on one's own identification unless
very experienced ... play safe!
Cobras, when angry are quite distinct as they spread the skin around their neck
to produce a hood. Easy to spot but, unfortunately, not the case when they are
on the ground and at rest.
Kraits have either large yellow and black bands or large white and black bands,
while there is one type that has a bright red tail.
112 August 2007
Coral snakes are brown or black with bright red or blue stripes along the length
of their body. All snakes found in the sea should be considered poisonous.
The other group of snakes is the vipers. They are usually shorter and "stocky" in
relation to their length. They have a broad, triangular head and are usually very
sluggish, indeed the only one I've seen in the wilds lay on a tree root while
inspected by over 50 people and didn't move a muscle. There are quite a few
species and they are often quite brightly coloured.
What to do if bitten
This is unlikely but it seems pertinent to include some advice just in case.
If bitten by a neuro toxic snake:
a) Stay calm and if possible keep still. (Movement accelerates the spread of
b) Keep the point of the bite below the level of the heart. (It will probably be
on the limb).
c) Clean the site of the wound, but on no account cut or suck it.
d) Apply a tourniquet just above the bite, release it for about 90 seconds
every ten minutes and move it a few inches higher. This will only be
effective if applied within 30 minutes of the bite.
e) Get to hospital and if possible, kill the snake and take it for positive
For the haemotoxic group, all the above points apply except the use of the
tourniquet, which localises the effect of the venom and would cause greater
tissue damage in that area.
It is said that victims often suffer more because of shock so all snake bite victims
should be treated for this. If children are bitten, then it is much more urgent to
get them to hospital.
Other reptiles in Brunei include lizards, crocodiles, turtles and tortoises. Lizards
are everywhere and harmless, especially the small house lizard or gecko, locally
known as cik-cak according to the noise they make. Every building has them
and they do a useful job by eating insects. Crocodiles are extremely uncommon
and to see one would be a rare occurrence.
Brunei's mammals are quite shy and you won't see many. Monkeys are quite
common though, even quite close to the centre of town but they are not tame and
113 August 2007
you will be unlikely to get close to them. There are no large cats in Borneo but a
small bear does exist. Known as the honey or sun bear, it is black with brown
markings and very fond of honey and termites. If cornered it is very aggressive,
and possessing large claws, is not to be tangled with. It is to shy, sleeps mainly
by day and avoids contact. Worth a mention is the Probocis monkey, unique to
North Borneo with the largest populations concentrated on mangrove islands at
the mouth of the Brunei River.
There are one or two poisonous fish namely the Stone fish and the Lion fish.
The former can deliver enough poison to kill, through hollow dorsal spines. It lies
in wait for prey and is extremely well disguised. The Lion fish is an exotic looking
fish with feathery fins, more active than the Stone fish. It too delivers poison from
dorsal spines. They are not especially common but a wise precaution when
swimming is to wear something on your feet.
Last but not least, a word about Jelly Fish. 1992 was a particularly bad year for
Box Jelly Fish (aka Sea Wasp) in Brunei waters.
The Box Jelly Fish is shaped like a box, or cube (unlike most jellyfish which
usually have an umbrella or saucer-shaped body). It can measure 10 - 20 cm
along each side of its body but, being translucent or slightly bluish in colour, it
can be difficult to see in the water. At each "corner" of the cube is an arm-like
projection and from these arise the long (up to three metres) tentacles. The
stinging cells, which inject poisonous toxin, can be located anywhere along a
Therefore, contact with any part of the tentacle should be avoided.
The safest precaution is to avoid water sports, swimming, diving, water skiing, in
waters during seasons in which these animals are known to be prevalent. Only
exposed skin would be vulnerable to jellyfish stings and protective clothing (wet
suit, full tracksuit or similar) should be worn in affected waters.
Vinegar (and only vinegar) poured all over tentacles for 30 seconds. Keep the
victim still and only remove tentacles after they have been neutralised with
vinegar. (You need at least three litres).
If the patient is unconscious, check for pulse and respiration as CPR may be
needed as a priority over vinegar.
Pressure immobilisation of affected limb.
Call for medical help urgently and take to hospital.
114 August 2007
The venom effects may take some time to kill so all casualties should be
removed to RIPAS or Muara Medical Centre where there is anti-venom.
All of the coastlines have these jellyfish and it is especially dangerous in shallow
We are unsure of the season but it looks like it might be from April to September
coinciding with the prawn season.
Clothing from ankles to wrists protects from the stingers. Lycra suits are ideal
but whole body pantihose is effective.
Birds in Brunei
Brunei is a particularly good spot because its forests are not being felled at
anything like the same rate as in the other South East Asian countries.
