Two volunteers from Sultan Saiful Rijal Technical College (MTSSR) were recently involved in the ultimate Sumbiling Eco Village experience. Haris Amir and Wafi Madain, both studying tourism had a full week community project at the rustic eco village as part of their work attachment at BorneoGuide.

Both were initially apprehensive with the thought of having no phone and internet connection for their whole week stay. When asked, they smiled sheepishly and admitted that the technology detox was indeed bliss.

This preconceived anxious belief of being tech-less during their home away from home was immediately dispelled when they were greeted warmly by the locals.

According to Wafi, one of their memorable encounters was befriending two Korean tourists they met at the Sumbiling Eco Village.

“It was nice talking to them for hours, watching sunsets and getting to know more about each other’s culture. It was also nice to see two Koreans attempting to speak the Iban dialect. It made me feel humble and appreciate our culture more.” He continued, “At the end of the trip, both of them cried. They felt so attached to the place and that was a sight I will always remember.”

The attachment to this place is inevitable as it dubbed as one of the top 3 destinations in Brunei by Lonely Planet in 2017. Since its construction 8 years ago, this place has borne memories and touched hearts of many of its visitors compromising of tourists, volunteers and students.

Both 20 year old enthusiastic students said this was indeed an eye opening experience for them. During their almost one week stay, they helped the community with building and maintenance work which developed their skills. Under the supervision of Borneo guide’s founder, Leslie Chiang and the local villagers they managed to be part of the work of refurbishing the communal toilet and storage area. They also had the chance to learn cooking exciting dishes they took for granted in the comfort of their previous surroundings.

Lastly, it made them experience the true essence of the tourism industry in Brunei Darussalam. Sumbiling Eco Village is operated by BorneoGuide tours. Residence to the Iban Community of Kampong Sumbiling Lama, Temburong, this unique tour destination aims at sustainability, community engagement, education and in the long run, achieve economic development. The lodge is one of its first on the island of Borneo to come up with the “glamping” concept, which is ideal in today’s fast paced travel trend.

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Rasyidah Samah

Author Rasyidah Samah

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