Stolen Kiss

Stolen Kiss

February 18, 2007

Cruising around Brunei. Notes from Allan Riches, Brunei Bay Radio

Brunei Bay Radio –

You might also find the information on our website useful - especially if you plan to visit Brunei.

If you are heading to the Philippines be sure to look at the Puerto Galera Yacht Club – - for cruising information. They are very helpful with e-mail responses to cruising yachts.

Please use - and tell others about our accommodation booking services for NW Borneo ( ). We also have tour operations ( ) in Brunei, Sabah and Sarawak, including the best preserved Borneo rainforest at Ulu Temburong National Park, and Proboscus Monkeys beside the Sultan’s Palace in Brunei. In Sabah, budget priced eco/cultural tours & accommodation in Sandakan/Sepilok and the Kinabatangan River. The income helps support Brunei Bay Radio’s services for cruising yachts.


1. Barat Bank light ( 5d 9.3m N 115d 5.4m E), in the entry to Brunei Bay, does not exist - no buoy and no light. A new (December 05) safe water mark has recently appeared at about 5d 7.0m E 115d 6.9m E.

2. One additional set of lateral (port and starboard) marks was added to the entry channel to Muara port a few years agao and is still not updated on a lot of charts. The present charts show three pairs (port and starboard) of lateral marks along the main entry channel. An additional (4th) pair has been added, about 0.5 nm further to sea.

3. It is VERY important to enter the shipping channel from the outer port and starboard marks. A submerged rock training wall extends well out from shore along the line of the starboard hand channel marks; ie southern side of the channel. It is shown on paper and digital charts (if you look at the detailed display) and it has been further extended with the installation of the additional pair of lateral marks. It is very close to the surface; a visiting cat lost a rudder here in 2005 when cutting the corner.

4. The special mark at 5d 0.3m N 115d 03.85 E (near the RBYC anchorage) does not exist since about 1996 - no post and no light. But the broken off legs are below the surface and some yachts have hit these. Keep well clear.

5. Upon entry to Brunei, proceed to the anchorage off Royal Brunei Yacht Club (Serasa) at approx 5d 0.1m N 115d 04.0m E. No need to wait in the Quarantine anchorage. If you arrive in the evening it's OK to report in next morning.

6. The RBYC anchorage is good holding in mostly mud with almost no commercial traffic to upset your sleep. Don't come closer in than the moored yachts, (catamarans excepted) it gets shallow fast.

7. Five minutes from the anchorage in your tender (with outboard) to Serasa ferry terminal (5d 0.9m N 115d 03.8m E) for immigration, customs and port clearance. Or come ashore at the yacht club and catch the bus or get a lift from someone. Ferry terminal open from 0700 to 1700 but officers can be absent for lunch, morning tea etc. Best to go there just before ferries arrive.

8. The special mark on some charts at 10d 1.0m N 115d 10.0m E, on the route from Brunei to Labuan, does not exist - no buoy and no light.

9. Keraman Island (between Brunei and Labuan) is a popular spot for weekend boaters from Brunei. It has a very simple resort facility, cheap beer, showers and meals ashore at the point where the long sand spit meets the land - 5d 13.2m N 115d 8.4m E. Anchor either side of the long sand spit (the dashed line on the chart) - depending on whether it is a NW or SW wind at the time – to get shelter from the waves. This is a Marine Park with restrictions on anchoring but foreign registered yachts are allowed to anchor. The anchorage areas off the “resort” are sandy bottom not coral. The inside anchorage – between Keraman Island and Rusukan Kecill – is shallow and you need to anchor well out from the resort end of the sand spit. This side of the spit is only used for anchorage during the NE Monsoon period (November to March), so most cruisers will use the northern – deeper – side.

10. The NE Monsoon actually blows from the NW in the southern South China Sea (as the wind swings to enter the Jawa Sea between southern Borneo and Sumatera), and along the west coast of Borneo. The west Borneo coastline has been the traditional sailing ship route for this reason. Racing yachts setting out from the Singapore Straits in January – the height of the NE Monsoon - usually take one tack all the way to meet the Borneo coast just south of Miri.