From September onwards, the number of species is augmented by huge flights
of passage migrants. Some of these like Yellow Wagtails, Common Sandpipers
and Golden Plovers are familiar to Europeans. Others like the Black Winged
Stilt, the Chinese Egret and the Oriental Pratincole are peculiar to the Eastern
115 August 2007
18 AN INTRODUCTORY WORD LIST FOR BRUNEI
Siapa nama awang/dayang? - What is your name?
Nama saya .......... - My name is ..........
Di mana tinggal - Where do you live?
Saya tinggal di .......... - I live in/at ..........
Awang/Dayang dari mana? - Where do you come from?
Saya dari .......... - I come from ..........
Saya tidak faham - I don't understand
Saya tidak pandai cakap Melayu - I don't know how to speak Malay
Apa Awang/Dayang cakap? - What did you say?
Selamat pagi - Good morning
Selamat petang - Good afternoon/evening
Selamat malam - Good night
Selamat Jalan - Goodbye
Selamat tinggal - Goodbye (to someone you are leaving)
Apa khabar? - How are you?
Khabar baik - Fine (this is the only possible
answer to this question)
Sekolah - School
Sekolah Rendah - Primary school
Sekolah Menengah - Secondary school
Guru Besar - Headmaster
Pengetua - Principal (not used as a title)
Guru - Teacher
Cikgu - Teacher (used as a title)
Murid - Pupil
Penuntut - Student
Pejabat - Office
Bilik Darjah - Classroom
Bilik Guru - Staffroom
Bilik Tandas - Toilet
Surau - Prayer room
Kantin - Canteen
Dewan - Hall
Sakit - Ill
Sakit perut - Stomache ache
116 August 2007
Sakit kepala - Headache
Jalan - Road
Motosikal - Motorbike
Bahaya - Danger
Jalan tidak tembus - No through road
Awas - Caution
Kereta - Car
Berhenti - Stop
Ikut Kiri - Keep left
Batu - Stone/mile
Satu - One
Dua - Two
Tiga - Three
Empat - Four
Lima - Five
Enam - Six
Tujuh - Seven
Lapan - Eight
Sembilan - Nine
Sepuluh - Ten
Sebelas - Eleven
Duabelas - Twelve
Tigabelas - Thirteen
Empatbelas - Fourteen
Limabelas - Fifteen
Dua puluh - Twenty
Dua puluh satu - Twenty-one
Dua puluh dua - Twenty-two
Tiga puluh - Thirty
Tiga puluh satu - Thirty-one
Seratus - One hundred
Dua ratus - Two hundred
Tiga Ratus satu - Three hundred and one
Tiga ratus dua puluh - Three hundred and twenty
Seribu - One thousand
Teh - Tea
117 August 2007
Kopi 'O' - Black coffee (with sugar)
Kopi Susu - Coffee with milk, (usually condensed)
Air limau - Lime juice
Air, ayer - Water
Kopi - Coffee
Air oren - Orange juice
Air batu - Iced Water
Air suam - Warm Water
Gula - Sugar
Beras - Rice (uncooked)
Daging - Meat
Sayur - Vegetable
Timun - Cucumber
Bawang - Onion
Bawang putih - Garlic
Garam - Salt
Tepung - Flour
Ubi kentang - Potato
Kobis - Cabbage
Tomato - Tomato
Lada - Chilli
Epal - Apple
Pisang - Banana
Mangga - Mango
Nenas - Pineapple
Kelapa - Coconut
Anggur - Grape
Oren - Orange
Betik - Papaya
Saya lapar - I am hungry
Saya haus - I am thirsty
Makan - To eat
Minum - To drink
Mee Hoon - Rice vermicelli
Daging Kambing - Mutton
Ikan - Fish
118 August 2007
Udang - Prawn
Ayam Goreng - Fried chicken
Nasi Putih - Boiled rice
Nasi Goreng - Fried rice
Mee - Noodles
Mee rebus - Boiled noodles
Mee goring - Fried noodles
Daging lembu - Beef
Ayam - Chicken
Sotong - Squid/Cuttlefish
Kacang - Beans/nuts
Telur goring - Fried egg
Berapa? - How much/how many?
Mahal - Expensive
Boleh kurang sedikit? - Can you reduce the price a little?
Ringgit - Dollar
Sen - Cent
Satu ringgit/seringgit - One dollar
Seringgit setengah - One dollar and fifty cents
Satu kilo - One kilo
Satu biji - One (piece of fruit or vegetable)
Dua ringgit sekilo - $2 per kilo
Tiga ringgit setengah sebiji - $3.50 each
Boleh - Can/able
Tidak boleh/tak boleh - Cannot
Balik - Go home
Datang - Come
Selamat datang - Welcome
Ibu - Mother
Bapa - Father
Ibu-Bapa - Parents
Anak - Child
Isteri - Wife
Suami - Husband
Perempuan - Female
Lelaki - Male
119 August 2007