Essentials Brunei | Sabah | Sarawak

Brunei

Banks
Banks in Brunei Darussalam are usually open Mondays to Fridays, 9am – 4pm and on Saturdays, 9am – 11am. Some banks have branches with later closing times. Islamic banks follow the same operation hours except on Fridays when they are closed for prayers between 11am – 2.30pm. Cash withdrawals and deposits can be made from Automated Teller Machines (ATM) that can be found in various shopping complexes and bank branches all over the country. ATM cards affiliated with the international Plus or Cirrus systems are accepted at most ATMs.

Credit
VISA and Mastercard are the most widely accepted credit cards in hotels, restaurants and major shopping complexes. Some establishments accept American Express.

Money Changer
Licensed money changers can be found at the airport, hotels, various shopping complexes and banks. To cash or exchange travelers cheques, visit major international banks in the capital.

Friday Prayer Time
All retail, food and beverage outlets and business offices are closed between 12 noon and 2pm on Fridays to observe the Friday prayer time for Muslims.

Islamic Etiquette
Although Islam is the state religion of Brunei Darussalam, it is also a country that prides itself on the diversity of its people – including their religions. Visitors are welcome to mosques, provided some etiquette is followed. In general, proper attire is required; women are required to cover their head, shoulders, and knees. Some mosques will provide simple robes and shawls to meet these standards. Shoes are to be removed before entering a mosque. Please do not pass in front of people in prayer, and do not touch the Al-Quran. Please ask for permission before taking photographs – particularly inside! Mosques are usually closed on Thursday and Friday, and during prayer times – your hotel, tour guide, or Muslim locals can help you determine a good time to visit.

Smoking
Smoking is prohibited in both air-conditioned and non airconditioned areas in Brunei Darussalam. Smoking is banned in specific places, including government buildings, hospitals, recreational and educational centres, public transport and restaurants. Offenders could be fined.

Telecommunications
Most public phones operate on calling cards such as Hello card, Netkad and Payless. These cards can be purchased at any store and comes in $5, $10, $20 and $50 denominations. Prepaid calling cards for the two mobile telephone operators, DST and Progresif Cellular, can be purchased from their respective authorised dealers in major shopping areas.

Tourist Information Centre
Located at the Kg. Ayer Cultural and Tourism Gallery (9am – 2pm). Visitors can obtain information about Brunei and related pamphlets and maps free from here.

Taxis
Taxis can be found at the airport, hotels, shopping centres, and the central bus station in Bandar Seri Begawan. There are no metered taxis in Brunei, therefore it is advisable to negotiate your fare before getting into one. For your convenience it is also recommended to take your preferred taxi driver’s number to organize prearranged trips.

Buses
There are six bus routes servicing the BSB area: the Central Line, Circle Line, Eastern Line, Southern Line, Western Line and Northern Line. Normal operating hours are from 6.30am – 6pm. Bus fares start from B$1.00. Buses heading to other towns in Brunei such as Tutong, Kuala Belait and Seria depart from the bus terminal located at the multistorey carpark on Jalan Cator in BSB.

Water Taxis
Unique to Brunei, the water taxi is the most common means of transportation in Kampong Ayer. You can hail a water taxi from the numerous jetties along the banks of Brunei River. Fares are negotiable but usually a standard ride costs about B$1.00. Regular boat services to Temburong operate between 7.45am to 4pm daily and a round trip costs B$15.00.

Ferry Services
Passenger ferry services to the Malaysian island of Labuan operate from 7am to 4pm and departs from the Serasa Terminal in Muara town. The journey takes about 45 minutes to an hour.


Sabah

Banks
Banks open from 9am to 4pm from Mondays to Fridays and are closed on Saturdays and Sundays. ATM machines are available 24 hours. Major shopping malls also have ATM machines and are available during operating hours.

Credit Cards
Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted credit cards at hotels, restaurants and major shopping malls. Some establishments do accept American Express.

Money Charger
Licensed money changers can be found at the airport, shopping malls, hotels and major banks.

Buses
There are three main bus terminals that operate regular services. The terminal along Jalan Tun Razak provides services within the city and its outskirts. For destinations south of the city (Papar, Beaufort, Tenom, Tambunan, Keningau), use the terminal near Padang Merdeka. For any other destinations north of the city and all the way to the east coast towns of Sandakan, Tawau, Lahad Datu and Semporna, you have to take a bus to the Kota Kinabalu North Bus Terminal in Inanam and from there proceed to your destination of choice. Kinabalu Park is located en route from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan.

