BRUNEI DARUSSALAM, A GUIDE

© Brunei Shell Group of Companies, 1992 / 2000

Foreword

Brunei Darussalam, the Abode of Peace, undergoes rapid development while attempting to keep its past and natural heritage intact. Today, the Islamic Sultanate has a lot to offer ranging from splendid architecture to close encounters with nature and its wildlife.

Through the second revised edition of this guidebook, the original guide was published in 1992. Brunei Shell hopes to continue its contribution to the Bruneian community, newcomers and the increasing numbers of visitors by presenting information in its truest form.

Fine photographs complement the detailed information on places to visit, how to get there and related historical facts.

I hope this guide will also help you to understand our country's culture and enjoy its gifts and that your journey of discovery in will be more memorable and complete.

A book on road and street maps of Brunei, also produced by Brunei Shell, is available for purchase and will complement this guidebook.

 

Dato Paduka Dr Haji Mat Suny bin Haji Mohd Hussein

 

CORPORATE AFFAIRS DIRECTOR BRUNEI SHELL GROUP OF COMPANIES   


Foreword               GoTo

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN              GoTo

The Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque    GoTo

The Jame' Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque        GoTo

Kampong Ayer     GoTo

Bukit Subok along Jalan Residensi   GoTo

Istana Nurul Iman                GoTo

Persiaran Damuan                GoTo

The Brunei Museum            GoTo

The Malay Technology Museum     GoTo

The Royal Regalia Museum (Bangunan Alat Kebesaran Diraja) GoTo

Lapau and Dewan Majlis    GoTo

Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Complex             GoTo

Sultan Bolkiah's Tomb        GoTo

Arts and Handicraft Centre                GoTo

Brunei History Centre         GoTo

Tasek Lama           GoTo

Pulau Selirong Recreational Park       GoTo

Markets GoTo

BRUNEI MUARA                GoTo

Kampong Parit (Taman Mini Perayaan)           GoTo

Wasai Kandal       GoTo

Limau Manis         GoTo

Bukit Saie              GoTo

Brooketon Coalmine            GoTo

Mentiri Pools        GoTo

Bukit Tempayan Pisang      GoTo

Pulau Chermin      GoTo

Bukit Shahbandar Forest Recreation Park       GoTo

Berakas Forest Recreation Park         GoTo

Jerudong Playground          GoTo

Jerudong Park       GoTo

Other Beaches      GoTo

International Convention Centre       GoTo

Temburong           GoTo

Temburong District             GoTo

Bangar   GoTo

Batang Duri           GoTo

Batu Apoi Forest Reserve  GoTo

Outward Bound    GoTo

Peradayan Forest Reserve  GoTo

Kampong Selapun Kampong Temada              GoTo

Mountainous Terrain of Temburong                GoTo

TUTONG               GoTo

Merimbun              GoTo

Pantai Seri Kenangan          GoTo

Sungai Basong     GoTo

Tutong 'Snow'      GoTo

Penanjong Beach GoTo

Tamu Tutong        GoTo

KUALA BELAIT GoTo

Kuala Balai            GoTo

Ulu Belait               GoTo

Labi and Longhouses         GoTo

Longhouse Facts and Etiquette        GoTo

Sungai Liang Forest Reserve             GoTo

Sungei Lumut Forestry centre           GoTo

Luagan Lalak Forest Reserve Park    GoTo

Mendaram Waterfall            GoTo

Rampayoh Waterfalls          GoTo

Bukit Teraja           GoTo

Teraja Waterfall    GoTo

Peat Swamp Forest              GoTo

The Billionth Barrel Monument         GoTo

Anduki Jubilee Recreation Park         GoTo

Silver Jubilee Park                GoTo

Sports Facilities in Brunei   GoTo


Glossary                GoTo

Picherplants          GoTo

Montane forests  GoTo

Credits   GoTo

Red = to be deleted

Purple = edited

Blue = to be (re)checked / updated

Green = to do

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BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

Bandar Seri Begawan is the capital of Brunei Darussalam and its largest town, though in Southeast Asian terms, it is small with a population of some 60,000. It is the focus of business and administration housing all ministries and Government department headquarters, and foreign embassies.

Formerly known as Brunei Town, it changed its name in 1970 in honour of the former Sultan,

Haji Sir Muda Omar Ali Saifuddien, who abdicated in 1967 in favour of his eldest son and was subsequently known as the Begawan Sultan (Begawan means 'blessed'). He was widely recognised as the architect of modern Brunei steering the country adroitly through the turbulent post- World War II era when new boundaries were being drawn throughout the region as many countries assumed independence.

The Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque

The glistening heart of the capital and symbol of the country's deeply-rooted Islamic faith is the Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque. It was the brainchild of the father of the present Sultan, Haji Sir Muda Omar Ali Saifuddien, who was ruler when the building was completed in 1958.

The mosque is one of the most impressive in Southeast Asia. Italian marble was used for the floors and Shanghai granite for the outer walls. The chandeliers and stained glass windows came from Britain while the carpets were imported from Saudi Arabia and Belgium. The glistening gold dome is made up of 3.3 million pieces of Venetian mosaic covering 520 square metres . On three sides the mosque is surrounded by a lagoon, at the centre of which is a replica of a 16th-century Royal barge (Mahligai) used occasionally for religious ceremonies such as the annual Quran reading competition.

The Jame' Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque

Considered as one of the grandest monuments to Islam in the whole region, the magnificent Jame' Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque is the brainchild of His Majesty the Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah and Yang Dipertuan Negara Brunei Darussalam.

Known locally as the Kiarong Mosque as it is situated in Kampong Kiarong, a few kilometres from the capital, it was built to commemorate the 25th anniversary of His Majesty's accession to the throne. The Mosque was officially opened on a Thursday, 14 July,1994. removed

The fine artistry of the structure's basic design as well as the interiors shows the meticulous attention to details and reveals the depth of the love that inspired the vision to build this splendid symbol of devotion to Islam.

Kampong Ayer

Kampong Ayer is perhaps the most startling facet of Bandar Seri Begawan.

An extensive village built on stilts over the Brunei River, it has no equivalent anywhere else in the world. Though stilted fishing villages are common along the coast of Borneo and Peninsular Malaysia, there is nothing that comes close to the vast scale or history of Kampong Ayer (literally it translates as "Water Village"). The residents commute to work in an armada of water taxis which criss-cross the river like brightly-coloured dragonflies leaving the surface of the water permanently ruffled in daylight hours.

The stilted city, which was described by early European travellers as the 'Venice of the East', is actually a collection of small kampongs each with their own names and their own Government-appointed leaders, or "ketua kampong" . The myriad homes, which have piped water and electricity and are bedecked by a forest of TV aerials, are interconnected by a maze of wooden walkways along which it is possible to walk from one end of the village to the other. The community is almost self-contained. It has shops, mosques, schools, a police station, clinics

There is no doubt that the community presents a logistic problem for a Government committed to providing a modern infrastructure for the country. Garbage disposal is still a problem but a modern sewage disposal has alleviated the old problems of proper sanitation. The fire risk is a major problem as home owners can't get insurance for their all-wood houses despite a water-borne fire brigade that has earned a reputation for excellence. Statistics show that it takes just seven minutes for a wooden house in to burn to the ground. But in the relatively cramped kampongs, inhabitants today talk warmly of a close-knit sense of community not seen to the same extent on land where modern estates are spread out.

In the past, Kampong Ayer was the centre of Brunei Darussalam's arts and crafts industry and, though this is no longer the case, there are still a few places where the traditions persist  

Kampong Ayer's community centres are also a place to learn the Al Quran and religious teachings as well as the reading and writing of Jawi ( Malay-Arabic script ). Thus, it is where people fluent in reading the Al Quran and religious teachers and "imams" ( leaders in prayer groups ) were produced.

Today, though it faces challenges and threats such as fire, environmental pollution, and others, Kampong Ayer still stands firmly. Its existence is continually supported by the government through the provision of public amenities such as schools from the primary to secondary levels, clinics, police posts, fire stations and mosques.

Bukit Subok along Jalan Residensi

A good vantage point for a view of Kampong Ayer is along Jalan Residensi near the old Residensy Building. One has to be careful of the several hundred wooden steps up the steep hill, but there is a splendid panorama of the river from there. A fine time for viewing is at sunrise and sunset.

Another good vantage point would be the Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Complex where a jetty is provided for easy access to and from the water villages at all points.

Istana Nurul Iman

His Majesty, the Sultan and Yang Dipertuan Negara Brunei Darussalam's official residence and seat of Government is quite simply the largest residential palace in the world today.

On the banks of the Brunei River, it is a stunning sight with its Islamic-styled architecture, long sweeping Southeast Asian roofs and stylish, squashed, glistening domes, tiled with 22-carat gold leaf. Built on a slight hill surrounded by a colourful, landscaped garden, the myriad materials that made up its construction came from 30 countries including the United States, Denmark, France, Italy, and Britain. Filipino tycoon Enrique Zobel, boss of Ayala International which built the palace to a design by famous Filipino architect Locsin, described it simply as 'the palace of the century'. The istana has 1, 788 rooms-388 more than the Vatican in Rome-and a banquet hall that can seat 4,000 people. In addition there is a ceremonial dining hall seating 500. A surau or prayer hall for the Sultan's family and Palace staff can accomodate 1,500 worshippers.

Among other facilities, there are three royal guest suites, 12 apartment suites for His Majesty's children, an audience room, clinic, multi-sports complex, helipad and underground parking for 300 cars. As the seat of Government , it contains offices for His Majesty, who is Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, and for the Deputy Minister of Defence and the Minister of Home Affairs. A special conference room is dedicated to the traditional meetings of the Pehin, or titled persons. The Privy Council meets here in its own conference room as well.

Work started on the project in 1980 and it was completed in an astonishing three years, in time for the extensive celebrations for the resumption of Brunei Darussalam's independence. More than 525 metres long and 228 metres wide, the palace sits on a 120-hectare site from which more than four million cubic metres of earth was removed and 230,000 square metres of turf laid. Some 4,000 tonnes of structural steel was used for the roof alone. The palace is best seen from the Persiaran Damuan, a park further down a bend in the river to the istana sandwiched between Jala Tutong and the river. The istana is not open to the public except at Hari Raya Aidilfitri when His Majesty throws open the doors to meet his subjects.

Persiaran Damuan

This narrow strip of landscaped park between Jalan Tutong and the Brunei River was created in 1986 as an 'ASEAN Square' and has a permanent display of the work of a sculptor from each one of the six ASEAN countries. The theme is 'Harmony and Diversity'. Similar squares have been built in Jakarta, Bangkok and Singapore by the ASEAN Committee On Culture and Information and a fifth one is planned for Manila. Check

The kilometre-long park, which has pleasant walkways bordered by shrubs, overlooks the Istana Nurul Iman and the mangrove-fringed Pulau Ranggu where two species of monkeys live, most notably the Proboscis monkey which is found only in Borneo. Proboscis monkeys, which characteristically have large protruding noses, reddish fur and pot bellies, start congregating in large troops at the water's edge in the late afternoon. Since the 16th century, the Proboscis monkeys acquired the name "monyet Belanda or Dutchmen" after the original inhabitants of Borneo first encounter with Europeans. Long-tailed or crab-eating macaques, which forage on the mud at low tide, can also be seen on the island. It is one of the best vantage points in the country to see these animals. Check with Museum

The Brunei Museum

The museum is the largest in Brunei Darussalam, four kilometres outside Bandar Seri Begawan on a hill at Kota Batu, which itself is an archaeological site of great importance. Lying in 48 hectares of parkland, the museum is a fine example of Islamic architecture with many of the engravings and designs taken from typical Brunei Malay patterns, some of which appear on Sultan Bolkiah's tomb.

The galleries inside comprise an imaginative natural history section and a glittering collection of Islamic art, which includes many rare manuscripts, works of art and artefacts from the Islamic world dating back to the 9th and 10th centuries. Galleries are also devoted to Bruneian artefacts and customs, ceramics, fine art and the oil industry in - a display set up by Brunei Shell Petroleum.

A sixth gallery is reserved for temporary exhibitions and the lower ground floor houses the administrative and technical section of the museum which is not normally open to the public. Some of the larger exhibits are in covered shelters in park land at the back of the museum.

