Brunei Do’s and Dont’s

Brunei has its own dos and don’ts, which is part of its norms. If you are visiting the said country whether for work or for a vacation, it’s better to prepare yourself and learn the basic practices of the locals. The dos and don’ts in this country are basically the actions and behaviors that are acceptable and not acceptable in the country. If you are aware of these actions, you will know how to adjust to a certain expectation.

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As an expat or tourist, you should be willing to adapt to the new setting in Brunei. You don’t need all the laws and rules and regulations. You only need to inform yourself about the basics. In this blog, we will share with you the things about Brunei that you should do and avoid. You may use this as a guide or you may forward this article to your family or friends who will go to Brunei soon.

Brunei Do's and Dont's

Table of Contents

How to Behave in Brunei

To behave in Brunei, you need to have good knowledge of what’s customary in society. You don’t need to master all the laws because basically, the main laws in your home country are likely the same in Brunei, such as murder, traffic rules, employments, etc. The only difference might be the penalty. To mingle with the locals, arm yourself with the basics. Have an idea what rude behavior is so you can avoid doing them. Start with the dos and don’ts and the rest will follow as you explore Brunei.

Do’s in Brunei

To start off, let’s talk about the dos in Brunei. The things listed below came from different sources—the country’s culture, tradition, and social norms. Make sure to practice the acts below so you wouldn’t appear rude to the locals you bump into. Here are the dos in Brunei.

  • Do dress modestly. Although most locals in Brunei understand that foreigners may not know the customs and culture exactly, however, it’s your responsibility to know how to dress decently when you are exploring Brunei. There is a dress code here and as much as possible, you should dress modestly.
  • Do get comfortable when you see people slightly touching their hands and putting them on their chest after. It’s a form of greeting in Brunei and if you are planning to stay longer in the country, you will have to do this action as respect to the locals.
  • Do use your thumb when pointing out something. Don’t use your forefinger as it is considered foul in Brunei.
  • Do remove your shoes when you are entering a mosque. This is a norm in Brunei to respect Muslims and their religion. Always observe this practice when you are in Brunei.
  • Do cover your head, arms, and legs when going to a mosque if you are a woman.
  • Do look for another passage when there are others praying in one area.
  • Do use your right hand when passing a gift. Brunei locals rarely use their left hand when handing objects but you can use them as support.
  • Do accept offers such as food and drinks. It’s something to appreciate when someone offers you something in Brunei.

Don’ts in Brunei

After the dos, you need to learn the don’ts. These are the actions that you should avoid either because they are not accepted in society or because they are prohibited by the law. Here are the don’ts in Brunei.

  • Don’t mock Brunei’s local norms, customs, culture, and tradition. It’s a form of respect for the locals.
  • Don’t wear too showy clothes, especially when you are going to mosques. It’s better to dress decently whenever you are unless you are going to the beach.
  • Don’t shake hands with the opposite sex. Brunei locals don’t do this and it’s kind of normal for them.
  • Don’t use your forefingers to point out something. It’s considered taboo in Brunei. If you are in Brunei, you should avoid doing this.
  • Don’t pass in front of someone who is praying in a mosque.
  • Don’t use your left hand to pass objects. Although you may use your left hand to support your right wrist, make sure to practice using your right hand instead.
  • Don’t reject when someone offers you some food or drinks.
  • Don’t offer food to Muslims from sunrise to sundown during Ramadan. Muslims do fasting during this sacred holiday. So, to respect their religion, don’t try to offer them food.
  • Don’t sell alcohol in Brunei. Since it’s a Muslim country, it doesn’t allow the selling of alcohol without a permit. You can consume alcohol privately.
  • Don’t talk about religion and the royal family openly just to mock or provoke locals. These two topics are considered sensitive in Brunei.
  • Don’t take a photo with its flash turned on so you can avoid disturbing those who are praying in Mosques. Taking a picture within this holy place is perfectly fine in Brunei but be careful as well.

Tips when going to Brunei

When going to Brunei, you need to equip yourself with knowledge about the local’s culture, traditions, and norms. The dos and don’ts above practically give ideas on what to do and what not to do once you set your feet on Brunei. You can follow this guideline or you can add more in case you get information from a relative or family who also lives or works in the country. You don’t need to memorize them all. As you explore Brunei, you will learn more about the country’s standards when it comes to doing the right gestures. Also, you don’t need to memorize the laws. Just be aware of the basics so you can effectively adjust to your new environment.

Brunei might be different when you come from the Philippines. It’s a Muslim country but you can also meet people who have the same religion as you. You can be friends with both the locals and expats. Don’t be afraid to mingle with foreigners. Remember, you are a foreigner in Brunei the moment you go there.

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