Wondering what to wear in Brunei? From exploring this tiny country’s many mosques to its beautiful beaches and lush jungle, here’s everything you need to pack for this Southeast Asian country.
What to Wear in Brunei
Written by: Lola Méndez
Brunei is relatively undiscovered by international travelers but it has endless hidden gems waiting to be discovered. It’s one of three countries that occupy the tropical island of Borneo.
It is the most biodiverse place in the world and Brunei is the leader in sustainable practices, known as the green gem of Borneo. Here, you won’t find animals in captivity or palm tree plantations. Incredible wildlife can be witnessed by cruising on the river, staying in Iban longhouses in the rainforest, or climbing up canopy walks.
City lovers will enjoy spending the day in the capital city of BSB, while culture lovers will be mesmerized by the cities beautiful mosques. Those looking to relax can find tranquil turquoise waters at Labuan island.
Check out our 10 Step Packing Guide for Southeast Asia!
Brunei Clothing Style
When packing for Brunei, be conscious that you’re visiting a Muslim-majority country where certain dress codes are expected. Local women, besides those of Chinese descent, wear hijabs and never show any skin.
Female travelers are not expected to wear a hijab, but it is important to be respectful of the culture and to pack conservative clothing when putting together your capsule wardrobe.
Read these tips on how to dress for conservative countries!
Brunei has one season–summer! No matter when you visit you can expect warm temperatures and occasional rain. Lightweight fabrics and some rain gear would be advisable if you plan to spend time outside.
Find out what to wear on a rainy day.
Below is a list of what to wear in Brunei depending on your activities:
What to Wear in Brunei When Exploring BSB
BSB’s major highlights are visiting the largest water village in the world, hiring a boat to spot proboscis monkeys, and visiting beautiful mosques.
Visit the lakefront Omar Ali Saifuddien and the largest mosque in Southeast Asia, Jame Asr Hassanil Bolkiah. Both allow non-Muslims to enter and they provide robes that all visitors are required to wear.
Linen clothing is perfect for summer and warm weather travel!
To dress appropriately, wear loose pants in a breathable fabric like linen or cotton paired with your favorite top. Women here love to have fun with their makeup so put on a bold lipstick to pull your look together.
For walking around a city, I always wear leather sandals. A rubber sole is super durable and a soft footbed makes it feel like you’re walking on the beach.
Here are comfortable walking sandals that are also stylish.
What to Wear in Brunei for Rainforest Adventures
Brunei’s conservation efforts have resulted in amazing opportunities to experience the native flora and fauna. I spent two nights glamping at the Sumbiling Eco Village, which is operated by Iban tribe members.
During the stay, we swam in the river, went on a sunrise hike and a night jungle walk, and gathered food in the forest. Don’t miss the canopy walk, long boat ride, and waterfalls!
Each activity was muddy, so pack a rain jacket and some sort of water shoes inside your packing cubes until you need them–they’re better than sneakers or hiking boots here. If you don’t have time for an overnight stay you can also hike to spectacular views on Pulau Berambang, an island five minutes from the city by boat.
Another option is to take a day trip to the gorgeous Tasek Merimbun Heritage Park. You’ll see plenty of wildlife and get to interact with local villagers. Borneo Guide operates guided tours to both. They employ locals and support endangered communities.
For day trips you’ll want to wear something lightweight, easy to move in, and water resistant. I wore leggings and an exercise tank but carried a local sarong to drape over my body when we interacted with locals out of respect for their culture.
These are what TFG readers voted on the best leggings for women when traveling!
What to Wear in Brunei for Beach Days
If you do get the urge to swim, make sure to never do so in the Brunei River. During my trip, we saw a six-foot crocodile very close to the city center!
The ocean, on the other hand, is perfectly safe for swimming. Labuan Island is popular but difficult to reach as there is only one ferry each morning and one returning in the afternoon. The best beaches to visit on the mainland are Serasa, Muara, and Berakas.
If you prefer to hang out at a country club, The Empire is beautiful. The beaches here are mostly sandy and easy to reach so sandals are a good footwear choice.
Take a look at the eleven beach sandals our readers rave about
Although Brunei is an extremely conservative country, it’s acceptable to wear the swimwear of your choice here. Pack a crop top that you can wear over a one-piece for extra coverage. It’s still comfortable to wear in the water, unlike a loose t-shirt. A long sarong can be worn as a skirt as you hang out on the beach.
Make sure to bring beach basics, including sunscreen, sunglasses, and a quick-dry towel. Pack insect repellent to keep away mosquitos and put a light layer of a natural oil over your sunscreen to keep away sand flies.
These are the best swimsuit coverups of the season!
What are your tips on what to wear in Brunei? Share in the comments!
For more Asia packing lists, please read:
- What to Wear to Walk the Great Wall of China
- What to Wear in Hong Kong
- What to Wear in Mongolia
- 10-Step Packing Guide for Southeast Asia
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Author Bio: Lola Méndez is a full-time traveler sharing her adventures on Miss Filatelista as she adds to her collection of passport stamps. She travels to develop her own worldview and has explored 46 countries. Passionate about sustainable travel she seeks out ethical experiences that benefit local communities. You can follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.