1. Diesel can be brought to your boat in containers from nearby vehicle fuel stations. Diesel is still Bn$0.31 per litre. See John at the Royal Brunei Yacht Club for assistance with getting containers to the filling station 3 km away. The club charges a small fee for this. New regulations have recently been introduced (31st Dec 05) to control the sale of fuel (heavily subidised in Brunei) to people from neighbouring Malaysia. This may cause some additional steps in getting fuel for visiting yachts; eg: fuel containers must be proper containers with a manufacturer’s stamp for carrying fuel.

2. The Royal Brunei Yacht Club at Serasa has a pool, extensive dining room menu, open air dining room, washing machine, small workshop/repair area, shower and good shower/toilet facilities. Visiting yachts receive free temporary membership for one month, then pay a small monthly fee. Cheap local bus (air-conditioned) to central shopping area at Bandar Seri Begawan takes about 45 minutes. The yacht club has a great party on News Year's Eve.

3. A second RBYC clubhouse is located at Kota Batu, upstream on the Brunei River. Anchor just off the club house in about 8 metres of water at approx 4d 52.9m N 114d 59.1m E. Keep in close to the club to stay out of the main channel. Use your dinghy to get ashore at the club’s small floating jetty. Showers, toilets, washing machine available free for visiting yachts. Extensive menu with inside (air-cond) or outside dining area. This location is popular with yacht crews wishing to visit the main shopping area as the public bus takes only 10 minutes.

4. Boats and boat parts imported into Brunei are duty free. Quite a few yachts have used Brunei to receive parts and new sails.

5. There are no limits on the time visiting yachts can stay in Brunei. No special permit is required and there is no money to pay. (My Australian registered yacht has been here for 12 years.)

6. Brunei is a very relaxed and friendly Moslem country. The mostly Malay people are generally well off, travel a lot, speak English very well, are well educated and well informed. They like their personal freedoms and convenient lifestyle. Christmas Day (December 25th) is a public holiday and so too is New Year Day (1st January). The government working week is Monday to Friday and Saturday. The Moslem holy day – Friday – and the Christian holy day – Sunday – are non-work days. But all the shops are open for business every day from about 0900 to 2100.

7. There is no income tax and very few duties or sales taxes. Oil and gas revenue provides money for government operations and services. For Bruneians, education is free, seeing a doctor is free, pharmaceuticals are free, hospital operations are free, land and houses are free for low income earners, car loans are cheap etc.

8. Apart from no alcohol being sold (bring your own in your yacht – officially 12 cans of beer and 2 bottles of wine/spirit per person per entry), there are very few other limitations. Conservative clothing (ie: long pants, short sleeved shirts) is in tune with local standards. Point with your thumb; not index finger. Almost everyone speaks good English. Brunei is officially a dual language country, Malay and English. Most school classes are conducted in English from about 9 years of age.

9. Brunei currency notes and Singapore currency notes are legal tender in Brunei and Singapore and have the same value. Buy whatever you get the best rate on. Be sure to have some Brunei or Singapore $ for your arrival formalities. A single entry Visit pass is Bn$20 and a multiple-entry pass is Bn$50. A 72 hour transit (ie: enter from one place, depart to a different place) visa is Bn$5. If you plan to stay a few weeks a multiple-entry visa is worth having so your can go in and out to visit adjacent places in Sarawak. The Immigration staff don’t always have the right change so have the right money and/or small notes.

10. Check my website - for more information. Select Intrepid Tours, then Brunei Darussalam, then Visitor Information.

11. We can be contacted on HF at the standby times shown on the website - on the channels/frequencies assigned to Brunei Bay Radio; also shown on the website. We also operate a 24 hour watch for sel-call alerts. If you need details about Sel-Call e-mailed, let me know.



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