Brunei Darussalam Travel Information

Photo The Sultanate of Brunei's influence peaked between the 15th and 17th centuries when its control extended over coastal areas of northwest Borneo and the southern Philippines. Brunei subsequently entered a period of decline brought on by internal strife over royal succession, colonial expansion of European powers, and piracy. In 1888, Brunei became a British protectorate; independence was achieved in 1984. The same family has ruled Brunei for over six centuries. Brunei benefits from extensive petroleum and natural gas fields, the source of one of the highest per capita GDPs in the developing world.

Many cultural and linguistic differences make Brunei Malays distinct from the larger Malay populations in nearby Malaysia and Indonesia, even though they are ethnically related and share the Muslim religion.

Historians believe there was a forerunner to the present Brunei Sultanate, which the Chinese called Po-ni. Chinese and Arabic records indicate that this ancient trading kingdom existed at the mouth of the Brunei River as early as the seventh or eighth century A.D. This early kingdom was apparently conquered by the Sumatran Hindu empire of Srivijaya in the early ninth century, which later controlled northern Borneo and the Philippines.

The Asian financial crisis in 1997-98, coupled with fluctuations in the price of oil have created uncertainty and instability in Brunei's economy. In addition, the 1998 collapse of the Amedeo Development Corporation, Brunei's largest construction firm whose projects helped fuel the domestic economy, caused the country to slip into a mild recession.

Relations between the United States and Brunei date from the last century. On April 6, 1845, the U.S.S. Constitution visited Brunei. The two countries concluded a Treaty of Peace, Friendship, Commerce and Navigation in 1850, which remains in force today. The United States maintained a consulate in Brunei from 1865 to 1867.

Important: Travel to Brunei Darussalam may require a travel visa. Whether a visa is required for travel depends on citizenship and purpose of journey. Please be sure to review Travisa's Brunei Darussalam visa instructions for details. Visa instructions for other countries are available on our do I need a visa page.

Country Statistics

Full country name: Brunei Darussalam
Capital city: Bandar Seri Begawan
Area: 5,765 sq km
Population: 408,786
Ethnic groups: Malay 66.3%, Chinese 11.2%, indigenous 3.4%, other 19.1%
Languages: Malay
Religions: Muslim
Government: constitutional sultanate
Chief of State: Sultan and Prime Minister Sir HASSANAL Bolkiah
Head of Government: Sultan and Prime Minister Sir HASSANAL Bolkiah
GDP: 21.03 billion
GDP per captia: 49,500
Annual growth rate: 2.2%
Inflation: 2%
Agriculture: rice, vegetables, fruits
Major industries: petroleum, petroleum refining, liquefied natural gas, construction
Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, timber
Location: Southeastern Asia, bordering the South China Sea and Malaysia
Trade Partners - exports: Japan 45.2%, South Korea 15.9%, Australia 11.4%, Indonesia 8.1%, India 5.7%, China 4.4%
Trade Partners - imports: Singapore 27.4%, India 15.4%, China 12.8%, South Korea 10.1%, Malaysia 9.4%, Germany 7.9%