BiG Magazine January/March 2023 Issue

Page 1

S IN GA POR E sin ga Enjoy your journey around the world with extra comfor t and extra privileges together with Singapore Airlines. Book your flight today. BRUNEI SQ1 47 MON, WED, THU, FRI, SUN MON, WED, THU, FRI, SUN SINGA POR E S Q14 8 BRUNEI

Editor’s Note

How many of you I wonder, are familiar with the slow-blinking man meme? Because once again like so many years prior, I witnessed January rolling onto the scene only for me to blink and suddenly it was the 2nd week of December (at the time of my typing this sentence). Well, once again I find myself a little taken aback at just how fast the past year whizzed by. As we all know, according to the inexplicable laws of “weird physics” – time often speeds up when life is good and things are going well, and slows down to a crawl when things are not. So I take that as confirmation of the good year we have left behind, which in turn leaves me with proof (of a sort) that what comes next has the potential to be great, and on that note – Happy New Year and welcome to 2023 everyone!

Whether you are continuing with a good established habit (keep it up! ), or looking to set resolutions and begin a new routine from scratch for the betterment of yourself and all around you ( you can do it! ), we have your back and encourage you to pursue those goals with gusto. As we make this transition, to say the team and I have been busy – since the last time your eyes connected with our words and photos – is an understatement. Wow oh wow have we been busy.

We went on a road trip to Kota Kinabalu and Kudat in neighbouring Sabah with our friends at Tourism Malaysia. We went on a walkabout around Brunei’s Kuala Belait district (finally) to see what the fuss was all about regarding several hip and pretty new locales on the F&B scene. We spoke with a number of interesting personalities – artists, chefs, authors, filmmakers, FX editors – from our island who ventured forth into the wider world to chase their passions and create legacies of their own. We delved into the food scene of the Tarakan Islet just off the coast of Kalimantan. We have formally decided to help – when we can, and in our own small way – to raise awareness on the scourge that is cancer as a CSR initiative. And naturally, we continue striving to help small and niche businesses by poking our noses wherever possible. Information is power after all, and we are admittedly very ‘nosey, kepo, and sibuk berabis! ’

So enjoy our offerings this quarter and until we see you next, seize 2023 by the horns and make your start to this year a good one!


BIG: Borneo Insider’s Guide @bigborneo

Publisher CHMP MEDIA Editor Rozman Mashor Writer Jia Ying Chia Designer Aqilah Hj Abu Bakar Marketing Manager Yasmin Jamal

Brunei | biG T: (673) 2331031 F: (673) 2231031 Unit 49, Second Floor Haji Munchit & Hajah Dayang Rapiah Complex Kg Jaya Setia, Berakas, BB2713 Brunei Darussalam

The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the various writers in this magazine do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of biG Magazine.

2 Borneo.Insider’s.Guide
Borneo Insider’s Guide magazines are distributed to: You can also find Borneo Insider’s Guide magazines at the Brunei International Airport
Unit 49, Second Floor, Haji Munchit & Dayang Rapiah Complex, Kg Jaya Setia, Berakas, BB2713, Brunei Darussalam Anything but ordinary @wama_designs
4 Borneo.Insider’s.Guide BiG TRAIL These shoes were made for walking 18-21 KB Walkabout BiG FEATURE Helloooo Sabah 22 Road Trip! 23 Spoilt for Choice 24 Hey Honey, Let’s Bee Friends 25 My Gong is Bigger than Yours 26 Same Same but Different 27 What’s Up Doc? & Jambatan Tamparuli 28 Call of the Wild 29 I Found Nemo! BiG TALK Interesting Personalities 30 Borneans in the Spotlight 31 It’s a wild, wild world 32 Living the Dream 33 No Fear of the Unknown 34 Stories from the Heart 35 Up, up and Away! BiG APPETITE We try the food so you can follow suit 36-39 Tarakan Island Food Search 40-45 Restaurant listings in Brunei 46-47 Restaurant listings in Borneo BiG SCREEN Our latest round of recommended films 54 Positive Thoughts & Moving Forward 56 Movies to look out for this quarter | | touch of Magic & JP Go-Karts Go Vroom Vroom! 11 Upscaling at Pullman Hotel & Not as Eazy as you think 12 Embassy Hosts Turkish Festival 13 Fuel Good Weekend BiG HEALTH Mother Nature’s Bounty 14 Cool Beans! 15 Our recommendations 16 To meat or not to meat? 17 Veggies never looked so good 28 BiG Feature 35 BiG Talk 13 BiG Buzz BiG CALENDAR 6 Upcoming events this quarter BiG SPECIAL 7 Flow Free in 2023 BiG CSR Cancer Awareness 8-9 Yayasan Kanser AnakAnak BiG BUZZ What’s been buzzing around town 10 Sunway Centre gets a contents
PICK UP A COPY OF B IG AT THE BRUNEI INTERNA TIO NAL AIRPORT, YOUR NEAREST CBTL BRAN CH OR CAFES NEAR YOU C all 2331031 or e ma il c ontact@ch m pmedia .com borneoinsid er sg uide.c om b.i. g.m agazi ne GET THE B I G PICTURE . BEINTHEBIG PICTURE.

A spiritual obstacle course for the pious Ramadhan kick-starts a month-long period of fasting from dawn to dusk, and reminds us to be thankful as well as being in remembrance of the less fortunate, prior to the Hari Raya Aidiladha celebrations.

The Chinese New Year coincides with the lunar calendar, and because of this, the celebration tends to fall on different dates that are always between January 21 and February 21. Dragons and lions will kick-start the festivities this year on January 22.

9km, 30km, 50km, and 100km routes.

This religious event marks the 2 stages of the Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) night journey, when he was whisked from Mecca to Jerusalem, before ascending to heaven. Conduct prayers at your neighbourhood mosque, and enjoy good food and company afterwards.

Everyone and their rumbling stomachs love a good food expo, so with an average of 10,000 visitors in attendance at previous expos, this gathering which will also feature the 3rd Sabah International Halal Showcase, is a great opportunity for brands to market their products.

Celebrating 39 years of independence, citizens nationwide dress up in vibrant colours and uniforms, as they mark this special day with patriotic marches of unity throughout the capital, while wearing wide smiles beneath yellow and black flags that ripple in the wind. | |

Beginning construction in 1965, the Sarawakian half of the divided Malaysian Pan-Borneo Highway (Phase 1) is expected to be completed early next year. The 786km stretch of roadway connects Telok Melano in the state’s south to Miri up north.

will play host
Workshop. Aimed
workshop will be based
An extreme outdoor endurance event for long distance runners that will take contestants through natural jungle settings and cultural landscapes via trails, dirt tracks, and back roads in the Kiulu Valley. Categories cover
Australia’s Miri branch of Curtin University
Intel ASPIRE Minds Innovation Space Challenge
higher secondary students, the

Officially taking place between January 22, 2023, and February 9, 2024, the Year of the Water Rabbit should prove to be an interesting one. After all, while it may be the 4th symbolic animal to finish the race that was held as part of the Jade Emperor’s birthday bash, it is also the first animal to kick-start a new year with its face forward full of hope, as the drama of Covid continues to gradually recede into the distance behind us. Yes, it is far from over, but Thumper here has had enough and is prepared to lead the charge forward. So with that said, Happy Lunar New Year everyone. Time to seize

your life by the reigns, hop to it!
What makes us hop: Organised & Precise Intuitive & Empathic Understanding & Loyal Sensitive & Easily offended Careers we rock at! Teachers Artists Diplomat Attorney Businessman FLOW FREE IN 2023 Want to be my BFF? Dog Monkey Pig Goat Famous Water Rabbits Michael Jordan Johnny Depp Quentin Tarantino Mike Myers Jet Li Ugh, get away from me: Snake Rooster Water Quotes “Empty your mind. Be shapeless, formless, like water.” – Bruce Lee, Martial Artist & Actor “Water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand
it.” –Margaret
Borneo.Insider’s.Guide 7 special
Lucky Colour: Forest Green
Atwood, Author


Yayasan Kanser Anak-Anak

Itry to maintain an aura of calm and steadfastness, despite the shattering of my heart into a thousand pieces following the snippet that I have just heard. A snippet that is just one of many other similar stories that have come before, and will continue to come after. It basically goes like this: “Imagine a mother, a father – parents both – sitting on a bed next to their child, whose body has been ravaged by Cancer. Imagine this child, an 11-yearold daughter”, who armed with a silent courage that any one of us would be blessed to possess, looks into her parents faces full of love, and states, “Will you be okay dad? Are you ready mum? Are you prepared to let me go?”

I apologise if I have caught you off guard with what is admittedly a very direct and difficult-todigest introduction, but ladies and gentlemen, this is the reality faced by many children – between the ages of 2 and 12 – in Brunei. They are stricken with what is arguably the worst disease in the world, and burying our faces in the dirt will not make it go away.

We need to help. We need to do more. We owe it to ourselves as people of conscious.

The Yayasan Kanser AnakAnak (Foundation for Children with Cancer) is a non-profit organisation first founded in 2011, and over the past 12 years it has strived to provide information, raise awareness, and provide support to children who are diagnosed with cancer. According to their statistics – within this same period of time, between 10-15 children were referred to YASKA annually, and the number of cases in the past decade has dwindled to currently less than 160, with half of all cases being leukaemia , also known as ‘cancers of the blood cells’.

The remaining cases include lymphoma , soft tissue sarcoma , as well as cancerous tumours in the bone, brain, and kidney, and more.

These children and their immediate family members often feel isolated and alone, battling their demons 24/7, while we continue with daily life, free in our blissful ignorance. Yes, we

8 Borneo.Insider’s.Guide
Rozman Mashor

read an article in the daily paper and say to ourselves “kesian” or “poor things” , as we do, and maybe check-out the occasional roadshow. It is not enough. We need to help. We need to do more. We owe it to ourselves as a modern society.

The RIPAS Hospital under the purview of the Ministry of Health has been on the front lines fighting the good fight, since it began providing treatment for children with cancer in the early 1980s. In 2004, under the guidance of DP Dr Lim MK, a medical officer and 3 nurses went on to form a dedicated children’s oncology team. In the 19 years since, the team has grown considerably to include a paediatric oncologist and 11 nurses. The ward itself was also moved to the Women &

Children Centre of RIPAS. This specialist ward is made up of 10 single rooms, a 4-bedded bay area, a multisensory room, a toy library, as well as a classroom and resource centre for the children and their parents. The Occupational Therapy Unit organises therapeutic playtimes often filled with art-related activities.

Even the Ministry of Education entered the metaphorical group chat, with its Special Education Unit supplying a teacher to ensure that the children keep up with their schoolwork. For those who may wonder “Why schoolwork of all things?” – the answer is one of inclusion, to ensure that these children are not left feeling excluded from what is normal. That they understand that they are still

every single bit as important as their peers of good health. We owe it to ourselves to secure their future.

And that is where the light at the end of the tunnel begins, because as YASKA deals with the stress and sadness of every passing, grieving with the families in question, there are also children who make it through this terrible ordeal. Moments of celebration, gratitude, and love among all who helped contribute to the happy endings that are few and far between. From High Commissions, and financial institutions, to several home home grown companies and businesses, there are many who have made financial contributions to YASKA to enable them to continue the tremendously noble work that they have shouldered

in the name of us all. They do this because they are people of conscious, that make up a modern society, who aim to secure their children’s future. They do this because they are Human Beings like you and I. So let us all start helping more.


They never buckle. They never retreat. They fall to their knees. They cry unabashedly. They are YASKA, and they fight for all we hold dear.
Private Citizens/ Organisations/Companies wanting to donate funds to YASKA, or render assistance in any way can contact Tsara’Nawwarah Abdullah Chen Tel: 673-7170310 IG: @yaska_brunei FB: Yaska Brunei
biG csr Borneo.Insider’s.Guide 9


Sunway Centre gets a touch of Magic

Strategic planning and tactics – the mainstay of any hobbyist actively charging their army of miniatures across a tabletop setting – was showcased recently by the proprietors of Wild Magic, and Mystic Miniatures. Rolling nothing but sixes, the collaborating companies launched a successful surgical deep strike that caught many in Brunei’s hobby community unawares (myself included), when the command staff announced that they had moved their base of operations from Serusop, to the new Sunway Centre.

Occupying a new unit more or less the same size as the one prior, but situated in a brand new, and far more aesthetic area that has the potential to become the Sultanate’s next popular commercial go-to zone, the hobby retail store and community hub held a soft launch attended by its regulars. Excited clientele walked around the premises as they strove to get themselves more intimately acquainted with a locale that they knew they would be frequenting often. Partaking in some light refreshments and chocolate cake, smiles and loud

chatter were the order of the day as congratulations were made.

In addition to the specialty merchandise, a few large tables for games to be played, and a lounge area to chill in, the addition of a painting area that is kept separate within the open-space floor plan, is a nice touch. You could always find a spot to pick up a brush at their old storefront should you want to paint on site, but where that was slightly haphazard in nature, here it is more organised and appreciated. The Emperor approves.

WILD MAGIC & MYSTIC MINIATURES: Block B, Unit 13, Sunway Centre, Jalan Muara, Bandar Seri Begawan

Tel: 673-7201810

Open: 2.30pm-10pm (Wed-Sun) (closed Mon & Tues)

IG: & @mysticminiatures

FB: Mystic Miniatures

Jerudong Park Go-Karts Go Vroom Vroom!

Back in the mid 90s when Brunei’s Jerudong Park was in its heyday, there were numerous attractions to keep visitors entertained. In the many years since, a lot of features eventually went into disuse due to a host of reasons, but one attraction that many thought would not be affected – the

Go Karts – also followed suit. This surprised many given its popularity, because as a general rule of thumb, Bruneians have always possessed an inherent disposition towards competitive racing.

Fast forward to today, and after half a year of planning and preparation, local company AZ Karting rolled onto the scene 2 months ago with their fleet of red and white Italian-designed Biron Art Go-Karts. Officiating the return of this dearly-

missed activity at our national theme park, were Chief Youth Officer at the Department of Youth and Sports, Hj Mohamad Mariswanddy Hj Omar, as well as an advisor from the Brunei Darussalam Go Karting Association. Also in attendance were representatives from the Institute of Brunei Technical Education’s School of Energy and Engineering, and Go-Karting enthusiasts.

There is always a magical quality to any activity that can result in wide grins and broad

smiles breaking out across the features of grown men in their 50s, as they eagerly get strapped into their seats. This was no exception, as after a few tugs of several starter cords, multiple mini engines roared to life, and before you could even think the word “Go!”, several drivers were off and away, contagious laughter spreading from racer to racer, where for just a 20-minute duration, they were all in their youth again.


Tel: 673-8178248

Open: 2pm-9pm (Fri-Sun) (closed Mon & Thurs)

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Upscaling at Pullman Hotel

Beyond the comfort of the plush white linens and spacious rooms, you’ll find a world of adventure waiting for you at The Pullman Miri Waterfront. The hospitality brand has launched a new bouldering wall at their Sarawak, Malaysia, property alongside an already full line of exercise and sports programmes that will help keep you energised and entertained throughout your stay.

Take the challenge to scale the 4.5-metre-high wall with routes to the top for all skill levels, supported by Pullman’s own group of trained instructors and all the necessary precautions for a fun, safe time! Situated on the property’s rooftop, you’ll be rewarded with an amazing panoramic view of the Miri River and cityscape, to feel like you’re on top of the world.

A self-proclaimed ‘average hometown boy’, Pro Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter and co-owner of Khalifa MMA Gym, Ahmed Faez Anuar certainly has a reputation and history that reveals him to be anything but. ‘Eazy’ as he is affectionately called amongst family and friends, became Brunei’s first homegrown black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) in November 2022, a feat that is the culmination of his years of hard work and grueling training as a professional fighter and coach.

Starting from just a group of four, Eazy took on the task of coaching and building the Brazilian Jiu-jitsu community in Brunei after its original practitioner and teacher had to move back home due to work commitments. Khalifa now hosts 20 students on average daily, from all walks of life and across both genders. The booming popularity of Mixed Martial

Arts led to more interest in the sport locally, although Eazy admits that the long time between progressive accolades can often be mistakenly used by the general public as a comparison of skill to other martial art practices. “I don’t blame people – it’s just perception and comes with the territory. But they need to understand getting a black belt in jiu-jitsu takes more than a decade.” He says that he is focused more on honing his skills and improving his techniques to improve as a fighter and coach, even though obtaining his black belt was an obvious goal. “Anyone who starts doing jiu-jitsu seriously, obviously the end goal would be to get a black belt and continue on from there. My plans for Khalifa are all still the same. It only matters now because people take you seriously - fight promoters and tournament (organisers) look at you legitimately now that you have that black belt.”

Competitions mean Eazy will be pitted against fellow black belt holders, many of whom having been practicing the art of jiujitsu far longer such as Brazilian coach Professor Alexsandro ‘Leke’ Machado who is the affiliated coach to the Khalifa MMA Gym. He visits annually to host seminars and grade any belt promotions, including Eazy’s

recent promotion. Asked about how training with Professor Leke is now he is progressing towards a similar level, Eazy admits that the first instances “are like night and day” and that there are clear differences between their skill sets as fighters. “I’ve trained with him a lot of times and every time I go to Singapore Professor Leke would invite me to an exclusive black belt training session and that’s where I’d improve more. As the years went by, I felt like maybe I could put up a good fight and didn’t feel like I was being rag-dolled around anymore,” he says with a chuckle. Although Eazy plans to continue competing (his first black-belt challenge slated for a grappling superfight in Singapore in December, 2022), it is now about finding the “right fights and the right offers” that will allow him to maintain his focus on building the Khalifa MMA Gym. “This is the main thing – when I’m done fighting, I’m going to come home to (Khalifa). This is what keeps it going because it’s really about the community anyway.”

