Kuala Belait

Coordinates: 4°34′58″N 114°11′30″E / 4.582835°N 114.191783°E / 4.582835; 114.191783
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Kuala Belait
Clockwise from top left: Kuala Belait at night, Belait Beach, Belait River, Marine Construction Yard
Kuala Belait is located in Brunei
Kuala Belait
Location in Brunei
Coordinates: 4°34′58″N 114°11′30″E / 4.582835°N 114.191783°E / 4.582835; 114.191783
MukimKuala Belait
 • Village headSufrizal Hamdan[1]
 • Total4,259
Time zoneUTC+8 (BNT)

Kuala Belait (Malay: Pekan Kuala Belait; Jawi: کوالا بلايت‎; abbrev: KB) is the administrative town of Belait District, Brunei.[3][4] The population of the town proper was 4,259 in 2016.[2] Kuala Belait is officially a municipal area (kawasan bandaran),[5] as well as a village under the mukim of the same name.[6] The town is located 85 kilometres (53 mi) west of the country's capital Bandar Seri Begawan,[4] and 20 kilometres (12 mi) west of Seria, the district's other town.[7] It is also in the westernmost part of country, near the mouth of the Belait River.[8]


In 1914, a 60 miles (97 km) road connecting Kuala Belait and Brunei Town was completed.[9] Kuala Belait was a small fishing village at the turn of the 20th century.[10] The natives were Belait Malays who were mainly fishermen.[11] There was a disagreement between the two groups of settlers which caused one of those groups to the relocated up to the west bank of the mouth of the Belait River.[11] The village is now known as Sungai Teraban.[11]

A local armed with a Lee-Enfield rifle under the supervision of an Australian soldier on 27 June 1945.

The Kuala Belait Sanitary Board was established in 1929, and this marked the transition of Kuala Belait from a village to a town.[12] In 1930, British Malayan Petroleum Company (BMPC) constructed a telephone line along the Belait coastline which linked up Seria and Rasau with their main headquarters in Kuala Belait.[13] A hospital was built by BMPC and completed in 1931,[12] followed by the first private English school being built that same year.[14] Telephone lines stretching from Kuala Belait to Tutong was dismantled in 1934 after failing to meet expectations.[15] By 1939, pipelines and roads between the town and Miri has been constructed.[16]

On December 16, 1941, the town was captured after an amphibious assault was carried out at Belait Beach by 10,000 soldiers from the Japanese Kawaguchi Detachment and remained part of the Japanese occupation of British Borneo during World War II.[17][18] Moreover during the Japanese occupation of Kuala Belait, war crimes such as massacre and execution of Indian prisoners of war (POW) of the 2/15th Punjab Regiment were committed out by the Japanese.[19][20][21] It can also be noted that 55 Indian prisoners died from starvation in the POW camp in town.[22] As part of Operation Oboe Six, the Australian 9th Division arrived in Kuala Belait on June 24, 1945,[23] followed by the recapturing of the port of Kuala Belait.[24] Reconstruction plans for the destroyed town were approved in 1949.[25][26] Within the same year, a new church in town was consecrated.[27]

Due to the increase in profits from the oil industry in the 1950s and 1960s, rapid development was seen throughout Kuala Belait.[28] The first offshore gas field, South West Ampa,[29] was discovered 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) off Kuala Belait in 1963.[30] During the 1962 Brunei revolt, rebels of the TKNU managed to gain control of the town,[31] but was soon liberated by the 1/2nd Battalion Gurkha Rifles Regiment.[32] Siege by the rebels against the town's police station were repelled by the local police force.[33] After independence from Britain in 1984, a number of new government buildings were constructed to house the local services of the Brunei government. In 1990s, the two-lane road along the coast leading from Muara to Kuala Belait was upgraded to 4-lane.[34]


1950s aerial view of Kuala Belait from the South, with the Belait River in the foreground.

Administrative division[edit]

The area of Kuala Belait comprises territorial division which can be informally grouped into three main areas: Pekan Kuala Belait or Kuala Belait Town, and Kampong Pandan and Mumong suburbs. The latter two areas are further divided into three and two kampongs or villages respectively. Pekan Kuala Belait is also officially a kampong-level administrative division. All of the villages constitute almost all of Mukim Kuala Belait, a subdistrict of Belait.[35]

Territorial division of Kuala Belait
Main area Kampong
Kuala Belait Town Pekan Kuala Belait
Kampong Pandan Kampong Pandan 'A'
Kampong Pandan 'B'
Kampong Pandan 'C'
Mumong Kampong Mumong 'A'
Kampong Mumong 'B'

Local authority and town definition[edit]