Air Travel
Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) is the second busiest airport in Malaysia and is the main terminal for Malaysia Airlines, MASWings, Firefly, Royal Brunei Airlines, Dragonair, Silkair and Asiana Airlines. Terminal 2 caters to low-cost carriers Air Asia, Cebu Pacific and Eastar Jet.

Telecommunications
It is possible to make IDD phone calls at payphones using coins or call cards. Prepaid calling cards are also widely available by authorized dealers at shopping malls. Most major hotels have WIFI facility either in their guest rooms or public areas. An increasing number of restaurants now have WIFI zones too. Cybercafés offer very affordable rates for internet services.

Taxis
Taxis are available at both airport terminals and cost about RM30.00 to get to the city. The journey takes between 10-15 minutes. Within the city, taxi stations are located next to major shopping malls and hotels. Long distance taxi services can be found next to Padang Merdeka.

Ferry Services
Jesselton Point is the main terminal for boats to the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park islands and to Labuan Island. If you wish to drive to Labuan, use the ferry terminal at Menumbok south of the city where car ferries are available.

Tourist Information Centre

Sabah Tourism Board
Jalan Gaya
Tel: (6088) 212 121

Sri Pelancongan Sabah
Sinsuran Complex
Tel: (6088) 232 121

Tourism Malaysia (Sabah)
Api Api Centre
Tel: (6088) 211 732

Visitors’ Information Centre
Terminal 1
Tel: (6088) 413 359

Visitors’ Information Centre
Terminal 2
Tel: (6088) 447 075


Sarawak

Banks
Banks open from 9am to 4pm from Mondays to Fridays and are closed on Saturdays and Sundays. ATM machines are available 24 hours. Major shopping malls also have ATM machines and are available during operating hours.

Credit Cards
Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted credit cards at hotels, restaurants and major shopping malls. Some establishments do accept American Express.

Money Charger
Licensed money changers can be found at the airport, shopping malls, hotels and major banks. Some money changers may not accept foreign currency in small denomination or notes with a date or serial number that they don’t approve of.

Buses
A free city-tram service is available for sightseeing around Kuching with pick up points at designated hotels. A daily bus service between Kuching and the airport operates from 6am – 7pm and takes 40 minutes. The main intercity bus terminal is at Penrissen Bus Terminal southeast of Kuching. Ask Tourism Information Centres for bus timetables; a ‘green bus’ in the Kuching area goes to Santubong (SCV).

Air Travel
Kuching International Airport services airlines to destinations within Malaysia and overseas via Malaysia Airlines, Air Asia, Firefly, Tiger Airways, Royal Brunei, Silk Air and Batavia Air (Pontianak, Kalimantan). A network of services using smaller aircrafts provides access to remote destinations within Sarawak such as Bario, Mulu and Ba Kelalan.

Telecommunications
It is possible to make IDD phone calls at payphones using coins or call cards. Prepaid calling cards are also widely available by authorized dealers at shopping malls. Most major hotels have WIFI facility either in their guest rooms or public areas. An increasing number of restaurants now have WIFI zones too. Cybercafés offer very affordable rates for internet services.

Taxis
Taxi fare from Kuching airport to the city cost about RM22.00 per way. Taxies are
easily found at large hotels, or at taxi stands in all the major towns in Sarawak. Taxis don’t use meters so always negotiate the fare before getting into a cab!

Express Boats and Ferry Services
A boat service locally known as tambang is available for the short trip across Kuching River to the riverside villages on the other side and along the river for sightseeing. Fast
and comfortable express boats connect coastal towns (Kuching, Sibu, Kapit) and villages on
the major rivers in Sarawak. The Express Ferry Terminal in Kuching offers trips to Sibu and
onwards to Kapit for upriver journeys. Take a bus from Sibu to Miri for ferries to Brunei and onwards to Labuan island and Kota Kinabalu.

Tourist Information Centre

Kuching Visitors’
Information Centre
Tel: (6082) 410 944/2

Miri Visitors’
Information Centre
Tel: (6085) 434 181

Sibu Visitors’
Information Centre
Tel: (6084) 340 980