14 Brunei Fun Facts To Book The Ultimate Vacation

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Brunei is a small country, popularly known for its awe-inspiring wildlife, beautiful mosques, and an abundance of oil. But there is more to this gem of a country!

I’ll dive deep into some intriguing, fun, and strange facts about Brunei that will inspire you to book the ultimate trip.

1. They Have One of the Highest Car-Ownership Rates

On average, there is one car for every 1.5 people in Brunei, a fact I found interesting for such a small country. 

As Brunei is one of the few countries with a monarchy system, it has its ruling Sultan, Hassanal Bolkiah.  He himself owns more than 5,000 luxury cars. I wonder how often he drives each car.

2. The Sultan Makes The Final Call For Every Country Decision

The Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah has the final say on every decision taken for the country’s welfare. 

Hassanal Bolkiah with his wife

Unlike other countries and their governments, Brunei doesn’t have different people to approve various departmental decisions. The Sultan from the royal family takes the mantle.

The Sultan is the Prime Minister, President, Finance Minister, and Defense Minister of the country. 

3. Showing Index Finger in Brunei Is A Rude Gesture

Using an index finger to point out things or people is considered impolite in Brunei. All Bruneians prefer using their thumb should they need to point towards a destination.

4. Brunei Citizens Receive Free Education

Bruneians receive free education in the country as a gift from The Sultan, which has brought the country’s adult literacy rate up to 98% in recent years.

In addition, Brunei offers free health care, subsidized housing plus food, with many residents free from personal income taxes. I’d love to see Australia and the United States adopt an approach like this.

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5. Brunei is One of the Least Populous Countries in the World

The population of Brunei records less than 450,000, which makes it land the 175th spot on the list of most populous countries. 

6. No Alcohol for Muslims in Brunei

Brunei forbids alcohol completely. Even though it’s one of the most observant countries across the globe, the Sultan doesn’t permit public consumption or sales of alcohol. 

Non-muslims can bring a maximum of 2L of alcohol into Brunei, and this is often the easiest way to source quality alcohol.

7. Oil is the Backbone of Brunei’s Economy

Production of natural gas and crude oil accounts for around 90% of the economy of Brunei. The country even has a monument to celebrate the production of its billionth oil barrel, which was built in 1991. 

Remarkably, Brunei produces around 180,000 oil barrels every single day and are also the world’s 9th largest LNG gas producer. 

8. Brunei Rainforests are Home to Some Rare Wildlife Species

Despite being a small country, Brunei has managed to protect around 70% of its rainforests within its borders.

A Brunei rainforest

The Brunei rainforests are home to rare animal species, such as saltwater crocodiles, flying lizards and proboscis monkeys.

9. Christians and Muslims Can’t Marry in Brunei

Even though the country is ranked high in the human development index (31st in the overall index), it still remains somewhat restrictive.

A Muslim and Christian marrying in Brunei is treated as a criminal offense, with punishments that include death. Brunei’s law discourages Muslims who don’t abide by the rules of their religion. 

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10. Brunei is the Second Lowest Corrupt Country in Southeast Asia

Corruption has devastated many countries and their management systems from its roots, but this isn’t the case with Brunei.  As per the 2019 Transparency International (TI) Index, Brunei scored 60 out of 100 in the survey rating for corruption levels.

Brunei is the 2nd lowest corrupt Asian country after Singapore and globally, Brunei is the 35th least corrupt country.

11. No Minimum Wage for Jobs in Brunei

Unlike other countries, Brunei doesn’t impose any minimum wage for any job in the country. The employer will propose the pay rates for a job, and the two parties will naturally negotiate to find a happy medium.

As the second richest country in Southeast Asia, this initiative seems to be doing just fine for the citizens. 

12. Brunei is Taking Action Upon Gender Equality

In Brunei, women have equal opportunities for education and training, while pre and postnatal health care services are free. Despite being a Muslim country, Brunei has earned the respect from all across the world for its gender parity.

Happy Men and Women in Brunei

Interestingly, Brunei’s civil service strength is handled by 49% of women. Women in this country certainly have a high contribution towards the rising GDP and economy of Brunei. 

13. People Often Experience Longer Lives in Brunei

Free healthcare services to the citizens of Brunei have a big role to play in helping people live up to 75 years. That’s 5 years longer than the average in Southeast Asia.

14. Brunei Was the First Asian Nation to Cease Shark Finning

Brunei is a country that preserves wildlife and aquatic life, and subsequently banned shark finning in 2013. 

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This ban means that no shark species can be caught or killed in Brunei waters. All forms of trade, imports and exports of shark products are also now a crime.

Joshua Smith

Joshua has visited 10 countries and has another 110 to go! He plans to sail around the world over 5 years, and then spend the next 5 years driving around the world in a 4×4. He prefers to explore the more remote places without the tourists, and yet, doesn’t mind the ritzy feel of business class at 10,000 feet either.

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