We here at Neue are always on the lookout for “hidden gems” here in Brunei. This week, we’ll be taking a closer look at Seria Town, which is just an hour’s drive away (about 100km) from the capital, Bandar Seri Begawan.
So the next time anyone tells you there’s NOTHING to do in Seria, be sure to tell them to check out one of the many spots featured in this week’s guide.#1. Kompleks Sri Selera Seria
Kick-start your day by checking out one of the many food stalls here at Lorong Pasar 2. Whether it’s rojak, noodles or rice, we’re confident that you’ll be spoilt for choice as you will be able to find stalls selling both halal and non-halal food at Kompleks Sri Selera Seria.The two stalls that the Neue team checked out were non-halal – a kolo mee stall, #18 Syarikat Bong Yeng Chang, and a drinks stall, #19 Kafe Malar Air Kiong. If you get the chance, try out their ABC (shaved iced kacang)! Though, keep in mind, they only start selling ABC at 3pm.“Serving ABC would be very time-consuming because lots of people visit the food court here in the mornings,” a long-time staff member told Neue.
There’s just something about seeing the crowds gathering here. You truly have to experience it for yourself and you’ll understand why this food court is undeniably a must-visit whenever you’re in Seria.
#2. CAS Fund Raising For Strays
Let’s do what we can to ensure that all stray animals are treated with care and compassion.One way that you can contribute to this is by showing your support by dropping by the CAS Fund Raising For Strays (*only open on Sundays*), located at one of the shop lots that can be found by the walkway between Seria Plaza and the Milimewah Department Store. It is located besides Syarikat Small Bites located at 30E, Jalan Sultan Omar Ali, Seria.#3. Universal Cafe
From the walkway, make your way to Universal Cafe by walking along the zebra crossing in front of Seria Plaza.It is a family-run restaurant, which is very popular among the locals in the area. One look at this place and you can be certain that this cafe has certainly stood the test of time.
Not a place to find noodles or a large menu, this place is famous for its toasted bread. Simple, yet satisfying!
#4. Thinking Cup Cafe
Just a stone’s throw away from Universal Cafe is a modern-day cafe called Thinking Cup Cafe. Part of a growing list of cafes in Belait District, this spot is one of Seria’s newer additions.“What’s one thing that you associate good coffee with?” Farhan of The Thinking Cup Cafe asked rhetorically.
According to him, it’s coming up with great ideas i.e. thinking. “Hence, the name,” the ever-friendly coffee aficionado quipped.
This place is famous for its coffee that pairs perfectly well with a slice of goodness from @bakeology.bn.
However, be warned there is a 2-slice limit per customer … because the cakes are THAT delicious!#5. G Desserts & Gallery
“I never thought that I would be able to find an artist at a frozen yoghurt shop,” said Ming, a long-time Seria resident who accompanied the Neue team during our visit. “Seria is indeed filled with hidden gems!”At the G Desserts & Gallery, you can sit back and appreciate the many artworks on display around the shop as you beat the heat with a nice cup of frozen yoghurt.#6. Wah Hing (Kedai Bunga Ma’mor)
Have you ever wondered how bread tasted way back when?Well, be sure to drop by Wah Hing” (Kedai Bunga Ma’mor) at Unit 82 where you can buy their famous bread loaf for just less than two dollars.
When asked how long this shop has been in business, a sweet elderly lady manning the counter told Neue, “I’ve been here for the last 60 years. Sadly, my father has passed away. He set up this business some 80 years ago. After all these years, it warms my heart that we are still in business. You must try our bread!”#7. Colourful buildings in Seria
After all that food, it’s time for the real walk-about tour of Seria! Make sure to have your fill of food before you set off on to this next part of the tour.The colourful buildings near the now-abandoned “Panggong Borneo” Cinema in BSB has been a popular spot for people to snap photos.
In Seria, you can have a similar photo-taking experience by posing in front of the colourful buildings located near the petrol station along Jalan Raja Putri. Be sure to snap some photos here and tag @whatsneue on Instagram! 🙂
#8. ‘I Love Seria’ Signage
Do you love Seria? Then prove it by snapping a photo in front of the “I Love Seria” signage.
For our avid readers, you would have heard of this park already. Anyone looking to have a nice stroll or bike ride would be hard-pressed to find a nicer spot in all of Seria. Take in the scenery whilst you’re here.
View this post on Instagram
Fun fact: Did you know this signage at Seria Energy Recreational Park (SERP) is fully powered by solar? And the Seria Energy Lab was formerly known as the Oil & Gas Discovery Centre.
#9. Billionth Barrel Monument
The monument lies next to the sea, with a large car park, interesting artworks depicting the history of the oil & gas history in Brunei. The art was created by local artists in 2019.The monument was commissioned by the Brunei Shell Petroleum Company in 1991. As the name suggests, it commemorates the billionth barrel of crude oil produced at the Seria field.The monument was erected close to the site of the first well discovered in Brunei in 1929. Its six arches, which join at the top, represent both the flow of oil from beneath the ground to the surface, as well as the number of decades of oil exploration and production that led to the billionth barrel. Atop the monument sits the national emblem of Brunei, representing the prosperity of the nation and its people.
This is a lovely spot for watching the sunset over the ocean and photographing the nodding donkeys.#10. Naafi grocery store
No visit to Belait District is complete without making a stop at the Naafi grocery store.Located in between Tuker Lines and the Garrison swimming pool, Naafi stocks a large variety of UK brands that will be familiar from home. Various UK products are available from frozen goods, perfumes, cards, military essentials.
There is a selection of ready-to-eat food prepared daily such as sandwiches, salad, sausage rolls, pastries and more. Additionally, a coffee machine and a cosy seating area are also accessible within the shop.Be sure to bring a cold bag along if you plan on buying frozen goods! (They can be found at the store itself!)
However, be warned, shopping is an absolute pleasure here!
History of Seria
Rozan Yunos, who runs @bruneiheritage.by.rozanyunos on Instagram that documents all things related to Brunei culture, history & heritage, told Neue that he was born in Seria. And as such, we could not help but ask him for some fun facts about the place.
Seria as most people know it, is the oil capital of Brunei.
In his book, ‘Brunei: The Origins’ (published by Qasrun Nafis Publishing House), Rozan who is regarded by the Neue team as a “walking encyclopedia of Brunei history”, noted that discovery of oil was actually found by two expatriates who stopped to rest in a wooded area while cycling on their way to Lumut where the exploration was taking place in the 1920s.
“While resting, they smelled the oil fumes which had seeped into the ground and upon arriving in Lumut, immediately changed the company’s search for oil to Padang Berawa, which was what the area was known then and of course found the black gold,” he said.
Interesting Seria street names
Another interesting thing about Seria is its street names!
One of the street names which used to intrigue Rozan when he was a child was ‘Jalan Dakula’ (see Google map above).
Back in the day, he would imagine that the name was supposed to have been Jalan Dracula, as in the blood-sucking vampire Dracula!
“It was not until this author began to understand Brunei history that he realised that Jalan Dakula was actually named after a Brunei noble named Datu Dakula. Be sure to grab a copy of ‘Brunei: The Origins’ to learn more.
Get in touch with Neue
Did we miss anything in this list? Do you have any interesting facts about Seria you’d like to share?
Drop a comment down below and we’ll be sure to check it out.
View this post on Instagram