Pullman Hotel Fitness Team: Tel: 6016-8639262 IG: @pullmanmiriwaterfront
MMA GYM: Unit 10, Bangunan Arafah, Spg 41-1-8,
Kiarong, Bandar Seri Begawan IG: @khalifamixedmartialarts
‘Brunei’s first Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu’
biG buzz Borneo.Insider’s.Guide 11

Embassy Hosts Turkish Festival

Forget a kebab, the Turkish Culinary and Culture Festival in November 2022 showcased the country’s unique blending of cuisines and lesser known dishes, that are characteristic of its geographical situation in between Asia and Europe. “I was surprised by the influx of interest and the outpouring of support we received from Bruneians”, Turkish Ambassador Professor Dr. Hamit Ersoy, tells me of the overwhelming reception to the festival’s return post-pandemic. The week-long event took place at the Radisson Hotel, with the influx of hundreds of reservations every night for their dinner events. Professor Dr. Ersoy worked with the embassy chef, Adem Can, to create a menu that includes his personal favourites like ‘Hunkar Begendi it’ whose origins date back to as far as the Ottoman Empire. “The selected recipes were

mainly inspired by ‘Turkish Cuisine with Timeless Recipes’, which was published under the leadership of Turkey’s First Lady, Emine Erdoğan,” he explained. “We tried to make it more unique, more Turkish,” Dr. Ersoy said, adding that as a cultural diplomacy tool, food was a wonderful way to initiate conversations. “Food really has a connecting power and this is an amazing factor in diplomacy. Nothing could be more influential than the food (of a culture) to push people to work together and to exchange ideas, in my humble opinion.”

biG buzz 12 Borneo.Insider’s.Guide

Fuel Good Weekend

The Brunei Shell Marketing (BSM) ‘Fuel Good Weekend’ event made its roaring comeback post-COVID at the Jerudong Park Amphitheatre on December 2nd to December 4th, 2022. There were a variety of events held over the two-day festival which was free to enter, and lots of opportunities to win big prizes courtesy of Brunei Shell and their participating partners. BSM Managing Director Muhammad Norshafiee is reported as describing ‘Fuel Good Weekend’ as “an annual platform for BSM’s customers to enjoy exclusive deals and participate in exciting, interactive and fun activities”. These included carnival games, a magic show by DJ Nadzri, live music performances and a vintage car showcase by Borneo Kustom Show for the ‘Petrolhead Sunday Hangout’ event where attendees got up close and personal with a variety of restored classic models

and continental vehicles, as well as motorbikes. Winners walked away with a bevy of prizes such as fuel vouchers, exclusive merchandise and even a year’s worth of V-Power fuel from Brunei Shell. Of course, any event is incomplete without food and the three-day extravaganza saw premium vendors such as Olie’s Café, EVOKE and One Tan provide delicious food to keep attendees going throughout the day!

The latest products and services from BSM and its partners were also available for purchase with exclusive offers throughout the event. Attendees were also able to try out a custom built race track for the Shell Motorsport Collection race and join the Fastest Lap Racing Simulator competition, aside from being able to test drive some of the latest vehicles and motorbike models like the Ducati Scrambler and Ford Raptor.

Borneo.Insider’s.Guide 13


In conjunction with the beginning of a fresh new year, and in tandem with my cholesterol levels being higher than they should be – I invite our fellow readers who either already maintain a healthy lifestyle and diet, or more importantly if you do not – to join me in facing one of life’s tougher obstacles. We are exposed on a daily basis to such an array of amazing delicacies that it is understandable why we would want to eat almost everything we come across. Moderation and discipline are the keys to leaping this hurdle; and when one considers just how many fantastic and tasty vegetarian alternatives and dishes there are around us, we honestly have no excuse for not incorporating more of Mother Nature’s bounty into our diets. Come on everyone, it does not hurt to go green … and yellow, purple, red, and orange. In the long run, you will love yourself for doing this.

Cool Beans!

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Block C, Phase 1, Lot 3-0, Jalan Tuaran, Inanam Business Centre, 88450, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Tel: 6012-8310981

Open: 7am – 3pm (Mon – Sat) (closed Sunday)

Notable dish: Vegetarian Tom Yam



3507, Jalan Dontozidon, Bandar Baru Penampang, 88300 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Tel: 6088-731699

Open: 7am – 2pm & 5pm - 8.30pm (Mon – Tues & Thurs - Sat) (closed Wednesday)

Notable dish: Buttermilk Mushroom


Aeropod Commercial Centre, Block D, Level 8, D-08, Jalan Sabah Rail, 88100, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Tel: 6016-8433203

Open: 6.30am – 2pm (Mon - Sat) (closed Wednesday)

Notable dish: Vegetarian Laksa


Lot 53, Ground Floor, Jalan Gaya, 88000, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Tel: 6088-203701

Open: 6.30am – 2pm (Mon - Sat) (closed Wednesday)

Notable dish: Black Pepper ‘Lamb’ (soy mushroom substitute)

Our Recommendations


2nd Floor, Food Court, Wisma Merdeka, Jalan Tun Razak, Pusat Bandar, 88000, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Tel: 6012-8203460

Open: 8.30am – 5.30pm (Mon - Fri) (closed Sat & Sun)

Notable dish: Tempeh & Aubergine BLT Sandwiches


Sublot 2, Lot 17816, Jalan Stutong, Star Point Angle Commercial Centre 93350 Kuching, Sarawak Tel: 6016-8869588

Open: 9am – 2pm & 5 - 9pm (Mon - Wed & Fri - Sun) (closed Thursday)

Notable dish: Salad and Fried Mushroom Set


Lot 165, Jalan Chan Chin Ann, Sarawak, 93100, Kuching Tel: 6082-230068

Open: 8.30am - 3.30pm (Mon - Fri) 11am - 2.30pm (Sat) (closed Thursday)

Notable dish: Cucumber Apple Juice


Q112B, Taman Supreme, 93300, Kuching, Sarawak Tel: 6014-3984583

Open: 7am - 3pm (Tues - Sun) (closed Monday)

Notable dish: Black Sauce Noodles


Lot 2655, Block 10, 3rd Mile, Jalan Rock, Central Park, 93200, Kuching, Sarawak Tel: 6016-8866835

Open: 6am - 3pm (Mon - Sat) (closed Sunday)

Notable dish: Vegetarian Kolo Mee


Jalan, Tabuan Laru, 93350, Kuching, Sarawak Tel: 6082-578222

Open: 9.30am - 2pm & 5.30pm - 9pm (Mon & Wed - Sun)

Notable dish: Cheese Kimchi Fried Rice


Regent Square, Bandar Seri Begawan Tel: 673-2236276

Open: 8am - 10pm (Mon - Thurs & Sat - Sun) 8am - 12pm & 2pm - 10pm (Fri)

Notable dish: Vegetable, Banana, and Potato Fritters


Jalan Pangkalan Kiulap, Bandar Seri Begawan Tel: 673-2236503

Open: 8am - 10pm (Mon - Thurs & Sat - Sun) 8am - 12pm & 2pm - 10pm (Fri)

Notable dish: Vegetarian Curry


Unit 21 & 22, Ground Floor, Bangunan Haji Hassan Abdullah II, Pengkalan Gadong, Jalan Menglait, Bandar Seri Begawan Tel: 673-8235454

Open: 9am - 8pm (Mon - Thurs & Sat - Sun) 9am - 12pm & 2pm - 8pm (Fri)

Notable dish: 3-Layer Fried Rice


Ground Floor, PAP Hjh Norain Shopping Complex, Jalan Tutong, Bandar Seri Begawan Tel: 673-2222821

Open: 7am - 2pm & 5pm - 9pm (Mon - Sun)

Notable dish: 3-Layer Fried Rice


No 8, Simpang 229, Jalan Subok, Bandar Seri Begawan Tel: 673-2570257

Open: 10am - 9pm (Tues - Thurs & Sat - Sun) 9am - 12pm & 2pm - 6pm ( Fri) (closed Monday)

Notable dish: Lei Cha meals

Borneo.Insider’s.Guide 15



Protein: 12g Calories: 122 Saturated Fat: 0.6g

Soybean: Protein: 12g Calories: 141 Saturated Fat: 1.3g


Protein: 4.4g Calories: 120 Saturated Fat: 0.2g

We should not have to always fall back on the excuse of “It is a brand new year,” in order to move forward with making meaningful and healthy changes to our lives, yet (drum roll please!) that is what many of us do. So even though we all should be making effort to eat for the better at any stage throughout our 12-month calendar, a New Year’s resolution to tackle your diet is still always welcome. Many of us depend on a variety of meats to get that much-needed protein, and many of us turn a blind eye to the numerous alternative sources of protein that exist all around us, such as …


Protein: 8g Calories: 76 Saturated Fat: 0.8g


Protein: 19g Calories: 193 Saturated Fat: 2.2g


Protein: 2.8g Calories: 160 Saturated Fat: 2.1g


Protein: 2g Calories: 160 Saturated Fat: 2.1g


Protein: 11g Calories: 175 Saturated Fat: 0.3g *All values are based on per 100g servings*

biG health 16 Borneo.Insider’s.Guide


Just because you do not eat meat does not mean that you can not enjoy the taste and texture of a good hamburger. Not only are these alternatives delicious but are packed with flavours allowing you to enjoy a tasty meal with peace of mind.

Ingredients (6servings):

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/3 of an onion, finely chopped

2 carrots, finely chopped

12 mushrooms, finely chopped

1 teaspoon of ground ginger

¼ teaspoon of turmeric

¼ teaspoon of curry powder

½ teaspoon of cumin

2 ½ cups of lentils, cooked

1 egg white

1 cup of rice, whole wheat, cooked



1 sliced tomato


Jalapeno Peppers


P our olive oil into a large pan and cook the onion and carrots over medium heat (3 minutes).

Add the mushrooms, and all of the spices, including a little salt and pepper. Cook everything (3-4 minutes) or until all the liquids have evaporated.

Blend the lentils and egg white together until a paste is formed.

P our the rice into the frying pan and mix with the rest of the ingredients.

P lace the mixture from the frying pan into a separate bowl, then add the lentil paste and mix everything all together.

Heat up another frying pan over medium heat with some oil in it.

M ake medium sized patties with this mixture, and place them in the frying pan (8 minutes on each side).

Once the patties are cooked, place them on your bread and top them off with the remaining ingredients.

A versatile dish, Lo Mein is traditionally a dry variation of soup noodles. Not to be confused with Chow Mein, because despite their similarity, their preparation is different as Chow Mein is fried whereas Low Mein is tossed. Both dishes traditionally make use of egg noodles, but if you are a vegan, they can easily be replaced with glass noodles.


Ingredients (4servings):

8 ounces of noodles

1 tablespoon of olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 cups of mushrooms, sliced

1 carrot, 1 red bell pepper, Julienned

½ cup of snow peas

3 cups of baby spinach

Veggies never looked so good

So, we know there are quite a few locales Island-wide (of which I have only mentioned a fraction) where we can enjoy a good vegetarian dish. We also know that there are numerous non-meat protein alternatives all around us. But do you know how to whip up something fresh and tasty on occasions when we lack the mood to leave the comfort of our homes, and happen to have a pantry and fridge stocked with Mother Nature’s bounty? With health and fitness ranking highly on the community agenda in this day and age, here are just a few easy-tomake dishes you could try when next your belly starts to growl.


2 tablespoons reduced soya sauce

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon sesame oil ½ teaspoon ground ginger ½ teaspoon Sriracha


Whisk together the soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, ginger and Sriracha in a bowl. Set aside.

Cook noodles in boiling water, and drain well.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet/ wok over medium high heat. Add garlic, mushrooms, bell pepper and carrot. Cook, stirring frequently until tender (3-4 minutes). Stir in the snow peas and spinach until the spinach has wilted (2-3 minutes).

Stir in the noodles and soy sauce mixture. Gently toss to combine.

Serve immediately.


Indian food is essentially a vegetarian’s paradise, and this easy-to-make dish is no exception. A perfect weeknight dinner loaded with a wonderful aroma, and packs a seriously flavourful punch, this dish uses staple pantry ingredients, as well as easy to find spices.

Ingredients (6servings):

2 tablespoons vegetable oil/coconut oil

1 medium onion, sliced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1-2 tablespoons of curry powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1 (15 ounce) can of crushed tomatoes

1 (13.5 ounce) can coconut milk

2 (15 ounce) cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Salt and pepper, to taste

Chopped fresh cilantro and lime wedges, forgarnish(optional)

Naan bread and/or rice, to serve separate(optional)


Heat the oil over medium-low, in a high-walled pan.

Add the sliced onion, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and deeply golden (15 minutes). Add a tablespoon of water at a time if the onions get dry.

Increase the heat to medium. Add the curry powder and cumin. Stir till toasted (1 minute).

Add the crushed tomatoes, gently scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden or rubber spoon to free up any browned spices or onions stuck to the bottom.

P our in the coconut milk and add the chickpeas. Stir and reduce to low heat. Let it simmer until the sauce is thickened, and the chickpeas are slightly softened (10 minutes), stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

G arnish with chopped cilantro and serve with lime wedges over basmati rice and/or naan.

These Shoes were made for Walking

Kuala Belait Walkabout

Despite the fact that the Kuala Belait (KB) District in Brunei is roughly 111km away from the capital – which depending on the acceptable range of speeds you drive at – will take you between 60 to 90-minutes time to get there; there are still some residents that rarely make that trip. I am one of those mythical creatures. Courtesy of my status as the ‘Bottomless Pit’, ‘Tong Sampah’, or ‘Jughead’ from the Archie comics of old, terms that make up just a scant few of the several nicknames that others have attributed to my voracious appetite over the decades, I must admit to some cheek-reddening embarrassment regarding the lack of visits I make to KB. Why is that?

Well, for the most part it is because KB – the administrative district for the neighbouring oil town of Seria – is actually quite a happening place with regards to its pretty strong food & beverage scene. There are gerais (local markets), as well as kopitiams that cater to both the halal and non-halal markets with their purely local fare. Beginning a few years prior to the onset of Covid-19, there were a number of hip and modern 3rd wave coffee culture locales that had begun popping up in the vicinity of both Seria and KB that certainly warranted closer inspection, such as cafes, eateries, bakeries, and dessert spots. Heck there are even some older restaurants, unique fast food joints, and more established places that also deserved attention.

So what did I do to rectify this scenario? Simple. I skipped my early morning breakfast and dragged the rest of my team at biG to go on a food hunt. Now, this food hunt was based on a specific

criterion. As a fan of transporting myself from place-to-place with nothing more than my own 2 feet, we identified a small area within which several popular eateries were spaced out within short walking distances of each other. After all, if you are going to spend a day stuffing your face with nom-nom delicious food, it definitely helps to spend some time walking it off. On top of that, some of these eateries also have aesthetically pleasing interiors which contribute to the overall experience of dining in.

With most of the urban planning in KB adopting a basic grid system of blocks for its residential areas, as well as our targeted food & beverage area of interest, navigating by vehicle or foot is a simple affair. Walking in a counter-clockwise direction that encompassed a rectangle – we headed north along Jalan Bunga Tanjong, then turned west for a bit along Jalan Bunga Raya, before heading south on Jalan Bungai Rampai, which ended back at Jalan Sungai where we parked. This area was chosen specifically for the narrower Jalan Pretty, which is a slender alleyway that cuts through the centre of this rectangle, and periodically branches off into alleyways where a few hidden gems can be found.

At the end of the day, as post-prandial somnambulance (the fancy term for ‘I ate too much and lord help me I am going to pass out right here, right now) started to kick-in, the team made its way back to Bandar Seri Begawan, stopping off at the Seria Energy Lab and Naafi (the British Navy, Army, and Air Force Institute) mini mart along the way.

18 Borneo.Insider’s.Guide

Specialising in breakfast, brunch, and lunch meals; The Corner House is a small spot that can accommodate around 18-20 people comfortably, and squeeze in roughly two dozen people if necessary. Located on the top floor (3rd floor) of a building with its namesake visible from street level, and as a result of climbing a staircase that branches off to one side in an odd way, as well as the eatery’s floor plan, this spot gave me a strong lighthouse kind of of vibe. This is strengthened further by the open windows ringing half the interior like an angular hemisphere, offering good views of the Belait River. From Pulled Beef sandwiches and the Swedish flat potato dish called Rösti, to their preprepared brunch boxes, and Sunday Roasts, this qualifies as a secluded getaway for the duration of a delicious meal.


Lot 2, Shop 31, Jalan Pretty, Kuala Belait, Brunei

Tel: 333-2671

Open: 8am -5pm (Tues - Sun) (Friday: closed from 12pm-2pm, closed every Monday)

IG: @thecornerhousebn

FB: The Corner House

O ne final Huzzah!

Just Momos

(Closing down early-mid February)

A popular spot with a lovely wooden interior, of which an inbuilt cabinet is stocked with an array of foodstuffs presented in a neat manner; it is the 14-seat wooden dining table in the public area, as well as another 10 to 14-seater in the private room, that makes this locale popular for private events. There are a few smaller tables available if you are averse to sharing the long table with smaller groups or solo diners all at once, but in that instance, we recommend calling ahead in advance. If sharing that table is not a deal breaker for you, then tuck right in at the ridiculously large selection of rice, pasta, Japanese Don-styled bowls, soups, sandwhiches, wings, salads, Acai bowls, and sets designed for kids as well as for adults to engage in larger group-sharing meals.


No 81 A/1. Ground Floor, Jalan Bunga Rambai, Kuala Belait, Brunei

Tel: 334-7772

Open daily: 9am - 10pm (Friday: closed from 12pm-2pm)


FB: Beanery & Co.

Nepalese cuisine, despite a few strong similarities to its Indian counterparts, is a mixture and combination of exotic ingredients sourced from Nepal, Tibet, India, and even China, and also incorporates various cooking styles from these regions too. There have only been 2 eateries of renown in Brunei that offer this, and unfortunately the time has come for the sun to set on Just Momos. This comes in the wake of the restaurant having earned the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Award for the 3rd time, which is highly dependent on positive customer feedback and reviews. So as a final huzzah, and show of appreciation to a business that helped keep our bellies full, bIG Magazine recommends a meal or two here before they exit the scene in roughly a month’s time.


