I LOVED my recent trip to Brunei Darussalam, only the fourth Muslim State I’ve been to. While I gladly knocked back the beers in Indonesia last year, Brunei is a bit more strict. Alcohol is completely forbidden. You cannot buy alcohol in Brunei and you cannot drink alcohol anywhere in public view in Brunei. However if you are a non-Muslim, you have an alcohol allowance for bringing alcohol across the border. Being a traveller who loves a beer, I took my maximum allowance. Here’s a guide on how to take alcohol into Brunei…
Where can I buy alcohol in Brunei?
Nowhere. It cannot be found anywhere. The only two types of beer you will see in Brunei are Ginger Beer and Root Beer. Alcohol is strictly forbidden.
How can I take alcohol into Brunei?
Buy it in Malaysia and take it across the border. Yes it really is that simple.
How I managed to take alcohol into Brunei – a full guide
I travelled to Brunei by ferry. I got a ferry from the Malaysian island of Labuan to the Serasa ferry terminal near Muara, Brunei. I will detail later on my World Borders series exactly how to cross the border from Malaysia to Brunei. But if you’re staying in Kota Kinabalu or Labuan, head to the ferry terminal and you can get your tickets and your boat to Brunei. It’s a fairly straight forward process.
Labuan Island, Malaysia
The Malaysian island of Labuan is a duty free haven and the main streets are littered with shops selling Duty Free alcohol and cigarettes. You can stock up on alcohol in Labuan and even take it to the mainland part of Borneo and save money. But if your next port of call after Labuan is Brunei then here’s how to get the alcohol in.
Buy your alcohol in Labuan and the vendor will give you a bright yellow/orange customs form with it. On the customs form it has the full details on what you can take into Brunei with you.
The Rules for taking alcohol into Brunei.
1. You must be 17 years old or above.
2. You must be a non-Muslim.
3. You cannot import alcohol into Brunei two days in a row. There must be a period of 48 hours between each importation.
4. The alcohol must be for your own consumption – you cannot bring it into the country for someone else.
5. The alcohol must be stored and consumed at the place you are staying at in Brunei.
6. You must fill in and sign the full Royal Customs Liquor Form.
7. You must not exceed the maximum allowance.
What is the maximum allowance of alcohol you can take into Brunei?
Per person, as of April 2013:
– 2 bottles of liquor (must not exceed 2 litres in total)
– 12 cans or bottles of beer (each can must not exceed 330ml)
Where do you get the Brunei Royal Customs Liquor Form?
There are a few places you can get the Brunei Royal Customs Liquor Form, here are the main ones:
1. Any duty free shop or off-licence in Labuan, Malaysia
2. On board the ferry to Brunei
3. On arrival in Serasa Ferry Terminal, Muara, Brunei
I got mine in advance, I like to be prepared for these things and I didn’t want a delay on arrival in Brunei, so if you want to take my advice – get your Brunei Royal Customs Liquor Form in advance from an off-licence in Labuan, Malaysia (or if you’re entering Brunei from one of the other border crossings, get it there). Fill in your details on the ferry and once you arrive in Brunei, it’s a simple process.
What happens when you arrive in Brunei?
OK after immigration, passport checks and visas you will see the Customs declaration booth – I came into Brunei at the Serasa Ferry Terminal and the booth is on the left hand side. You just simply hand your form and passport to the person working in the booth. They check your passport and the Liquor Form and they keep one half and you keep the other half. Make sure you have everything filled in and signed in advance. You will need to sign both sides of it.
They will stamp both parts of the Liquor Form, one of which you get to keep. You then take that page with your bag of booze to the security guy on the way out of the terminal. It’s a very fast, simple and efficient process. I had no problems at all. For the record I took my maximum beer allowance of 12 cans/bottles but I didn’t take bottles of liquor. I noticed that they don’t really check the quantity so if you really wanted you could risk an extra few cans, but why risk it? Besides I was travelling with my girlfriend and she didn’t take any of her allowance so we would have just transferred stuff onto hers if it had exceeded it.
It’s also worth noting that 2 of my cans were 500ml and they were fine, even though it says on the form that each can of beer must be maximum of 330ml. Though if the person working is strict and doing their job, they could ban all 12 cans if you only take in 500ml cans, so I’d say don’t risk it just in case. You don’t want to end up with zero alcohol.
Where can you drink alcohol in Brunei?
By law you can only drink alcohol in your hotel or hostel room. There is a rumour about a Chinese restaurant that allows you to bring your own beer in and consume it there, but things like this are strictly forbidden. I have also heard of a room at the Empire Hotel and Country Club that allows non-Muslims to drink in. This would probably be fine as it’s still within the place you are staying. It’s all about respecting the fact that Brunei is a strict Muslim state.
I drank all my alcohol with my travel buddies in their hotel room, or with my girlfriend in our hostel room. It’s odd being in a country with no bars or alcohol on sale, but it’s an extra travel experience.
Right! I think I’ve covered it in detail for you there, it’s not complicated at all to take alcohol into Brunei, and it’s a great country to visit! Safe travels.
My videos of taking alcohol into Brunei:
Buying Duty Free alcohol in Labuan, Malaysia:
Having a drink before heading to Brunei:
On the ferry to Brunei:
Having a beer in Brunei: