FAQ

Poni’s frequently asked questions

Get to everything important first.

General Questions

Why choose Poni Divers?

  1. We carry medical, professional, and public liability insurance following international PADI and diving standards to that followed in North America, UK, and Australia (dive shop regulations in Asia are less strict than that in North America, UK, and Australia). Our Managing Director brings his dive experiences from Canada where dive shop regulations are most strict.
  2. Our equipment are all new Scubapro and Mares sets and well-maintained.
  3. Our prices are all-inclusive with no hidden charges.
  4. Visiting divers often get to dive with our huge club membership of over 500 fun dive club members who are eager to share stories about Brunei.
  5. We are well known for our fun and professional fully local staff and high safety standards.
  6. We are the only dive shop in Brunei with a beachside location, own jetty, pontoon access to boats, and beach club facilities with watersports activities.
  7. We are known by our customers to go the extra mile to make sure they are happy and satisfied with our services.
  8. We are a dive shop run and managed by local Bruneians led by Wong Thye Sing, who grew up in Brunei, but spent most of his diving years in Canada. He has spent the last 2 years mentoring and dive training local Bruneians to appreciate their own local reefs and wrecks with his diving experiences from Canada.

 

Why dive in Brunei?

Brunei’s underwater world offers over 20 shipwrecks and many reef patches that are largely unexplored. Be the few that have dived on some of the pristine dive sites here in Brunei! On most of the shipwrecks and all coral dive sites here, you can find a plethora of colorful hard and soft coral not found in many places around the world anymore; large Gorgonian fans and wide table corals, to name a few. Often, you’ll find yourself to be the only dive group at the dive sites.

How do I get to Brunei?

Most ASEAN countries’ airlines fly into Brunei or transit through Royal Brunei Airlines (RBA), Singapore International Airlines (SIA), Malaysia Airlines (MAS), Air Asia, Thai Airways, and Cebu Airways are examples of some of the airlines to name a few. (The closest and cheapest link to Bandar Seri Begawan, is from KL and Singapore)

What languages do you offer your courses in?

We offer courses in English, Malay, Mandarin, and Tagalog.

What languages do your guides speak?

Our guides speak English, Malay, Mandarin, and Tagalog.

Can a non-swimmer dive?

Yes, we will provide training in a swimming pool as part of the dive training before you dive in the open water.

Do I need to be medically fit?

Yes, fit and healthy in order for you to be comfortable in your training.

What happens if I feel claustrophobic?

Before your training begins, your instructor will give you plenty of time and teaching you step by step (for instance; hand signals, etc.) In order for you to be comfortable. Your dive instructor will always be with you to ensure your safety.

How do your courses work?

Our courses run in small groups of 2-4 people to assure the highest teaching qualities and we often offer additional 1- to-1 time with students with difficulty with no extra charge.

What is your insurance coverage?

We have public liability insurance, but will be purchasing medical coverage and accident insurance for all divers that pass through by July 2012 and encouraging clients to have DAN insurance

What is the capacity of your boats and equipment?

We have 3 dive boats, 2 can fit up to 10 divers, with 1 up to 6 divers. We have equipment to handle up to 20 divers in a day, though arrangements can be made for up to 30 divers a day with advance notice.

For the food, can I order vegetarian or halal meal?

Yes, you can request. Kindly do inform us beforehand during your booking.

Can I drink alcohol in Brunei?

Brunei is a dry country, drinking alcohol must be done subtly and not encouraged to be done in public places. You are allowed to bring 2 bottles of spirits and 12 cans of beer when you come to Brunei for personal consumption.

Can I get any photo or video of my first ever scuba diving experience?

Yes, we can provide you with a camera or GoPro rental and ask for our guides to capture your first scuba diving experience.

I wear glasses, can I wear my contact lenses instead?

You are allowed to use soft lenses but with your own risk.

I lost my dive certification card, can I still dive at your diving centre?

Yes this can be possible, our administrative operator will have a check and retrace your card. For this, you must submit your personal information and we may also need the instructor’s name and/or number and the place where you had you certification done.

How much do I pay for nitrox?

It will be an additional of BND $10 per tank.

Do you offer internships?

Yes, we do offer internships especially for students. Just email us a CV to enquiries@ponidivers.com and go to Poni Divers Website; ponidivers.com and contact the person incharge.