Getting there: Take Jalan Residency out of Bandar Seri Begawan keeping the Brunei river on your right . The name changes to Jalan Kota Batu and after four Kilometres the road rises past the acient tomb of Sultan Bolkiah and Sultan Sharif Ali The Museum is on the right on top of the hill. Public busses (Central and Eastern line 11 and 39), leaving from the central bus station, stop at the museum.

Opens daily from :900h till 1700h exept Tuesdays, Friday 900h to 1130h and 1430h to 1700h

The Malay Technology Museum

The Malay Technology Museum opened in 1990, a stately red- roofed building set in a landscaped garden on the banks of the Brunei River below the Brunei Museum. It was donated by the Royal Dutch Shell Group to mark Brunei Darussalam's independence.

The museum has three galleries portraying the development of handicrafts, architecture and house-building in Brunei Darussalam; fishing and boat construction in Kampong Ayer and, lastly, the life of some of the indigenous ethnic people of Brunei Darussalam. Imaginative designers have used original materials to construct mock-ups longhouses and other traditional buildings, including the palm-built homes that used to dominate Kampong Ayer. Other models show the construction of blowpipes and the processing of sago. There are exhibits of the ingenious fish traps which have been developed over the years. The techniques and processes that go into Brunei Darussalam's most famous crafts - songket cloth and brassware - are also displayed here. The museum Opens daily from :900h till 1700h exept Tuesdays, Friday 900h to 1130h and 1430h to 1700h

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The Royal Regalia Museum (Bangunan Alat Kebesaran Diraja)

Devoted to the coronation of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Dipertuan Negara is the new exhibition hall, Bangunan Alat Kebesaran Di Raja. Opened in October 1992 in conjunction with the Silver Jubilee of His Majesty's accession to the throne, the hall was built on the site of the Winston Churchill Memorial Building which has been renamed, modernised and considerably extended.

The hall's central feature is a spectacular new circular gallery topped with a mosaic-tiled dome which sits in the cup of the original crescent-shaped building, constructed in 1971. The first exhibit visitors see is the royal coronation carriage of His Majesty which gleams in pride of place in the centre of the beautifully-lit domed gallery surrounded by regalia from the royal crowning ceremony. To the left of the main entrance is the Constitutional History Gallery, set up in 1984 as part of the country's independence celebrations. This traces the history of the constitution and the development of from 1847 when the first Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation was signed with Britain. (Check)

On permanent show are documents, photographs, rare recordings and films while a large area concentrates on the proclamation of the 1959 constitution - the country's first written constitution. To the right is gallery devoted to the life of His Majesty up to the time of the coronation. It recreates his early childhood and chronicles his schooling in Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia and finally in Britain at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

The coronation scene at the Lapau in 1968 is depicted using models, pictures, words and exhibits including His Majesty's gold crown, Golden Hands (which are depicted on the Royal state crest), the symbolic Golden Cats, his silver kris, costume and orchestral instruments used during the ceremony.

Film footage of the magnificent ceremony is screened in a small theatrette. The displays, which include historic pictures of His Majesty meeting his people afterwards in the mosque and in the districts, also cover independence and His Majesty's return from the Haj.

Getting There: The museum is open to the general public and does not cherge an admission fee Opening times (Mo-Th 830h to1700h, Fri 900h to 1130h and 1430h-1700h) Ps visitors are required to remove their shoes before entering the building.

Lapau and Dewan Majlis

The Lapau (Royal Ceremonial Hall) is used for many occasions and royal traditional ceremonies. It was here that His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Dipertuan Negara was crowned on August 1, 1968. The interior of the Lapau and the Sultan's throne are beautifully decorated in exquisite gold. Within the precincts of the Lapau is the Dewan Majlis where the Legislative Assembly used to sit.

It is important for visitors to observe traditions and etiquette. The services of a guide can be arranged through the Protocol Department on the ground floor of the Lapau. Getting there

Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Complex

The Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Complex in Bandar Seri Begawan stands on about 10 acres of land where Kampong Sultan Lama and Kampong Pemancha Lama once stood. The Complex is not just a supermall, it is the home of the Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Foundation which was set up to commemorate His Majesty's accession to the throne's Silver Jubilee in 1992.

In 1993, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Dipertuan Negara laid the foundation of the Yayasan Complex. The historic ceremony also signified the commencement of the Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Foundation, a philantrophic foundation he set up for the sole benefit of his people. It was also at the significant ceremony that His Majesty announced his wish to have this complex built for his

people as one of the projects of the Yayasan. His vision was to build the complex as his gift and personal award for the welfare of his subjects. His Majesty was hopeful that the project would generate funds for the Foundation to carry out its mission as a philantrophic centre for his subjects as its aims, among others, is to award scholarships, provide donations to the poor, handicapped and blind people, as well as donations for the building of mosques and religious schools.

To be able to carry out this noble undertaking, the Foundation needed a fund. Hence, the Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Foundation now has it fund called the 'Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Fund'. This fund comprises the sum of money graciously endowed by His Majesty and members of his Royal families and investments of projects and industries financed by the Foundation.

The construction of the Yayasan Complex began in April,1993 and completed on March,1996. On August 9,1996, His Majesty's vision materialised as he launched open the Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Complex at a special ceremony in Bandar Seri Begawan.

The Yayasan Building's design features the original designs of with its rich Islamic essence and adapted with the essentials of contemporary and commercial architecture..

Before the Yayasan was built, the Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque could not be viewed easily as buildings and roads blocked the view. Now an axis line from the dome of the mosque cutting through the middle of the Yayasan complex site and ending at the river bank of the Brunei River offers the public space to view the magnificent mosque.

The Yayasan complex is associated with the nation's plan, including the beautification of Sungei Brunei, Sungei Kedayan and the Customs building site.

There is a jetty provided for access to the water villages across the Brunei River and between Kampong Mukim Tamoi and Sungei Kedayan with Bandar and from the river bank to the Mosque for the use of the public are taken into account.

Sultan Bolkiah's Tomb

In the golden age of Brunei Darussalam's empire, its territories stretched along the coast of Borneo, to Indonesia and north to the Philippines as far as Luzon Island.

This golden age had much to do with Sultan Bolkiah v(1473-1521), now buried in a splendid tomb in Kota Batu, the old capital of Brunei Darussalam. As the fifth Sultan, he spread the territory of the country to its maximum and led his fleet on numerous voyages to Java, Malacca, and the Philippines where, for a short time, he seized and held Manila.

Known as Nakhoda Ragam, the 'Singing Captain', he died as he was returning home from one of his voyages to Java. One story is that in his declining years he took with him on his voyages a band of artisans whose job it was to prepare royal tombs in remote parts of the archipelago so that, if he died at sea, he could be buried at the nearest site. The finest tomb is said to be

at Kota Batu, which holds The remains of Sultan Bolhiah (1473-1521) is of exquisite workmanship carved from hard basaltic stone which was damaged by a round of shots fired from Spanish guns in the 17th century.

Close by is another well-preserved tomb, that of Sharif Ali, the third Sultan who ruled only seven years from 1425-32. He was an Arab who married the daughter of the previous sultan, and upon succeeding to the throne, took the name Berkat.

He built mosques, converted the town to Islam and is credited with sinking 40 junks laden with stone at the mouth of the Brunei River as a defensive barrier. A later sultan was also credited with this strategy.

Kota Batu is an extraordinary site in Southeast Asia, being the only one known to show evidence of occupation more or less continuously for 1,000 years. Discoveries have included coins and ceramics dating back to the Tang Dynasty.

Arts and Handicraft Centre

Brunei Darussalam's fine arts and crafts date back centuries and are part of the nation's proud heritage. An early written account by Magellan's chronicler, Antonio Pigafetta, who visited the country in 1521 spoke of magnificent riches. He wrote of being presented with brocaded and gold cloth, and of palace men attired in silk and gold carrying daggers with gold hats adorned with pearls and precious gems, and wearing many rings on their fingers. He mentioned hangings of silk, brocades and carpets, silver chandeliers, eating with gold spoons and also recorded many examples of cannons, vessels and other ornaments skilfully crafted in traditional style.

It is believed that many of the arts and crafts found in the region today originated in from the day its influence spread throughout the Philippines, Borneo and Indonesia. In particular, Brunei Darussalam's gold brocade (kain tenun) and silverware is now recognised to be among the best in the region.

Skills in working with silver and brass cloth have been passed down through the ages, until 20th century lifestyle threatened to break the traditional cycle by taking people away to work in commerce, industry and public service.

The Arts and Handicraft Centre has successfully driven a wedge in that trend and is slowly developing a core of skilled

craftsmen to not only perpetuate the traditional skills but also adapt them to the modern world. The centre, opened in 1984, conducts three-year courses in silverware, brassware, woodcarving, songkok- making, weaving and basketry.

But the work started a long time before then - in 1975 when the first arts and handicraft centre opened in Berakas, at that time running two-year courses. The Berakas building is now used as a workplace for the centre's successful graduates of which there are now some 300.

About eight students a year join each course, beginning by learning basic skills and developing to master more intricate skills such as the ornate floral patterns (air muleh) on silver and brassware. Later they become involved in the design stages. A group of designers at the centre research on Brunei Darussalam's traditional designs and adapt them to modern times.

The centre also markets work done by its students and graduates, sourcing commissions for them and selling their work at a shop in the centre. Getting there: The centre is a seven storey building on the edge of the Brunei river a short walk from the centre of town along Jalan Residency The centre opens Monday to Thursday from :745h to 1215h and 1330h to 1630h, Friday and Sunday 830h to 1400h There is another retail shop at Brunei International Airport. .

Brunei History Centre

Next to the Bangunan Alat Kebesaran Di Raja is the Brunei History Centre. Itwas opened in 1982 with a brief to research the history of the country. Much of that work has been establishing the genealogy and history of the Sultans and Royal Family and the public display has a wealth of information on these subjects including replicas and brass rubbings of tombs. At the entrance is a flow chart giving the entire lineage of the Brunei Sultans. There are reference books, mainly in Malay.

Tasek Lama

Just a few minutes walk from the city centre, Tasek Lama Park offers a tranquil respite from Bandar Seri Begawan's bustle and exhaust fumes. Visitors can stroll at leisure on well-made walkways through the small park which has benches and picnic spots, as well as a waterfall and ponds with water lilies.

A road leading off to the right about halfway to the waterfall leads up to a lake and dam which has turquoise water and supplies parts of the municipality.

A feature of the park are the yellow flowers of the bladderwort which grows in ditches and other wet areas beside the footpaths. It is carnivorous, catching tiny swimming insects in its small leaves which are modified into tiny cups and imprison its prey with a movement-sensitive flap. The insects provide extra source of nitrogen and other nutrients.

The park is a popular with the local residents and is an ideal place for jogging. For those interested in rock climbing, there is now an eight metre high artificial climbing wall installed by Brunei Shell Petroleum. (Explain rules check Status)

Pulau Selirong Recreational Park

Pulau (Island) Selirong situated in the vicinity of Brunei Bay has an area of more than 2,200 hectares. The island is also covered with a rich variety of plants in all sorts of sizes including mangrove trees whose trunks are reputedly bigger than any found in neighbouring countries. The mangrove's wood is a valuable material in the building industry where it is used for piling especially in muddy soil. It is also burnt to make charcoal.

The fauna in the island is even more exotic. It has among others the flying lemur. And if one is in luck, it is usual to see them soaring from tree to tree.

The facilities in the island include among others two-kilometres of boardwalks, four berths, several platforms for briefing visitors, huts and observation towers.

The journey to the island may take slightly more than an hour. However, due to the shallow nature of the water leading to the island, the rest of the short distance of travel will have to be made by smaller boats. Trips to the Island are best booked through one of the tour operators

There are jetties in different parts of the island which provide mooring facilities for boats carrying passengers to the island.

Markets

Tamu Kianggeh in the heart of the city starts bustling before daybreak as coffee shop owners turn up to bulk-buy their daily needs. The stalls are active all day and also trade well into the night as the city's main pasar malam (night market). Stallholders, sheltering from the sun under multi-coloured umbrellas, sell fruit, vegetables and jungle produce as well as take-away food which includes Malay, Chinese, and Indian specialities. The market is across the Kianggeh canal from Jalan Sungai Kianggeh and is a few minutes walk from the city centre in a purpose-built area.

