Cruising to Brunei


The Sultanate of Brunei's influence peaked between the 15th and 17th centuries when its control extended over coastal areas of northwest Borneo and the southern Philippines. Brunei subsequently entered a period of decline brought on by internal strife over royal succession, colonial expansion of European powers, and piracy.

In 1888, Brunei became a British protectorate; independence was achieved in 1984. The same family has ruled Brunei for over six centuries. Brunei benefits from extensive petroleum and natural gas fields, the source of one of the highest per capita GDPs in the developing world.


Location: Southeastern Asia, bordering the South China Sea and Malaysia
Geographic coordinates: 4 30 N, 114 40 E
Map references: Southeast Asia
Area: total: 5,770 sq km


161 km

Maritime claims

Territorial sea: 12 nm
Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm or to median line


Tropical; hot, humid, rainy


Flat coastal plain rises to mountains in east; hilly lowland in west

Elevation extremes

Lowest point: South China Sea 0 m
Highest point: Bukit Pagon 1,850 m


This small, well-to-do economy encompasses a mixture of foreign and domestic entrepreneurship, government regulation, welfare measures, and village tradition. Crude oil and natural gas production account for nearly half of GDP and more than 90% of government revenues. Per capita GDP is far above most other Third World countries, and substantial income from overseas investment supplements income from domestic production.

The government provides for all medical services and free education through the university level and subsidizes rice and housing. Brunei's leaders are concerned that steadily increased integration in the world economy will undermine internal social cohesion, although it became a more prominent player by serving as chairman for the 2000 APEC (Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation) forum. Plans for the future include upgrading the labor force, reducing unemployment, strengthening the banking and tourist sectors, and, in general, further widening the economic base beyond oil and gas.


Airports: 2 (2005)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (2005)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2005)
Heliports: 3 (2005)
Pipelines: gas 665 km; oil 439 km (2004)
Roadways: total: 1,150 km


209 km (navigable by craft drawing less than 1.2 m) (2005)

Merchant marine

Total: 8 ships (1000 GRT or over) 465,937 GRT/413,393 DWT
By type: liquefied gas 8
Foreign-owned: 8 (UK 8) (2005)

Sailing Specifics: Ports and terminals

Lumut, Muara, Seria


In 2003 Brunei and Malaysia ceased gas and oil exploration in their disputed offshore and deepwater seabeds and negotiations have stalemated prompting consideration of international legal adjudication; Malaysia's land boundary with Brunei around Limbang is in dispute.

Brunei established an exclusive economic fishing zone encompassing Louisa Reef in southern Spratly Islands in 1984 but makes no public territorial claim to the offshore reefs; the 2002 "Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea" has eased tensions in the Spratly Islands but falls short of a legally binding "code of conduct" desired by several of the disputants

Other Sailing Destinations in the Region

Brunei - Burma - Cambodia - China - East Timor - Hong Kong - Indonesia - Japan - Macau - Malaysia - North Korea -Philippines - Russia - Singapore - South Korea - Taiwan - Thailand - Vietnam

Further Reading

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