Drinking Age in Brunei
As a Muslim country, it is illegal to buy alcohol in Brunei. That being said, non-Muslims are allowed to drink alcoholic beverages in the country as long as it is in a private residence. You must be at least 17 years old to be allowed to drink alcohol, even in your own home.
Laws Regarding Alcohol in Brunei
The laws regarding alcohol in Brunei are strict and enforced. While it is legal for non-Muslims to bring alcohol into the country, the amount is limited. You may only bring two liters of wine or liquor and 12 cans of beer into the country every 48 hours. If you are going to plan a party, be prepared to start bringing it in well in advance. In addition to the limited amounts, you must obtain an alcohol permit as you pass through customs upon entering the country.
It is possible to take your own alcohol into some restaurants to enjoy a drink with you meal. If you should decide to attempt this, be sure you know the owner of the restaurant a bit as it is not really legal to do so. Should you get caught, you will be the one detained and fined. It could also land you in jail for the offense.
You should also be aware that you may be caned as punishment for being drunk in public. A large rattan cane is used to strike your back. This is only used on men as it is very painful and can leave scars on your back. Ignorance of the laws is no excuse, they will cane a foreigner as easily as one of their own.
Interacting with Nationals
It would be in your best interest to treat all nationals you meet as if they were Muslim. If you are invited to someone’s home, assume there will be no alcohol allowed. Do not bring a bottle of wine as a host gift or ask for a drink. Many women will not touch any male that is not her husband so do not just offer the hostess your hand to shake unless she puts her hand out first.
Any and all laws in Brunei are enforced; there is no reduction of charges. If you are caught breaking a law, you will be charged and sentenced without regard to where you are from. Public drunkenness is taken very seriously as an offense and will land you in jail. If you are caught drunk driving, you can count on a fairly long sentence.
It is always a good idea to try to follow the customs of any country you are visiting. In Brunei, failure to follow them, especially those involving drugs, alcohol or sex will end up in your arrest. If you are going to drink, follow the laws; go into Malaysia to buy what you want within the legal limits. Make sure you get a permit and then fill out the alcohol declaration paper every time you bring alcohol into Brunei to remain legal at all times.