A smaller rival market exists near the main jetty where passengers throng to catch boats to Limbang, Lawas or Labuan in Malaysia. Again, the stalls are characterised by multi-coloured umbrellas and similar produce is sold including the 'king of fruits', the durian, whose sweet taste and pungent smell has beguiled and repulsed newcomers to the region in equal measure. A wooden walkway from the market takes you to the covered fish market (pasar ikan) which is open daily selling a range of fish including rays, sharks, fresh prawns and squid. Close by is a major landing stage for water taxis plying between Kampong Ayer and the city centre.

A temporary market springs up each night at dusk in a car park opposite the post office bordering Jalan Elizabeth II and Jalan Sultan. Steam rises in the humid evening air as vendors start cooking at their stalls. On offer is a wide variety of meals ranging from local delicacies and traditional cakes such as kuih cincin and acap to universal favourites such as beefburgers.

Add Gadong fishmarket as one of the main attractions of Bandar.

BRUNEI MUARA

Kampong Parit (Taman Mini Perayaan)

A popular weekend destination for families, Kampong Parit offers more than just a landscaped recreation park and picnic spot. It also features an extensive collection of traditionally-built homes including a mock-up of how Kampong Ayer might have looked like at the turn of the century when walls and roofs of houses were made of palm leaves. The mini-water village has been built over a small river that meanders through the edge of the park.

Getting there: The park is 26 Km from Bandar Seri Begawan on the Limau Manis road The newly surfaced road to the border).. Take Jalan Tutong to Senkurong and turn left at Jalan Mulaut (signposted Limau Manis)(Check) Kampung Parit is on the right about 10 km down that road. Look for a sign on the right hand side saying "Taman Mini Perayaan" There is a large car park, toilets a childrens playground, several picknic spots an man made waterfal and open air foodstalls. The park is open daily from 800h till 1800h, however on a weekday you might find the place totally deserted..

Wasai Kandal

Within a few minutes it is possible for one to get away from the urban bustle of Bandar Seri Begawan and stroll in a tranquil forest glade past waterfalls and pools. The walk is behind Kampong Kilanas, just 1.5 kilometres off Jalan Tutong, along a well-marked and well-maintained trail through secondary jungle, leading to four picnic spots where shelters and tables have been built.

The path starts as a rough track and it is just 10 minutes (630m) to the first picnic spot, where there is a small pond and a modest waterfall, benches and tables and a sign announcing 'Air Terjun Menyusop'. The path is wide and well-cleared with bridges built over streams and handrails built in places. The path continues for another 10 minutes, following a stream and then winding up a small hill to Tasek Laboi, an unappetising brown, swampy pond.

Next stop on the trail, Lumut Lumpan, is about 10 minutes further on. This spot features an 80 metre cascade. You first pass a small pool at the bottom of the cascade and follow the bank till you reach a picnic spot and shelter at the top of the cascade. An unclear path which leads on to Wasai Dang Umai, an unimpressive pool with a small waterfall.which is just about 100 metres upstream.

The path leads along a small valley on to Air Terjun Tinggi (literally 'high waterfall'), which is the highlight of the walk, and descends parallel to the cascade. At the bottom of the cascade, it climbs a short rise to the edge of a mud bank overlooking a tinkling waterfall that drops 10 metres into a cold, opaque pool. The path then turns left, skirting the edge of the bank. Several small paths lead off down to the pool - it is a scramble in places but worth the effort. (to Check)

 

 

The main path, however, continues to wind its way through secondary jungle for about 10 minutes, past bamboo clumps before it finally ends at a small waterfall and pool, signposted Air Terjun Rendah (which means 'low waterfall'). Here lies another picnic spot, beside a bamboo clump and a tree overlooking the pool. (above to check)

Getting there: The start of the walk is 1.5 km off Jalan Tutong in Kampong Kilanas. From Bandar Seri Begawan take Jalan Tutong for 11 Kilometres to where the road passes a religious school and the Tutong 34Km marker Just past a left turn signposted Jalan Bebatik Kilanas and on the opposite side of the road (other carriageway) is a right turn onto Jalan Dadap. Make a U turn and follow Jalan Dadap up a steep hill and continue along the crest till the road forks. Take the left fork downhill and continue for about half a Km to the bottom of the valley, watch out for a small parking place on the right hand side where the start of a track is signmarked "Ke Terjun Menyusop 632m" (632m to Menyusop waterfall).

Jalan Dadap continues further through an area under development and loops back till it meets itself again near te main Tutong road.

Limau Manis

The area surrounding Limau Manis is farmland. There are open padi fields with grazing buffalo, often seen with white egrets perched on their backs, and the region is staging ground for migrating birds including wagtails, sandpipers, and ospreys.

A network of dirt roads winds through lush farming country where families grow fruit and vegetables and it is possible to drive to the Lamunin road, the Tutong River and Lake Merimbun on a network of roads that track through areas of shifting cultivation, an old rubber plantation and swamp forest.

Limau Manis is also the site of a 367-hectare rice farm started by the Agriculture Department in 1979 in a move to stimulate rice production in and reduce dependence on imports, mostly from Thailand. The Wasan Rice Project, which was contracted out to private enterprise in 1991, is 2.5 kilometres from Kampong Parit in the middle of the Mulaut plain which has 2,600 hectares of land suitable for padi growing. The project not only grows and markets rice but also commercially tests strains of rice developed at the Kilanas research station. In 1992, twenty varieties were being tested in small plots.

Limau Manis is also close to the Sarawak border. The drive to Limbang in Sarawak passes through pleasant farming country and takes 45 minutes. (check)

Both Brunei Darussalam and Sarawak have immigration and customs checkpoints at the border.

From Limau Manis it is possible to take a scenic road to Lamunin and the Merimbun lakes (fill in description af road)

Getting there:---

Bukit Saie

Close to Sungai Kebun on the opposite side of the Brunei River to Bandar Seri Begawan, Bukit Saie affords excellent views of the capital from the summit. According to locals, it also has seven waterfalls, the largest of which tumbles some 10 metres down a sheer cliff.

The quickest way is by water taxi across to Sungai Kebun from Bandar Seri Begawan and then to hail a taxi or hitch a ride for the short two-kilometre drive to the other walks. The walk to the summit, which takes about 30 minutes, starts past a large clearing on the left side of the Lumapas road past the three-kilometre marker The path crosses a stream three times and after 15 minutes a track leads off to the right of the stream marking the start of a steep climb.

After 20-40 minutes walking is the first summit, where there is a small clearing and a view of the Istana Nurul Iman. The path descends for a short stretch before the final steep ascent on a path which has steps cut into the hill and a rope to hang on to. At the top are pitcher plants and views in all directions.

The path to the largest waterfall starts at the large clearing just before the summit walk. It then follows a small stream most of the way, although at one point, it takes a short cut over a hill. The waterfall is just a 10-minute walk away, in a shaded spot surrounded by lianas. Steep paths lead up either side of the waterfall to the top but an easier option is to retrace the path to where it leaves the stream and climbs a hill. Another path branches off to the right uphill and leads to the top of the waterfall.

Getting there---

Brooketon Coalmine

Long before oil became Brunei Darussalam's major money- earner, another fossil fuel was exported - coal. It was mined at Brooketon, now close to modern-day Muara, and though it stopped operating before World War II, its remains are still clearly visible in jungle close to Meragang lagoon. Coal seams can still be seen at the Brooketon Colliery mining site some 2.4 kilometres northwest of Pekan Muara. The site is located on the left hand side of the Tanjong Batu Road some 0.7 kilometres north of the Muara-Tutong Highway.

Between 1888 and 1924 an estimated 650,000 tonnes of coal were mined at Brooketon which became, along with the island of Labuan in Brunei Bay (itself endowed with coal deposits), a major fuelling point for steamships on the lucrative trade route between India and China. At the time the area was ruled by one of the Sarawak White Rajahs, Charles Brooke, and it did not revert to Brunei administration until 1921 when it was given back its old name, Muara.

At its peak, the coalmine employed hundreds of miners, and the infrastructure included a railway line to the coast and stores and specially-built wharves. The activity had an instant effect on Brooketon transforming it from a small kampong of a few Kedayan farmers and Malay fishermen to the nerve centre of the state. Charles Brooke formed his own police, built roads and a post office, and issued his own stamps and postmark. The decline of the mine coincided with the rise in oil exploration and it closed in 1924 except for a short spell during World War II when it was reopened by the Japanese. During this time, productivity was low and the coal was used only locally, as other fuels were scarce.

The extensive multi-layered tunnels have long since caved in but the brick surface works are still there, entwined in the caressing aerial roots of banyan trees that dwarf the site. There are two exposed mineshafts. The remains of the steam engine that used to haul the coal trucks to the coast is also there. On the hills a few steeply dipping seams of coal of approximately 2.0 metres thick are still visible. A prominent seam of 1.6 metres thick is located just some 80 metres left of the Tanjung Batu Road. The coal from this area are of Middle Miocene age and were deposited about 13.5 million years ago.

Coal exploitation in Brunei has produced approximately 600 million kilogrammes mainly from the Brooketon Colliery. Other coal deposits that have been mined are the Kianggeh valley, Mentiri valley and Berambang Island areas. The most extensive untouched coal deposits in occur in the dense forest of Ulu Belait where formation dips are favourably low for mining. Another coal deposit occurs in Lumut, where upto 3 metres thick seams are seen in outcrops.

The path into the Brooketon coalmine follows the old railway line. And beyond the coalmine is an extensive area of mudflats and mangrove, unusually populated by just one species of tree, api-api, which means fire in Malay, and, as the name suggests is used for making firewood. The mudflats are home to dense populations of snails and numerous crabs, including the brightly-coloured fiddler crab which has one outsize claw.

Skirt the edge of the mudflats keeping to your right and you will arrive at an unspoiled beach. The walk, which means crossing at least one stream, takes about an hour.

Getting there— The entrance track is from the road leading up to Istana Aman Nurul (to update)

Mentiri Pools

The area previously housing the Menteri Pools is now flooded by a reservoir lake that makes for an excellent visiting spot.

The supply road to the +++Dam provides easy access to the lake and the area could well develop into a popular picnic spot.

Getting there---

Bukit Tempayan Pisang

The highest hill in the Muara area lies close to the country's major port with magnificent views over Muara spit and Brunei Bay. Bukit Tempayan Pisang is about 150 metres high (Check) and climbing takes 20-30 minutes . The track leads through some some rattan and secondart jungle and heads up a clear claystone ridge to a last slippery scramble to the top. It is a good idea to wear sturdy non-slip footwear and bring a parang in case the track has not been walked for a while. From the road you can already spot a small white triangulation point that marks the top of Bukit Tempayang Pisang. Look out for a white milestone on which is inscribed 'Jabatan Ukor B9388' at the beginning of the path.

Getting there—Leave BSB on Jalan Muara and turn right at its junction with the main Muara –Tutong Highway towards MuaraJust before the Muara Mosk and a roundabout turn right into Jalan Serasa. After two kilometres turn right into Simpang 196 go straight through a housing estate. After a side road leading off to the right the main road winds up a hill through good secondary jungle. At the top of the rise there is a building area being cleared on the right hand side of the road. The start of a narrow overgrown track is on the righthand hillside behind the clearing in what will be someones back garden . The main road continues back to Jalan Serasa and exits at Simpang 276.

Pulau Chermin

Like a cork in the bottleneck of the Brunei River lies tiny Pulau Chermin whichhas played a crucial part in the history of the country.

Today it is covered in swamp forest and nibong palm but among the flotsam of modern life washed up on the shore, there are still shards of pottery from Ming and Tang dynasties as evidence of its past glories.

The island, which is about 400 metres long, was home to one of the 17th-century Brunei Sultans, Abdul Mobin. He turned it into a fortress of which nothing remains, though at the eastern end of the island lie some small Muslim royal tombs. It is still uncertain who is buried there.

It may have been inhabited earlier, but Abdul Mobin left his mark on the island in the several legends that surround those turbulent times when he was one of two Sultans who claimed to rule the kingdom. According to one legend , he seized the crown regalia and established himself at Pulau Chermin after garotting Sultan Mahomet Ali in his own garden as revenge for the murder of his son by Sultan Mahomet Ali's son. The self-proclaimed new Sultan was first supported and then opposed by the nephew of the murdered Sultan, who later proclaimed himself Sultan Mohideen.

