Iban tribespeople. Image courtesy of Brunei Tourism.
Tutong is Brunei's ethnic melting pot. Home to five ethnic communities -- Dusun, Iban, Kedayan, Tiong Hua, and Tutong -- the district is vital to understanding the spectrum of Brunei’s multicultural landscape.
A short 45-minute drive from the capital's urban core, Tutong offers an array of attractions where one can learn more about its ethnic groups. Sungai Basong Recreational Park is by far the most popular. A small, model “village” within an herb garden exhibits ethnic houses that show where and how a family from each community lives. The park also showcases Chinese calligraphy, Kedayan post-natal traditions, and Iban arts and crafts, among other cultural artifacts.
Tasek Merimbun Heritage Park is among such destinations. Declared an ASEAN Heritage Park in 1984, it is the country’s first national park, home to 200 species of birds, 50 species of freshwater fish, and 83 species of mammals. Inside, visitors can explore various sanctuaries, recreational facilities, a research center, an exhibition hall featuring archaeological and natural histories, and botanical trails that one can take through peat-swamps and lowland rainforests.
Visitors witnessing a cultural demonstration at the Sungai Basong Recreational Park.
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If you're interested in welcoming encounters with local tribes, try these other experiences: visiting the scenic Rice Terraces of the Philippines; hiking through Sarawak and Sabah in East Malaysia; visiting Laos' mysterious Plain of Jars; and Indonesia's Sumatra Island ethnic communities.
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