Lot 82, Jalan Bunga Tanjung, Kuala Belait, Brunei

Tel: 334-8162, 837-5492

Open: 10am – 2:30pm & 5pm – 9:30pm (Wed - Mon)

(Friday: closed from 12pm-2pm, closed every Tuesday)

IG: @justmomosnepalirestaurant

FB: Just Momos Nepali Restaurant

Large Tables, Larger Selection Beanery & Co Lighthouse Vibes
Corner House
biG trail Borneo.Insider’s.Guide 19
2 3

This eatery is a fantastic example of the modern-era Kopitiam, with a selection of Southeast Asian fare that is authentic and tasty. The offerings may at first seem few when compared to some places, but here the focus is quality over quantity, and that is a concept we can certainly get behind. From their dry and wet noodle dishes, to a number of rice dishes and burgers, what stands out as unique are their Water Kefirs, which is essentially a fruit infused sparkling water rich in probiotics due to it having been fermented, similar to Kombucha. With water paintings adorning the walls as an expression of identity, a simple but flashy logo that catches the eye, a minimal assortment of display items on a high shelf to one side, the combination of greenery and wooden beams – this eatery succeeds in presenting a cosy vibe to all who enter.


A5, Lot 408, Bangunan Maju, Jalan Bunga Raya, Kuala Belait, Brunei

Tel: 333-0006

Open: 9am - 9pm (Mon - Thurs & Sat - Sun)

(closed every Friday)


With an inundated food & beverage industry it is more important than ever that the quality of service matches that of the offerings on a menu. While some locales are great at putting their game-faces on during business hours, there are others to whom it comes naturally. The KB branch of Chapayom – a popular Thai bubble milk tea franchise with 6 branches throughout Brunei is one such example. From the manager to service staff, who were all genuinely warm and super friendly, we shared in light moments of humour and amusing chit chat as we snacked on golden buns and beverages that quenched our thirst on a super hot day. In addition, the slender interior that plays host to pastel pinks and blues, and luminous halo ceiling lights, makes for a cosy oasis from the glare and heat of the world outside.


No. 55, Ground Floor, Jalan Pretty, Kuala Belait, Brunei

Tel: 737-3366

Open daily: 9.15am - 8pm (Friday: closed from 12pm - 2pm)

IG: @teanyoukb

FB: Tea N’ You – Chapayom KB

Walking down one of Jalan Pretty’s short alleyways brings you to an attractive entranceway with a wooden bench, and the message ‘Good days start here’, written in tiles before a pastel green door to which one side features a garland of flowers beneath an awning. This is the home of a bakery that since its inception has rapidly soared in popularity. Proof, you say? It opened slightly over 2 years ago in a small and cramped unit, and has since expanded into the adjoining unit resulting in a decent sized space that is cosy and aesthetically-pleasing. The far end boasts a floral display that will have your eyes arguing with your stomach due to a desire to snap shots for the Gram just as badly as a desire to start snacking on their crazy-wide assortment of goodies.


H5MR+7MR, Jalan Pretty, Kuala Belait, Brunei (Same block as Kaizen, along the alleyway)

Tel: 333-0006

Open: 9am - 6pm (Tues - Sun), 7.30 - 10.30pm (Sat, Once a week evening service) (Friday: closed from 12pm - 2pm) (closed every Monday)

IG: @theslicebyia

Kopitiam Lot 33 (Restaurant & Catering) So Thirsty
Tea N ’ You
4 5 6 20 Borneo.Insider’s.Guide
Chapayom -
Pretty in Pink Slice by IA Gateaux

Kate ’ s Caf e & Restaurant

The final stop on the biG Team’s walkabout brought us to the doorstep of a locale that only a few years ago looked drastically different to what we came face to face with. What was once a monochromatic theme that balanced on the edge of being formal and a bit cold in appearance, is now more welcoming and warm. Toward the rear the white wall is now matte black with customised brown shelves adorning it, to match the Earthy hues of the tiles and laminate flooring. The central pillar reminds me of a vineyard or elaborate garden where a scaffolding of woodwork laces the pillar while green vines snake their way between from top to bottom, nearby a vase of vibrant orange flowers that present that ‘oompf’ factor. Renowned for both their Filipino and Indian cuisine, the exotic spices and cooking styles are a lovely accompaniment to this updated facelift.


Jalan McKerron KA1131, Kuala Belait, Brunei

Tel: 333-6653, 878-2863

Open daily: 6am - 10pm (Friday: closed from 12pm - 2pm)


Falling under the category of Old-is-Gold, Marilyn’s Café is a restaurant that currently operates out of Kuala Belait, in addition to having a cake house based in the neighbouring Seria area roughly 15 minutes away. Now, while this locale offers a decent variety of meals, it is the cakes and scrumptious breads that have helped them carve out a bit of a niche for themselves as an eatery. Fluffy interiors wrapped in a fresh and crispy outer hull of baked goodness, the selection of wholemeal, spelt, and sourdough breads have led to people requesting if pre-orders can be made in advance, out of fear of potentially missing out should they risk chancing their availability based on a walk-in visit. Hosted within a medium-sized space, that embraces a dark-hued ambience with spots of vibrant pop colours, a rough-textured wall, and miscellaneous items on display, it is good to see the lady in charge is still around and kicking.


No. 12, Jalan Pretty, Kuala Belait, Brunei Tel: 333-3066

Open: 8am - 8pm (Sat - Thurs) (closed every Friday)


FB: Marilyn Cafe

Gelatos and hot, humid weather go hand-in-hand, which is why the appearance of this sweet scoop provider is much welcome. While businesses were shutting their doors in the face of our 2nd Covid wave, these courageous sibling entrepreneurs began planning and work on launching theirs instead. Spotting a gap in the ice-cream scene and noting an absence in their hometown resulted in what is currently a 7-month old confectionary provider that offers a 16-strong diverse array of artisanal gelatos on a rotational basis. Cups, cones, waffle bowls, it matters not, for regardless of the base you choose, the smooth and creamy goodness that is half its namesake is oh-ever-sogood. The other half of its namesake – a tribute to one of the sibling’s daughters – is an addition just as lovely as the offerings. Say it with me everyone, “I scream you scream … no one screams when stuffing their faces with icecream”.


Unit 9C, Ground Floor, Jalan Pretty, Kuala Belait, Brunei

Open: 12pm - 6pm (Tues - Thurs & Sat - Sun) 2.30pm - 7.30pm (Fri) (closed every Monday)

IG: @sophiesgelato

Cure for the Heat
Sophie ’ s Gvelato That’sBready Good Marilyn ’ s Cafe Best of Both Worlds
7 9 8 biG trail Borneo.Insider’s.Guide 21

In a highly interconnected world where one can easily traverse great distances via plane – the trip between Brunei Darussalam and Sabah can be made in just 40 minutes. As a result, it has become a societal norm in this day and age to take journeys such as this for granted. However, when you settle for travelling via ground-based modes of transportation along a land route, which often results in the scenario “Are we there yet?” –it is only then that you truly learn (1) patience, due to the (2) vast distances involved in these journeys, which also grants us the opportunity to (3) appreciate the magnificent beauty of Mother Nature, and everything else along the way.

Borneo is the Earth’s 3rd largest Island after all, and home to the 2nd oldest tropical rainforest on our beautiful planet (130 million years).

Just last month I made the journey from Brunei Darussalam to the Sabahan capital of Kota Kinabalu (KK), before moving onto Kudat, via bus, coach and range rover. This distance amounts to roughly 1/3 of the entire northern coast of our Island. The trip between the 2 capitals was along a 257km route that took slightly over 7 hours. The follow-on trip from KK to the Tip of Borneo in Kudat is another 4 hours along a 182km route.

Naturally, these journeys can be made shorter if you travel via your own personal vehicle, just keep in mind to be careful and alert at all times as most of your travel will be along single lane roads in both directions, while flanked by trees to either side which stretch beyond the horizon. A wild corridor within which

R A d

T R I P !

b.i.G journeys to Kota Kinabalu & Kudat, and everything in between

animal life such as dogs, monkeys, and more, can be seen crossing the narrow width of hilly roads, or even lazing around on them, so take note!

The route is sparsely populated, with the odd small collection of rural villages popping up occasionally. But do not worry and let me ease your concerns, for there are bigger administrative districts along the way, such as Sipitang and Beaufort for example, where you can make stops to appease your rumbling stomachs, take photographs for the Gram, and even visit the attractions in the vicinity. From spacious beaches such as Pantai Merintam Sipitang, exciting white river rafting on the Padas River, and the chilledout Klias River Cruise, to numerous gazetted forest reserves of which Sabah has a total of 333! – there are things to check out depending on what your passions are. Not on my schedule this time round, so for now, ONWARDS!

Lawas Sipitang Kota Belud Keningau Tuaran Beaufort Kudat Kota Kinabalu Brunei Kota Kinabalu
Seri Begawan Temburong
Rozman Mashor
22 Borneo.Insider’s.Guide feature


Prior to the pandemic, this locale was consistently racking up notable regional accolades.

From the Sabah Tourism Awards, and Sabah Hospitality Fiesta, to Lifestyle,, Traveloka, and the Gold Circle Awards; this is an accommodation provider whose warm and welcoming attitude is based on their modus operandi of ‘Visit us as a guest, return as a friend’. A sentiment that you, I, everyone, can truly get behind.


Lorong Ming Garden, Jalan Coastal, 88000, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

Tel: 6088-528888

IG: @minggardenhotelkk

FB: Ming Garden Hotel & Residences Kota Kinabalu


Pacific Sutera Hotel

The 2022 regional winner of the World Luxury Hotel Awards, under the ‘luxury Beach Hotel’ category, this locale boasts gorgeous panoramic views of the South China Sea, the islets off the coast, and to-die-for sunsets. Whether it is for leisure and relaxation, or you are in town purely for business, there is a bit of everything for you

After 4 years of refurbishing works, Malaysia’s first Hyatt Centric Hotel had been open for 2 days when I walked through its lobby, with my eyes darting left, right and centre. Embracing a calm, peaceful, and soothing vibe that is a result of its Japanese designer’s approach to the interior – elements of wood, stone, and greenery, are utilised to powerful effect. The art installations, specifically the giant circle adorning the far end of the ground floor lounge, which was designed by a local artist, is a fine blend of identity, imagination, and skill.


18 Jalan Haji Saman, Pusat Bandar Kota Kinabalu, 88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

Tel: 60154 8741234

IG: @hyattcentrickotakinabalu

FB: Hyatt Centric Kota Kinabalu

Spoilt for Choice

Living up to its title as The Land below the Wind – a reference to its location just south of the Typhoon-prone region around the Philippines – I arrived at Kota Kinabalu, under the purview of a heavy blanket of steel grey clouds that had been raining upon us for some time. Having experienced several hours of unbroken stretches of deep green forest, nature slowly began to give way to blocks of car workshops, furniture retail stores, eateries, mini marts, schools. This in turn gave way to taller office buildings, banks, shopping malls, and hotels.

As of July 2019, KK was home to 82 hotels that claimed bragging rights to great reviews and between 3-to-5 star ratings. While this number excludes chalets and villas on the surrounding islets and highlands, the point is, from international chains, local resorts, and boutique hotels boasting wonderfully cool interior designs, visitors have an ample selection of places to choose from. Here are the locales that I got to visit during this 4-day adventure.

right here in Sutera Harbour.


The Pacific Sutera Hotel, 1 Sutera Harbour Boulevard, Sutera Harbour, 88100, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

Tel: 6088-318888

IG: @suteraharbourofficial

FB: Pacific Sutera Hotel

SABAHAN ZEN Hyatt Centric Hotel
biG feature
Ming Garden Hotel & Residences

Hey Honey, Let’s Bee Friends

Gombizau Honey Bee Farm

While an activity of this nature may not necessarily be up everyone’s tree-lined alley, I had been really looking forward to visiting Kampong Gombizau. Interestingly enough it is quite common to find 1 or 2 man-made bee hives within most farming residences in the general vicinity, where the production of honey is mainly for self-consumption. That is however, until Doning Johning Dako, broke away from the norm with the intent to showcase the

production of this golden syrupy liquid as a local attraction for travellers passing-by, on top of commercialising his endeavour.

Now overseeing a farm with several dozen manmade bee hives that cultivate honey from primarily 2 different species – the Honey Bee , and the Stingless Bee – this locale is a 2-hour drive away from KK, that will also require going off road on a gravelly path ever so slightly. The

signpost is impossible to miss with its mid-sized bee sculptures adorning a board with the village’s namesake. Next to a second signpost that is shaped like a large heart, is an entranceway into the jungle lined by bee houses on one side. Further in and the spattering of bee houses can be seen everywhere.

Peeling back the thick plastic protective covering of one such bee house, we are treated to the sight of a hive comprising multiple inter-connected spheres – some intact, some carved open. Now it should be noted that if you suffer from Trypophobia , this is not a place for you. For those willing to get up close and personal, Donnie hands plastic spoons which he first uses to carve open

an intact sphere, revealing a glossy clear liquid that reflects the sky and tree cover above, altering its appearance to that of an oily substance. Sampling the liquid right there and then reveals a surprise. The honey is both sweet and sour in equal measure.

Moving onto a 2nd bee house, Donny’s features break out into a wide grin as he attempts to persuade squeamish visitors to hold onto the frames he removes from the bee house, with its occupants crawling around on it, so they can have a closer inspection as well as having photos taken of them while doing so. Using smoke to neutralise the pheromones that the bees secrete which act as a signal to attack an invader, there is little chance of being stung or bit. That is, unless you are me of course, as a cheeky stingless bee bit me on my thumb, which caused a slight burning sensation, before I was handed the leaves of a small plant with antiseptic qualities. Crushing the leaves and rubbing it on the bite caused the pain to cease and disappear just as fast as the pain blossomed, which amazed me to no end.

With freshly bottled 1-week old honey of a light hue (40% sweet, 60% sour) and a brown hue (60% sweet, 40% sour), as well as a 4-year-old honey that has fermented resulting in a bit of a wine flavour having developed, I left the farm with purchases of my own.


2 Km Pekan Baru

Matunggong, Pos Mini

Matunggong, Peti Surat No. 15, 89058 Kudat, Sabah Tel: 6016-2151885 6014-5674093 6019-2549251

FB: DMA Gombizau Honey Bee

biG feature 24 Borneo.Insider’s.Guide

What initially appeared as a standard non-descript rural village that is also located 2-hours drive outside KK is actually a large piece of land dedicated primarily to the construction of gongs. Belonging to a Dayak tribal group known as the Rungus peoples, whose traditions hold the gong in high esteem as a musical instrument used at large festivals and wedding ceremonies, as well as a communication tool that could be heard up to 8km away back in the day, I was curious as to what lay down the road ahead of me.

Nearby a large display proclaiming the name of the village as actually being a factory, Malaysian teenage students in deep blue uniforms could be seen posing for photos to one side, while to the other

there lies a single dirt road that stretches for a kilometre into the distance. What was not apparent before, due to the audible ruckus that naturally follows in the wake of groups of teenagers, but became noticeable once they had moved on, was the metallic clanging of work in progress. To either side of this dirt path were hut after hut of workmen within open air workshops. Work benches, as well as numerous gongs of every size could be seen adorning walls, left on tables, and more commonly, suspended from the ceiling by thick rope.

I ended up identifying 4 main types of gongs. There are – what I have personally labelled as your standards, and non-standards. The standards are the practical gongs that will end up being used as an actual instrument or a large display piece in your

My Gong is Bigger than Yours

Sumangkap Gong Factory

living room or lobby. These include galvanised steel gongs that take an average of 3 days to make and will set you back around $350 ringgit, while the brassy copper gongs are $1,500 ringgit and can take up to 3 months to perfect. Fun fact: workmen rub limes against the copper variety in order to produce that brassy gleam that shines piercingly bright when the sunlight hits it just right.

The non-standards include the smallest and largest of the Rungus repertoire, with the mini-gongs being sold as trinkets, while the largest 3 flank the centre of a field, with one of them holding the title of ‘Malaysia’s Biggest Gong’ in the Malaysian Book of Records. Just how big you say? Try, 6 metres long and weighing in at 980kg. Impressed yet? I was, because at roughly 6-feet-tall, I stood on my tiptoes and extended my arms as high as I could, and I was nowhere near to reaching the centre of this tremendous work

of handicraft that took 2 weeks of all-day, all-night work by a dozen professionals to create.

Some of the huts were used as showcase stalls for people to peruse with items that may or may not catch your fancy, but with a community hall and specialised warehouse selling a variety of merchandise nearby the front of the village-factory, the operation here is organised with its specialty areas. From beaded necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and key chains, to mini-gongs, woven rattan bags, cloth with tribal motifs, and the short-rimmed leather cowboy hats that several Dayak tribes so heavily favour – even I walked away with some new goodies.


Kg Sumangkap, Pusat Membuat Gong, Kudat, Sabah, Malaysia

Tel: 6013-6501702

FB: Gong Making Kg Sumangkap Pusat Membuat Gong

biG feature Borneo.Insider’s.Guide 25

Same Same but


What do the terms ‘Tobilung, Rungus, Kimaragang, Bajau, Tinagas, Luba, and Gobukon’ , all share in common? They are all proof of just how incredibly diverse the peoples of Borneo can truly be, while still maintaining a strong sense of unity. Hailing mainly from the areas of Kota Marudu, Kota Belud, and even as far north as Kudat – all 7 groups who share a similar culture but slightly differing dialects make up the overall Tobilung community, which itself is a sub-ethnic group that are descendants of the Kadazan-Dusuns.

As these sub-divisions have deviated ever so slightly over time, promoting aspects of cultural tourism with the end goal of preserving their way of life has proven to be quite the challenge. Therefore, it makes perfect sense for them to all come together in common

cause to promote and highlight to visitors the unique and interesting facets of their lives, and they have certainly gone at it with gusto.