After years of civil strife, the issue was settled when Mohideen recruited the Sultan of Sulu who stormed and took Pulau Chermin, putting to death Sultan Abdul Mobin on the island, but not before the doomed Sultan had time to load the royal regalia into a cannon and fire it out to sea where, legend states, it still lies. According to the Sulu version of the story, the victorious Sultan Mohideen granted the conquering Sultan of Sulu dominion over large territories to the north, now Sabah, which are still claimed by the Philippines. The Sultan later revoked the claim, and fighting between the Sulus and Bruneian forces was endemic in Sabah until the 19th century. Pulau Chermin created history again in 1822 when it was the scene of another royal death after a squabble for succession.

Today, the island has been designated as an archaeological site and visitors must get permission to visit from the Brunei Museum. There is, however, little reason to go to the island except to see the Royal tombs and the pottery shards on the narrow beach.

The island, which has a lighthouse at the western end, can be clearly seen from the Kota Batu road in Kampong Sungai Besar, which is about 10.5 kilometres outside Bandar Seri Begawan along Jalan Residensi.

Bukit Shahbandar Forest Recreation Park

Perhaps the flagship of the Forestry Department's impressive collection of forest reserves, Bukit Shahbandar spills over 70 hectares of undulating land close to the main Muara-Tutong highway. A network of well-maintained and signposted paths criss-crosses the area, and hill peaks and observation towers have panoramic views towards Muara, across Bandar Seri Begawan and over Jerudong. Visible on the horizon in the South China Sea are the platforms of Brunei Shell Petroleum's Champion oil field.

More than half the park is man-made, planted with Caribbean pine and Acacia following fires in the 1960s. The rest is natural including kerangas (heath) forest and secondary jungle featuring Tongkat Ali, a long root plant used in traditonal medicine, and karamunting, a shrub with purple flowers. On the Nutrient poor soils one finds a variety of the Carnivorous picherplants (Nephenthes) Kerangas forest occurs in sandy soils and the coastal variety at Shahbandar is characterised by stunted tall trees adapted to periodic drought and nutrient shortages.

Visitors to the park should note that, under such circumstances, forest fires can occur. Mammals in the forest include wild boars, squirrels, monkeys and mousedeer.

The park is well-appointed with an information hut, picnic shelters, toilets, barbecue pits, campsites, a pond and a multi-purpose arena used for outdoor games such as gasing (top spinning) as well as cultural shows and it has become a prime weekend and evening haunt for city-dwellers from Bandar Seri Begawan.

Berakas Forest Recreation Park

This forest reserve covers 199 hectares of rolling hills covered with kerangas (heath) forest down to the coastline where a deserted white sandy beach stretches invitingly for kilometres in each direction.

The drive into the park is along a rough dirt road that leads past several picnic shelters, toilets and a lookout tower to a parking area conveniently located beside the beach.

There is one cleared trail off the main road marked by low wooden railings that leads down-hill a few hundred metres to a concrete-floored picnic spot beside a clear stream just ankle-deep. Visitors can walk along the smooth sandy bed of the stream which twists inland through the jungle. One or two tracks lead off the main trail.

Jerudong Playground

In 1994, to mark His Majesty the Sultan Yang Dipertuan Negara Brunei Darussalam's 48th birthday anniversary, a welcome addition to the country's recreational parks opened its doors to the public.

Described as a world-class playground, the Jerudong Park Playground has, since it opened, drawn thousands of people of all ages not only in Brunei but from neighbouring Sarawak and other parts of the region. The new dimensions of fun the playground has introduced left many children's hearts throbbing with anticipation for the seemingly endless fun that await them.

The Jerudong Park Playground, coming in the wake of the 'Jurassic Park' film phenomenon, also includes as one of its attractions for children, the extinct creature that the film brought to the world's attention. As the ageless carousel turns and the miniature train tours the grounds, as the pirate ship swings, the playground comes alive with the sounds of laughter, squeals of delight and the ocassional shrieks of terror from those who dare to go aboard the 'Boomerang' and the rollercoaster rides.

Apart from the mechanical and high-tech rides which now include the popular simulators, one of the Park's star attractions are the musical fountains at the Jerudong Park Garden. Stunning effects with lasers and the play of lights to the music keep the crowd coming to watch what has come to be known as the 'dancing fountains'.

Glittering with lights and alive with sounds of life adding colour to the scene, the Jerudong Park Playground has provided a place for traditional family entertainment with futuristic technology. Having no entrance fee, everyone can come and have a glimpse of this wonderland in the heart of Brunei Darussalam. The multi-million dollar playland is open from 2p.m. to 2a.m. daily.

Jerudong Park

Located west of Bukit Shahbandar, the 1,000-hectare Jerudong Park could easily be the largest polo complex in the region. It is definitely a glowing statement of style starting from its grand entrance. Bordering the South China Sea, it is certainly a pleasant view.

It has almost 500 stables and more than 600 horses, three polo fields with grandstands, a floodlit riding area, an indoor riding arena, more than 50 paddocks turfed with imported grass for grazing, a breeding farm, a veterinary centre, and some of the best accommodation available in for very important visitors and state guests.

Most of the horses have been flown in from Argentina, the world's leading polo pony breeder, and they are looked after by Argentinian schooling grooms, some of whom rank among the best polo players in the world.

One popular myth about Jerudong Park is that the stables are air-conditioned. They are not, though some 40 boxes have been air-conditioned for horses that are sick or recuperating.

Jerudong Park is the home of the Royal Brunei Polo Club, which built a new clubhouse in 1992. Its facilities include a small garden golf course, croquet lawn, skeet and trap shooting range and there are plans to build tennis, squash and badminton courts.

The newest addition to the park is the Royal Brunei Golf and Country Club, which has a fullsize floodlit 18-hole course. Like the polo club, it is private.

Polo was introduced to in the mid-1970s and quickly became popular with the Royal family who played at the Berakas Army Camp and Istana Darul Hana in Bandar Seri Begawan before work started on Jerudong Park in the late 1970s. An international competition was discontinued in 1985, but the polo club still regularly plays host to visiting polo teams. Visitors are welcome to polo matches but generally, the park, which can be clearly seen from the Muara-Tutong Highway, is not open to passers-by. Visits can be arranged by contacting the manager of Jerudong Park.

Other Beaches

The most popular weekend spot is Muara Beach. A collection of stalls along the beach front offer a range of food, and children are catered for with an extensive play area. The sandy beach stretches eastwards close to Muara Port where you can watch anything from sailboats to freighters entering or leaving. It is also a popular fishing spot. To get there from Bandar Seri Begawan take Jalan Muara out of the capital. Just before the town the road becomes a dual carriageway leading up to a large roundabout just past the town's mosque. Turn left at the roundabout and follow the road for about two kilometres. Pantai Muara is signposted left.

Still in Muara is Serasa Beach, a narrow spit of land jutting out into Brunei Bay. Along its slender backbone are casuarina trees flanked by sandy beach. It is a popular spot for windsurfers as it is east of the Muara headland and protected from the full force of the South China Sea. It is signposted right just past the Muara mosque on the dual carriageway leading into Muara town. Follow that road and turn left again down towards the beach which is signposted after a few kilometres.

Also at Muara is Meragang Beach, better known as Crocodile Beach. It is close to the Tutong-Muara coastal road at the junction of Jalan Meragang, about four kilometres before Muara. Although not as well provided with facilities as Muara Beach, it is quieter, and offers the opportunity of long, secluded walks with the possibility of seeing troupes of grey-leaf monkeys, sea-eagles and kingfishers. Behind the beach is a rare mangrove lagoon which has been designated a conservation area. Paths lead around the lagoon and close by is Brooketon Coalmine.

International Convention Centre

The International Convention Centre which started its operations in July 1989 is on par with other international convention centres around the world. It is equipped with modern and sophisticated facilities with state-of the-art sound and projection system.

It has 2 convention halls which can accomodate about 800-1000 people, an elegant restaurant, small meeting rooms, banquet hall, Minister's lounge, dining hall, business centres, prayer rooms, IDD telephone etc.

The centre, situated near the Hassanal Bolkiah Stadium which is about 5 kilometres from the city centre, holds many functions except trade exhibitions.

Temburong

Temburong District

Brunei Darussalam is divided into two geographically separate parts and Temburong is an eastern annexe accessible only by a frequent speedboat service operating between Bandar Seri Begawan, Limbang and the main town of Temburong, Bangar. The journey takes less than anhour and the speedboats, which carry 12 passengers, weave through a network of narrow mangrove-fringed waterways on the way to the mouth of the Temburong River.

Speedboats for Bangar start from the local food stalls jetty in Jalan Residensi, Bandar Seri Begawan, close to Kianggeh canal. There is no schedule and boats leave when they have collected 12 passengers. The fare is B$ 7 per person. A boat can also be hired for a single trip for B$ 70. The last boat from Bangar leaves at 4 p.m.

Bangar

Bangar is a small town with a market and one row of shophouses, comprising two coffeeshops, sundry hardware and several food stores. The only accomodation available is the Government resthouse, which is close to the wharf. Reservations should be made in advance through the district office. Its rooms are air-conditioned, pleasant and reasonably priced. Priority is given to Government servants.

The district has 64 kilometres of good roads linking many of its kampongs and longhouses and there are a few taxis. A minibus is also available for hire- enquire at the speedboat jetty or call Ampuan Salleh (tel: 05-221317 or 08-810526). The main road goes as far as the headwaters of the Temburong River where some of the more isolated longhouses are situated. The indigenous people are Muruts but there are some Ibans. Longhouses and a mini zoo are the main attractions for visitors and these can be reached by minibus or taxi - agree on the fare in advance.

Before roads were built, the only way to get to the longhouses or upriver was by temuai (dug-out longboat). These can be hired to go upriver and are still the best way of experiencing the jungle waterways of Borneo.

Both the Batu Apoi and Temburong rivers are wide and flat downstream overhung with vast mushroom clouds of green from the reflection of the surrounding jungle.

Further inland, the rivers cut through steep valleys where the jungle towers several hundred metres overhead. Boatmen have to negotiate rapids and passengers have to get out to help push, especially when river levels are low in the dry season (February- July). Boat hire certainly does not come cheap; expect to pay between $150 and $200 for a boat per day.

The river water in the upper reaches is cold, clear and sparkling - fine for swimming, but take care of strong undercurrents.

Temburong is still not fully developed and has great potential, particularly in agriculture. Quarrying provides work for some of the local inhabitants and most of the gravel for Brunei International Airport came from the Temburong District. Much of the area, however, is still covered with virgin forest with a few plots of land used by the Malays, Muruts and Ibans to cultivate hill padi. Sawmilling and timber processing is also active here, though on a small scale.

The Labu Estate which used to be a rubber plantation about 2 to 3 decades ago is now under the Department of Agriculture. It remains a village where most of the previous workers in the rubber plantation live. The plantation's warehouse and the old office are still there as well.

Jalan Labu leads on to Kampung Piasau-piasau which is the last border on the Brunei side of the border.

Batang Duri

The main road ends at Batang Duri, a small hamlet on the Temburong River about 17 kilometres from Bangar. It is noted for a 17-door Iban longhouse, a park and mini zoo. Boats can be hired here to go further upriver.

About 200 people live in the longhouse with most of the men employed by the Government in Bangar or working at the gravel quarries. A handful work upriver at Universiti Brunei Darussalam's rainforest field studies centre, set up on the Belalong River in 1991 with the help of Brunei Shell Petroleum.

The Ibans plant their own padi, vegetables and fruit and hunt in the jungle for deer, pig and monitor lizards (biawak). If you plan to include a visit to this area, bring along a small gift tokens.

Taman Batang Duri is a pleasant open landscaped area a few kilometres before Batang Duri on the right side of the road. It also houses the zoo which offers a chance to see some of the jungle animals that only a few ever get to see in the wild: crocodiles, civets, argus, pheasants, mongoose and honey bear. However, the conditions under which the animals are kept do not match international standards and have attracted complaints from visitors.

