BRUNEI – BELAIT DISTRICT
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.
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.
A “nodding donkey” on the Seria Oilfield
Lagoon in Sungai Liang Forest Park
SUNGAI LIANG FOREST RECREATIONAL PARK
Sungai Liang is about 70 km from Bandar Seri Begawan, and the drive takes about an hour along the coastal highway. The park is 450 metres from the main Sungai Liang junction along the road to Labi.
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.
LUAGAN LALAK RECREATION PARK
Lying about 25 km from Sungai Liang along the Labi Road, this park covers an area of roughly 270 hectares within the Labi Hills Forest Reserve.
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.
Luagan Lalak Recreation Park
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.
Longhouse at Labi
Photographs copyright to Jewelle Tan (Sungai Liang Forest Recreational Park), Florian of Courbevoie (Luagan Lalak) and Brunei Tourism