Do you offer team building activities?

We can provide specific focus on communication or leadership skills with the team building program accordance to specific age range. For more enquiries, please check at our information page for team building program.

Diving in Brunei

What are the 5 top dive sites?

  • American Wreck
  • Australian Wreck
  • Dolphin 88
  • Oil Rig Wreck
  • Bolkiah Wreck

How many dives are there each day during the dive packages?

Normally there will be 2-3 dives each day.

What is the average visibility?

Our visibility ranges are from 5m to 20m

The water temperature is normally range from 28C to 30°C all year round except for the months of Dec / Jan / Feb where there are it can drop down to 27°C and on rare occasions down to 26°C

What is the average water temperature?

The water temperature is normally 30°C all year round except for the months of Dec / Jan / Feb where there are it can drop down to 27°C and on rare occasions down to 26°C

How is the wreck diving?

It is comparable to top wreck diving locations around the world with over 30 shipwrecks and relatively good wreck diving visibility.

How deep are the wrecks?

We have many shipwrecks, some for beginner divers and some for advanced divers. Some of the wrecks have bottom depths of only 14m, and others down to 65m.

Can we penetrate the wrecks?

There are only a few wrecks still safe for penetration as the wreck superstructure has somewhat eroded. Wreck penetration will only be available for advanced divers with wreck dive training.

How far are the dive sites from your dive shop?

The dive sites are all nearby and require 30-40 mins to get to by speedboat. We have our own water access by our dive center at Serasa Beach.

How far is your dive shop from the town center or airport?

Our dive shop is an easy 20-40 mins drive from the town center and airport.

Which ones are the World War II wrecks?

The World War II shipwrecks are the American and Australian shipwrecks. And for Technical Divers are Yuho Maru and Baeiei Maru.

How is the macro diving?

There is macro diving, though this is still in its exploratory stages.

How is diving in Brunei is different to diving in Kota Kinabalu?

As recreational as Kota Kinabalu, Brunei has wrecks that are more challenging, liked by advanced divers / technical divers. Kota Kinabalu diving is great for beginners but quite similar diving as Brunei.

How is it different from Miri diving?

Miri has a few wrecks and coral reefs, but visibility is poor relatively to Brunei.

How is it different from Sipadan diving?

We have shipwrecks; Sipadan has great clear visibility and many pelagic creatures that we don’t have.

Dive Packages

Dive Site List (Common Dive Site)

Pelong Rock
A small rock island 2 km offshore with various coral reef sites around it, suitable for all level of divers, it ranges from a depth of 1m to 18m. This will be the dive site during bad weather as it is sheltered, and also for new divers. Refresher courses may also be conducted here. Travelling time to this site is about 30 mins.

Rig Reef
Rig reef is a coral reef site 45 mins away ranging from 8m to 20m. Refresher courses may be conducted here. This dive site is suitable for all level of divers.

Oil Rig Wreck
An oil rig sunk by shell in 1994 as an artificial reef at the rig reef, this is a great wreck dive site for new and experienced dive sites.

Bolkiah Wreck
A ship bearing the name of the royal family sunk in the 1960s at a depth of 24m. This dive site is suitable for experienced divers and new divers that are comfortable with a deeper dive. This dive site is 10 mins away from the rig reef.

Labuan Wreck
A small cement barge close to Pelong Rock at a depth of 7 to 14m that is suitable for diving only at high tides, suitable for all levels of divers.

American Wreck
A World War II wreck close to the Australian wreck, a us navy minesweeper, at a depth of 26-30m, it is suitable for experienced divers, with 45 mins of travel time. Bullets and gauges can still be found on the wreck.

Australian Wreck
A World War II wreck close to the American wreck, it is a passenger ship used during the war times to transport soldiers, with 339 deaths during the sinking, with 45 mins of travel time. A definite must visit as bones are said to still be found if you look hard enough.

What is there to do in Brunei other than diving?

Unknown to most, there are many nature activities in Brunei. On nature, we have a number of tours like the proboscis monkey tour, bird-watching, rainforest resort, canopy walk, hiking, etc. On the culture, Brunei is the only country in the world where its monarchy still has sovereign power and is a dynasty lasting 29 generations. The result is a country rich in history and religion; Islam. There are grand mosques everywhere and relics related to the long dynasty in Brunei. One interesting site in Brunei is the world’s largest water village with over 30,000 residents still living their daily lives on stilt houses built above the water.