Enter the Walai Tobilung. Walai, which means ‘house’, in this instance acts as a cultural homestay centre and gallery wherein one can gain insight into the tribes’ lifestyle and practices by enjoying a variety of activities that showcase the warm and friendly levels of hospitality these people are known for. From traditional meals throughout the day, and a traditional foot soak, to cultural games, as well as dance and bamboo musical performances (this latter activity only takes place in the evenings), this centre is an aesthetically pleasing and well maintained locale. A 3-hour drive away from KK, and through the gates of a lovely front entrance and

landscaped corridor, takes you past a few smaller buildings aside a spacious open air setting where larger gatherings take place.

There are signposts labelling the different ethnic subgroups. Splashes of artwork and vibrant colour adorn the walls next to a raised stage for the performances. In the lawn area there is yet more colour with a giant vase sculpture. A section of wall plays home to a really cool mural that takes the form of a geographical outlay of the state of Sabah. With routes and iconography representing some of the better-known wildlife on land and sea framing the mural, as well as acting as landmarks on the map itself, the artist – Dedew Mj – succeeded in creating what I found to be my favourite part of this centre.

As its name suggests, the cultural gallery not only showcases the kulingtangan instruments (which we in Brunei spell with a ‘G’ at the beginning of the word), but an array of fabrics embroidered with motifs representing the subgroups here, as well as a cultural house for visitors to explore. If anything, I left the centre 7 times richer than I expected, having met a cultural grouping

that represented 7 sub-factions instead of 1. Borneo and its peoples never cease to impress me.


Kg Minansad, 89100 Bandau

Kota Marudu, Sabah

Tel: 60198-320408

IG: @walaitobilung1

FB: Walai Tobilung Cultural Stay

biG feature 26 Borneo.Insider’s.Guide
Walai Tobilung Cultural Homestay


The Upside Down House

There are many attractions that are synonymous with Sabah, and even though The Upside Down House is one of the better known locales (and therefore a tad old) – after having cemented its place in the hearts of local residents and visitors alike from across Borneo after its launch in 2012 – we still had to pay it a visit nonetheless. Consider it an act of humorous tribute, arriving on site with your eyes level and then departing with a slight crick in your neck, after spending a good 40 minutes on average constantly adjusting your line of sight to stare upwards at an angle while walking around the property.

Earning the honour of being the first structure of its kind in Southeast Asia, as well as being 1 of the first 5 upside-down structures in the world (another can be found in Japan, and the remaining 3 are in Europe), the property consists of the house itself, and a 3D-gallery that rings its perimeter. The gallery comprises smaller open-air rooms such as a bathroom, a garden shed, and a warehouse-pantry filled with rattan baskets, hats, and perishables –all upside-down of course. These little features are designed specifically for people to pose for funny group photos

or selfies, alongside the inverted car in the garage, which cannot help but command the attention of those passing by. This is a clever addition aimed at appeasing the masses in this day and age, where everyone insists on pulling out their phones to snap images of everything, because once you are inside the house itself you are forbidden from taking pictures.

Inside the home there are a couple of rooms connecting to the central space, a simple colour coded floor to ensure you stick to a path, and so many details to look at. It was fun trying to spy all the items from ceiling fans on the floor, to cables, cloth, a sewing machine, and more. Ten years after its launch and on the day of our visit, there were quite a few people roaming the property, proof of this attraction’s appeal being as strong as ever. Located just 40 minutes outside of KK, its accessibility to people staying in the capital is a big plus.


Mile 21, 89250 Tamparuli Tuaran, Sabah, Malaysia Tel: 6088-260263

IG: @rumahterbalik

FB: Rumah Terbalik, Tamparuli Sabah

The Bridge that Inspired a Song

Located 30 minutes outside KK, the Tamparuli Suspension Bridge over the Kiulu River is the most well-known of its kind in the state, with a dramatic back-story that inspired a folk song in the Kadazan-Dusun language known as ‘Jambatan Tamparuli’,

Lusah in 1977.

Jambatan Tamparuli


Pak pak kang ku doh Sumunsui doh Jambatan Jambatan doh Tamparuli Bakasut tinggi oku

Sumunsui doh Jambatan Jambatan doh Tamparuli Pak pak kang ku doh Bakasut tinggi oku

Silaka nodi kasutku Naratu lo Jambatan Tinggal poh doh sutakin Nowid ku di numuli

Ontok di hari 3 Tamu lo Tamparuli Mingusuk poh hilo kadai Mogihum doh kasut tinggi

I make a ‘pak pak’ sound

As I walk along the bridge

The Tamparuli Bridge In my high-heeled shoes

As I walk along the bridge

The Tamparuli Bridge I make a ‘pak pak’ sound In my high-heeled shoes

But my damned shoes

Fell of the bridge

All that’s left are socks Which I take home with me

Now it’s Wednesday

At the Tamparuli Market Walking through all the shops looking for a pair of high heeled shoes

*Note: Try to plan your visit to coincide with the Tamparuli Market that is open once a week on a Wednesday

Address: Jalan Bontoi, Tamparuli, Tuaran, 89250 Tamparuli, Sabah, Malaysia

by Justin ENGLISH


With the exception of the busy capital itself, the majority of Sabah is pristine wilderness that plays host to a slower and more relaxed mode of life. It is here, nearby the white sandy beaches, serene sea, and river rapids, to the biodiversity-rich jungle, and the majestic mountains of Mount Kinabalu, and Mount Nungkok (affectionately referred to as Anak Kinabalu, or Child of Kinabalu), where numerous accommodation providers can be found, taking advantage of what Mother Nature has to offer. Here are just a few of the locales I had the opportunity to check out.

Polumpung Campsite

(1 hour 45 minutes from KK)

It is a strange feeling knowing you are so close to the equator and yet experience a noticeable drop in the heat. That is the case at this lovely valley-based homestay overlooking this camp site. With ample space for setting

up a tent, nearby the rapids of a clear, cold and fresh river that flows direct from rocky Mount Kinabalu, and his treecovered child, Mount Nungkok, even I found this locale very appealing. A perfect base of operations to set up at prior to

scaling the majestic mountain.


Kg Melangkap Baru, 89158 Kota Belud, Sabah, Malaysia

Tel: 6011-36244723

FB: Polumpung Melangkap View Camp Site

Popular with larger groups and families, this lodge has 16 rooms divided into 3 categories designed for parents, young adults and teenagers, as well as younger children. Adjoining the Pandan Cafeteria dining hall, it is the spacious lawn that transitions toward the beach that you are likely to be found spending most of your time. This tranquil locale is a gateway for leisurely snorkelling and diving activities nearby Pandan

Pandan Island, as well as the Mantanani Islands, courtesy of the property’s jetty.


Jalan Kg Kuala Abai, Teluk Usukan Jetty, 89158 Kota Belud, Sabah, Malaysia

Tel: 6016-8320369

6016-8372000 6016-8321418

IG: @sabah.holidays


Tommy's Place (3 hours from KK)

A very popular seaside lodge that is a mere 3 minutes away from the Tip of Borneo itself, Tommy’s Place consistently rates highly with visitors. From kite surfing, and stand-up paddling, to stargazing with incredible views of our Milky Way Galaxy, to watching sea turtle hatchings followed by their sprint into the sea, I cannot stress enough how beautiful this area is. The rooms are well prepared and comfortable too. Note: The Tip of Borneo is closed due to renovation and upgrading works, and ETA for completion is June 2023.


Simpang Menggayau, Tip of Borneo, Kudat, 89050 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

Tel: 6013-8238148

IG: @tommysplacetip

FB: Tommy’s Place

Usukan Cove Lodge (90 minutes from KK)
biG feature 28 Borneo.Insider’s.Guide

I found Nemo!

Borneo Reef

I would be surprised if I met a person, who after spending a minimum of half a day at Southeast Asia’s largest reef activity pontoon, expressed either disappointment or a desire to leave early, because let me tell you, it is no exaggeration to state that this is one heck of a good time! If you disagree, I’ll fight you. Operated by JSK Borneo Reef and staffed by highly qualified professionals, this is some major fun in the sun, albeit with a generous does of ocean thrown into the mix.

Boarding the speedboats that can transport around 20 people at a time from the Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal to the pontoon situated 20 minutes away, the spray of sea and the cool breeze whipping our hair all over is just the appetiser, as the excitement levels of everyone geared up in their protective life jackets builds up. Disembarking onto the pontoon, which in my case was done alongside a hitch-hiking silver-tailed macaque (that brings new meaning to the term cheeky monkey), clients are led to a central rectangular seating area that branches out in all directions to the various facilities. Wifi, rest rooms with shower heads, a kitchen, 4 vending machines that accept digital payments, an upper level for lunchtime meals and panoramic views, a lower

level observation area to spy on marine life, a shop selling specialised sea-shoes, this place is decked out to the max.

You can go kayaking in either a single seat, or double seat transparent canoe. Snorkelling among the marine life and corals. Test your luck at the latest feature – a slippery, swaying, inflatable water park designed like a mini obstacle course (which turned back time and transformed me into a 12-year-old again), or the highlight in my opinion, go sea walking 5 metres beneath the surface of the sea. Note: you either wear durable slippers or specialised sea shoes. I recommend you bring the former, because the latter may not come in your size at the pontoon shop. Trust me on this.

With 35kg helmets placed on your shoulders as you sit on the descending steel staircase while semi submerged in water, you need to then equalise your internal pressure levels as you descend into the deep. Squeeze your nose and exhale, swallow, or even rotate your

jaw, just like you would on a plane at high altitude. Ensure you do this every few steps and before you know it, you will be marvelling at the schools of tiny silverfish, jet black butterfly fish, clownfish hiding in anemones, and plenty more. With photo and video packages available for purchase prior to descent, I know you will

all have as good a time as I did.


Lot C13, Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal Jalan Haji Saman, 88300 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia Tel: 6010-2037813

IG: @jskborneoreef

FB: JSK Borneo Reef Website:

biG feature



We always love it when our Bornean brothers and sisters – fellow Islanders all – make it into the spotlight on the international stage, as a result of simply following their natural instincts in order to chase their personal passions within a professional context. Whether they are able to accomplish this from the world’s 3rd largest island, or by uprooting themselves to move to a new location around our interconnected world, these pursuits that come to define them encompass a variety of industries. This quarter we

take quick peek at a group of interesting personas that include: An author of children’s stories recently recruited by Penguin Random House, a Melbourne-based artist with a penchant for creating ecofriendly paints, a pastry chef creating delicacies we so badly want to try ourselves, a visual effects editor working her magic from London, and a filmmaker who just received a nomination for an Academy Award (documentary short subject category). Take inspiration from them everyone, dreams can come true.

Jia Ying Chia
30 Borneo.Insider’s.Guide

Known for her whimsical personality and seamless ability to move between art styles and genres, Serene Lau, who originally hails from Sarawak but spent her formative years growing up in Brunei, is the living embodiment that life as a professional artist is far from starving. Her microadventure comics and community-based art projects provide insight into her passions which include sustainable living practices.

On the heels of her fish-safe paints workshop at the first refill/low-waste store in Brunei and at Kaimana Living, we discuss all things weird, wonderful and green.

Your art style is vibrant and often delves into the surrealist realm. Where does this stem from?

SL: My penchant for surrealism has two roots: my vivid dreams that started since I could remember and years of consuming animation from cartoons to anime. I, like most other creatives, drew what I think is exciting. For me, that is the unknown, things that scare me, things that I don’t understand and yet have this beauty I can’t explain. Perhaps that’s why I’ve not added eyes to my female characters in my Sewer Princess Series, to give the audience a sense of unease. I also felt at the time that my skills for expressing uncomfortable emotions were still developing and “the gaze” is a tough one to master. The female figures possibly show my own tension with femininity from growing up in a conservative society and then having an adulthood in an open western society.

It's a wild, wild world

What’s the best drink/snack combo to wind down from a busy day with and why?

SL: Bubble tea and BBQ chicken tails (tongkeng)/fried chicken! Realistically? A cup of earl grey and seasonal fruits. It really depends on my self restraint at the end of a busy day, which isn’t much. Ever since I started my “no to single-use plastics”, my snacking options have been kept to the fresh produce and loose leaf section. I’ve never known to have such healthy skin and a depressed mouth at the same time.

Can you tell us about the fish-safe paints you developed and your interest in sustainability?

SL: It all started from a project I did at Wembley Primary School, Yarraville where we explored marine plastic pollution with Primary 1’s and 2’s. I used the medium of acrylic paints to do finger paintings of marine animals and single-use plastic items to create an art installation. A team in Brunei also recreated this project in several local schools. Being a project that aims to promote sustainable practices, I started looking into the materials

I was using to reduce waste and was absolutely horrified when I realised my favourite medium of acrylic paints was made from liquid plastics! Then the great lockdown came and I fortunately had the time to do more research into sustainable natural paints. I thought my journey was going to end with buying these paints from a shop but there weren’t many options. When my friend Thel Kin gifted me “The Secret Lives of Colour” by Kassia St. Clair, I realised that some of the pigments were literally growing in my nature strips. It was so similar to cooking that making watercolour paints was an incredibly natural (ha!) step. I’m proud to have an official colour palette of black, yellow, red, purple, green, peach and brown.

You’ve worked with Australian communities on interactive art projects. Tell us about why this is appealing to you and are there any Borneo equivalents on the agenda?

SL: I was unaware when I first started my professional career as an artist, how isolating it was. Even more so me being a very social person. Community interactive art projects were my way of changing

that! It is such a joy to hear the different experiences and ideas from the community when they engage with art made by and for them. I’m impressed with the community that Brunei’s very own Collective Art Events has made because that wasn’t available to me when I lived in Brunei. I’ve learnt that in order to thrive as a creative, you need support and safe spaces.

The biggest influence that my Brunei and Kuching roots have on me is the importance of nature and its beauty. It is unfortunately something that is rapidly diminishing. I grew up with the ability of having nature five minutes away, with the comforts of modern life. I thought it was normal considering that when I visited Kuching and Kota Kinabalu, it was the same deal. It started changing during my annual drives back to Kuching from Brunei when what was a vast rainforest had changed into palm oil plantations. I also remembered the routine of seeing more wildlife and then complete disappearance when there were land clearings for developments. Messy hikes through the rainforest with a celebratory Nasi Katok was and is how I bond with my family and friends every time I’m back in Brunei. Hence why I enjoy nature so much because it made me who I am and why I’m fierce about sustainability in my work and life.

biG talk


As a young writer, Malcolm Mejin certainly was sure if he would strike it big in a tough industry. He recently signed to the Asian arm

You’ve mentioned that meeting fans and school tours was something you really enjoy on book tours. Is there a particular memory that sticks out to you or has affected you in a certain way? What’s the funniest/ oddest meeting you’ve had with a fan?

MM: Doing school tours, has always been, and will always be fun. I love the positive energy and excitement, and I feel at ease with myself. One particular memory that sticks out was when a fan asked me to sign their i-Phone! (I mean, it was a permanent marker, lol). I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do that at first, but the positive vibe was so strong that I just went with the flow. There were some fans who asked me to sign their shoes and even their limbs (especially

Living the Dream

forearms). There were other many weird requests, haha, but I can say that they were all done in good faith.

You’ve been writing since you were six. Do you remember one of the first stories you wrote and what that was like, knowing you could be creative in that format? Have you tried other forms of art to express, or find inspiration?

MM: Yes, I remember. When I was six, I wrote a simple story, which revolved around whitewinged angels flying around on their many great adventures. Why angels, you ask? I came from a Christian family, and as

a child, I was kind of fascinated with angels. I recall seeing a beautiful white angel statue somewhere as a kid, and I was mesmerized by its intricate wings, imagining how they would fly in the air and how majestic those wings would look spread out. I had such a wild imagination as a kid, haha. Besides fiction writing, I’ve also written poetry, mostly as a teenager, as adolescence was the time when teen angst started to kick in and I needed some form of expression.

It’s great to see fictional stories and characters that revolve heavily around the Malaysian /Asian human experience creatively –

was this a conscious decision of yours when you were coming up with ideas for the next works after Zany Zombies and why or why not?

MM: When I first started writing the Rich Kid series, I had no idea that I’d be putting more and more local elements into the story. Writing the series was a cathartic way for me to jump into a stress-free world with amazing adventures. The first thing that came to my mind when I wrote the first title was “Sarawak Laksa”, which is a popular local spicybroth dish in Kuching. I couldn’t resist giving Robin Jin, who is the main character of the series, an affinity for Sarawak Laksa, which is his unique trait. He cannot live without Sarawak Laksa, and needs to have it wherever he goes. For example, in the first book, he goes to great lengths to have Sarawak Laksa FedExed to him while he’s vacationing in the Bahamas.

So naturally, as I continued writing the book, I began injecting more local elements into the story, which I hoped could be relatable to local audiences. It wasn’t a conscious decision at first, but as I went deeper into the story, I realized that putting in more local elements was pretty fun, because during some of my school tours at international schools, I have had foreign students asking me about the local food and culture, based on my books. I thought that was pretty exciting.

Robert Jin loves his Laksas. Are you also a big fan and if so, where’s the best laksa at?

MM: I guess Robin Jin and I are kindred spirits, lol. I’m also a big fan of Sarawak Laksa, and if you’re looking to try Sarawak Laksa, I would suggest going to Yeow Kee Kopitiam in Kuching. It’s one of my favorites, and I have been a repeat visitor. There are actually many more, but I’m just stating the one I frequent often when I’m in Kuching. You may Google “Yeow Kee Kopitiam” to find your way there

32 Borneo.Insider’s.Guide

When she isn’t parked in front of her multitude of computer monitors working on visual effects editing and postproduction solutions for films and TV series, London-based Liyana Mansor can usually be found in the great outdoors or somewhere in the world satisfying her travel bug. Barely in her mid-twenties, the Bruneian is already making a name for herself with her resume of highprofile projects which include Lucasfilm’s Andor series and Alien: Covenant by Twentieth Century Fox.

In your career so far as a VFX editor, does the shine of working in an industry that most creatives in Borneo would give an arm and leg for, ever wear off?