Batu Apoi Forest Reserve

Designated a reserve by the Department of Forestry, it covers a massive 500-square kilometre area of undisturbed rainforest covering most of southern Temburong. The area is being developed with marked trails which will be opened to the public with rangers available to maintain the paths and act as guides. Until that happens, access can be difficult and a visit is not recommended except for those who are fit and are equipped with some experience in jungle trekking.

The reserve features the Kuala Belalong Field Studies Centre, set up in 1991 by the Universiti (UBD) with the help of Brunei Shell which contributed more than B$1 million dollars to build and equip the centre.

About five kilometres upstream from the Batang Duri roadhead, it was built as an international focus for research into rainforests and has been developed as a teaching and training resource for schools, institutes of higher education in and overseas, and Government workers in the environmental field. It was launched with a 15-month joint UBD-Royal

Geographical Society expedition involving some 50 scientists from eight countries working on more than 33 short-term projects and nine long-term core projects designed to gather background data for the long-term development of the centre as an important research facility.

When the expedition finished in March 1992, UBD started to develop the centre as an environmental training ground for students and Government workers as well as maintaining the research programme for scientists worldwide. The centre, which has a laboratory, was built on the Belalong River in a steep forested valley.

In 1996, Brunei Shell Petroleum donated $200,000 for the construction of a comfortable quarters for labourers.

Visitors should not turn up unannounced because it is primarily a research and training centre where priority goes to working scientists and students. Chalet accommodation is scarce and visitors should book early and must be prepared to be flexible. There is a charge for the facilities and for the use of guides, which are essential in the difficult terrain. Enquire through the Department of Biology, Universiti Brunei Darussalam.

Outward Bound

Outward Bound (OBBD), a joint project of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports with Brunei Shell Petroleum, is first and foremost aimed at developing the youth of and raising their awareness of environmental issues. It is also open for organisations' management development programmes or for people who simply seek adventure. Brunei Shell Petroleum has contributed B$1.5 million towards the project which is located in the magnificent jungle of Temburong. Shell International Petroleum Company provided B$4.5 million sponsorship for the project.

The Logistics Centre, constructed at Batang Duri is the introduction point for Outward Bound participants. From Sungai Kianggeh in the capital, a water taxi can take you to Bangar in Temburong where an OBBD guide will meet you. A mini-bus will then take you to the Logistics Centre at Batang Duri for introductions, briefing and a tour of the centre which houses the OBBD quarters, comfortable guests'accomodation with hot water showers and spacious balconies. It has a camping ground and Throughout the development of the site, latest environmental protection measures have been researched and fully utilised. The services and systems that have been installed are all designed to minimise the need for power and resources to be brought upstream, and the waste they generate. A power generator has been introduced backed by a large battery bank. Generated power is stored in the batteries significantly reducing the amount of time the generator needs to run and, consequently, the amount of fuel and the number of supply boat trips. The installation of special composting toilets which eliminate liquid

effluent preventing the contamination of the rivers and streams is another key environmental feature of the project. Radio communication facilities have also been established by the outward bound project to link together with the Forestry Department, University of Belalong for coordination of activities and sharing of resources.

The OBBD Project Director can be contacted at the Brunei Shell office in Bandar Seri Begawan (tel:02-240876).

activities including flying foxes, ropes challenge course, abseilling from 40 feet up a tree, paddling a raft back downstream and initiative tasks. At the National Park Centre, crossing a 102-metre long suspension bridge followed by a 546-metre walk uphill will take you to the foot of the canopy walkway structure. Walking further up will bring you high above the treetops to the canopy's observation post where the sight of the seemingly endless stretch of rainforest will take your breath away.

The Operations Centre, a further 8 kilometres upstream from the Logistics Centre, will be the main teaching centre which will accomodate up to 42 participants. It will also have space for administrative staff, a first aid/sick bay, kitchen, dining room, jetty and store facilities. Phase two of the project which will be financed by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports will include additional dormitory capacity, staff accomodation and lecture rooms.

Peradayan Forest Reserve

Covering about 1,000 hectares of eastern Temburong, the Peradayan forest reserve is one of the most accessible areas of rainforest in Brunei Darussalam. Classified as a conservation forest by the Forestry Department, the reserve has one well-marked trail to the top of Bukit Patoi which, at 330 metres, has magnificent views over the Lawas basin in Sarawak.

The trail is well-maintained by the Forestry Department with pondok (huts) at regular intervals at which climbers can rest. The slopes of the hill are covered with mixed dipterocarp forest, the most common type of rainforest in Borneo. The trees include meranti (Shorea) and kapur (Dipterocarpus) characterised by large buttress roots wreathed in climbers that reach through the forest to the canopy. The waxy tubes of stingless bees nest can be

seen at the base of some of the trees and large epiphytes grow in the crowns of trees, including bird's nest ferns and Grammato-phyllum, an orchid boasting the world's largest inflorescences. At the start of the walk, on the left side, is a fine example of a strangling fig. It germinates in the tops of trees, sending roots down and eventually killing the host tree. On the flat hilltop the trees become pole-like, typical of heath forest and featuring occasional tolong (Agnathis) trees which stand clear of the canopy. The area was logged many years ago when felled trees were dragged out using a buffalo. The reserve is rich in fauna including the moonrat, painted treeshew, giant squirrel, giant flying squirrel, banded linsang, barking deer and mousedeer, though many of them are nocturnal.

Kampong Selapun Kampong Temada

This is a mixed Murut and Iban settlement of some 200 people on the Batu Apoi River, which can be reached by road or river. It used to have longhouses but the inhabitants have now abandoned this style of living for individual family houses. The Iban and Murut live on opposite sides of the road with the Iban closest to the river. There is a primary school with almost 40 children which opened in 1989. Originally it was a Murut settlement but the Iban arrived about 30 years ago. The only way to the community was by river until 1990, when a track was pushed 15 kilometres through from the nearest road. In the dry a taxi will get through to the kampong with ease in less than anhour but a four-wheel drive is needed after heavy rain. It is almost a full day's outing from Bangar.

he Kampong Temada area close to the Limbang border has four Iban longhouses, accessible along a sealed road from Bangar. The best to visit is the Semabat longhouse which has 17 doors and is home to 88 people, many of them Government servants working in Bangar or Bandar Seri Begawan. They have baskets and mats for sale. Close by is the Lepung Baru longhouse which has 13 doors and also has handicrafts to show visitors. The people of this longhouse are unusual because they have trained hunting dogs and used them to run down prey - usually small mammals such as mousedeer, barking deer or wild boar. Commonly, the Ibans hunt by setting traps or using a blowpipe. Both longhouses will put on dances for groups of visitors if warned in advance through the district office.

Mountainous Terrain of Temburong

The gift of nature in Temburong seems to be endless. In the interior, the mountains are also as impressive with Gunung Pagon at 6,070 feet, Gunung Lesong at 5,320 feet and Gunung Tundal at 3,876 feet.

Fresh environment and spectacular views are the memories that have lingered in the minds of visitors who have returned from the Pagon ridge and Bukit Retak.

From a crest on the Pagon ridge at more than 5,000 feet, a sensational vista can be observed towards the Southwest in Sarawak where a huge limestone tower juts out of the jungles.

The landscape near Bukit Retak is one of forest covered ridges, with very steep sides, dropping into narrow valleys. Amidst the boulders and vegetation thickly covered by moss, grow the fantastic Pitcher plants. Orchids and other flowering plants exist alongside the different species of insects and lovely butterflies.

At the summit of Bukit Retak sparse vegetation, flowering shrubs, mosses and lichen covers everything. The summit also forms part of a ridge which is the border between Brunei and Sarawak.

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TUTONG

Merimbun

L ake Merimbun, 27 kilometres from Tutong, has developed into a popular picnic spot attracting large crowds on Sundays. Sensitively developed as a recreation area, the large shallow fresahwater lake is about 500mmetres long by 150 metres wide, fringed by swamp and long grass. In the middle of the lake is an island. Elevated wooden walkways criss-cross the lake connecting the shore and island at several points. Pavilions built off the walkways provide benches, tables and shade for picnics. The far side of the island offers pleasant walks through primary jungle.

More picnic tables dot the island and shoreline where manicured paths run past flowerbeds and under mature trees, including rubber trees.

Signs warn visitors about crocodiles but you would be lucky to see one. You are more likely to see troupes of grey-leaf monkeys which use the tasek (lake) as a watering hole and which can be seen drinking on a quiet day. The area is a gathering point for birds, particularly on migration, and a common sight are Oriental Darter birds diving for food in the placid waters. Two stalls sell cold drinks and snacks on the mainland. There are also washroom facilities.

One of the adventures of visiting Lake Merimbun is getting to the place itself. Today, there is a well-paved road all the way to the lake which is signposted and can easily be reached by car. A more scenic route along narrow jungle tracks requires a four-wheel drive vehicle though even this route is being 'tamed' as new roads are being pushed into Brunei Darussalam's ulu (interior).

Add kampung Buau (rumah Panjang

Add Biadong Rumah Panjang

Apak Apak deserted

Sukang Longhouse

 

 

Pantai Seri Kenangan

Pantai Seri Kenangan which means 'unforgettable beach', is a popular weekend resort at Kuala Tutong. It was the idea of Pengiran Dato Paduka Othman bin Pengiran Anak Mohd Salleh, the then District Officer of Tutong, and was officially opened in February 1972 by the General Adviser to His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Dipertuan Negara at the Prime Minister's office, Pehin Dato Haji Awang Isa bin Dato Haji Ibrahim. The recreation area is on a spit of land with the South China Sea on one side and the Tutong River on the other. It has several picnic tables, benches and a canopied jetty on the bank of the Tutong River. The use of local materials such as bamboo, rattan, nibong - a kind of hard thorny palm - and trees have helped to create a relaxing atmosphere.

There are also huts for rent, good fishing and diving sites and other water sports facilities. For further information on availability of these facilities, contact the Tutong District Office ( tel: 04-222491 ).

Further down the road from Pantai Seri Kenangan is Kampong Kuala Tutong amid coconut palms. A kilometre further on, at Kampong Danau, is the old ferry which was used to cross the Tutong River before the bridgewas built in 1959. At the end of the road is a small patch of forested land leading to a deserted stretch of beach.

About 2 miles past the British Army Training Team's Sittang Camp on the left between the road and the Tutong River is the workshop for one of Brunei's youngest industries. Awang Mahmood bin Awang Damit started the business as a boatyard producing fibre-glass boats. The company produces different types of boats from an 11 foot dinghy to a 28 foot longboat, including speedboats that are popular with water skiers and the expatriate community at both ends of the state.

Now the business has grown into a cottage industry producing a wide range of fibre-glass products including motoring accessories, water tanks, flower pots, seats and the very popular water scooter, all produced by Awang Mahmood's skilled craftsmen.

Sungai Basong

This small picnic area, a five minute drive from Tutong town, is immaculately laid out with picnic tables under cover and features a man-made waterfall, traditional ulu huts and a small lake. There is also a restaurant and adequate parking.

Tutong 'Snow'

One of the first startling sights for newcomers to is the glistening snow-white stretches of pasir putih (white sand) that line the sides of the main highway linking Tutong and Kuala Belait between kilometre markers 49 and 60. These sands have a high silica content (90 percent quartz) suitable for manufacturing industrial glass. Reserves are estimated at 20 million tonnes but so far no plans have been drawn up to exploit this natural phenomenon. The sands form terraces about three metres thich and 15 metres above sea level. The white colour is due to leaching, and the poor nutrient quality of the sand means it is largely vegetation-free.

It is no coincidence that the sands lie beside the road because engineers selected the road line to take advantage of the flat terrain which gives excellent drainage. The sands were deposited along an ancient beach that marked the coastline of some 50,000 years ago. Similar deposits are also found 15 kilometres inland at Badas where they also marked the old coastline, since pushed steadily northwards by silt deposits from the Baram River.

Small silica sand deposits also occur in Muara but most of that sand has now been removed as construction material.

Penanjong Beach

The main attraction for Penanjong beach apart from its picturesque cliffs are the fossil deposits. Brunei Shell Petroleum's Geology Department's report on these deposits state that the deposits are made up of grey, greasy fossiliferous clays.

On the Western cliff facing Penanjong, are severely bioturbated fine sand in a random pattern of various tints of grey. On the beach sand are fossiliferous marine clay visible only during low tide. Locally, these sands are fossiliferous and gastropods, bivalves, crabs, shark teeth and Foraminiferida ( abbreviated to forams) have been found.