What evening activities are there for the dive packages?

Due to the difficulty of getting around in Brunei on public transportation, we often offer guests a number of evening activity options. Our staff will become your private tour guides for some sights and can arrange for activities with other travel agents as well. Some popular activities with previous guests have been the water village tour by night, crocodile and bat hunting by night, city tour, mosques, or crossing over to the Malaysian border, a 45 min drive for a drink.

I would like to sign up for your dive package; however, I am alone. Is there a charge?

Yes, our dive packages are designed for 2 people. We will charge an extra BND $100 for single booking.

Do you offer any discounts?

Kindly have a look at our Promo page here

My friends and I are interested in the package. There are 4 of us. Is there a discount?

Yes, for a group of 4 pax or more, we offer a 5% discount. For e.g. if you are doing the DIVE BRUNEI 5D/4N, the fee will be BND $590 per pax, so after a 5% discount, it will be BND $560.50 per pax.

Please send your enquiry to enquiries@ponidivers.com

I am interested in adding more days for my diving and course packages. How does that work?

If you are interested to add more fun dive days to your fun dive package, it will be an addition of BND$190 each fun dive day, all-inclusive (plus 3 dives, 1 night home stay, 1 breakfast and packed lunch, and home stay transfer).

Can a person accompany my dive?

For the accompanying non-diver, we will charge BND $80 for the full package excluding diving. So the BND $80 will include airport and home stay transfer and breakfast. It will not include the packed lunch on the boat or any diving
activities.

However, she can join us on the boat as a non-diver paying non-diver fees of BND $30 / pax / day. We will provide snorkeling equipment complimentary but not all dive sites will be shallow enough to enjoy snorkeling.

Seating will be prioritized for full paying divers.

Rates, Bookings & Payment

How to make booking payment?

We have three methods of booking payment and they are by cash, online banking, and Poni Online Banking System. Payment by cash can be made at the Poni Divers Dive Centre in Pantai Serasa. If by online banking, we only accept Maybank, BIBD (Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam) and Baiduri Bank. Email will be sent to you for the bank details if you are ready to make your payment.

Are there any discount rates for children?

All individuals 12 years and above are considered adults. All individuals between 5 years and 12 years old are considered children and normally receive a 75% discount, however there are some exceptions to this, for e.g. With the bubblemaker and the seal team missions, these are courses specifically designed for kids ages 8 to 10, so there will not be a 50% discount on the published rates for kids 5 years and above. All individuals less than 5 years old are considered infants and are complimentary.

What is the booking deposit for?

The booking deposit is paid to book a seating for the activity. This booking deposit is a commitment from the client to attend the activity. It will become non-refundable and compensate for preparations costs if the booking is cancelled on short notice. The booking deposit will be refundable if we are notified of cancellation with advanced notice. Please refer to the cancellation policy of the cancellation FAQ below for rates.

What if I don’t make an advanced booking?

If you do not make an advanced booking, you can still make a booking as a last minute booking. We will try our best to accommodate your dates and times. However, on some occasions, the boat may already be full, or we may not have enough time to prepare for the activity. Advanced booking is advised for all activities, and should be made along with booking deposit paid 5 days prior to guarantee seating.

What if I postpone the activity?

If you postpone your activity, surcharges may apply if you inform us with less than 48 hours notice prior to start of each activity. For dive courses and fun dives, there will be a BND $30 surcharge. For dive packages, there will be a BND $100 surcharge. If you inform us of postponement with more than 48 hours notice, no surcharges will be levied.

What if I don’t show up?

If you don’t show up, you will forfeit your booking deposit and also the full payment made so far. If you choose another date for the activity, surcharges and the difference in rates may apply, please refer to the above FAQ on activity postponement for rates.

What if I need to make alterations like transfer names or change dates?

If you need to make alterations to your booking, advanced notice will be required, or surcharges can apply.

What if I cancel my booking?

If you cancel your booking with advanced notice, full refund of payment and deposit is possible, however, if you cancel on short notice, a full refund may not be possible. Please refer to the tables below for fees.

