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Brunei Budget Guide – How Much Does It Cost to Travel in Brunei? 🇧🇳

Brunei is the second-smallest country in Southeast Asia (behind only Singapore) and the smallest in Borneo. Sandwiched between the two Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak, Brunei is also the second-richest country per capita in the region – again behind Singapore. 

With this in mind, most people assume that the cost of travel in Brunei is high. But it doesn’t have to be. While Brunei certainly caters to wealthy travellers, the more thrifty among us can get by on surprisingly little! 

When I travelled to Brunei, my budget was tight. I was midway through a five-month trip and everyone kept telling me how expensive Brunei is to visit. Thankfully, with a little pre-planning, I was able to keep costs down and experience this amazing country without breaking the bank!  

So, how much does Brunei cost to visit? Keep reading to find out! 

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Brunei Budget Guide 💰

Cost of Backpacking Brunei

  • Cost of Street Food: $1-5BND ($0.70-3.50USD) per person 
  • Cost of Food in a Local Restaurant: $5-10BND ($3.50-7USD) per person
  • Cost of Western Food in a Restaurant: $10-$20BND ($7-14USD) per person
  • Cost of Water: $1.50BND ($1.10USD) for 1.5 litre bottle 
  • Cost of a Hostel Bed: $20BND ($14USD) per night
  • Cost of a Private Room: From $40BND ($28USD) per night
  • Cost of Taxis: $5-10BND ($3.50-7USD) for short trips

Suggested Budgets for Travelling in Brunei 💵

Budget Disclaimer

All budgets listed here are approximate. Things can change fast when currencies fluctuate. Thankfully Brunei has a strong economy and big currency fluctuations are uncommon but you should always check before heading to the country. 

Basic: $50–60BND ($35–45USD) per Day

Budget backpackers rejoice! You can experience Brunei for much less than you’d expect if you’re frugal. To keep your daily costs this low, you’ll need to stay in dorms if possible, eat street food as often as you can and avoid travelling by taxi. There are plenty of free/cheap activities to sink your teeth into while in Brunei! 

Street food is a must if you’re on a budget in Brunei!

Mid-Range: $60–100BND ($45–70USD) per Day

If you want a little more privacy from your stay in Brunei, you don’t need to break the bank. Private rooms are available from around $40BND per night and this mid-range budget allows for eating out as well as getting the odd taxi. 

Premium: $100BND+ ($70+) per Day

If you’re looking to splurge while in Borneo, Brunei is the country for you. With amazing hotels catering to highflyers, you can drop as much money as you want in Brunei. In this price bracket, you’ll be able to get private rooms, eat in as many restaurants as you want and get taxis all over the country! 

Currency in Brunei 💲

The official currency in Brunei is the Brunei Dollar. It’s pegged, one-to-one with the Singapore Dollar, and both currencies can be used in each country thanks to the Currency Interchangeability Agreement

Brunei dollars are brightly coloured an easy to distinguish!

Brunei Dollar Conversions

Currency conversions fluctuate regularly, so be sure to check the current exchange rate before your trip! The below examples will give you a rough idea of how far your dollars, euros or pounds will go in Brunei. 

  • $1USD = $1.40BND
  • €1 = $1.50BND
  • £1 = $1.70BND 

How Much Does a Trip to Brunei Cost? 🚌

Cost of Street Food in Brunei 🥡 

$1-5BND ($0.70-3.50USD) per meal 

Eating at markets, hawker centres and street food stalls is one of the best ways to save money in Brunei. Prices begin at around $1BND for a portion of simple rice or noodles. If you have a big appetite, you’re probably going to want more than this though, so budget around $5BND for a full meal. 

Don’t miss Gadong Night Market in the capital Bandar Seri Begawan for a huge variety of stalls all under one roof! 

Cost of Restaurant Food in Brunei 🍜

$5-10BND ($3.50-7USD) per meal 

Restaurants in Brunei are a little pricier than street food. However, if you stick to local or regional dishes, you won’t need to spend too much. $5-10BND is usually enough for a filling meal.

Ambuyat is a must-try when visiting Brunei!

Cost of Western Food in Brunei 🍔

$10-20BND ($7-14USD) per meal 

For a Western dining experience, expect to pay a little more, $10-20BND will usually cover you for most dishes. While expensive by Southeast Asian standards, that’s still cheaper than eating out in the UK or Europe!

Cost of Water in Brunei 💦

£1.50BND ($1.10USD) for a 1.5-litre bottle

Bottled water in Brunei works out to around $1BND per litre. However, tap water in Bandar Seri Begawan is officially safe to drink and a lot of accommodation options offer filtered water too! Outside BSB, tap water isn’t considered safe, so avoid it. 

