Brunei Overview

By | January 22, 2021
Brunei Darussalam
Official language Malay
Capital Bandar Seri Begawan
Form of government absolute Malay Muslim monarchy
Area 5,765 km²
Residents 372,500
Currency Brunei dollars
Time zone UTC + 8
License plate BRU
Internet TLD .bn
Telephone area code 00673 (Source: ALLCITYCODES)

Brunei Overview


The Sultanate of Brunei (official name Brunei Darussalam, abbreviation Brunei) is located in Southeast Asia and, with the states of Malaysia and Indonesia,shares in the island of Borneo, the third largest island in the world. Brunei is located in northern Borneo and borders the South China Sea. The country’s total area (5,765 km²) is made up of two non-contiguous territories, separated by the Malaysian area (Limbang valley) and surrounded by Malaysian area in the east, south and west. See Brunei country abbreviation.

Brunei has three types of landscape: mountains, hills and coastal plains. The eastern part of Brunei, the Temburong district, is mountainous in the south, here the country has a share in the Crocker Range. The highest point is the Bukit Pagon at 1,850 m. The central part of the Temburong district and most of the western part of Brunei are hilly areas with basin landscapes, which are surrounded by ridges and lie at an altitude between 100 m and 300 m. The north is occupied by coastal lowlands with swamps. In the Temburong district, the coast is strongly structured, in the western part there is a compensatory coast.

Numerous rivers flow in the Crocker Range and the ridges that flow northwards and flow into the South China Sea. The larger ones include Temburong, Pandaruan, Tutong and Belait.

The capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, is in the western part of Brunei.


Brunei has a tropical rainy climate with high temperatures all year round and lots of rainfall. In the capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, an average of 27 °C is measured in January and 28 °C in July. In the coastal region, the amount of precipitation is around 3 500 mm annually, in the hills and in the mountains up to 7 000 mm.

Flora and fauna

Around three quarters of the country are covered with tropical rainforest, which has numerous plant species. In the area of ​​the river courses and estuaries there are swamp forests and mangroves on the coast.

Due to the extensive, partly undeveloped forest areas, the wildlife of Brunei is as diverse as the flora. Animal species that have become rare in numerous other countries, such as the silver gibbon, the giant squirrel and several bird species (including those from the hornbill family), are still common here. There is also a great variety of reptiles and insects.


A total of around 375,000 people live in the Sultanate of Brunei. The most densely populated is the coastal plain, where most of the larger cities are located. The average population density is 65 residents per square kilometer. The largest city is Bandar Seri Begawan with around 50,000 residents (agglomeration), other cities include Kuala Belait with 21,200 (agglomeration) and Seria with around 21,100 residents (agglomeration).

Around two thirds of the population are Malays, and around 15% are Chinese. More than 10% of the population is made up of foreigners who come primarily from India, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Indonesia. The official language is Malay, Chinese, English and local dialects are also spoken. Islam with a Sunni orientation is the state religion, and around 67% of Brunei’s residents profess it. The second largest faith group are Buddhists with around 13%. Christians and followers of Confucianism and Daoism are religious minorities. Population growth was around 2.5% in the mid-1990s and is now declining slightly due to state restrictions on immigration (around 1.9% in 2007).

The standard of living in Brunei is very high due to the sale of oil, the social and health care are well developed. The average life expectancy is 75 years. There is no compulsory schooling, but attending classes is free. According to COUNTRYAAH, the literacy rate is around 94%.

Political system

Brunei is an absolute Malay Muslim monarchy. The state gained independence from the British protectorate in 1984. In the Sultanate of Brunei, Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah has ruled as absolute ruler since 1967. He is head of state and head of government in one person and at the same time the highest guardian of the state religion of Islam. Members of the sultan’s family hold other political offices. In addition to an eleven-member Council of Ministers, there are other bodies such as the Council for Religious Affairs and the Heir to the Throne. All have a purely advisory role. The Legislative Council, with 21 members appointed by the Sultan, met in September 2004 for the first time in 20 years to adopt a constitutional amendment. This prescribes a council with 45 seats (15 elected and 30 members appointed by the Sultan),

Brunei has been in a state of formal emergency since 1962. Parties are prohibited.

Brunei is divided into the four districts (daerah) Belait, Brunei and Mara, Temburong and Tutuong. The legal system is determined by the state religion and is based on the British system.


The economy of the Sultanate of Brunei is based on the sale of oil and natural gas. With an average per capita income of around $ 46,000, Brunei is one of the world’s wealthiest countries. The sultan was once the richest man in the world with an estimated private fortune of $ 40 billion; meanwhile the fortune has been reduced to half. In order to reduce the dependency of the economy on oil, the government is trying to expand luxury tourism and to develop natural gas reserves off the coast of Brunei. Unemployment is growing at 3.7%. The main employer in Brunei is the state itself, which employs over 50% of the workforce. There is covert unemployment due to overemployment in the public service.

Over 80% of food and consumer goods have to be imported. Just under 3% of the country’s area is used for agriculture, especially for rice cultivation, fruit and vegetables; water buffalos and poultry are raised. Government and state subsidies are to be used to expand agriculture and forestry.

The main oil and gas buyer is Japan, followed by South Korea and Australia. In addition to food, machinery and vehicles are imported. The main suppliers are Singapore, China and South Korea.

The road network covers a total of around 3,000 km and is largely paved. The most important ports are Bandar Seri Begawan, Kuala Belait and Muara. There is an international airport.

The currency is the Brunei dollar (= 100 cents). It is pegged 1: 1 to the Singapore dollar, both currencies are currency in both countries.