LM: No, the shine of working in the Film and Television industry never wears off for me. Sure, there are hard days as with any endeavour but I absolutely love what I do and feel incredibly lucky to be able to do it for a living. I know there are many creatives out there who would love to have the same opportunity, so I feel very grateful to represent Brunei in a small way and to show other local talent that it is achievable. Leaving Borneo was actually a result of family circumstance but in choosing to chase my dream job, I’ve discovered that I can

No Fear of the Uknown

have a career that I’m passionate about and one that enables me to pursue and fund my adventures outside of the cutting room. My best advice would be to not let the fear of the unknown hold you back. We often create barriers for ourselves but the truth is you’ll never know how far you can make it if you don’t try for it. Stop waiting for the dream to fall into your lap and start working your way towards it so that you can reach out and grab it for yourself.

Do you gravitate to work opportunities in a particular genre? What has been the most challenging project to take part in so far in that respect?

LM: I think that every genre has its own challenges and rewards, and I enjoy working on a variety of productions. That said, I do love watching Sci-Fi so I always enjoy working on shows with Sci-Fi elements. All genres in Film and TV use visual and special effects to aid storytelling, but Sci-Fi and other speculative genres in particular, rely on them to a greater degree and in ways that make those projects particularly rewarding. When it comes to

choosing projects, I tend to make choices based on the creatives involved, where the cutting rooms will be located, what the budget is and what I think I can gain most from the experience i.e. Will it challenge me? More importantly, does it sound fun? I’ve had my share of challenging projects. Alien: Covenant was a steep learning curve and demanding in terms of the hours it required, but it also gave me a strong foundation to work up from. Andor was challenging for different reasons. There was a high volume of work involved. Luckily we had a strong and supportive VFX Editorial and VFX Production team, which is just one example of why choosing who you work with can be important.

You've said snacks are an all-important element of a work desk. What are you stocking up on to keep you going and will we find any Bruneian or Bornean favourites on there?

LM: I wish Bruneian snacks were easy to come by here in the UK. I would have a pack of Golden Rings cheese crackers

on my desk all day every day. I don’t think my colleagues would appreciate it if I busted a packet of sotong out in the cutting rooms, so that’s probably out of the question. There is the Oxford Street Market Hall where I can get close to traditional roti kosong and curry, which is always a treat. I just need someone to open a kelupis and cakoi stall now and my life would be complete, but the truth is you can’t compete with the real thing, locally made in Brunei. Until then, I settle for Candy Kittens sweets and British shortbread.

When you're not stuck at a work desk indoors, you seem to be ticking lots of bucket list items! Is there anything you haven't tried or a place that you haven't been able to explore yet?

LM: I definitely enjoy a bit of adrenaline and excitement in my life, but I also consciously choose to seek out new experiences and adventures. The work I do can be demanding at times and almost necessitates taking the time off I have, and making the most of it. I think it's important to push yourself outside of your comfort zone occasionally, and I find that exploring the world and trying new things is a great way to do that. I'm also an active person by nature, so I enjoy being involved in a variety of physical activities such as rock climbing, boxing and yoga. The wishlist is still pretty extensive, there is Hawaii, Japan, New York, Iceland and New Zealand! I need to go paragliding, bungee jumping and snowboarding too. Of course, not every day is filled with excitement and adventure. But, even on the days when I’m just working away in my darkroom, I know that I’m doing what I love and that I’m lucky to be able to pursue my passion.

biG talk Borneo.Insider’s.Guide 33

When she first applied to film school in the states, Cheyenne Tan had no idea how it would change her life. As a producer on the Emmy-nominated documentary, St. Louis Superman, she relishes her opportunity to share stories and speak for minority groups through the film medium.

the Heart Stories from

What are three opportunities you've gotten into through serendipitous means?

CT: I got into making documentaries serendipitously as well! When the passion for films and filmmaking first sparked, I didn’t really know what part of the process and what kind of films I wanted to be involved in. All I knew was that I cared about using it as a tool to tell powerful stories and to make some kind of positive change in the world that we live in. So, I went into film school, hungry for skills and knowledge and tried my hands in every aspect of the craft I could get myself involved in. But it wasn’t until I was getting ready to make my thesis film in my senior year that I fell into documentary filmmaking. My first documentary was about a Malaysian couple opening a Malaysian restaurant in Anaheim, California. I was the one with the access to the subjects as they are fellow Malaysians and my friends so naturally, I fell into producing and co-directing the film with a friend. It was then that I realized that documentary

filmmaking is the perfect marriage between my passion for visual storytelling and creating real world change. I’ve kept making more documentaries and have not looked back since.

Coming from Borneo left you with few options for creating a portfolio. Do upcoming creatives face the same challenge?

CT: Creatives in Borneo have so many more avenues to create now. Of course, I can only speak for the Malaysian side of Borneo but the Sabah filmmaking scene is doing so well with filmmakers like Nadira Ilana and Nova Goh (who is actually Sarawakian). On the Sarawak side, dozens of production houses are out here actively making works that allow us to reclaim our narratives and that of our people. I’m hopeful that we’ll get to where we want to be sooner rather than later.

But because we continue to lack the skills and resources we need, our stories are still being told on a mainstream level by West Malaysians. These are often inaccurate and push our people to the side or back. Honestly,

more people in Borneo should be more outraged about this. I hope to see investment put into our own creatives, nurturing them, getting them the funding and support that we need so that we can tell our own stories properly. Just as importantly, we need to create more platforms and spaces for our filmmakers to be able to show their work and get their films out to communities all over the island and region. That is how we can have a healthy ecosystem of producing and consuming of films and stories.

Where there any life lessons gained working on the St. Louis Superman documentary?

CT: The two big lessons I learned from making St. Louis Superman. The first is learning to listen. Through working with our subject, Bruce Franks Jr., I learned how important it is to listen to people from different communities and backgrounds, and learn from all that listening. We live in a world where everyone absolutely needs to have their voices and opinions heard. As filmmakers, we need to constantly be listening, observing,

and using that to draw parallels, see the bigger picture and paint a coherent, entertaining story for people, audiences and film subjects alike- to understand their worlds better.

The second thing I learned is there is a lot of extraordinary in the ordinary, if only we know where to find them. Bruce started out a regular person who goes on to make a lot of changes within his community. In documentaries, we often follow everyday people who do extraordinary things every day but because that is their normal life, it’s easy for the impact of their work to get away from them. Our characters and subjects often marvel at how much they’ve done and the significance of their work and struggles, after watching their films. Audiences, especially if they see a reflection of their own struggles and that of their people, often have similar reactions as well. Extraordinary in the ordinary. That’s all around us.

What's the key to telling a good story through film?

CT: The key to telling a good story through documentary films is a compelling subject! Someone who’s got an interesting personal story is given a certain charisma, someone that you can spend hours talking to. ‘Jiro Dreams of Sushi’ is my comfort documentary, one that I keep going back to for pure enjoyment! It’s about Jiro Ono, one of the best sushi chefs in the world. The only downside of that film is that it never fails to make me hungry afterwards!

biG talk 34 Borneo.Insider’s.Guide

Taking opportunities when they arise is something Lynne Liew has been very good at; the 26 year old pastry chef has already worked at the tallest restaurant in the world and is now creating at the prestigious Waldorf Astoria brand in Dubai, after spending just shy of five years in the industry honing her craft. The William Angliss Institute alumni shares real talk of life in the kitchen and staying grateful for what has been and what’s to come.

As a self-taught baker was there a natural affinity towards desserts over cooked meal?

LL: I always found (desserts and pastry) more relaxing compared to cooking. You’re in front of the grill, in front of the oven… trust me, it’s intense. It’s like that sometimes for desserts, but I would say it’s more easy-breezy in a way? and who doesn’t like sweets man, let’s be real. When I was in high school, I spent a lot of my free time baking stuff or cooking with my mom. What makes it so satisfying is the end product, and to be able to give the food you make to others. Watching the Masterchef series was inspiring too. I was very lucky to have my parents support my decision. As a local in Brunei, I knew at the time I wanted to pursue it, things were difficult. I was afraid that I might not have a job when I came back so I’ll be forever grateful to my parents for letting me do this. Culinary things are quite well known in Brunei now.

Up, up and Away!

The opportunity to come to Dubai and work was already insane for me. I remember getting the email from the first company I worked for. Let’s be honest, who would’ve thought a girl from Brunei could manage to get a job as a chef in Dubai? You can say I was very, very lucky. I’ll be forever grateful to my mentor at my first hotel in Dubai, Indigo Hotel – she taught me everything I have now and helped me kickstart my career here. Moving to and working in Atmosphere Grill and Lounge (which is on the 122nd floor of the Burj Khalifa) was intense. I think one of my core memories in Atmosphere was joining a competition in Abu Dhabi and placing third. I always wanted to join competitions but I never had the guts to or didn’t have anyone to push me. I’m glad my head chef did. Slowly throughout this journey, I became more confident.

As a lover of ramen and chicken wings, have there been any life-changing experiences based on these foods?

LL: I started eating proper ramen when I was in Australia. The meals I’d say made me become

a self-proclaimed lover were in Melbourne. The street that I lived in was filled with restaurants so it was very easy for me to try different things and to expand my food knowledge. I I think one of the best chicken wings I’ve ever had is at SamSam restaurant; the garlic and soy was always my favourite. Every time I visit that (place), I would usually just order two different flavours of chicken, a bowl of rice and a beer and I’d be full.

I think that’s when I realised my love for wings and for ramen was intense (laughs). Recently I took a trip to UK and my friend brought me to Wingstops, that was really good. I think that’d be the second chicken shop I’d recommend if people want to go for good wings.

You're a BlackPink super fan. Do you have a playlist that helps keep you hyped through a prep or service session?

LL: Yeah, I am a big fan of BlackPink! And I was so happy to find out that they’re actually coming to play in the UAE for the ‘Born Pink’ Tour. They’re actually going to be playing in Abu Dhabi so I’m hoping I can get tickets.

I’m also planning in March to take leave and watch their show in Kuala Lumpur as well, so pray for me girl. I don’t really have a specific playlist, I just listen to whatever I feel like but obviously BlackPink is definitely there.

Are there any hard truths you wish more people acknowledged about living that chef life?

I’d never actually seen The Bear, so I had to go watch that! But yes, it’s an example of how life is in the kitchen. I think I’d like people to stop romanticising the long hours. I feel like whenever I mention that I work 10, 12 hour days, honestly speaking it’s not fun man. You tell people you work 15 hours and they go ‘Wow that’s insane’ and praise you. I mean it’s nice to get praised but at the end of the day your mental health is jeopardized. Another thing I’d like people to stop romanticising is that that is normal, that’s it’s okay. Like when we’re sick and sometimes we’re still asked to come to work. There are days where I don’t feel well but I force myself to work mainly because I worry about the team (if we’re shortstaffed, for example) so yeah. Maybe it’s just me, maybe I care too much or maybe I love my job too much. I hope one day I’ll be at the point in my career where if I’m sick, I’ll just say that I’m not coming in.

Borneo.Insider’s.Guide 35



Translated as ‘husk’, ‘peel’, or ‘skin’, Cascara coffee is created from the dried skins of coffee cherries that are pulped and combined with the dried berries of the coffee plant after the coffee beans within have been removed. Cascara also happens to be the namesake of this modern locale that residents of this islet frequent just as often for their coffee cherry teas, as much for its bright, hip and minimal vibe.


Jalan Danau Jempang No. 38, Kampong Baru, Tarakan Tengah, Kalimantan Utara Tel: 62081-352560607

IG: @cascaratrk

FB: Cascara Coffee


This quarter we continue to take a gander at what the Tarakan Islet located off the coast of North Kalimantan has to offer. A place that we understand can be easily overlooked in favour of the rest of the Indonesian peninsula as well as their territory on the Borneo mainland. Join us for this deep dive as we check out some of the more popular eateries and cafes that make up their food scene.


As an avid stargazer and Science fiction nut, the restaurant that proclaimed itself as the Galaxy Food Republic is certainly a locale that would catch my attention via its name alone. With a selection of regular meals and healthier alternatives, it is their cheap & cheerful Nasi Padang series that many a visitor indulges in –after all, you know what they say, ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”

Tarakan Food Guide


Jalan K.H. Agus Salim No. 16 RT. 08, Selumit, Kota Tarakan, Kalimantan Utara Tel: 62822-26767733

IG: @galaxyfoodrepublic

FB: Galaxy Food Republic


As far as business combinations go this is certainly

a new one for me. Your friendly neighbourhood barber shop, that doubles up as a restaurant where you can grab a drink and a meal after trimming those locks of yours. A popular locale due to a wide variety of bands on the islet that perform as part of live music sessions. Groovy! •• Jalan Mulawarman RT 42, Karang Anyar, Tarakan Barat, Kota Tarakan, Kalimantan Utara Tel: 62089-5330507849 IG: @dewabagoesbarbercoff FB: Dewa Bagoes Barbercoff
36 Borneo.Insider’s.Guide


A successful local franchise with branches spread throughout all of peninsula Indonesia, this fast-food equivalent for buns and their home-branded bottled coffee, is a spot for a quick grab-and-go in addition to hanging out in should you need to take a breather. A staple on the Indonesian food and beverage scene, this is considered a household name.


Jalan Jend. Sudirman, Karang Anyar, Tarakan Barat, Kota Tarakan, Kalimantan Utara

Tel: 628215-8667101

IG: @rotio.indonesia

FB: Roti’O Indonesia


Talk about personality. From the live music bands, to the dancing waiter –10 th most recent post on IG, dated May 20th – this eatery that rocks an urban interior vibe with its rough concrete floors is popular with the youth. Punctuated with a creative use of wooden elements, in addition to the artwork on some of its walls, as well as having a rooftop space to chill at, I have no doubt that the Italian physicist and astronomer himself would enjoy hanging out here.


Food and interiors. My favourite things to check out at any eatery. Katakita Café boasts great examples of both that are visually appealing in their uniqueness. Such as the tall mounds of greyblack, fist-sized pebbles sealed behind a thick iron mesh of which the upper half is adorned by framed posters, while the lower half is exposed. And then there’s the prawn fried rice that is stuffed into a pineapple that is sliced in half to be used as an impromptu bowl. That. Is. Really. Cool!


Jalan Kusuma Bangsa, Gn. Lingkas, Kota Tarakan, Kalimantan Utara

Tel: 62811-5493183

FB: Katakita Cafe


Jalan Kusuma Bangsa No. 7, Kota Tarakan, Kalimantan Utara

Tel: 62852-34711138

IG: @galileocafetrk

FB: Galileo Café Tarakan

biG appetite Borneo.Insider’s.Guide 37

7 8

This eatery is well positioned indeed with its panoramic views of its surroundings should you choose to dine outdoors. Complementing the serene view of the sea, the lobster and crab dishes that are served in scaled-down wood-carved boats look amazing. When one considers its strategic positioning, it should come as no surprise that their seafood offerings are both numerous and delicious to the max.


Jalan Gajah Mada, Kompleks TPI, Mustika, Tarakan, Kalimantan Utara

Tel: 62081-250767696

IG: @lemakansamudra

FB: Lemakan Samudra



Having undergone a facelift just 6 months ago as well as celebrating their 5th anniversary 2 months ago (at the time of this issue’s publishing), this spacious food court is a terrific place to escape the sun and test out a variety of local fare, from the numerous vendors and merchants on hand. With friendly hosts and spots to take shots for the Gram, we recommend this place for a true taste of Tarakan.


Jalan Kusuma Bangsa RT.31, Kota Tarakan, Kalimantan Utara

Tel: 62081-2549033399

IG: @kakilimakekinian

FB: KakiLima Kekinian Tarakan


The overall vibe at this karaoke-café hybrid, which makes use of plentiful wall stickers and awnings to represent and simulate foreign lands, in its own small way, is laid back and chill. It goes without saying that when travelling overseas you miss out loads if you do not partake in local meals. Having said that though, the pasta dishes such as the spaghetti in a white cream sauce is particularly enticing. When all is done and dusted, then the singing can begin in earnest.


Jalan Mulawarman RT.11, Tarakan Barat, Kota Tarakan, Kalimantan

Tel: 628215-8667101

IG: @mr.fujikaraoke

FB: Fuji (Mr Fuji Karaoke Café)

LEMAKAN SAMUDRA RESTAURANT biG appetite 38 Borneo.Insider’s.Guide


It goes without saying that an islet located just off the coast of an Island is (naturally) going to have some pretty good seafood. This is one such provider of fare from the sea. From the oriental baramundi fish soup, and cuttlefish in oyster sauce, to the black tiger prawns cooked in a bumbu leaves-wrapping, and the hot and sour octopus; everything is straight out of the sea and as fresh as can be.


Jalan Slamet Riady RT10 No.70, Kota Tarakan, Kalimantan Utara

Tel: 62085-283399800

IG: @pondles.trk

FB: Pondles


A Chinese halal eatery with a cosy vibe and entrance-lobby, leading into a simple but spacious interior, this locale constantly receives great reviews courtesy of the chefs’ consistency.

It is one thing to be able to whip up a great dish, but to be able to do it repeatedly without fail over a long period of time earns this spot bragging rights, and they should be proud of that too. We tip our hats to the chefs. Well done.


Jalan WR Supratman, Karang Anyar

Tarakan Barat, Kota Tarakan, Kalimantan Timur

Tel: 62821-56945468

FB: Restaurant Milo B-21


With an outdoor food-court styled layout, this provider of local delicacies and scrumptious dishes is a favourite go-to for families and large groups of friends. The vibes here are very relaxed and atmospheric, with its fairy lights, and potted plants suspended from crisscrossing wooden beams up above, while down below patrons walk across red bricked flooring with yet more greenery around a bamboo-styled perimeter. Simply put – genuine smiles, good food, and chilled-out ambience. Perfection.


