If you are looking to travel on a budget, Brunei might not be the best option. When traveling in Brunei is compared to other places like Vietnam, it is more expensive. You’ll pay more for things like accommodation, and you won’t be able to get by on just $15 a day.
Surprisingly, Brunei is quite affordable. You can get a meal for $1 and a bus ride in Bandar Seri Begawan is only 80 cents a ride. Plus, there are plenty of free activities and attractions to take part in, and even buying data for your phone won’t break your bank!
One of my long-term goals with Never Ending Footsteps is to produce a complete breakdown of how much money I spent in each nation I visited. With 65 more countries to go, I look forward to concentrating my efforts on Brunei.
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Like every month, this budget breakdown covers my expenses for accommodation, transportation, activities, food, and other items while I travel.
Since flight prices vary depending on your origin location, I have not included the cost of flights to and from Brunei in this total. Most people arriving in Brunei fly to Kuala Lumpur first; from there Air Asia operates regular Bandar Seri Begawan flights for around $51 USD.
Since most of my readers are from the United States, I have quoted my costs in US dollars and converted them to Brunei dollars. The Brunei dollar is pegged to the Singapore dollar and can be used interchangeably in both countries. I do not accept gifts, gifts or press trips on this site, so everything listed here was paid for with my own money. Finally, these figures are what I paid while traveling with my partner in Brunei. That means my lodging expenses and the cost of my boat trip have been cut in half to show how much I contributed.
The cost of accommodation in Brunei
We stayed at the Taman Mawar Guesthouse in Brunei and cannot recommend it highly enough. The owner, Maya, made our trip. She picked us up from the airport, drove us in and out of town, bought us lunch, and introduced us to the local night market. If it wasn’t for her, we wouldn’t have enjoyed our time in Brunei so much.
The guest house is located a bit outside of the city center but provides access to a clean and spacious room with its own private bathroom. You will also have full use of the kitchen, living room and washing machine during your stay. Capital Residence Suites is the best option for those on a mid-range budget looking to be within walking distance of all the attractions in Bandar Seri Begawan. The cost of a double room is $64 per night. For accommodations on a budget, Poni Homestay has dorm beds available for $20 a night.
The cost of transportation in Brunei
Free transportation is one of the many reasons I enjoyed my time in Brunei. Not only was there a free airport transfer, but Maya also took us wherever we wanted to go. Also, the locals were always willing to give visitors a ride if they needed it. You can find numerous online accounts of other travelers who had similar experiences. If you’re ever lucky enough to be offered a ride, remember to tip her $3.66 as a token of her appreciation (although she may not take it).
Although public transport in Brunei is not the best, it is still manageable and cheap. There are no trains, but buses run everywhere except at night. Taxis are relatively rare and more expensive than other forms of transportation, so they should only be used as a last resort. Still, for daytime explorations, the bus is cheap at 1 BND ($0.71) per trip.
If you feel comfortable driving on the left side of the road, renting a car in Brunei could be an option. Brunei are polite and the roads are quiet compared to other SE Asian countries, so I wouldn’t worry too much about driving there. Gasoline prices are around BND0.50 (USD0.37) per liter, and car rentals start at BND55 (USD40) per day. During my four days in Brunei, I spent a total of 5 BND ($3.66) on transportation. This includes two bus rides from the center of Bandar Seri Begawan to my accommodation and a thank you gift for a local who gave us a lift.
The cost of food in Brunei
Thanks to the Gadong Night Market, I discovered that eating out in Brunei is very affordable. Maya introduced us to him on our first night, and we would return every night for meat skewers and milkshakes. We also had some chicken and rice to put in our fridge for breakfast the next day. Since the cost of most of the food ranges from $1 to $5 BND (0.73 to 3.66 USD), it made for some amazing and inexpensive dinners. One day, we had lunch at Seri Damai restaurant in Bandar Seri Begawan, a Pakistani restaurant, and my lamb saag with garlic naan lassi only cost me 11 BND ($8). We had a really bad breakfast at Coffee Bean and Tea. Leaf one morning as it was the only restaurant open and serving meals. For the sake of the worst eggs benedict I’ve ever had plus a cup of tea, I paid $6.80 BND (about $5.00). Trying ambuyat is one of the activities that I highly recommend to Brunei guests! Maya served us dinner, but looking at the menu online it looks like a set menu is $26 BND ($19.00), which is reasonable if you have a group of people to share with. I saw an average of $13 per day spent on food in Brunei
The cost of activities in Brunei is $3,800 per person
Fortunately, most activities in Brunei are free. You won’t have to pay to visit the Royal Regalia Museum, and exploring the mosques is completely free. Walking through Kampong Ayer without having to pay for a tour or guide is possible. I splurged on one thing while I was there: a 90-minute river boat ride cost us $22 total, including our driver and boat. We spent half our time in Brunei watching proboscis monkeys by the river and the other half exploring Kampong Ayer, a floating village. If you’re looking for activities to splurge on while you’re in the country, consider diving: Brunei has surprisingly good dive sites with plenty of WWII shipwrecks to explore and healthy coral growth thanks to its location on the edge of the Triangle. Coral. The best reviews go to Poni Divers, and a full day on the water costs 153 BND ($112). Taking day trips through Ulu Temburong National Park is something that can only be done through a guided tour, which is why it is such a popular activity. It’s quite expensive at 153 BND ($112), so I’d recommend doing this trip only if you don’t plan on seeing more of Malaysian/Indonesian Borneo. On the other side of the island, the jungle is just as impressive, but not as expensive to visit as in Brunei.