Work and Travel in Brunei
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN BRUNEI FOR TRAVELLERS
Everyone knows that the Sultan of Brunei has historically been one of the richest figures in the world. And that’s about all people know about the tiny South East Asian country of Brunei. Most people choose to work and travel in Malaysia instead, since it’s entirely surrounded by the country.
But if you want a story to tell you should consider work and travel in Brunei. You can see a part of the world most people couldn’t pin on a map and get some vital experience in the process.
This travel guide to Brunei (https://www.lonelyplanet.com/brunei-darussalam) is going to show you everything you need to know about getting started.
1. Save the Rainforest in Brunei
Brunei is on the island of Borneo, which is famous for its rainforests and associated wildlife, such as orangutans. You could find yourself taking on a once-in-a-lifetime volunteer opportunity by working in the rainforests.
There are lots of different fields you can work in, such as conserving the rainforest and protecting the unique wildlife that live there.
You don’t need to be a qualified conservationist to work in Brunei. Volunteers are accepted all the time but do remember that competition is fierce.
2. Work with the Blind in Brunei
Brunei’s blind population rarely has much support from the state. International volunteers who want to travel in Brunei can extend their trip and get some worthwhile experience by working in centres for the blind across the country.
Your work in these centres for the blind include keeping them company, helping them to read through braille, and supporting them in their bid to work and live.
For this role, you need to be caring, patient, and understanding.
3. Live in an Eco Village in Brunei
Borneo is a unique environment that’s quickly falling victim to overdevelopment. Eco villages have been setup to draw attention to this, and to keep the environment as pristine as possible.
There are a variety of jobs within eco villages. Many of them are related to construction, so if you have any DIY skills you’ll be in high demand.
Other jobs revolve around farming. These could include growing crops, managing bee farms, and caring for other animals. Every eco village has different needs, so you should speak to the provider to find out more about what they need.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR BRUNEI
To travel to Brunei you may need a visa. They have a confusing visa system because they don’t have a single policy for all countries. For example, the UK and European Union (EU) countries are able to travel in Brunei without a visa for up to 90 days (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/brunei/entry-requirements). But smaller countries like Monaco, Andorra, and San Marino require a visa to travel.
We can also see this discrepancy in North America. Citizens of the US can work and travel in Brunei for 90 days, yet Canadians only get 14 days without a visa (https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/brunei-darussalam).
Australians need to get a visa-on-arrival (https://smartraveller.gov.au/Countries/asia/south-east/Pages/brunei_darussalam.aspx), but that’s only for 30 days, whereas Kiwis can enter without a visa for 30 days. The Japanese and Russians can enter without a visa for 14 days, but South Koreans can stay for 30 days.
South Africans must apply for a visa in advance from the embassy, so you need to carefully check your country’s requirements and don’t assume anything before you look into volunteer opportunities in Brunei.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN BRUNEI
Throughout spring the weather is dry and one of the best times to enjoy what Brunei has to offer. However, this is only the case from April to May. The rest of the spring is dominated by the southeast monsoon that starts from June and lasts all the way until October.
During spring, we recommend that you consider conservation projects. You’ll be able to enjoy the fruits of the rainforest and you may want to spend some time in an eco-village.
Outdoor projects are always popular amongst backpackers who want to work in Brunei at this time of year.
The Southeast Monsoon occurs from June to October, which means the entire summer is hit by heavy rains. This will reduce the number of volunteer opportunities in Brunei.
There are options, though. One option is to work in centres for the blind, work in schools, or even in the healthcare field.
Some of these roles require you to have previous qualifications. In many cases, though, a simple TEFL qualification and some prior experience will be enough to get you the job.
Autumn sees the return of the shoulder season. Again, this is one of the best times of the year for anyone who wants to travel in Brunei.
If you want to get closer to some of the most endangered species on the planet, you should make sure to land after October. You’ll have a short window of a couple of months to work outdoors.
For more information, refer back to the ‘Spring’ section.
For much of the winter time, the second monsoon season arrives. This brings heavy rains and makes most outdoor roles impossible.
If you want to find out more about what you can do during the winter season, refer back to the ‘Summer’ section and you’ll get everything you need about work and travel in Brunei at this time of year.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN BRUNEI
Backpackers who want to do something different should work in Brunei and sample some of what it has to offer during their stay on the island of Borneo.
Like most of this region, the rainforests have become oversaturated with foreigners. You’re not going to stand out. However, if you decide to head to the urban areas of the country, you’ll be looked at with some curiosity. Few foreigners spend a significant period of time here.
But Brunei is not a poor country and most residents enjoy a reasonably high standard of living, so don’t expect any hostility from the locals as you work.
Do you want to do something different with work and travel in Brunei?
- Edited on Oct 9 2018 by Marichka