Cancellation fees for individual bookings

Description Paid amount $ Booking deposit
No show 0% refund of paid amount No refund on booking deposit
48 hours prior to start of activity 0% refund of paid amount No refund on booking deposit
2-5 days prior to start of activity 50% refund of paid amount Full refund on deposit
6 days or more prior to start of activity 100% refund of paid amount (minus 10% administrative fee) Full refund on deposit

 

Cancellation fees for group & corporate bookings

Description Paid amount $ Booking deposit
No show 0% refund of paid amount No refund on booking deposit
5 days prior to start of activity 0% refund of paid amount No refund on booking deposit
6-10 days prior to start of activity 50% refund of paid amount Full refund on deposit
11 days or more prior to start of activity 100% refund of paid amount (minus 10% administrative fee) Full refund on deposit

 

Will I get a refund if my plane arrived late and I have to cancel my booking?

Poni Divers receives no responsibility for circumstances beyond our control that will impact your booking. Please refer to the force majeure in our booking policy. However, we will do our best to assist and see if it is possible to change your booking dates or offer you credit terms for other activities in the future if you can show valid proof of external circumstances leading to your booking cancellation.

Should I follow your schedule or settle schedule accordance to free time?

We would prefer you to follow our schedule depending on our bookings.

I have a scuba equipment, is it cheaper?

Yes, there will be a 5% discount if you have your own equipment. For the DIVE BRUNEI 5D/4N, the fee will be BND$590, so after a 5% discount, it will be BND $560.50 / pax.

Snorkeling & Watersports

Can I use my own snorkel equipment?

Yes. If you are using your own equipment, your payment will be deducted by 20%

What is your usual time for a snorkel activity?

Our snorkeling activity is always from morning until afternoon, around 9AM-12PM.

Do I need to be able to swim in order to take part in snorkeling?

No, lifejackets will be provided. The customers’ safety is our main priority.

Can I bring a child below 8 for a snorkel activity?

We are sorry to inform you that children who are below the age of 8 are not allowed to join the snorkeling package.

How long is the snorkel tour?

Approximately 5 hours.

How long are we in the water?

Approximately 1-2 hours on each snorkel activity depending on your respective instructor.

On what days do you offer the watersports?

Normally we offered weekends and public holidays. Afternoon until evening.

What specific clothing/swimwear should I wear for snorkeling and watersports?

Something soft, close fitting and warm works just fine. For example, yoga pants, leggings, running tights and a long sleeved t-shirt or a thin jumper.

Accommodation & Transportation

How do I get to Brunei?

Most ASEAN countries’ airlines fly into Brunei or transit through Royal Brunei Airlines (RBA), Singapore International Airlines (SIA), Malaysia Airlines (MAS), Air Asia, Thai Airways, and Cebu Airways are examples of some of the airlines to name a few. (The closest and cheapest link to Bandar Seri Begawan, is from KL and Singapore)

How long is the journey from the airport to the homestay?

FROM BRUNEI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT TO HOMESTAY:

The journey will take approximately around 30 minutes from the airport to the   homestay and a 5 minute drive to Poni Divers Dive Centre.

 FROM MIRI AIRPORT TO HOMESTAY:

   The journey will take approximately around 2 hours drive by car.

How much is the cost per night for the homestay?

It only cost about BND$40 per night. Please visit our homestay section at ponidivers.com

I am interested in your dive package; however, I have relatives in Brunei whom I will be staying with. So i will not require your home stay, will it be cheaper?

Yes, it will be cheaper by only BND$10 / night as we do not add much on top of our dive packages for the home stay and breakfast.

How much do I spend daily in Brunei?

The costs of living in Brunei are relatively low while standards of living are relatively high. Meals can cost anywhere from BND$2 – BND$8, average BND$5. Public bus transportation is only BND$1

What is the homestay facility like?

The home stay facility is a comfortable and pleasant house 5 mins away from the dive shop. Contrary to regular expectations, guests have often been more than happy with our home stay. Rooms are designed for 2 people, twin or double, with rooms also available for 4 people, 2 double beds. Facilities include: –

  1. Common area with TV / DVD player
  2. Laundry facility
  3. Kitchen (inclusive with microwave, freezer, mini oven, cooking stove, etc)
  4. Free Wi-Fi
  5. Game Board Set
  6. Hot Shower
  7. Dining area
  8. Café / Convenience Shop within 5 mins walk
  9. 5 mins drive to beach-side dive show