Jalan Wijaya Kusuma No. 14, Karang Anyar, Tarakan Barat, Kota Tarakan, Kalimantan Utara

Tel: 62853-86332882

FB: Orchid

12 11 10
biG appetite Borneo.Insider’s.Guide 39


Ahan Thai 10 Blk B Abd Razak Complex, Gadong (673 2452852)

Ah Mit’s Delicacy Café No 13, Grd Flr, Impiana Jaya Complex, Kiulap (673 889 0024)

All Seasons Restaurant 17 1st Flr Times Square Shopping Centre, Kg Jaya Setia (673 2338068)

Aminah Arif 2 & 3 Blk B Grd Flr Bgn Hj Abd Rahman, Kiulap (673 2236198) – Call for other branches

Aneka Rasa

Blk A #16 & 17 Grd & 1st Flr Bgn Begawan Pehin Dato Hj Mohd Yussof, Kg Kiulap (673 2231728)

Anjung Layar Luncur (Nur Wanita Serasa Branch) Simpang 287, Pantai Serasa (673 2771879)

Ar Ruhma Restaurant 329 Blk D Bgn Gadong Central, Kg Menglait (673 2427847)

Axtivo Restaurant #12, Grd Flr, Hj Uthman Complex, Spg 13, Kg Jaya Setia (673 2335642)

Babu’s Kitchen

C44 Blk C Grd Flr Gadong Central, Kg Menglait (673 2457868)

Bali Pit-Stop 15 &16, Spg 150 Grd Floor, Block A Bangunan Habza, Kiulap (673 7209992)



The restaurants and eateries listed are arranged by food types, and not in order of our preference. Reviews are written from a typical diner’s perspective and written based on actual visits to the establishments listed, without the prior knowledge of the restaurants. Information given on menus, hours or prices may change and should be checked. In Brunei, all restaurants are closed between 12 noon and 2 pm on Fridays.

Chatterbox Kopitiam 2 Grd Flr Bgn Hasbullah 2, Gadong (673 8201212)

Excapade Serusop Unit 4&5, Spg 86, Complex PHB, Kg Delima Satu, Jln Muara (673 2335512) – Call for other branches

Farmbasket Snack Bar A1, Grd Flr Blk A, Urairah Complex, Spg 88, Kiulap (673 2234666) – Call for other branches

Gurkha Palace 47 Jalan Bunga Melor, Seria Town (673 3221474)

Gratitude Café Grd Flr Serusop Complex, Kg Delima Satu (673 2341123)

Great Taste Restaurant Grd Flr Setia Kenangan II, Kg Kiulap (673 2233913)

Happy Dean Restaurant No 3, Grd Flr, Zainuddin Complex, Spg 11, Anggerek Desa, Berakas A (673 2340885) – Call for other branches

Impian Rasa Restaurant #5 Bgn Pg Hjh Rafiah Spg 607 Jln Jangsak, Gadong (673 2653858) – Call for other branches

Iron Chef Unit 5&6, Lvl 1, HuaHo Manggis Mall (673 2338888)

Kaka Restaurant 2 & 3 Spg 100 Jln Jerudong (673 2672333) – Call for other branches

La Mee #1B & 1c Grd Flr Spg 41-1-12, Jln Kiarong (673 2430113)

Lee Loi Fatt

Blk A #7 Grd Flr Serusop Complex, Kg Delima Satu (673 2342384) – Call for other branches

Mangrove Paradise Resort

Spg 912 Kg Sungai Belukut, Jln Kota Batu (673 2786868)

MY Favoureat Restaurant 9 Grd Flr Bgn Hj Munchit & Hjh Rapiah, Kg Jaya Setia (673 2232828)

MyTown Eating House Grd Flr The Crown Princess Complex, Jalan Tutong (673 2241880)

Nyonya 3 Grd Flr Bgn Hasbollah, Gadong (673 2447090)

Old Time Kopitiam G2 Grd Flr Bgn Hj Ibrahim, Kg Menglait (673 244 282)

Pattaya Restaurant Spg 302, Jln Kota Batu, Sungai Lampai, BSB (673 2241721)


Blk G Grd Flr Abd Razak Complex, Gadong (673 2432333)

Pho Hoa Restaurant #6 Grd Flr Blk B Bgn Hj Abd Rahman, Kg Kiulap (673 2236218)

Rice Bowl 72 T.C.Y Building, Batu Bersurat (673 8630665)

Sapphira Cake House 3 Grd Flr Seri Anigma, Kiulap (673 2232021)

Seasons Restaurant Lvl 2 The Centrepoint, Gadong (673 2422291)

Seafood Palace #1, 2 & 3 Blk B An-Nuha Building, Kg Tanjung Bunut (673 2671299)

Seaworld Neptune 8 Spg 791, Jerudong (673 2612613)

Sate House Unit B9, Block B, Setia Kenangan II, Spg.150, Kiulap, Bandar Seri Begawan (673 2231017)

Sulbingsoo Korean Dessert Cafe Unit B7, Grd Flr, Shakirin Complex, Kiulap (673 2234271)


Amsarra Shawarma Unit 5, Grd Flr, Blk A, One Riverside, Jln Gadong (673 7312545)

Blue Restaurant Unit 19, Grd Flr, Blk C, Spg 493, Kg Beribi, Jln Gadong (673 2450458)

Bombay Palace Restaurant #9 Grd & 1st Flr Blk B Bgn Pg Mainuddin & Anak2, Batu Bersurat (673 2427313)

C’Fu Curry House Restaurant Spg 103 #5 & 6 Grd Flr Bgn Hj Md Salleh, Gadong (673 2457000)

Delhi Darbar Restaurant & Catering Spg 38 Jln Jerudong (673 2672826)

Gwad Basha Arabian Restaurant

1A & 1B Heng Thai Property Centre, Spg 22, Jalan Dato Ratna, Kiarong (673 2450009)

Iskandar Curry House Unit B5, One Riverside, Jln Gadong, Bandar Seri Begawan BA1511 (673 2422438)

Kausar Café Unit 10, Grd Flr, Blk D, Shakirin Complex, Jln Komersial Kiulap, Kiulap (673 8829495 )

LaMesa Restaurant Unit 8, Jln Komersial Kiulap, Kg Kiulap (673 2352863)

Le Taj 2-3 2nd Flr Seri Kiulap Complex, Kiulap (673 2238996)

Lotus Family Restaurant 27B Grd Flr Delima Jaya Complex, Berakas (673 2342049)

Rajah’s Restaurant

3 Grd Flr Blk A Bangunan PAP Umi Kalthum, Bandar Seri Begawan (673 2240379)

Sugar ‘n’ Spice Unit B1, Grd Flr, Purnama Complex, Kiulap (673 2303930)

Saffron Restaurant 8 Blk C Shakirin Complex, Kiulap (673 2235888)

Sameer Restaurant & Catering G1 Grd Flr Sg Akar Sentral, Berakas (673 2336613)

Spices Restaurant #1 Grd Flr Blk A Aman Complex, Jln Muara (673 2330081)

Ya Nur Restaurant #6 & #7, 1st Flr, Kompleks Hj Tahir 2, Gadong (673 8719986)

Zaika Restaurant A4 Lot 308 Bgn Maju Jln Bunga Raya, Kuala Belait (673 3347430)



Bello Café

L1/12 Seri Kiulap Mall, Kiulap (673 2233989)–Call for other branches

Buccaneer Steak House 92-93 (B) 94 Grd Flr Jln McKerron, Kuala Belait (673 3330406)

Breakfast at Home Café No 13, Spg 11, Jln Nenas Paun, STKRJ Katok B (673 7366204)

Bella Amore Unit 4, Grd Flr, Blk C, Sempurna Complex, Jln Batu Bersurat (673 3347455)

Casbah London Kebab #G2a Grd Flr Times Square Complex, Kg Jaya Setia (673 2343001)

Charcoal BBQ & Grill Restaurant Grd Flr Le Gallery Suites Hotel, Jln Tutong (673 2221171) – Call for other branches

Cheezbox Café External Café, Ramp A, The Mall, Gadong (673 2425506)

Countrypatch Café 2& 3 Blk D Bgn Hj Abd Rahman, Kiulap (673 2232368) – Call for other branches

De’ Olde Cottage 2 Grd Flr Blk C Sempurna Complex, Batu Bersurat (673 2426982) – Call for other branches

Fratini’s Restaurant #1 Grd Flr The Centrepoint Hotel, Gadong (673 2451200) – Call for other branches

Flour & Butter No. 29, Grd Flr, Bangunan Haji Hassan Abdullah, Jln Gadong, Menglait II (673 242 2323)

40 Borneo.Insider’s.Guide biG listings

Geo Eats No. 13, Spg 381, Kg Jerudong (673 8271381)

Home Kitchen by Tree-Bit Café D8 & D9 Lot 11620 Grd Flr Jln Gadong, Kg Mata-Mata (673 2429366)

Kitchen of Jasmine by Aranda Café #17, Blk E, Atiya Complex, Spg 100, Jln Jerudong (673 8997333)

Margherita Pizzeria #5 Blk A Scout Complex Jln Gadong, Kg Mata-Mata (673 8688884)

Pastamania G9A & G10A Grd Flr Times Square Shopping Centre, Jln Berakas (673 2338061) – Call for other branches

Pepper Lunch Brunei C9/10 Grd Flr Setia Kenangan II, Kg Kiulap (673 2253000)

Qasehmaisara Café House #206-209 2nd Flr Plaza Athirah, Jln Kubah Makam DiRaja (673 2789898)

Red Canopy Restaurant #8 Blk A Q-Lap Complex, Kg Kiulap (673 2425855)

Ricardo’s El Mariachi Jalan Manggis Dua (673 7363139) – Call or WhatsApp for exact location

Sorriso Restaurant & Pizzeria #14 Blk B Grd Flr Regent Square, Kiulap (673 2233030)

Swensen’s #2.34-2.36 2nd Flr The Mall, Gadong (673 2451864)

Triggered Chef No.13, Spg. 41-1-17, Kg Kiarong (673 8633640) – Available on WhatsApp


Beanery & Co #81 A/1 Grd Flr, Jln Bunga Rambai, Kuala Belait (673 3347772)

BELLUNO Café #2 Blk C Kiarong Complex, Kg Kiarong (673 2429010)

Bicara Lab 2601, Jln Nakhoda Manis, Seria (IG: @bicara.lab)

Brew Café & Bakery #47 Grd Flr Blk C Gadong Central, Menglait (673 2427554)

Brew9 Unit 10, Grd Flr, The Walk, Beribi (673 2426986)

Black Whale Unit G18A, Grd Flr, Blk C, Aman Hills Shopping Complex (673 2341473) - Call for other branches

Caffé Verve #6A Spg 68, Jln Batu Bersurat (673 8757382)


Crispy, crunchy and deliciously sweet! The ‘kroket’ is your new sweet craving; a trademarked pocket pastry with luscious layers to put any croissant to shame, these desserts come filled with a yummy homemade custard cream. Paired with Krosaco’s own coldbrew or milkbrew coffees, it’s a snack time you won’t regret. We love the classic flavours of the original custard cream and sweet-salty butter caramel best, but if you’re into fruity flavours then their strawberry or mango krokets are your best friends. Check their IG for a full list of flavours and delivery options. You can even get box sets to mix and match!

IG: @krosaco

Borneo.Insider’s.Guide 41

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

G26 Grd Flr Times Square Shopping Centre, Jln Jaya Setia, Berakas (673 2337358)

Coffee Field Cafe & Resto

Unit 5, Grd Flr, Blk A, Little Soho, Spg 73-5-8, Jln Batu Besurat (673 7229042)

Dil Coffee Trail

No 15, Spg 68, Jln 82, Skim Perumahan Kg Rimba (673 8298786) - Available on WA

Countrypatch Café

3 Grd Flr Blk D Bgn Hj Abd Rahman, Kiulap (673 2232368)


L1/1 Seri Q-Lap Mall, Kiulap (673 2231777) – call for other branches

Games & Lattes Café

#E9 Grd Flr Blk E Setia Kenangan II, Kiulap (673 2235200)

Happy Cream

Unit 1, 1st Flr, Bgn Majid Mohd, Jln Pasar Baharuddin, Gadong (673 8158587)

High Frequency Lifestyle Café

1st Flr Unit 5 Blk B Sempurna Complex, Batu Bersurat (673 2428262)

Kapra Coffee

#26 Grd Flr Blk C Spg 440, Jln Muara (673 2345656)

Ner Dee Café

#F11 1st Flr Setia Kenangan II, Kiulap (673 7214977)

Noice D29, Bangunan Lim Eng Ming, Kg Kiulap, Bandar Seri Begawan, BE1518 (673 8266825)

Piccolo Café

#11 Jln McArthur, Bandar Seri Begawan (673 2241558)

Roasted Sip

Unit 3, Grd Flr, Blk D, Spg 508, Jerudong Complex, Jln Jerudong (673 2610850) – Call for other branches

The Krema Coffee

#D31 Lim Eng Ming Complex Blk D, Kg Kiulap (673 8973600)

The Library Café

#6 Blk C, Bangunan Setia Kenangan II, Kiulap

T’s Coffee No 6, Blk D, A1, Lower Grd Flr, 1 SKH Supermarket, Spg 561, The Promenade Samakaya, Jln Muara (673 7171089)

The Slice by IA Gateaux

Jalan Pretty, Kuala Belait (673 3338255 / 7374498) - Available on WA

Two Sons Coffee C8, Setia Kenangan II, Kiulap (673 7321327)


The Horizons Seafood Restaurant Waterfront, Jln McArthur, Bandar Seri Begawan (673 2233400)

I-Lotus 20 Spg 12-26 Perumahan Rakyat Jati, Kg Rimba (673 2422466)

Le Keris L2/22, 1st Flr, Seri Q-Lap Mall (673 2230149)

Senja Restaurant 8&9 Grd Flr Seri Kiulap Complex, Kiulap (673 2235313)

Tarindak d’Polo Royal Brunei Polo & Riding Club, Jerudong (673 2612500)

Tarindak D’Seni Brunei Arts & Handicrafts Centre, Kota Batu (673 2240422)


Atrium Café

Daily à la carte plated breakfast menu from 7am to 11am

Lobby Lounge À la carte menu from 10am to 10pm

Pantai Restaurant Daily à la carte plated lunch menu from 11am to 4pm

Daily à la carte Asian plated dinner menu from 5pm to 9pm

Spaghettini Daily à la carte Mediterranean dinner menu from 5am to 5pm


Light meals, beverages, pastries and desserts. Daily from 8am to 10pm The Empire Brunei, Jerudong (673 2418888)



We’ve eaten so many of these, we might just turn into burritos any time soon! Bro’s Burritos have three flavourful toasted wraps on their menu but Rosemary Beef wins the game hands down. It’s absolutely packed with marinated beef, sweet corn, seasoned basmati rice, lettuce and sauce. If you’re the type to order cut chilli with everything, their Spicy BBQ Sauce adds another level to the game. Tak suka pedas? Bro’s Burrito has options like the non-spicy Secret Sauce or creamy Garlic Mayo. The online store takes orders through their Instagram but also pops up occasionally so check regularly to see where they’ll be.

biG listings Borneo.Insider’s.Guide 43


Tucked away off the busy stretch of Jalan Jerudong is the cozy Florist Hill home cafe where great coffee, matcha and the most moreish soft cookies await. They have a changing schedule of imported beans on their roster, so coffee fanatics will love coming to try what’s new in the hopper. Guest beans from specialty roasters are also on the menu if you prefer to savour the true tasting notes in your coffee. Their famed Nasi Pusu, which comes from a family recipe, is also available!

44 Borneo.Insider’s.Guide biG listings
House No. 2. Simpang 503, Kampong Bukit Bunga, Jerudong IG: @florist.hill

Brunei Detox Bar

9 Grd Flr, Abdul Razak Complex, BE3519

Fuel’d Grd Flr, Unit 4A, Setia Kenangan 2 (673 8749881) – Call for other branches

Mituo Vegetarian Restaurant

Grd Flr Pg Anak Puteri Norain Complex, Batu Satu (673 2222821)

Pureland Vegetarian Restaurant

#15 Blk B Grd Flr Bgn Hj Awg Ahmad bin Hassan & Anak-anak, Kiulap (673 2236503)

TienSing Vegetarian & Catering Restaurant 21-22 Bangunan Hj Hassan II, Jln Gadong, Kg Menglait (673 2454988)

Veggie Recipe No.20, Grd Flr, Blk B, Simpang 150, Regent Square (673 2236276)



Burger King

Grd Flr, Citis Square, Kpg Jaya Setia, Berakas A, Brunei-Muara (673 2330760) – Call for other branches

Burgers & Grills F20, Jln Tengah Bangunan, Bowling Alley Seria, Kpg Pekan Seria (673 3221434)

My Fried Chicken

Grd Flr, Freshco Food Junction, Times Square, Kg Jaya Setia

Nasi Katok Mama Express No 3 Blk A Grd Flr Kompleks Madang, Madang (673 8641681)

Pan & Wok Grd Flr, Spg 98, Bangunan Hjh Dyg Damit Bte Panglima Asgar Dato Paduka Hj Awg Abdullah, Delima Satu, Berakas A (673 2342399) – Call for other branches

RBC Express Fast Food #1 Grd Flr Blk A, Bangunan Hj Matussin, Kg Kiulap (673 2237253)


This non-halal eatery stands the test of time with their dim sum selection – think juicy, plump pork and prawn Siu Mai, unbelievably flaky Yam Dumpling crusts that melt into the savory filling… heaven. But really, we came here for the Salad Prawn which we will argue are the best in town. The perfect fried crunch of the wonton skins pair perfectly against the sweetness of the enormous prawn filling. We really could have ordered multiples plates of just this but needed to leave space for the rest of the food on the table.