Forams are micro-organisms which live in marine, brackish or fresh water environment. As part of a research programme in Brunei, samples have been collected from the Seria Formation, 4.1 kilometres east of Penanjong which have yielded principally shallow-water forams and a small number of deep-water forams.

The presence of organic matter in the deposits is not obvious, and only a careful examination allows the recognition of trace amounts of transported comminuted carbonaceous and coaly organic material dispersed in the sands.

There is a very rich and well diversified faunal assemblage here. The faunal evidence obtained clearly places the sediments in a marine environment which combined with the funnel shapes of the bodies suggest that the deposits represent a stack of marine shoaling consequences.

The sediments were probably brought in by longshore transport. The Penanjong beach section may also offer the opportunity to study typical trace fossils of the coastal environment.

In summary, the report states that the section is interpreted to represent a series of coastal advances in an interdeltaic setting. A modern analogue could be the present-day beaches west of Tutong river.

Tamu Tutong

Open every Thursday evening and Friday morning, the tamu (open-air market) offers a range of local food, fruit and vegetable including jungle produce that is sold by farmers from the ulu. These include fruits such as jackfruit, temaga (red bananas), asam kelumbi - fruit of the rattan - and rambutan. A rich variety of vegetables includes the distinctive curling fronds of pakis, kangkong, batat, tapioca, bayam and sawi. There is also kampong rice, cili padi (small red-hot chili), and thick palm stems called luba which are steamed with belacan and chili to produce a spicy dish. The tamu starts getting busy after 4p.m. on Thursdays but doesn't come alive until much later in the evening, at about 7p.m.-8p.m. Stalls open the following morning by 7a.m.

KUALA BELAIT

Kuala Balai

O n progressive, upbeat, modern Brunei Darussalam, Kuala Balai is a shrinking backwater. Just 45 minutes from Kuala Belait, or a 20-minute drive from the new Seria bypass, a visit to Kuala Balai is like stepping back in time to a lost era. At one time, Kuala Balai, which is carved out of the jungle on the banks of the Belait River, was the largest community in the west of the country. Its highway was the river and the villagers grew crops, fished and, above all, were famous for their ambulong (sago).

Today only about 10 permanent residents remain, mostly older folks who resisted the urban drift which started after oil was discovered in Seria in 1929 and the oil industry began to develop on the coast.

Some still remmember the days when the population was large enough to support a school, a trip to the sea was six hours of hard rowing in perahu (longboat) and larger cargo-carrying boats used to sail up the Belait River.

Even in the 1970s, there were some 500 residents of Kuala Balai with about 30 families producing sago in the traditional way, stomping the scrapings on platforms over the river to extract the milk, and packing the glutinous white end-product into tampins (square sagoleaf sacks).

Since then the urban drift has accelerated as families have moved to new housing developments in Mumong to be closer to their work and to schools. Now there are just five sago factories and they have abandoned traditional methods. Simple machines are used to grate and extract the sago and the practice of trampling the scrapings died out in the mid-1980s along with the tampins which have been replaced with more versatile plastic sacks.

Visitors take a chance on seeing a sago factory in action. As water is a key ingredient in the process, the river dictates the best times to work. The tides affect Kuala Balai and work stops at high tide as the water gets saltier. Mohammed Ura, an experienced sago worker, watches the colour of the river to judge the best time to work. It is a skilled art that requires intuition and experience.

The sago palm is collected from the banks of the Belait River and its tributaries, particularly Sungai Damit, and can be seen on the boat ride to Kuala Balai. But the dominant vegetation is nipah palm (polok apong), which forms a dense blanket along both river banks.

The dry palm leaves are used for atap (thatch) roofing, while the sweet fruit is an ingredient on ice kacang, a local delicacy. The fruit grows in thick football-sized clusters and its flesh looks and tastes similar to coconut, though the kernel is no larger than a walnut.

The river is fairly busy which means that the shy crocodile is a rare sight. About 10 minutes before Kuala Balai by boat there is a reminder of less peaceful times. In a small clearing on the right bank is a wooden box on stilts with a wire mesh front. Inside are some 20 human skulls said to be the victims of headhunters long ago. They are believed to be haunted and should not be touched in deference to superstition.

Ulu Belait

A trip up the Belait River provides the only opportunity in of seeing Dusun and Punan communities at close quarters. Both tribes exist in close harmony at Kampong Sukang some two and a half hours'¬ ride by perahu (longboat) from Kampong Sungai Mau on the Labi road. About 200 people live in this small hamlet spread among 10 family homes, one eight-door Punan longhouse and the Dusun equivalent of a longhouse (rumah besar) or alai gayo in the Dusun tonque.

Villagers, many of whom commute weekly or monthly to jobs in Kuala Belait and other coastal towns, are also provided with a police post, clinic, primary school and balai raya (community hall). It is a mature community with the first school dating back from 1955.

The rumah besar, which was built more than 30 years ago, is a substantial two-storey structure that sprawls up a hill and is reached from the riverside jetty along a 200-metre long wooden elevated walkway which bridges a swamp area populated by buffaloes. It is home to 10 families and 86 people. The entrance to the penghulu's (chief's) home behind the rumah besar is flanked by two weathered cannons which date back to the reign of Sultan Hashim Jalilul (1885-1906), the 25th Sultan of Brunei. In past days, cannons were often given as part of a bride's dowry.

Inside the communal living area are old gongs, a guling tangan (like a massive xylophone) and drums covered in deer hide. On the walls are examples of Dusun and Iban craftsmanship - siraung (hats), shields

and baskets.

A feature of the rumah besar, seen in many other longhouses, are vents in the roof that allows ventilation, and are also a light source during day when the generators are switched off.

The Dusun are keen fishermen and grow padi as well as a range of vegetables and fruit. They hunt mousedeer, barking deer and other small mammals using head-mounted carbide lamps. These have handmade copper reflectors that send out a concentrated beam of light transfixing the prey and allowing the hunter time to spear it. Across the river, the Punan hunters use various methods. Their weapon is the blowpipe - keliput in Punan, or sumpit in Malay - which is used with darts dipped in the poison (sayum) exracted from nyagang trees found several hours' trek from the longhouse close to the Ingai hot springs.

Compared to the Dusun, the Punan are poor. their longhouse, which accomodates 55 people, is sparse and roughly-built but the welcome is warm and generous. Traditionally, Punan are nomads - hunters and fishermen, who moved on regularly, building temporary shelters as they roamed the jungle in search of food. This group decided to settle in Sukang in the late 1970s with financial help from the Government to build a longhouse. Today the Punan cultivate crops such as padi, in contrast to their nomadic days when their staple diet was sago (ambulong).

Many Punan now have government jobs and some are employed to maintain paths to distant longhouses in other parts of Mukim Sukang, which has five other longhouses - all Iban - and a total population of about 600.

Further upriver, the last longhouse is at Kampong Melilas. It can take between one hour and three hours to go by boat depending on the level of water on the narrowing Belait River.

The 14-door longhouse is Iban and displays an incongruous mixture of traditional and modern kitsch. It is bizarre to find sliding, smoked glass windows, ornate furniture, fitted kitchens and tiled walls in such a remote area but that is what the longhouse has - all carefully shipped by boat during the rainy season when the river is high. In the communal area, traditional age-varnished rattan mats lie beside modern linoleum, which has taken over as acheaper, instant alternative. Though these rattan mats are no longer made, there is still a thriving cottage industry in weaving cloth and making baskets.

A 400- metre elevated walkway leads to the hill-top longhouse which has been there since 1975 and is now home to 100 people. Nearby there is a primary school for 14 children, and a clinic. In common with the other ulu communities, many find work in the coastal towns and return home infrequently. The women are the workforce of the farms, planting padi as well as fruit and vegetables. A government scheme has helped the farmers export their rice and other commodities to Sungai Mau where they are sold. According to elders, the community arrived in the area in 1938 after migrating slowly north from Simanggang in Sarawak, via Marudi.

Kampong Melilas is the last longhouse on the Belait River but there are other attractions further upriver - the Ingai hot springs and several waterfalls. The boat ride from Kampong Melilas can take anything from two hours to six depending on the height of the river, which will also determine how far the river is navigable. The water level rises after the rain, and a boat can be reached within 20 minutes' walk of the hot

springs, but at other times, the boat has to be abandoned earlier, and visitors continue the journey with a two-hour hike.

The river narrows after Kampong Melilas and the vegetation crowds the boat with spectacular cascades of bright flowers punctuating the lush green that blankets both banks.

Surprisingly, there are signposts to the hot springs along a well-trodden path where the only obstacles are fallen tree trunks and small rivers, which have to be forded. There are more signposts at the springs which are two upwellings in the ground which have been enclosed in rectangular wooden frames measuring about a metre across.

A path leads on to a waterfall, about half an hour's walk away. This is more of a limestone cascade about 20 metres long with a drop of about 10 metres. Ibans at Kampong Melilas say there are four waterfalls in the area. A guide is essential to get beyond Kampong Melilas to the hot springs and one can be found in any of the longhouses along the Belait river.

Labi and Longhouses

L abi, a rural settlement scattered on either side of the road, is a centre for fruit production and other agriculture. Lime, orange, rambutan, jackfruit, cempedak, durian, and other tropical fruits are all grown in the area. The Labi Hills are also an example of a classic oil trap - an anticline - which was spotted very early in the history of oil exploration in the country and probed by 18 wells between 1911 and 1988, many of which found hydrocarbons but none in commercial quantities. In fact the Belait-2 well, drilled in 1913, was the first hydrocarbon discovery in Brunei Darussalam. The find was not commercial however and oilmen had to wait 16 years more before the first exploitable find was made in Seria.

The road through Labi crosses a number of bridges the last of which is at Sungai Rampayoh. After that the road is no longer sealed but is still passable in a saloon car. Along the dirt road are a number of Iban longhouses, the principal ones being Rumah Panjang Mendaram Besar (Rumah Panjang means longhouse) and Rumah Panjang Teraja. Longhouses in Labi are no longer built with palm leaves and the last traditional one in the area disappeared in the mid-1980s. Now longhouses are made from wooden planks with corrugated iron roofs. Modern staircases have replaced the traditional notched log that used to be common. Rumah Panjang Mendaram Besar which has 12 doors and is home to some 100 people, still has a wooden roof and the floor area comprises planks and split nibong palm. It is three kilometres from the start of the unsealed road on the right hand side.

Most men at the longhouse work with the Government or Brunei Shell, commuting daily or weekly to Seria or Kuala Belait. Built in 1971, the longhouse has piped water and a generator for electricity. Inhabitants grow some vegetables, plant padi and keep chickens. Pigs can be seen foraging below the stilted building. Children go to the Rampayoh primary school three kilometres away but when they reach lower secondary level they have to go to school in Kuala Belait and live in hostels.

Longhouses are not permanent. When they start falling apart, the inhabitants simply build another a short distance away choosing a new site because they have to live in the old longhouse until the new one is complete. Each family member plays a part in the construction and each family is responsible for the building of its own 'door'.

The six-door Rumah Panjang Teraja at the end of the 11.5-kilometre long unsealed road was constructed in 1987 and is now home for 30 people. Like Mendaram Besar, it is quiet during the week with workers away in Seria and Kuala Belait. It has a full complement only for important celebrations such as Gawai, the rice harvest festival, at the beginning of June when celebrations go on for a week and visitors are welcome. The longhouse has its own generator and in 1991 completed a project to draw water from the Teraja waterfall (see page 120). The residents grow their own fruit and vegetables including pineapples, pumpkins, beans, mangosteens and bananas and rear pigs and chickens. They also plant padi.

Longhouse Facts and Etiquette

The longhouse is the most typical feature associated with the whole of Borneo,and is a fascinating form of community living. Longhouses were traditionally only semi-permanent, as the villagers would be ready to move when the land around the longhouse had been farmed out.

Built to accommodate many families , the longhouse is divided into two main areas - a series of family rooms and a large open verandah which looks like a public thoroughfare but in fact is not. The public walkway is a metre wide path along the front of the building, of which lead all the 'family-room doors' (chambers). Take off your shoes before entering the longhouse and a good first rule is to ask to speak first to the penghulu (headman). Mats will be spread out on the verandah to sit on. Women are expected to tuck in their feet and men to sit crosslegged. As you are guests of the entire house, men, women and children will all sit together with you.