The town of Kuala Belait is administered under Jabatan Bandaran Kuala Belait dan Seria (Kuala Belait and Seria Municipal Department), a government department under Kementerian Hal Ehwal Dalam Negeri (the Ministry of Home Affairs).[36] The department comprises Lembaga Bandaran or the Municipal Board, which is headed by Pengerusi Lembaga Bandaran (Chairman of the Municipal Board). The current chairman is Ridzuan Haji Ahmad.[37]

Overlapping territory[edit]

The area under the authority of the Municipal Department overlaps with that under Jabatan Daerah Belait or the Belait District Office. The municipal area consists of Pekan Kuala Belait, the whole of Kampong Pandan suburb, and parts of Mumong suburb. However, all of the kampongs are also under the governance of the Belait District Office, since they constitute the proper subdivisions of the district and subdistricts, and subsequently the headmen of the kampongs, known as ketua kampong (with the exception of Pekan Kuala Belait since there is none assigned), answers to the Pegawai Daerah or District Officer.


Marine Construction Yard in Sungai Duhon, 2022.

Oil and gas[edit]

Kuala Belait is located in the vicinity of the onshore Rasau gas field.[38] However Brunei Shell has various facilities in town to support the oil and gas production facilities in the vicinity.

The Kuala Belait Bunkering Station (KBBS) is located near the mouth of the Belait River.[39] It supplies domestic gas to the town and other bulk chemicals in support of the various activities.[39] The Kuala Belait Wharf is the main point from which personnel to and from the offshore platforms, off the Belait districts, embark and disembark.[39]


The Kuala Belait supply base is located to the south of the wharf, and is the main point for logistics for Shell.[40] The Marine Construction Yard (MCY) in Sungai Duhon, commonly known as SCO, is where construction of marine structures are carried out prior to installation offshore.[41]


Kampong Kuala Balai has historically served as the Belait population's hub. However, the population has scattered over the past 50 years, and now, Belait tribe members may be found in and around the town.[42] By 1938, Kuala Belait's population had increased to 5,000, and the BMPC was the city's major employer, with 1,185 out of 2,265 workers under its payroll.[43] 1,193 people were counted in Kuala Belait at the time of the 1931 census. It was reportedly 12,000 in 1948, due to the development around the district's oilfield.[44] The town has a sizable Chinese population,[45] and most Europeans are concentrated in Kuala Belait and Seria.[46]


The climate of Kuala Belait is tropical. The weather is warm, humid and rainy all year.[47]

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average High (°C)
Average Low (°C)
Average Rainfall (mm) 360 200 190 287 288 226 196 219 250 284 260 297



Most of the roads within the municipality are surfaced. There are buses taking passengers to Miri from Kuala Belait.[4] The Kuala Belait Highway from the Malaysian border west of Sungai Tujuh, Kuala Belait links up with multiple other highways leading to Bandar Seri Begawan and Muara Town.[48]

Commercial wharf of the Kuala Belait Port on 21 June 2020


It is possible to hire a water taxi at the public wharf close to the Kuala Belait market to go upriver towards Kuala Balai.[49] There are also trips organized by the Kuala Belait Boat Club to sail out in the open sea to various nearby destinations.[50] A timber jetty used to exist in Rasau in 1930.[51]

The Kuala Belait Port is one of the three ports of Brunei.[52] The part of the port near the mouth of the river is operated by Brunei Shell and public entry is restricted.[53] The commercial port of Kuala Belait is located to the south of the municipality in Kampong Sungai Duhon and its environs further upriver from the mouth.[54] Due to silting of the river mouth, the port can only take shallow draft vessels.[55] Two breakwaters have been constructed at the mouth of the Belait River to reduce silting of the river mouth.[56]


Commercial travellers would have to travel to either Bandar Seri Begawan or Miri to catch a commercial flight.[57] There is a helipad at Suri Seri Begawan Hospital.[58]


The town is also home to the Consulate of Mexico[59] and St. John's Church.


Sayyidina Ali Secondary School

Primary education is offered in various government and private schools. There are currently three government primary schools:

  • Ahmad Tajuddin Primary School
  • Paduka Seri Begawan Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Primary School
  • Pengiran Setia Jaya Pengiran Abdul Momin Primary School

The government also has built three schools which offer secondary education:

Chung Hua Middle School

There are four private schools in Kuala Belait. They may offer primary, secondary or both.

Secondary students opting for sixth form education study at Pusat Tingkatan Enam Belait. The sixth form students currently share facilities with the secondary students. However, the sixth form is expected to have its own stand-alone campus in the near future. Alternatively, students opting for vocational education may proceed to study at one of the two post-secondary institution, namely:

Places of interest[edit]

Tea Pot Roundabout

Kuala Belait town itself has a number of tourist attractions. Some of these are:

Notable people[edit]


Sister cities/towns[edit]


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External links[edit]