Unit 9, 1st floor, Gadong Central, Kg. Menglait, Bandar Seri Begawan IG: @yamchabrunei

FB: yamchabrunei

Top Nosh Café Unit 1, Grd Flr, Bangunan Majid Mohammad, Spg 235-7, Jln Pasar Gadong (673 2453889)

Wayback Burgers Unit B10-11, Setia Kengan II, Kg Kiulap (673 2236882)


Ban Hiong Restaurant No. 1, Spg 600, Bunut, Kilanas, Brunei-Muara (673 2652426)

Golden Leaf Coffee House Blk 1 Grd Flr PAP Hjh Norain Building, Jln Batu Satu (673 2220422)–Call for other branches

Phongmun Restaurant

2nd Flr Teck Guan Plaza Jln Sultan, Bandar Seri Begawan (673 2229561)

Sui Heng Restaurant

Grd Flr Hj Munchit & Hjh Rapiah Complex, Kg Jaya Setia (673 2338321)

Hua Hua Restaurant Grd Flr, Blk B, Bangunan Urairah, Kiulap

Wei’s Kitchen No.1, Spg 74-74-31, Kg Mata-Mata

Borneo.Insider’s.Guide 45 biG listings

Sabah & Sarawak

The restaurants and eateries listed are arranged by food types, and not in order of our preference. Reviews are written from a typical diner’s perspective and written based on actual visits to the establishments listed, without the prior knowledge of the restaurants. Information given on menus, hours or prices may change and should be checked.

Credit Cards : AE | American Express MC | MasterCard V | Visa



Lot 27-0 Blk C Lrg Bundusan Square1D, Kota Kinabalu (6088 732 222)


Lot 1-0 Lorong Lintas Plaza 4, Kota Kinabalu (6088 61 543)


Lot D-0-6 Lorong Metro Town 3, Kota Kinabalu (6088 393 863)


7, Lorong Gunung Juo, Taman Far East Kota Kinabalu (6010 935 1233)


Lot 6 Grd Flr Jln Pantai, Kota Kinabalu (6088 288 686)


Lot 100 Jln Gaya, Kota Kinabalu (6088 213 618)


Lot G-823 1Borneo Hypermall, Kota Kinabalu (6088 488 833)


Unit S3A, Ground Floor, Block B, The Peak Vista, Kota Kinabalu (6088 261 886)


Lot S21&S22 Blk E City Mall, Kota Kinabalu (6088 538 178)


29 Blk E Damai Plaza, Kota Kinabalu (6088 238 558)


Blk 1 Lot G9 Api Api Centre, Kota Kinabalu (6088 261 595)


Lot 4 The Waterfront Jln Tun Fuad Stephens, Kota Kinabalu (6088 235 160)


4 Jln Aru, Kota Kinabalu (6088 232 213)


Grd Flr Hotel Capital Jln Hj Saman, Kota Kinabalu (6088 232 231)


Lot 121, Jalan Gaya, 88000, Kota Kinabalu (6088 255 073)


Lot 13 KK Waterfront, Kota Kinabalu (6088 234 841)


Lot 21 Towering Koidupan Perdana Jln Tambunan, Penampang (6016 831 8726)


No 19 Grd Flr Bangunan Harrison Jln Hj Saman, Kota Kinabalu (6088 216 623)

NAM CHAI RESTAURANT BAH KUT TEH 10 Blk D Bdr Nam Tung, Sandakan (6089 612 603)


Grd Flr Lot 47 Jln Pantai, Kota Kinabalu (6016 833 5722)


Lot No B10 & B11, Suria Sabah Shoppin Mall, Kota Kinabalu (6088 487 180)

NISHIKI JAPANESE RESTAURANT Shop 4 Grd Flr 63 Gaya Street, Kota Kinabalu (6088 230 582)


Blk B The Peak Vista Lorong Puncak 1 Tjg Lipat, Kota Kinabalu (6010 346 954)


Concourse Flr 1Borneo Hypermall, Kota Kinabalu (6088 448 110)

Lot G94-94A Karamunsing Complex, Kota Kinabalu (6088 319 168)

PASTA PASTA 108 Jln Gaya, Kota Kinabalu (6014 371 4665)



No. 85 Grd Flr Jln Gaya, Kota Kinabalu (6012 802 4582)


Lot 18 The Waterfront Jln Tun Fuad Stephens, Kota Kinabalu (6088 221 753)

RESTORAN MAKANAN SEDAP No 1-0-1 Blk B Jln Kolam Centre Phase 2 Jln Lintas, Kota Kinabalu (6088 247 459)


G-23A & G-25, Oceanus Waterfront Mall, Jln Tun Fuad Stephens, 88000 Kota Kinabalu (6088 273 604)


Lot 14 Blk B Damai Point, Kota Kinabalu (6088 260 188)


Ruang Sinsugan 2, Kota Kinabalu (6088 211 594)


Lot 12 Blk A Grd Flr SEDCO Complex, Kota Kinabalu (6088 223 080)


Lot S-1-8 1st Flr City Mall, Kota Kinabalu (6088 448 844)


Lot 14 The Waterfront Jln Tun Fuad Stephens, Kota Kinabalu (6088 242 879)


Lot 8-1, Lido Plaza, Jalan Nosoob, Penampang (6088 703 884) Café with a sofa lounge serving coffee and drinks, sandwiches, toasts, waffles, and desserts


Lot 21, Ground Floor, Lido Plaza, Jalan Nosoob Penampang (6088 715 453) – Hipster café offering all-day dining and specialty coffees

WAH SAN RESTAURANT D2-G Blk 17 Jln Pryer, Sandakan (6089 212 626)


Warisan Square, Kota Kinabalu (6088 488 388)

YU KEE BAK KUT TEH 74, Jln Gaya, 88000, Kota Kinabalu (6088 221 192)


A ONE SEAFOOD RESTAURANT Lrg Chew Siik Hiong 1, Sibu (6084 215 803)

ALFIAN RESTAURANT 52 Pekan Marudi, Marudi (6085 755 215)

ALL JOY CAFÉ 8-1 Jln Khoo Hun Yeang, Kuching (6082 243 535)

APOLLO SEAFOOD CENTRE 4 Jln Yu Seng Selatan, Miri (6085 420 813)

APPLE RESTAURANT 78 Jln Tun Ahmad Zaidi, Bintulu (6086 333 377)

AROMA CAFÉ 126 Jln Tabuan, Kuching (6082 417 163)

BEE HIONG RESTAURANT CAFÉ 157G Jln Muhibbah, Lawas (6085 285 137)

BEIJING 2008 RESTAURANT SDN BHD 157 Jln Kg Nyabor, Sibu (6084 330 955)

BISMI RESTAURANT 947 Jln Parry, Sarawak (6085 416 872)

BITES BY THE BATIK 38 Jln Pandungan, Kuching (6082 422 845)

BLA BLA BLA 27, Jln Tabuan, 93000, Kuching (6082 2330944) –

BLACK BEAN COFFE & TEA 87, Ewe Hai Street, 93000 Kuching (6082 420 290)

BUENAS FILIPINO LECHON & RESTAURANT 329, Phase 4, Parkcity Commerce Square, Jin. Tun Ahmad Zaidi, Bintulu (6086 310 860)

CAFÉ CAFÉ AT ORIGINAL CARWASH Low 211-214, Section 9, KTLD, Rubber Rd, Kuching (6082 256 396)

CAFÉ MIN XIN Lot 1126-27 Riam Comm Centre, Miri (6085 628 839)

CAPITAL RESTAURANT 86 Jln Keppel, Bintulu (6086 331 160)

CARVERY RESTAURANT Jln Abell, Kuching (6082 239 449)

CASABELLA MEDITERRANEAN RESTAURANT Crown Square, Kuching (6082 346 612)

CHEF AT HOME Lorong Green 1 Blk 10, Kuching (6016 858 5159)

CHUAN HONG RESTAURANT 123 Jln Council SAman (6083 322 466)

CROWN DYNASTY RESTAURANT Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Bintulu (6086 335 908)

CUPPA-KAP COFFEE Jln Song, Kuching (6019 8869636)

DA MI XIANG GU TOU BAO RESTAURANT Tabuan Hts Comm Centre, Kuching (6082 458 952)

DYNASTY CHINESE ESTAURANT Oil Town Comm Complex, Miri (6085 424 000)

EARTHLINGS COFFEE WORKSHOP Coffee shop, roaster, academy Lot 45, Grd Flr, No. 1, CityONE Megamall, Jln Song


867 Jln Club Saman (6083 326 818)


SF3 Damai Cenral Pantai Damai Santubong, Kuching (6014 288 1160)

FAC BRAVO RESTAURANT 7778 Jln Sultan Iskandar, Bintulu (6086 316 920)

FARLEY RESTAURANT 1721 Jln Salim, Sibu (6019 816 3052)

FEAST & FURIOUS CAFÉ 244, Jln Tunku Abdul Rahman (6016 2620916)

FISHERMAN RESTAURANT 4 Jln Chew Geok Lin, Sibu (6084 316 888)

FRATINI’S RESTAURANT 2512 Jln Boulevard 3, Miri (6085 431 115)

FU LAI SIANG RESTAURANT 108 Jln Pekan Bt Niah, Bt Niah (6085 737 168)

GOLDEN CITY RESTAURANT 87, Jln Ong Chu Seng, Saratok (6083 436 139)

HOCK CHU LEU RESTAURANT 30 Jln Blacksmith, Sibu (6084 316 523)

IMPERIAL RESTAURANT Grd Floor, Imperial Hotel, Lot 827, Jalan Pos 98000 MIRI (6085 431 888)

IMPERIAL DUCK RESTAURANT 313 Jln Chan Bee Kiew, Kuching (6082 336 313)


Jln Tunku Abdul Rahman 93100 Kuching (6082 412 210)

JUBILEE RESTAURANT 49G Jln India, Kuching (6082 245 626)

KHAN’S ISLAMIC RESTAURANT 229-G Jln Maju, Miri (6085 418 440)

KOREANA RESTAURANT 10002 Jln Tun Jugah, Kuching (6082 575 072)

KUCHING NOODLE PORRIDGE HOUSE 115-1 Wisma Saberkas, Kuching (6082 426 005)

L.L. BANANA LEAF 7G Lorong Rubber 1 Jln Rubber, Kuching (6082 239 404)

LI GARDEN RESTAURANT 1 Jln Song, CityOne Megamall, Taman Phoning Kuching (6082 532 729)

LIM HOCK ANN 96 1 Jln Kg Buntal, Kuching (6082 846 533)

LOK THIAN RESTAURANT 317 Jln Padungan, Kuching (6082 3313 310)

LU LAI VEGETARIAN 3641, Lrg 2 Off Jln Rock, Kuching (6082 242 863)

LUCKY RESTAURANT 65C G Pekan Marudi, Marudi (6085 755 562)

MENAWAN RESTAURANT Grd Floor, Imperial Palace Hotel Lot 1120 Blk 7 Jalan Sehati MCLD 98000 MIRI (6085 432 299)

MANGO TREE RESTAURANT Jalan Crookshank, Kuching (6082 235 353)

MAP RESTAURANT Bang Terminal, Kuching (6082 459 087)

MARCO POLO RESTAURANT Sublot 116-124, Lot 7668, Block 31, Bintulu Sentral, Jln Kidurong, Bintulu (6086 336 666)

MEDAN SEAFOOD RESTAURANT 56, Jln Mdn Setiaraja, Mukah (6084 874 145)

MERRY RESTAURANT 187 Jln Song Thian Cheok, Kuching (6082 240 118)

METRO CAFÉ 781 Jln Bangkita, Limbang (6085 215 488)

46 Borneo.Insider’s.Guide biG listings

MIN HUA (89)


G 13 Jln Bintang Utara, Bintangor (6084 693 240)


Wisma Phoenix, Kuching (6082 420 561)

NAM HOI RESTAURANT 110 Jln Penrissen Bt 7, Kuching (6082 612 379)

ORION TROPICAL Jln Merpati, Miri (6085 417 417)


268 Jln Tunku Abd Rahman, Kuching (6082 233 417)



80 Uni Central Commercial Centre Kuching, Sarawak (6016 864 4763)


18 Jln Ong Guan Cheng, Sarawak (6082 763 486)


18, Grd Flr, 2nd Precinct, Jln Setia Raja 93450, Kuching (6082 459 162)


SEAFOODS RESTAURANT 50 BDA, Jln Abang Galau, Shahida Commercial Centre, Bintulu (6086 334 388)


17A Lorong Park Lane, Kuching (6019 819 8046)


9 Jln Tun Abd Rahman Yaakub, Kuching (6082 425 525)


6 Lrg Lanang 2 Sibu (6016 860 2636)

MINORU ROBATA YAKI 493 Section 10 Jln Rubber, Kuching (6082 251 021)


3&4 Grd Floor, BBC Industrial Estate, Shoplot Mile, 5, Bintulu (6086 318 924)



1230 Jln Rock Bt 2½ , Kuching (6082 241 575)


RPR Phase 2 Shoplot Jln Astana Petra Jaya, Kuching (6012 807 8033)

SEA VIEW RESTAURANT 144 Jln Abang Galau, Taman Sinong, Bintulu (6086 334 929)


As if their Great Gatsbystyled interior wasn’t extravagant enough, the absolutely decadent Bacon Creamy Black Truffle Paste pasta on X.street Cafe’s Miri branch menu will make you feel like you are made of gold. Rich and packed with lots of bacon and creamy sauce, you’re encouraged to play with your food and mix the giant dollop of truffle paste into your pasta to enjoy. We were pleasantly surprised at the time of ordering, to see that the serving size was more than generous. At just RM 43 for the dish, you won’t leave feeling anything other than satisfied! This restaurant is non-halal and also serves an all day wine and alcohol list, and features an Asian-fusion menu.

A-G-01, Miri Times Sq., Marina ParkCity, 98OOO MIRI, SARAWAK

IG: @xstreetmiri FB: X.street Cafe & Dine

SHERATON RESTAURANT 37 Psn Brooke, Sibu (6084 336 341)

SRI MENANTI COFFEE HOUSE RESTAURANT 15 Lrg Pahlawan 7b, Sibu (6084 218 196)

SURABAYA RESTAURANT 44-62 Jln Indica, Miri (6075 105 871)

SUSHI KING The Spring, Kuching (6082 245 355)

SUSHI TIE-TTS Wisma Sanyan, Sibu (6084 342 875)

TEN-ICHI JAPANESE RESTAURANT 319, 313 Jln Chan Bee Kiew, Kuching (6082 331 310)

TEO SEAFOOD 787 Jln Kg Buntal, Kuching (6082 846 532)

THE BANQUET 4560 Jln Datuk Tawi Sli, Kuching (6082 451 414)

THE JUNK Western fare 80, Jln Wayang, 93000, Kuching (6082 259 450)

TIAN XIAN RELISH RESTAURANT 313 Jln Melaka Raya, MC (606 288 1120)

TONG LOK RESTAURANT 1367 Jln Buangsiol, Limbang (6085 216 188)

TONG XIN COURT RESTAURANT 151 Lrg Datuk Abang Abd Rahim 5a, Kuching (6082 482 252)

TOPSPOT BUKIT MATA SEAFOOD CENTRE Jln Padungan, Bukit Mata, Kuching (6019 889 9838)


Blk H Jln Borneo Taman Sri, Kuching (6082 234 873)

WANG HIN RESTAURANT 1 Soon Hup Comm Complex, Miri (6085 413 129)

WARUNG NASI KUNING Jln Tun Jugah, Kuching (6016 809 1286)

XIN TSUI SIANG KITCHEN Wisma Nation Horizon Blk D, Kuching (6082 414 616)

YUN YAN RESTAURANT Stutong Comm Centre, Kuching (6082 366 115)

ZHUN SAN YEN VEGETARIAN FOOD Lot 165 Jln Chan Ann, Kuching (6082 230 068)

Borneo.Insider’s.Guide 47



Banks in Brunei Darussalam are usually open Mondays to Fridays, 9am - 4pm and on Saturdays, 9am11am. Some banks have branches with later closing times. Islamic banks follow the same operation hours except on Fridays when they are closed for prayers between 11am - 2.30pm. Cash withdrawals and deposits can be made from Automated Teller Machines (ATM) that can be found in various shopping complexes and bank branches all over the country. ATM cards affiliated with the international Plus or Cirrus systems are accepted at most ATMs.


VISA and Mastercard are the most widely accepted credit cards in hotels, restaurants and major shopping complexes. Some establishments accept American Express.

Money Changer


All retail, food and beverage outlets and business offices are closed between 12 noon and 2pm on Fridays to observe the Friday prayer time for Muslims.

Islamic Etiquette

Although Islam is the state religion of Brunei Darussalam, it is also a country that prides itself on the diversity of its people – including their religions. Visitors are welcome to mosques, provided some etiquette is followed. In general, proper attire is required; women are required to cover their head, shoulders, and knees. Some mosques will provide simple robes and shawls to meet these standards. Shoes are to be removed before entering a mosque. Please do not pass in front of people in prayer, and do not touch the Al-Quran. Please ask for permission before taking photographs – particularly inside! Mosques are usually closed on Thursday and Friday, and during prayer times – your hotel, tour guide, or Muslim locals can help you determine a good time to visit.


Most public phones operate on prepaid calling cards which can be obtained in all major shopping areas and retail stores. Mobile prepaid SIM cards are also available for purchase at DST Communications Sdn Bhd (DST Com), Imagine Sdn Bhd, and Progresif Cellular Sdn Bhd (PCSB) service counters as well as the respective authorised vendors’ stores.



Located at the Art Gallery at the Royal Wharf. Visitors can obtain information about Brunei and related pamphlets and maps free from here during working hours (Mon-Thurs & Sat from 9am-12.15pm & 1.30pm4.30pm).

Metered taxis can be found at the airport, hotels, shopping centres, and the central bus station in Bandar Seri Begawan. Alternatively, grab a Dart Taxi using the ‘Dart’ app - a taxi booking application that can be downloaded at the App Store and Google Play.


There are six bus routes servicing the BSB area. Normal operating hours are from 6am-8pm. Bus fares start from B$1.00. Buses heading to other towns in Brunei such as Tutong, Kuala Belait and Seria depart from the bus terminal located at the multistorey carpark on Jalan Cator in BSB.



Licensed money changers can be found at the airport, hotels, various shopping complexes and banks. To cash or exchange travelers cheques, visit major international banks in the capital.


Smoking is prohibited in both air-conditioned and non airconditioned areas in Brunei Darussalam. Smoking is banned in specific places, including government buildings, hospitals, recreational and educational centres, public transport and restaurants. Offenders could be fined.

