Currency

Brunei: dollar (B$)

Indonesia: rupiah (Rp)

Malaysia: ringgit (RM)

Daily Costs

Budget: Less than US$40

  • Dorm bed: US$8–15
  • Meals at food stalls, self-catering at fruit and veg markets: US$2–4
  • National park admission: US$7 (Malaysia), US$11 (Indonesia)
  • Museums: Almost all are free

Midrange: US$40–80

  • Air-con double room with bathroom: from US$25
  • Meals at all but the priciest restaurants: US$7–15
  • Taxis, chartered motorboats or tours to nature sites: US$10–50

Top end: More than US$80

  • Luxury double room: US$100
  • Seafood dinner: US$8–20 per 1kg

Bargaining

Some bargaining is permitted at markets and over hotel room prices outside high season. In shops you're largely expected to pay the set price.

Money

ATMs widely available in cities and larger towns. Credit cards usually accepted at top-end establishments. Tipping is not practiced much in Borneo.

Sabah & Sarawak

  • Malaysia's currency is the ringgit (RM, for Ringgit Malaysia, or MYR), which is divided into 100 sen. Banknote denominations are RM1, RM5, RM10, RM50 and RM100.
  • ATMs are widely available in cities, towns and big-city airports, but not in rural areas. Some ATMs do not take international cards. Many banks are able to do cash advances at the counter.
  • Credit cards can be used at upscale hotels and restaurants, though some places may only take cards with embedded SIM chips.
  • US, Australian and Singapore dollars and pounds sterling are the easiest to exchange. Moneychangers, some of which also take other currencies, can be found in cities and large towns, and even smaller towns often have a shop that will change foreign currency.

Brunei

  • The Brunei dollar (B$) is available in denominations of B$1, B$5, B$10, B$50, B$100, B$500 and B$1000 and, believe it or not, B$10,000. The Brunei dollar is tied to the Singapore dollar and the two are used interchangeably, both in Brunei and almost everywhere in Singapore.
  • For currency exchange, moneychangers are generally a better bet than banks, though some places in BSB have a pretty hefty spread between their buy and sell rates.
  • ATMs are widely available, though not all take international credit/debit cards.
  • Major credit cards are widely accepted.

Kalimantan

  • Indonesia's currency is the rupiah (Rp). Banknotes come in denominations of 1000Rp, 2000Rp, 5000Rp, 10,000Rp, 20,000Rp, 50,000Rp and 100,000Rp (sounds like a lot, but it's worth just US$7). Coins you may see include 50Rp, 100Rp, 200Rp, 500Rp and 1000Rp; newer ones are lightweight aluminium, older ones are either bronze-coloured or bi-metal.
  • ATMs can be found in most urban areas (even in tiny towns), but are not available in the Upper Mahakam and the Derawan Archipelago.
  • All major cities have exchange bureaux and/or banks that handle foreign currency.
  • In general credit cards are accepted at midrange and top-end hotels, as well as at the most fancy restaurants.

Exchange Rates

RMB$Rp
AustraliaA$13.000.9910,800
CanadaC$13.201.0611,514
Euro zone€14.821.6017,365
Japan¥1003.681.2213,250
New ZealandNZ$12.730.909828
SingaporeS$13.021.0010,863
UKUK£15.441.8019,551
USAUS$14.141.3714,878

For current exchange rates see www.xe.com.

Tipping

  • Hotels In high-end hotels, a small tip per bag is appreciated; gratuity for cleaning staff completely at your discretion.
  • Restaurants High-end restaurants may add a 10% gratuity to your bill; otherwise tipping at your discretion.
  • Taxis No tipping required.
  • Tour guides Tips at the end of a tour not expected but highly appreciated.