Alcohol in Brunei 🍺

If you’re looking for a booze-up, you won’t find it in Brunei. Officially, the country operates under Islamic law, so alcohol sales are forbidden. If you can’t bear to be without a beer for a few days, non-Muslim travellers are legally allowed to bring a small amount of alcohol into the country. You should never drink on the street or in sight of a mosque. Save your drinking for the privacy of your accommodation – or better still, just have a few dry days. Your liver and bank balance will thank you! 

Cost of Accommodation in Brunei 🛏️

Dorm Bed – $15-25BND ($11-20USD) per night

Hostels and dorm beds aren’t the norm in Brunei. However, there are some in BSB. Don’t expect much from them though. For a city with such clean streets, cleanliness in budget accommodation is somewhat lacking! Also, take toilet roll – it’s not uncommon to be given none when staying at cheaper digs! 

Budget Friendly Private Room – $40-50BND ($30-35USD) per night

Private rooms are more plentiful than hostel dorms in Brunei. But in this price bracket, don’t expect too much. As with dorms, cleanliness isn’t great and the areas you’ll be staying in aren’t the nicest. Most budget-friendly private rooms will have shared toilets and showers. 

Budget-friendly private rooms are available in Brunei!

Hotel Room – $75BND+ ($55USD+) per night

The sky’s the limit when booking hotel rooms in Brunei. They can range from very basic, costing around $75BND per night, to ultra-luxury where you can expect to spend thousands per night! No matter the level of service you want, you’ll be able to find it here! 

Cost of Transport in Brunei 🚕

Public transport in Brunei is surprisingly affordable. Buses run in Bandar Seri Begawan and cost around $1BND to get almost anywhere. Outside the city though, public transportation is less common. Car ownership rates in Brunei are some of the highest in the world, so long-distance buses are few and far between. 

Buses in Brunei operate along set routes – especially in Bandar Seri Begawan!

Water taxis in BSB cost around $1BND to get from the waterfront to Kampong Ayer – one of the largest water villages in the world. 

The best way to travel outside BSB is to rent a car. This costs approx. $60-100BND per day. Fuel is super cheap in Brunei, costing around $0.60-0.80BND per litre. This is thanks to Brunei’s huge oil drilling and refinement industry as well as government subsidies. 

Dart is Brunei’s answer to Uber but the ride-hailing app could do with some work. The user interface isn’t great and the whole thing is pretty buggy. But it works. Rides around BSB start at $5BND and go up from there. This, combined with taxis, is the most expensive way to travel around Brunei. 

Cost of Activities in Brunei 🚤

The following prices will give you an idea of how much trips, tours and activities cost in Brunei. They are just a guide but if you want more information, check this 5-day Brunei itinerary

Boat Trip To Kampong Ayer and the Mangroves – $20BND ($15USD) per person

From Bandar Seri Begawan’s waterfront area, jump on one of the many speedboats patrolling the water’s edge. They operate as taxis to and from Kampong Ayer but for $20BND per person, they also offer a couple of hours of boating through the mangroves just upriver from BSB. This is when the boat drivers come into their own, pointing out proboscis monkeys, macaques, birds and even crocodiles if you’re lucky! After visiting the mangroves, they’ll drive you around Kampong Ayer itself, whipping between the stilts that keep this floating village above water! 

Your boat driver will point out animals in the mangroves!

Visit The Royal Regalia Museum – $5BND ($3.50USD) per person

Filled with gifts, clothes and other belongings the Sultan can no longer fit in his own house, the Royal Regalia Museum offers an interesting peek into the life of Brunei’s royalty. It also has great air conditioning if you’re struggling with the heat– that’s worth the price of admission alone! 

Visit A Mosque – Free

As long as it’s not prayer time, and you’re appropriately dressed, you can visit some of the most beautiful mosques in the world for free in Brunei! Just make sure you check opening times, so you’re not disappointed! 

Brunei has some of the world’s most picturesque mosques!

Tour to Ulu Temburong National Park – $125-400BND ($90-300USD)

One of the more expensive trips in Brunei, a trip to Ulu Temburong National Park is a fantastic opportunity to experience pristine Southeast Asian jungles. Trips run from BSB and last anywhere from 1-3 days depending on how much you want to spend and how much time you have! 

If you want to talk Brunei budgets or anything else Southeast Asia, head over to our epic South East Asia Backpacker Community on Facebook to join more than 30,000 travellers looking to help each other explore this marvellous region!

Tim Ashdown | Gear Specialist

After a life-changing motorcycle accident, Tim decided life was too short to stay cooped up in his home county of Norfolk, UK. Since then, he has travelled Southeast Asia, walked the Camino de Santiago and backpacked South America. His first book, From Paralysis to Santiago, chronicles his struggle to recover from the motorcycle accident and will be released later this year.

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