Unique to Brunei, the water taxi is the most common means of transportation in Kampong Ayer. You can hail a water taxi from the numerous jetties along the banks of Brunei River. Fares are negotiable but usually a standard ride costs about B$1.00. Regular boat services to Temburong operate between 6am-4.30pm daily and a one way trip costs B$7.00.


Passenger ferry services to the Malaysian island of Labuan operate from 7am to 4pm and departs from the Serasa Terminal in Muara town. The journey takes about 45 minutes to an hour.

biG essentials



In Pontianak, banks open from 8am to 3pm from Mondays to Fridays and are closed on Saturdays and Sundays. ATM machines are available 24 hours. Major shopping malls also have ATM machines and are available during operating hours.


While major credit cards such as Mastercard, Visa and American Express are accepted in establishments in the bigger cities, it is advisable to carry cash in small denominations especially around remote areas.

Money Changer

Licensed money changers can be found in most cities and major banks.


The Supadio International Airport is the main airport of Pontianak and West Kalimantan, and is located 17km away from the city limits. The airport serves direct domestic flights to other cities in Indonesia, and is also the terminal for international flight carrier AirAsia.


It is possible to make IDD phone calls at payphones using coins or call cards. You can also register for a SIM card at most telecommunications shops or at the airport. Most major hotels have WIFI in guest rooms or public areas, and an increasing number of restaurants also have WIFI zones.


Taxis can be found at the international airport, shopping malls and other public places.

Ferry Services

The Pontianak Crossing Port allows ferry connection to other cities in Indonesia such as Jakarta, Surabaya, Medan and Batam.

For more information, visit:



Bank s

Banks open from 9am to 4pm from Mondays to Fridays and are closed on Saturdays and Sundays. ATM machines are available 24 hours. Major shopping malls also have ATM machines and are available during operating hours.


Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted credit cards at hotels, restaurants and major shopping malls. Some establishments do accept American Express.

Money Changer

Licensed money changers can be found at the airport, shopping malls, hotels and major banks.



Banks open from 9.30am to 3pm from Mondays to Fridays and are closed on Saturdays and Sundays. ATM machines are available 24 hours. Major shopping malls also have ATM machines and are available during operating hours.


Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted credit cards at hotels, restaurants and major shopping malls. Some establishments do accept American Express.


There are three main bus terminals that operate regular services. The terminal along Jalan Tun Razak provides services within the city and its outskirts. For destinations south of the city (Papar, Beaufort, Tenom, Tambunan, Keningau), use the terminal near Padang Merdeka. For any other destinations north of the city and all the way to the east coast towns of Sandakan, Tawau, Lahad Datu and Semporna, you have to take a bus to the Kota Kinabalu North Bus Terminal in Inanam and from there proceed to your destination of choice. Kinabalu Park is located en route from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan.


Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) is the second busiest airport in Malaysia and is the main terminal for Malaysia Airlines, MASWings, Firefly, Royal Brunei Airlines, Dragonair, Silkair and Asiana Airlines.


It is possible to make IDD phone calls at payphones using coins or call cards. Prepaid calling cards are also widely available by authorized dealers at shopping malls. Most major hotels have WIFI facility either in their guest rooms or public areas. An increasing number of restaurants now have WIFI zones too. Cybercafés offer very affordable rates for internet services.


Taxis are available at the airport terminal and cost about RM30.00 to get to the city. The journey takes between 10-15 minutes. Within the city, taxi stations are located next to major shopping malls and hotels. Long distance taxi services can be found next to Padang Merdeka.

Sabah Tourism Board Jalan Gaya Tel: (6088) 212 121

Sri Pelancongan Sabah Sinsuran Complex Tel: (6088) 232 121

Tourism Malaysia (Sabah) Api Api Centre Tel: (6088) 211 732

Visitors’ Information Centre Terminal 1 Tel: (6088) 413 359

Visitors’ Information Centre Terminal 2 Tel: (6088) 447 075

Ferry Services

Jesselton Point is the main terminal for boats to the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park islands and to Labuan Island. If you wish to drive to Labuan, use the ferry terminal at Menumbok south of the city where car ferries are available.


A free city-tram service is available for sightseeing around Kuching with pick up points at designated hotels. A daily bus service between Kuching and the airport operates from 6am-7pm and takes 40 minutes. The main intercity bus terminal is at Penrissen Bus Terminal southeast of Kuching. Ask Tourism Information Centres for bus timetables; a ‘green bus’ in the Kuching area goes to Santubong (SCV).


Kuching International Airport services airlines to destinations within Malaysia and overseas via Malaysia Airlines, Air Asia, Firefly, Tiger Airways, Royal Brunei, Silk Air and Batavia Air (Pontianak, Kalimantan).

A network of services using smaller aircrafts provides access to remote destinations within Sarawak such as Bario, Mulu and Ba Kelalan.

Money Changer

Licensed money changers can be found at the airport, shopping malls, hotels and major banks. Some money changers may not accept foreign currency in small denomination or notes with a date or serial number that they don’t approve of.


It is possible to make IDD phone calls at payphones using coins or call cards. Prepaid calling cards are also widely available by authorized dealers at shopping malls. Most major hotels have WIFI facility either in their guest rooms or public areas. An increasing number of restaurants now have WIFI zones too. Cybercafés offer very affordable rates for internet services.


Taxi fare from Kuching airport to the city cost about RM22.00 per way. Taxies are easily found at large hotels, or at taxi stands in all the major towns in Sarawak. Taxis don’t use meters so always negotiate the fare before getting into a cab!

Express Boats and Ferry Services

A boat service locally known as tambang is available for the short trip across Kuching River to the riverside villages on the other side and along the river for sightseeing. Fast and comfortable express boats connect coastal towns (Kuching, Sibu, Kapit) and villages on the major rivers in Sarawak. The Express Ferry Terminal in Kuching offers trips to Sibu and onwards to Kapit for upriver journeys. Take a bus from Sibu to Miri for ferries to Brunei and onwards to Labuan island and Kota Kinabalu.

Tourist Information Centre

Kuching Visitors’ Information Centre Tel: (6082) 410 944/2

Miri Visitors’ Information Centre Tel: (6085) 434 181

Sibu Visitors’ Information Centre Tel: (6084) 340 980

Tourist Information Centre
JalanTutong n National Stadium SEE GADONG MAP SEE KIULAP MAP SEE MAP Jalan PengiranBabuRaj a JalanGadong Jalan P e r u s haBnaabire JalanEstetGadong Lebuhraya Tungku LebuhrayaSultanHajiHassanal Bolkiah JalanPertahanan JalanUtamaBerakas J la na M auar Jalan Kebangsaan Lama JalanKebangsaan JalanTasek Lama J a l na Kg Kianggeh JalanSubok JalanKotaBat u Jal an Utama M e n t i r Jalan Kebangsaan i Brunei Airport International Jalan MenteriBesar Trader's Inn Public Transport Airport Shop Bank/ ATM/ Money Changer Restaurant Hotel Placeof Interest Tourist Information Centre BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN MAP Hua Ho Manggis Mall International Convention Centre Mulia Hotel Edinburgh Palace Prime Minister Office Building Mabohai Shopping Complex Tasek Lama Recreational Park Serusop & Delima Times Square Hotel Batu Bersurat Jame’ Asr Hassanal Bolkiah Mosque RIPAS Hospital Kg Ayer Cultural and Tourism Gallery Brunei Arts & Handicraft Centre Badiah Hotel Kampong Ayer Batu Satu Istana Nurul Iman MataMata Police Headquarters Grand City Hotel Royal Brunei Airlines Golf Club Kg Jaya Setia Embassy Row D’Anggerek KiarongDarul Ifta BANDAR
Tamu Selera (Hawker Stalls) DewanMajlis andLapau Syariah Courts Secretariat Building LapauLama Building/ History Centre Dewan Bahasa (Library) Chinese Temple Time Piece Stone Monument Takaful IBB Building Dermaga Diraja Bandar Seri Begawan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque Kianggeh Jetty Kampong Ayer Cultural and Tourism Gallery SUNGAI BRUNEI SUNGAI KIANGGEH Yayasan SHHB Complex Kota Batu Jl J J al na C ta or Jalan Istana The Royal Regalia Building Bus Terminal Raja Ayang Mausoleum Brunei Hotel Jubilee Hotel Capital Residence Suites PusatBelia (YouthCentre) Radisson Hotel Terrace Hotel PGGMB Building Tamu Kianggeh Taman Sir Omar Ali Saifuddien Post Shop Restaurant Public Toilet Tourist Information Centre Place of Interest Water Taxi Bank/ ATM/ Money Changer Hotel Police Station Public Transport Former Royal Customs & Excise Building / Art Gallery 1 Raja Ayang Mausoleum 10 1968 Coronation Arch 2 Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Mosque 3 The Royal Regalia 7 Lapau Lama Building 6 Dewan Majlis and Lapau 8 The Secretariat Building 5 Timepiece Stone Monument 9 Tamu Kianggeh 11 Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar Ali Saifuddien 4 10 mins 5 mins 5 mins 10 mins 1 2 3 4 9 10 5 6 7 8 11 General Post Office Bandar Seri Begawan & Brunei Stamp Gallery Jla na Kamp un g Berang an Jla na Btire a JalanBendahara JalanStoney Ja lan T u t o n g Jalan James Pearce Jalan Pretty JalanMasjidOmar ‘AliSaifuddien Jalan P emanch a JalanSultanOmar AliSaifuddien JalanSungaiKianggeh J a l na K ma gnpu K i a hgeng Jal an El iza b e t h Du a Jalan Roberts J a l a n McA rthu r 1968 Coronation Arch BANDAR WALKING MAP 10 mins 10 mins 5 mins 5 mins 5 mins 5 mins JalanSumbiling JalanStoney Eco-Corridor Bandar Seri Begawan BIBD Connect Jab Gym Pavo Point 52 Borneo.Insider’s.Guide biG navigator
Guan Electrical Hua Ho BANGUNAN HALIMATUL SAADIAH The Centrepoint Hotel Jaya Hypermart Centrepoint Block H Block E Block D Block C Block F Block G Bangunan H Tahir A YONG SIONG HAI COMPLEX Bangunan H Tahir A Block B ABDULRAZAKSHOPPINGCOMPLEX HJDAUDCOMPLEX Hj Tahir Complex 2 The Mall, Gadong Rizqun International Hotel Block A Block J Simpang37 JalanDayangSitiHamidah Simpang37 S mp a n g 3 7 Simpang37 J alan Gadon g JalanPasarGadong SUNGAIMENGLAIT SUNGAI MENGLAIT SUNGAI MENGLAIT Gadong Night Market (Pasar Pelbagai Barangan Gadong) Fish Market (Gadong Wet Market) GADONG MAP Public Transport Shop Bank/ ATM/ Money Changer Restaurant Hotel Clinic Police Station BIBD Bank Wisma Pengiran Hj Apong Kiulap Plaza Hotel Bangunan Haji Abdul Rahman Bangunan Awg Hj Matussin Qlap Complex Urairah Complex Bangunan Begawan Pehin Dato Hj Mohd Yusof Seri Kiulap Complex Impiana Jaya Complex Tian & Chuan Building ComplexHauManYong Shakirin Complex Seri Qlap Mall One Riverside IGS College Palm Garden Hotel Setia Kenangan Building BangunanAwgHjAhmad Fitness Zone Lee Clinic Post Office Kampung Kiulap SUNGAI KEDAYAN SUNGAIMENGLAIT Bangunan Lim Eng Ming Setia Kenangan 2 Complex Regent Square JalanBeribi JalanKomersialKiul a p JalanKome r sial Kiu apl JalanBeribi Baiduri Bank Yong Clinic KIULAP MAP Post Office Public Transport Police Station Bank/ ATM/ Money Changer Restaurant Hotel Clinic Shop Borneo.Insider’s.Guide 53 biG navigator

How to be single (2016)

Based on the novel of the same name (but with a much different plot), comedic headliner Rebel Wilson heads to the Big Apple - New York, the City that never sleeps. Befriending a fun-loving and wild co-worker who acts as her go-with-the-flow guide, the single lifestyle is enjoyed to the max as the duo get free drinks, while meeting lots of men, in this romantic comedy that will see the ladies searching for love and relationships.

Positive Thoughts

Rocky (1976)

Seven Pounds (2008)

Moving Forward &

Will Smith stars as a man on a mission for redemption for a past wrongdoing. One so bad, that he has committed himself to random acts of kindness, in the form of donating vital parts of his body to donors badly in need. As he begins to fall for a woman at risk from a deadly heart condition, he begins opening up to her about what set him on his path years earlier.

In this screenplay which was also written by Sylvester Stallone, the titular Rocky is a small time boxer from working class Philadelphia. When the world heavyweight champion’s opponent drops out due to an injury ahead of a scheduled match, the champion spices things up by offering a local challenger the opportunity to square up with him, to fight for glory in the ring. An offer that Rocky takes up in what becomes one of the greatest fictional fights on the silver screen.

Hello everyone! In the spirit of either new beginnings and fresh starts, or renewing promises to yourself to continue pushing forward – Mr Cliché right here is in the mood for something positive, full of energy and hope as we kick-start 2023. So here is our selection of feel good films about self discovery and never giving up, which in one way or another can serve to act as inspiration at its best, or simply make us feel warm inside with joy at its worst. I do like win-win scenarios.

Starring Rebel Wilson, Dakota Johnson, and Leslie Mann Directed by Christian Starring Will Smith, Rosario Dawson, and Woody Harrelson Directed by Gabriele Muccino Starring Sylvester Stallone, C arl Weathers, and Talia Shire Directed by John G. Avildsen
54 Borneo.Insider’s.Guide biG screen

New Year's Eve (2011)

In this star studded film packed with an ensemble cast of A-tier names – we follow several of the cast as they experience their respective dramas. From the rock star quarreling with his wife at a public party, to a nurse and her dying patient who wants nothing more than to watch the Times Square ball drop one last time. These intertwining stories promise love, hope, forgiveness, and second chances on the most celebrated night of the year.

13 Going on 30 (2004)

Big (1998)

Eat Pray Love (2010)


When a 12-year-old boy makes a wish one night to be an adult, and awakes the next day to find he has become a 30-year-old man, life is suddenly thrown into a chaotic turmoil. Awkwardly making the best of the situation, he becomes an advisor at a company testing the manufacture of new toys for children. Thinks are looking up when the stresses of adult life overwhelm him, leading him to search for a way to reverse the spell.

When a 13-year-old girl makes a strange wish on her birthday, she is caught completely unawares when she awakes the next morning to find the 30-year-old woman lying in her bed is none other than herself, 17 years in the future. Employed as an editor at a fashion magazine, she then proceeds to enjoy her best life, while struggling to fill in the gaps of her missing years, before a traumatic event resets time, allowing the now once again 13-year-old to make a different choice from one made so long ago.

When a successful woman who thought she had achieved everything she ever wanted undergoes a traumatic event, she begins questioning many of the things she once considered important. Embarking on a journey of self discovery, she leaves the confines of her comfort zone, on a quest that takes her to Italy, India and Bali in Indonesia. Based on the 2006 memoirs of author, Elizabeth Gilbert.

Starring Jennifer Garner, Mark Ruffalo, and Judy Greer Directed by Gary Winick Julia Roberts, Javier Bardem, and Richard Jenkins Directed by Ryan Murphy Starring Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfieffer, and Hilary Swank Directed by Gary Marshall Starring Tom Hanks, David Moscow, and Elizabeth Perkins Directed by Penny Marshal
Borneo.Insider’s.Guide 55 biG screen


Now that our Island, region, and the wider world has reopened (more or less), we feel a lot more positive that the constant schedule postponements we got used to over the past 2 years will be a thing of the past. So fingers crossed that these upcoming films prove to be entertaining as well as meeting their deadlines for release.


Starring Gerard Butler, Mike Colter, and Yoson An

Regardless of the role he plays we have all become accustomed to seeing Gerard Butler save the day, even when said role has nothing to do with being a hero. So when a storm damages a commercial airline, forcing it to land in hostile territory, the pilots take steps to protect their passengers from the local militants looking to take hostages in this action-thriller.


Starring Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega, and Courtney Cox

After a 10-year hiatus the Scream franchise has returned with a new generation of fresh meat that will push the saga forward for a new generation of movie-thrill seekers. And it all begins when the 4 survivors of the Ghostface killings leave their town behind for a fresh start in New York City.


Starring Tom Hanks, Rachel Keller, and Kailey Hyman

Get ready to meet the grumpiest man in America in this comedy-drama piece that see’s Hollywood A-lister Tom Hanks assume the role of an irritable, widower whose only joy in life comes from constantly judging and criticising everyone he sees. His exasperated neighbours often bear the brunt of him, until he forms an unlikely friendship with the young, lively family that moves in next door.


Starring Keanu Reeves, Donnie Yen, and Scott Adkins

With the bounty on his head continuing to rise steadily, the legendary hit man begins taking the fight to the high table itself globally. Travelling from New York to Paris to Japan to Berlin, John Wick seeks out the most powerful players in the underworld to do what he does best.


Popular Marvel Comics superhero Ant-Man returns for this 3rd installment which sees him and his partner, The Wasp, alongside their family, exploring the Quantum Realm. This adventure will bring them into contact with Kang the Conqueror – the new super villain preparing to rock the MCU by adding our reality to those he has already subdued.


Starring Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, and Regé-Jean Page

A reboot of the trilogy that was first released in 2000, this tale follows the journey of a charming rogue and thief, who alongside an unlikely band of adventurers seek to retrieve a lost relic. Things turn awry when the group runs afoul of the wrong people, in this epic quest.


Starring Dave Bautista, Jonathan Groff, and Rupert Grint

The often mysterious themes of Shyamalan are back, with the director’s latest offering in which a young girl and her parents are taken hostage by 4 armed strangers. Demanding that the family make an unthinkable choice in order to avert the apocalypse, the family must quickly figure out what is going on if they are to survive.

Starring Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, and Jonathan Majors
FEB 3 JAN 13 56 Borneo.Insider’s.Guide biG screen
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