Sunday, June 04, 2017

Laidback Limbang – an ideal hideaway


LIMBANG is geographically peculiar, being sandwiched between two parts of Brunei.

This division in Northern Sarawak is connected to other parts of the state and Sabah by air. There are daily flights from Miri, Lawas,and Kota Kinabalu by the MASwings ATR 72–500 – a twin-engine turboprop short-haul regional aircraft, smaller than a turbojet commercial airliner, with only two flight attendants and a toilet on board.

On May 24, I went on a working trip to Limbang with members of 1Malaysia Sarawak Advisory Council (1MSAC).

We took off from Miri at 9am.

The flight over the rainforests at low altitude was a dream opportunity to view and photograph Limbang’s breathtaking landscape before touching down half an hour later at the airport, about 5km from town.

Visitors can also drive to Limbang, where the network of roads links it to both central Brunei where its capital Bandar Seri Begawan is located to the west, and its Temburong District – an enclave separated from the rest of Brunei by Malaysia and Brunei Bay – to the east.

Those driving beyond Brunei to places such as Miri, Kuching or Kota Kinabalu have to pass through the Sultanate. Noticeably, overland trips offer a much closer look at the natural beauty of the rainforests than the journey by air.

Limbang is well-known for several beautiful mountains, one being the 2,423m Gunung Murud  – the loftiest in Sarawak, partly located in the Lawas District and accessible from Ba Kelalan.

The population, like the rest of Sarawak, is very diverse. The major groups include the Malays, the Kedayans, the Lun Bawangs, the Chinese, the Bisayas and the Ibans, with smaller numbers of Bidayuhs, Kelabits, Melanaus, Penans, Tabuns and Tagals.

Upon arrival, we were given a warm welcome. After the customary greetings, we loaded our luggage onto a four-wheel drive vehicle (4WD) and drove to Rumah Ejau near Ulu Lubai, pampering ourselves with food and drinks.

We passed through two schools – SK Nanga Merit, which is connected with the main road by a steel bridge; and SK Ulu Lubai, one of the country’s top performing schools amidst lush jungles, and aptly dubbed by some as the ‘Jewel in the Wilderness’.

“A competitive spirit and strong parental support help ensure the success of SK Ulu Lubai, not forgetting the dedicated teachers who also give free tuitions. Most of the pupils speak English,” school headmaster Jaul Bunyau said.

He pointed out that SK Ulu Lubai ‘is a very ordinary remote school as far as the infrastructures and facilities are concerned, but extraordinary in terms of performance’.

The school won the ‘Gold Medal for Commonwealth Education Good Practice Award’, was a finalist of the Commonwealth Education Good Practice Award 2009 (Malaysian Government and Commonwealth Secretariat), and was nominated for the Unesco Education of International Best Practices 2010.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Laidback Limbang – an ideal hideaway
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