The largest district in Brunei, the Belait District, is home to a majority of Brunei’s natural beauties – from its coastlines to its lush greenery in its recreational parks and conservation reserves.
It doesn’t have the bustle of the other districts, especially Muara – where the capital is located, but it has the tranquility that you crave for and is truly a testimony to the meaning of an escapade!
Belait’s treasures of nature are undeniably abundant and the most noticeable classification of its attractions. Notable among its group is the Bukit Ladan Forest Reserve where flora and fauna are teeming and can be observed and visited, most wisely, with a guide. The Wasai Wong Kadir Recreational Park is also one of the places you can commune best with Mother Nature, as it has sparse human intervention and human structures. On the sandy side are the remarkable beaches of Belait and Water Sports Lumut – great treats for beach enthusiasts. Lastly, cultural and historical places of importance can be found in the capital of the district, the town of Kuala Belait. Part of the list of such historical places is the Belait District Museum – 5 galleries focusing on local history and culture, and Kampong Pandan Mosque, a beautiful religious structure that signifies the importance of religion in Bruneian life. On the other end of the district, in the town of Seria are landmarks that highlight its petroleum industry involvement with the Billionth Barrel Monument and the Oil and Gas Discovery Centre.
The district has no airports and can only be reached via land travel. The nearest international airport is the Kuching International Airport in Sarawak, Malaysia in the west, and the Brunei International Airport in the nation’s capital, Bandar Seri Begawan in the east. From the west, travel to Miri in Sarawak, Malaysia and look for a bus operating under the Miri Belait Transportation Company and that will take you to Kuala Belait. From the east, take a bus from the capital to Seria, change buses and off you go to Kuala Belait.
Brunei is still a cash-dependent country and most high-end establishments that accept plastic are in the capital. The national currency is the Bruneian Dollar (BND) which is tied to the Singaporean Dollar. This means you can use Singaporean Dollar notes in Brunei. The Bruneian Dollar can be obtained through money changers, banks, and ATMs. Apparently, money changers in Brunei are sparse and oftentimes, undocumented. This makes transactions with them riskier. Banks and ATMs are also stationed in locations where economic traffic is heavy – such as in the heart of Kuala Belait and in the heart of Seria. If you plan to hike in any of the recreational parks, better bring a sufficient amount of cash.
Brunei is a humid, tropical, which means you’ll face only two seasons: dry and wet and peace in between. June to August is summer or dry season. Temperatures and humidity are at its peak and the throngs of people add up to it. September to December, on the other hand, is the wet season. Regular rains and downpours might ruin your plans. January to May would be that peace in between. Temperatures and humidity are manageable, and crowds are not yet plenty. February and March are the months with little to no chances of rain – great months for hiking and trekking.
Brunei’s a small country, so no need to travel by air. Though most roads in Brunei are of international standard, the farther we go from the capital, that isn’t the case. Taxis are limited. You can mostly find them in traffic-heavy areas. Taxis in Brunei have no metres, make sure to negotiate the fare before boarding. Luckily, public buses are available at the bus station in Kuala Belait, you just must check its schedule beforehand. If you want to discover the Belait river, you can rent a water taxi.
Compared to their counterparts in the west of the country, the Belait residents have developed a preference for spicy sauces and condiments and seafood. Multiple sushi restaurants can be found in the Kuala Belait, the district’s capital. Seafood dishes fill their restaurant menus. Trendy and theme-based cafes’ popularity surged and can be found in almost every corner of a touristy area. Well-known restaurants such as the Kaizen Sushi and Excapade Sushi attract most of the tourists. If you want to stick to fast food chains, you have the option of choosing between KFC, Burger King, and the South East Asian power player: Jollibee.
Belait district might not be luxurious or technologically advanced, but it has the atmosphere of peace and tranquility, the atmosphere of home. And most of what they offer you have that touch of homely love – from the food to their way of life, and the experience at their tourist attractions. The place is a paradox: away from home, but not far from it.