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BRUNEI PLACES OF INTEREST
The Belait District covers almost half of the whole of Brunei. When oil was first discovered at Seria in 1929, this part of Brunei was only mangroves, peat bogs and forest. The valley of the Belait River was the only spot inhabited by the Punans, the Dusuns and the Ibans who lived in longhouses in large communities of up to one hundred people. The Belait River is the longest river in Brunei.
The Belait District, and Seria town in particular, is the heart of the oil and gas industry in Brunei. It has a large expatriate community, including many Dutch people. This is due to the fact that Royal Dutch Shell has a major presence in the region.
There are two onshore oil and gas fields in the district - the large Seria Oil Field discovered in 1929, which is still producing hydrocarbons, even today, and the smaller Rasau Field close to the town of Kuala Belait. The Tali Field, which is an extension of the Seria Field is found in the coastal waters off Seria. Further offshore lies the South-West Ampa, Fairley, Fairley Baram and Egret fields.
The petroleum produced is processed onshore in and around Seria and the majority of it is exported. Some of the oil is refined at the refinery in Seria for local consumption. Natural Gas from the fields is sent to the Brunei Liquefied Natural Gas Plant (BLNG) in Lumut where it is cooled and liquefied. This is exported via tankers - mainly to Japan and Korea.
Sungai Liang Forest Recreational Park
This is one of several parks which have been developed and maintained for public recreation. The park is one of the very few lowland forest areas in South-East Asia and has facilities for general recreational activities, including hiking. It also caters for the natural history devotees, with self-guided or organised group tours of the forest. The main pond, with its shelter platforms and open areas in the central complex, should satisfy visitors looking simply for fresh air and beautiful surroundings.
The more energetic may care to explore the network of well marked nature trails that wind
their way around the park, including a high-level canopy walkway in the treetops. This wonderful
facility will give you a totally different perspective on the rainforest.
Luagan Lalak Recreation Park
A rare and interesting place, it features an alluvial freshwater swamp or empran. During rainy periods it fills up like a lake, and in drier spells the waters recede and the valley becomes covered with sedges - mainly of the species Lepironia.
There are shelters, footpaths and a 200 metre timber walkway which spans most of the lake.
Wasai Wong Kadir
Wasai Wong Kadir is a 45 minute walk from the Labi Road. It is ideal for those who enjoy, or would like to try, jungle trekking up and down steep ridges. The wasai, or waterfall, is also a popular picnic spot.
The walk crosses several steep ridges en route to the waterfall, however, once you are there
you can enjoy the unspoilt beauty of the jungle and the cool, pure water of the river. This is
a reasonably long walk. It is advisable to take some drinking water and sun protection with you.
Further along the Labi Road, beyond Kampung Labi itself, there are several examples of a form of unique to Borneo - the Longhouse. A village under one roof, longhouses consist of a row of family houses - or doors - with a communal area which runs along the length of the building. This is the social centre of the village.
Several trails head off into the jungle along this stretch of road. They are clearly signposted
and marked, and lead the walker to scenic waterfalls and hills in the virgin primary forest. They
are relatively undemanding and guides are not necessary, but for for your own safety, you are
advised to seek local advice before setting off.
Photographs courtesy of Jewelle Tan (Sungai Liang Forest Recreational Park), Florian of Courbevoie (Luagan Lalak) and Tourism Brunei