Don't stroll up and down the verandah without permission because the space outside each family room is private. Instead use the public walkway and ask before returning to the verandah at a different spot. The family room is considered private and in it, the family eats and sleeps. Being invited into one is indeed a privilege. It is advisable to seek permission from the occupants before taking photographs.

The Ibans are a hospitable people, and welcome anybody who wishes to visit them even without an appointment. Bring some chocolates or sweets for the children and drinks or cigarettes for the adults - this is not a tradition but an appreciated gesture. Remmember, it is their home so do not be surprised if they visit you one day.

If invited to stay the night, ask for sleeping mats, which are always available; often bedding is provided too. Men sleep on the verandah while women inside a room.

Bathing is usually in the river and men and women take it in turns. Women wear sarongs and men the minimum of clothing - nudity is offensive. Toilet arrangements may vary, so approach someone who is familiar with the house rules.

Sungai Liang Forest Reserve

This was the first of the Forestry Department's jungle recreation parks and remains one of the best. It covers a hilly area of 14 hectares of largely undisturbed forest which forms part of a large arboretum reserve that was first gazetted in 1948. In 1970 part of the arboretum was turned into a small public park and developed further into its present form in 1989 with a network of well-maintained walking tracks radiating out from a central landscaped area with picnic shelters and cool lakes where swimming is allowed. It is popular at weekends with walkers, picnickers and joggers and has changing rooms.

Most of the trees are indigenous but as the park is also an arboretum so some exotic species have also been planted. The forest is mixed dipterocarp which is

characteristic of Brunei Darussalam, and species include meranti, rubber, myrtle and macaranga trees intermingled with palms, including the spiky nibong, rattans, screwpines and lianas. One pencil-thin bamboo, Dinochloa, climbs tree trunks. Mammals are difficult to see but include the plantain squirrel, pig-tailed macaque, Bornean gibbon and the flying lemur. Roundleaf horseshoe bats can be found hanging under palm fronds. A visit to the park is a good opportunity to get to know more about Brunei Darussalam's jungle which covers 80 percent of its surface. The nearby forestry centre is also open to visitor. Add Museum and Canopy walk

Sungei Lumut Forestry centre

Add maps and facilities description

Orchid walk

 

Luagan Lalak Forest Reserve Park

Covering 270 hectares of the Labi Hills Forest Reserve, Luagan Lalak features an alluvial freshwater swamp that nudges the verge of the Labi road. A rare phenomenon in Borneo, it looks like a substantial lake during the rainy season but in times of drought, the water level recedes and the area is covered in a field of sedges.

A car park by the side of the Labi road overlooks the lake and a path runs down to a jetty which is built out into the middle of the swamp, ending in a pavilion

Mendaram Waterfall

The tranquil Mendaram Waterfall is enclosed by tall trees. The water feeds a deep pool that is excellent for swimming. The path to the waterfall starts 3.5 kilometres from the end of the sealed road at Labi on the left hand side. It is signposted Wasai Kadir. Stepping stones lead across a stream where the path rises steeply on the opposite bank. Further on it rises steeply again to skirt a large boulder fall. Here the path can be treacherous, particularly during the wet season. The walk to the waterfall takes about 15 minutes.

Rampayoh Waterfalls

An easy walk of under two hours through jungle leads to the largest Rampayoh waterfall which descends four metres from a table-top of rock into a cool, deep pool. It is a 10-kilometre amble to the falls starting near the end of the sealed section of the Labi road signposted 'Waterfall 120 minutes'. A wide, well-used path cuts through a bamboo wood and emerges just above the Rampayoh River. The path goes upstream with small bridges over little tributaries, built and maintained by the Gurkhas. After a 45- minute walk, there is a small waterfall beside a Gurkha encampment from where the path remains wide, winding through beautiful open forest. Close to Rampayoh the path rises through primary jungle emerging into a Gurkha camp

comprising shelters with tables and benches which are ideal for a picnic. The second waterfall is one minute's walk from the camp. One oath leads to a large pool below the waterfall while another stays at the same level skirting around the top of the falls.

A third waterfall is another two and a half hours' walk along a deteriorating path along the Rampayoh River and is only reachable with an overnight stay in the jungle. Prosaically called Landing Point 196, it is used by army helicopters for landing. The waterfall leads to a large deep pool which is suitable for swimming. The height of the falls, however is modest.

The best time to visit Rampayoh is July when the track is in good condition. Camping enthusiasts may seek advice from the British Army or Gurkhas who regularly use the area for exercises. Notice is usually broadcast on BFBS or on Radio Brunei news.

Bukit Teraja

Reputed to be one of the highest hills in the Labi area, Bukit Teraja rewards the climbers with fine views over the Baram valley to the north and and Gunung Mulu to the south. The walk to the summit takes less than two hours at brisk pace. The path is well marked and maintained, at first rising fast through primary rainforest. Steep steps have been cut into the slope for some stretches of the initial climb which begins to flatten out after about 20 minutes. The path breasts a narrow ridge after 40 minutes where there is a picnic table. Turn right, and the path descends into an open clearing known as 'the place of the winds' where there is a welcome cooling breeze on which swiftlets surf, hunting insects on the wing. The upper end of the clearing has a picnic spot with covered benches and a small brook. Here you will notice several species of pitcher plants, characteristic of higher forest zones. Do not pick them because they are protected species. The path continues upwards behind the picnic area to the summit with a panoramic view taking in Gunung Mulu to the south sweeping round to the Baram/Belait plain and the Lambir Hills and even as far as the limestone cliffs of Niah on a clear day. Animals commonly seen or heard in the forest of Bukit Teraja include barking deer, bearded pig, squirrels, tree shrews and macaques. Rhinoceros and bushy-crested hornbills are also common.

The distances to the picnic area and on to the summit are marked along the path in rantai, which is Malay for chain (1 chain is 22 yards or 20 metres). There are 141 chains to the top and 98 chains to the picnic spot. Mention Sighting of Orang Utang previously and more recently.

Describe Walk from Bukit Teraja to Rampayo Waterfall

Teraja Waterfall

The Teraja River marks the end of the Labi Road about 10 kilometres beyond the end of the tarmac. A well-worn path leads upstream, criss-crossing the river over tree trunks, to a small waterfall in lush green forest. The waterfall is also the source of water supply for the Teraja longhouse at the beginning of the path. The path continues beyond the waterfall to the top of Bukit Teraja, though this last stretch is indistinct and a scramble in places.

Peat Swamp Forest

A distinctive feature of Bornean jungle is the peat swamp forest which develops in low-lying areas once colonised by mangrove forest. Extensive areas of Seria and Kuala Belait are covered in this type of forest which forms when the ground becomes high enough to escape saltwater influence, either through changes in land or sea level, or through the accumulation of plant debris. Unlike most tropical rainforests, this type is dominated by a single species, Alan (Shorea albida), which is a valuable source of timber.

The forest is typically dome-shaped, higher in the centre than at the margins with accumulations of peat that reach down 20 metres. At the domed centre, plants must rely solely on rainwater because there is no influx of groundwater from the edges. This, coupled with a poorer supply of nutrients, means that plants in the centre are smaller than the margins with stunted Alan trees just a few metres high.

The saturated conditions of the swamp with the water table lapping the surface, makes it an eerie place and home of several unusual plants including the sealing wax palm, large aroid lilies and the dagger pitcher plant (Nepenthes bicalcarata) which has two prongs pointing down beneath the lid. A feature of the swamps are ant palms which have swollen hollow stems colonised by ants, supporting the theory that animal trapping is a way plants can increase their nutrient supply in nutrient-poor habitats such as peat swamps and heath forests. The most accessible peat swamp forest is at the end of the Labi road, which peters out at the Teraja River some 11.5 kilometres after the end of the sealed road. Cross the river and head south towards the Sarawak border. After a 30-minute walk through mixed dipterocarp forest, the path drops into low-lying peat swamp forest and the path continues on tree trunks floating in the tea-coloured swamp.

The Billionth Barrel Monument

The most important event, perhaps, in the economic industry of took place in 1929 in the town of Seria when oil was discovered by the exploration well S-1. The first well not only heralded the birth of the Seria oilfield, but the birth of the oil industry in Brunei Darussalam.

Sixty two years later, in 1991, was a historic moment for Brunei Darussalam's oil industry. It was the year, Brunei Shell extracted the billionth barrel of oil from the rich Seria field.

Brunei Shell Petroleum commissioned a monument to mark the Billionth Barrel in Seria oilfield to a local architect, Akitek Idris, for the design. The monument was erected near the seawall close to the site of the first well, S-1.

The formal approach to the monument is through straight rows of trees leading from an arched entrance. The series of windbreaks, that have protected the young saplings from the destructive sea winds, have also been designed to blend in with the overall design concept. The design of the arches serves to remind visitors that they are entering an Islamic environment and the floor beneath is laid with tiles with an Islamic pattern. The monument is just a 5-minute drive from the town centre.

Anduki Jubilee Recreation Park

This park is one of the newest recreation areas in the Belait district. It was developed by Brunei Shell, which invested B$3 million and transformed the old sandpit into a landscaped leisure area. The park was handed over to the Government in 1992 to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Dipertuan Negara Brunei Darussalam. Brunei Shell has planted trees, flowers and shrubs, built toilets and picnic spots and transformed the lake into a tranquil stretch of water for leisure activities including fishing, boating and windsurfing. A 3.8 kilometre jogging track has been built through the park.

Silver Jubilee Park

This park is situated in Jalan Maulana, facing the South China Sea and about a kilometre away from the town of Kuala Belait. It has a land area of 2,679 hectares.

The park was built by the Kuala Belait community to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of His Majesty's accession to the throne. The pintu gerbang or main gate symbolises the concept of Melayu Islam Beraja or Malay Islamic Monarchy ( MIB ). The main monument signifies the peace and unity of the nation and the loyalty of the citizens towards His Majesty.

Other facilities include the exhibition huts, shelters, public toilets and the children's playground. A permanent stage was also built by Brunei Shell Petroleum.

Sports Facilities in Brunei

The nation's main sports facility is the 35,000-seater Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium at the centre of a new, world-class sports complex in the capital. It has excellent facilities for athletic track and field, soccer, tennis, squash, jogging and swimming. It is also here where the Brunei soccer team plays its Malaysian League Games. It was also one of the venues used for the staging of the National Sports Festival in September, 1995, where 2,500 athletes participated in 25 athletic events.

The new B$1.57 million Menglait Sports Complex Extension Hall in Gadong, also in the capital, provides practice halls for karate-do, judo, silat (Malay martial arts), boxing and taekwondo. It also has hostels that can accomodate up to 40 athletes. The two-level hall also has dressing and shower rooms, a first-aid room, store, kitchen and dining area.

The Berakas Multi-purpose Hall, also located in the capital, was the venue of the RBA-Helix Badminton Open in September,1996. The badminton open, initiated by the private sector, has been upgraded in 1996 to a three-star tournament and is now a part of the World Grand Prix. The Southeast Asian Basketball Association Under 22 Qualifier and Veterans Tournament, a seven-nation, week-long cagefest which hosted was also held at the Berakas multi-purpose hall.

The Water Sports Complex at Serasa Beach in the Brunei- Muara district is a B$4.7 million three-level water sports complex turned over recently to the Youth and Sports Department. It has facilities for boat racing, wind surfing, motor boat racing and water skiing. The complex has a grandstand for 300 persons general admission on the second level, 100 seats for VIPs and visitors, a Royal Suite, a VIP Suite and a 100-person capacity restaurant.

When Brunei entered the ITF Junior Tennis Tournament in 1985, the Brunei Tennis Club (BTC) was used to host these annual international tournaments. The Club was also used as the venue for the Tretorn Cup Tournament with Singapore, and the Borneo Regional Games, together with the annual games in Kelantan. The BTC, born in the early 1950s has moved to its third home, the B$3 million Brunei Tennis Club Berakas Sports Complex in August,1996.

With the best equipment for clay target shooting, the new Jerudong Trap and Skeet Shooting Range was the venue for the Sufri Bolkiah Shooting Championship held in September,1996.

