|Old Belait Market|
|Along Belait River|
FOR the small percentage of Brunei who call Kuala Belait their home, their perception of the town is more than just a sleepy town.
The first thing that pops to mind when the town, which is also known as KB town to residents, is mentioned are the shops along Jalan Pretty. The iconic street is home to more than 20 thriving retail businesses, which include international brands such as The Body Shop and The Face Shop.
Jalan Pretty also has more than one bookstore, footwear shops, mini markets, restaurants and a handful of stores managed by home-grown young entrepreneurs.
Meanwhile, in the afternoon on the weekends, a group of stalls at Pasar Kuala Belait, which used to be a wet market behind Jalan Pretty, becomes a haven for local food favourites. Although, not as big as Tamu Gadong, the place — which is a mere five minutes’ walk from Jalan Pretty — is filled with different kinds of stall owners from all over Belait selling traditional kueh and other popular snacks.
These add character to the town, and which retired civil worker Hj Metusin Abu Bakar can attest to, was one of the favourite subjects for photography.
“There are some (avid) photographers that keep framed photos of Jalan Pretty, where the buildings are how they were when they were first built,” he said, reminiscing back to more than 40 years ago. “There are also times when it (Jalan Pretty) really comes alive, like when a kids’ rollerblading race was organised.”
However, KB town is not only about the shops. A part of its name, kuala, means mouth of a river. This refers to where Belait River — the longest river in Brunei — flows into the South China Sea. Due to this position, visitors can spend their leisure time at one of the beaches along the coastline of Belait district, Pantai Jubli Perak.
Another leisure spot is the revamped Kuala Belait Recreational Park alongside Belait River. Spruced up with the help of KB town own municipal board, the park boasts a playground and even a multi-purpose hall and stage, which can be used at a fee, based on last year’s report.
As for getting around town, there are taxi and bus stands, which are just opposite each other. You can even make a stop at the town’s first mosque, Masjid Jamalul Alam, which is located just beside the bus stand.
In addition, visitors looking to stay the night or more need not worry as there are a number of hotels within one kilometre of the town that suit a variety of budget and needs. Counting at least six hotels within walking distances and another one which sports a rooftop restaurant, travellers won’t feel short of places to stay.
To experience KB town at its liveliest, it’s best to come down when the nation is celebrating His Majesty’s birthday, where various organisations and the community will be holding fun activities throughout the month.
The Brunei Times