The Pantai Menteri Golf Club, a par-72 course, located at the foot of the Subok ridge along the historic Jalan Kota Batu, hosts weekly and yearly golf events, like the Brunei Open and the Pantai Mentiri Open. Other golf clubs include the exclusive Royal Brunei Golf and Country Club in Jerudong and the Panaga Golf Club in Seria. Royal Brunei Airlines has set up Brunei's only public golf course, the Royal Brunei Golf Club, a 18-hole championship course which opened in November,1995.

The Royal Brunei Yatch Club in Muara has a corresponding arrangement with the Kuala Belait Boat Club on the bank of the Belait River in Jalan Sungai, Kuala Belait. Among the range of activities available for members are dinghy and catamaran sailing, cruising boat sailing, rowing, kayaking, water skiing and childrenís sailing.

Tennis courts at the Youth Welfare Sports Complex also on Jalan Berakas in the capital are open to the public. There are no admission fees for spectators at the National Tennis Centre at the National Stadium where world-class tennis tournaments are held. Public swimming pools are available at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas and at the Mumong Sports Complex in Kuala Belait.

Glossary

Here is a guide-list of common words and phrases used in conversation.

Those in brackets are Malay as spoken in Brunei Darussalam.

Greetings

How are you? Apa Khabar?

Welcome Selamat Datang

Good morning Selamat Pagi

Good afternoon Selamat Petang

Good evening Selamat Malam

Good night Selamat malam

Goodbye Selamat tinggal/Selamat jalan

 

Pronouns

I Saya/Aku (Kadiaku)

You Anda/Awak/Kamu/Kau (Awda/KitaKadikita)

We Kami/Kita (Katani/Kitani)

He/She Dia (Kadia/Kadidia)

They Mereka (Bisdiurang)

Sir Tuan

Madam Puan

It Ia

 

Useful Words and Expressions

About Kira-kira/Tentang/Lebih kurang

Above Atas/Di atas

Again Lagi/Semula

A little Sedikit

A lot Banyak

Another one more Satu lagi

Bathroom Bilik mandi/Kamar mandi

Bedroom Bilik tidur

Beach Pantai

Beef Daging lembu (Sapi)

Breakfast Sarapan pagi

Bread Roti

Bridge Jembatan

Butter Mentega

Buy Beli

Car Kereta

Chicken Ayam

Children Anak-anak

Chili Lada

Closed Tutup

Cold Sejuk (Sajuk)

Come here Datang ke sini/ke mari

Country of origin Negara Asal

Date Tarikh/Haribulan

Dinner Makan malam

Do Buat/Lakukan

Do not/donít Jangan

Doctor Doktor

Drink Minum

Eat Makan

Empty Kosong

Excuse me/I am sorry Maafkan saya (Minta maaf ku)

Expensive Mahal

Female/girl/lady Perempuan/wanita (bini bini)

Fine/good/nice Baik/Bagus

Fish Ikan (Lauk)

Forest/jungle Hutan

Friend Kawan/Sahabat/Teman

Fruit Buah

Get Dapatkan

Go Pergi (Jalan)

Hand Tangan

Highway Lebuh Raya

Hospital Rumah sakit

I am visiting my relatives Saya melawat saudaramara saya

(Kadiaku melawat sanak saudara ku)

I do not understand Malay Saya tak faham Bahasa Melayu

( Inda ku merati Bahasa Melayu)

I like travelling Saya suka mengembara (Kadiaku suka belayaran-layaran)

I speak English Saya berbahasa Inggeris (Kadiaku bercakap bahasa Inggeris)

I want to go to.. Saya mahu pergi ke..(Kadiaku kan ke..)

Lake Tasek

Lunch Makan tengahari

Milk Susu

Museum Muzium

My name is... Nama saya.. (Nama ku..)

No Tidak (Inda)

Never mind Tidak apa (Inda apa)

Open Buka

 

Please Sila/ Tolong

Prawn Udang (Siar)

Restaurant Restoran

Rice Nasi

Road Jalan raya (Jaraya)

River Sungai

Shop Kedai (Kadai)

Shrimp paste Belacan

Sugar Gula

Taxi Teksi

Thank you Terima Kasih

Toilet Tandas/Bilik air(Jamban)

Under Di bawah

Vegetable Sayur

Wait Tunggu

Water Air (Aying)

Yes Ya (Au)

Where is that place? Di manakah tempat itu? (Di mana tempatnya itu?)

Who can take me there? Siapakah yang boleh membawa saya ke sana?

 

Directions

North Utara

South Selatan

East Timur

West Barat

Central Tengah

Right Kanan

Left Kiri

Front Hadapan

Behind Belakang

Straight on Terus (Tarus)

Go up Naik

Go down Turun

Turn Belok (Pusing)

Which direction is...? Dimanah arah ke...?

How do I get to..? Bagaimanakah saya boleh sampai ke..?

Is this the road to..? Adakah ini jalan menuju ke...?

Where is...(destination)? Dimanakah letaknya...?

How far away is...? Berapakah jauhnya...?

How long Berapa lamakah

Does it take to drive to...? Perjalanan menggunakankereta ke...?

Numbers

One Satu

Two Dua

Three Tiga

Four Empat

Five Lima

Six Enam

Seven Tujuh

Eight Lapan

Nine Sembilan

Ten Sepuluh

Eleven Sebelas

Twelve Dua belas

Thirteen Tiga belas

Fourteen Empat belas

Fifteen Lima belas

Twenty Dua puluh

Thirty Tiga puluh

Forty Empat puluh

Fifty Lima puluh

One hundred Seratus

Two hundred Dua ratus

Three hundred Tiga ratus

Four hundred Empat ratus

Five hundred Lima ratus

One hundred and one (101) Seratus satu

One thousand Seribu

Two thousand Dua ribu

Three thousand Tiga ribu

Four thousand Empat ribu

Five thousand Lima ribu

One thousand and one Seribu satu (1,001)

Two thousand and fifty (2,050) Dua ribu lima puluh

Ten thousand and one hundred Sepuluh ribu seratus

(10,100)

Credits

Published by Public Affairs, the Brunei Shell Group of Companies, Seria KB3534, Negara Brunei Darussalam

Original text Recearched and written by Nick wood . Text updated in 1996 by - Haji Hussin bin Ahmad re researched and updated in 2000 by Hans Dols

Editors - Haji Shadoon bin Haji Lamzi

Maria Nabila bte Abdullah

Hans Dols

With help from members of the Panaga Natural History Society and the Brunei Nature Society

Kristin Boersheim

Pictures by - Haji Madni bin Haji Samawi

Haji Nordin bin Haji Md. Isa

Haji Othman bin Haji Paun

M. Mazini bin Rahmat

Haji Muhd. Ismat bin Hazim

Pg. Hamdillah bin Pg. Ahmad

Haji Morshidy bin M. Salleh

How Tah Ngee, James

Mohd Zufri bin Mohd Bakhtiar

Sulaiman bin Haji Mahmud

Maria Nabila bte Abdullah

Index:

Picherplants

From "Carnivorous plants, A. Slak, 1979, Alphabooks, Sherborne, Dorset"

Nepenthes gracilis

This is usually a prostrate-stemmed plant, though it can occasionally climb to about 2 meters. The lower pitcher, 3. 5-7. 5 cm long, is light green with dark red spotting, with a light green rim and dark red lid, while the upper pitcher is 5-15 cm long, dark mahogany red or reddish brown, with a similarly-coloured or dark red lid, and a green to reddish-brown rim. In contrast, the interior is almost white or pinkish-white. It is found in the open, often in sunny places amongst herbs, occurring in Borneo, Sumatra, Malaysia and Celebes.

Nepenthes rafflesiana

The pitchers have a distinctive form, as shown in the accompanying pictures. The teeth of the rim are rather sharp and conspicuous and the rim differs from those of other species in that it widens markedly at its upper end, just below the lid. The lid has two keels and the spur is unbranched. The lower pitcher is 7. 5-25. 5 cm long and has rather prominent wings, the edges of which bend inwards towards one another, and are fringed with long hairs. The upper pitcher is 7. 5-30 cm long. The background colour of the outside of the tube, lid and rim of both upper and lower pitchers is usually cream to pale green, and the pitcher is beautifully marked with chocolate, garnet or dark red, the same colour being irregularly striped on the ribs of the rim. The species grows up to 9 meters high in nature and is found at the edge of forest or on sunny banks in both wet and dry ground. It is native to Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo.

Nepenthes ampullaria

This species is peculiar in producing, in addition to the climbing stem, ground-level rosettes of small leaves which are white to pink, and may be less than 5 cm long. There may be many sprouting from underground rhizomes around a single climbing stem, and each is surrounded by several terrestrial pitchers springing from the ground; an equally unique feature. They are tub-like, round-bottomed and very short, 3. 5-5 cm) long, some being scarcely deeper than wide, and there are two fringed wings. The mouth is oval to nearly round and almost horizontal, and the lip formed by the rim is unusually narrow, as the inner part of the rim descends the interior of the mouth almost vertically. The lid is two-keeled and remarkably narrow, being less than 3 mm wide. Almost identical but somewhat longer pitchers are produced on the lowermost leaves of the climbing stem, hanging down to rest on the ground, but aerial pitchers are apparently never found. The terrestrial pitcher varies from light to yellow-green, and is usually blotched with red or purple, while the ground pitcher is usually entirely green. The species grows up to 9 meters in the wild, and is found in wet forests and peaty places in Malaya, Borneo, New Guinea, Sumatra and Singapore.

Nepenthes x hookeriana

Where N. rafflesiana and N. ampullaria grow within a short distance of one another, as they do in Borneo, Sumatra and Malaysia, this natural hybrid between the two species very often occurs. The characteristics of the pitcher are generally about midway between the two parents. The influence of N. ampullaria is seen in the widely elliptical entrance with its broad rim, while the general form of the pitcher brings N. rafflesiana more to mind. The pitcher is light green with reddish blotches, while the rim is usually green.

Nepenthes bicalcarata

The pitchers of this species possess two very curious sharp thorn-like structures just under the lid of the pitcher. Their use seems far from clear, but in 1880 F. W. Burbidge expressed the belief that they served to discourage the attentions of a small insect-eating lemur, Tarsius spectrum, which he had found freely raiding the pitchers of N. rafflesiana, but in the case of N. bicalcarata '. . . the Tarsius is certainly held and pierced when he inserts his head to see what there is in the pitcher.''

The lower pitchers are 6.5-10 cm high, tub-shaped, the bottoms rounded, and there are two fringed wings. The mouth is round. The inner part of the rim is rather wide and almost flat, and is inclined rather steeply into the pitcher. Its ends, immediately under the base of the lid, terminate in the two curved thorns referred to above, and which have evolved from a number of ribs. The lid is kidney-shaped, and the spur is quite long, thick and blunt. The upper pitchers are 5-13 cm long, funnel or bell-shaped, with two pronounced ribs replacing the wings, but in other details they are similar to the lower pitchers. The outside of the pitcher and both surfaces of the lid may vary from pale to mid-green, suffused with rustred to pure rust, while the rim is green.

This species may grow to 14 meters in height, and occurs in swampy forests in Borneo.

By Dr Jacqueline Henrot

===

Montane forests

Montane forests begin to be recognisable around 800 metres above sea level. There is no sudden transformation from the mixed dipterocarp forest but a gradual change in character. The appearance of tree ferns amongst the high stature trees is the first indication of the transition. As the altitude increases, the climate becomes cooler, wetter and tree height and diametre decrease. At the higher altitudes, trees are merely 1.5 metres tall.

The forest has a unique atmosphere created by the drift of clouds and the profusion of hanging mosses, liverworts, orchids, and ferns that cover the trunks and branches of the trees. At higher elevations, even the ground is covered with epiphytes, plants that normally grow high in the trees at lower elevations.

Species from families associated with the temperate regions of the world are common, e.g., Quercus and Lithocarpus from the oak family, Rhododendrum and Vaccinium from the heath family.

Many plants have small thick leaves which decompose slowly when dead, especially at these lower temperatures. As a result, the organic litter accumulates, releasing little of its nutrients, and plant growth is slow.

Pitcher plants are well adapted to these conditions and abound on the forest floor, on shrubs, or even in the crown of trees.

By Dr Jaqueline Henrot