Published: March 16th 2012March 17th 2012
Brunei is located on the northwest coast of Borneo in south east Asia. On the way over to New Zealamd this was a good chance to stop over and experience the country with my Aunth and Uncle who live there. The flight time from England to Brunei is around 18hours, with a re-fueling stop in Dubai. I arrived remarkably wide awake and even if I wasnt the heat once the doors openned would soon shake me to life. The highest on record was 40°C and at the time of me typing this blog its 31°C.
I met my uncle at the airport and we drove a little way up the road to visit a mosque right in the heart of the busy streets, named after the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin, this mosque is beautiful and is a unmissable sight to see on arrival in Brunei. Painted with gold, marble and glass the symmetrical building rings out prayers five times a day and was very easy to get captured in the moment when you hear on of the prayers over the speakers. With all the busy streets and roads in full use it was incredible to experience this huge, magnificent mosque
with a carm and humble sense surrounding the building. It was as if all the noise pollution had disappeared and had been put on hold for the time we were exploring the grounds. Next on the agenda was a long boat ride through the water village and onto the outskirts of the jungle flora to spot Probiscis monkey. The water village made me take a step back and realise how fortunate I am. However having said that the villagers seemed to be really down to earth people with good values in life, we were allowed to jump onto the boards that act as a pavement connecting the houses together. When looking inside the homes built from peices of wood, metal sheets, and roof pannels I was very suprised. Inside looked like any other house carpetted, fully furnished with tv and sky box casually sitting there. This really was unexpected.
We jumped back into the long boat to explore the region for the monkeys, after a sight of branches shaking and monkey calls we were able to park up on the river bank and see a whole group running up and down the trees. This was a first for me,
to see wild monkeys pleasently playing and eating from tree to tree. On our way back our guild spotted a lizard lazing in the heat from one of the tree branches, I dont even know how he saw this lizard, I suppose its experience but still remarkable. This was apparently a very rare sight so I took in the moment. It was time for afternoon lunch and my uncle had another suprise was instore for me, a lunch in the severn star Empire Hotel, my first time in building which represents such a grand scale of wealth. As the door men opened the mammoth sized entrance doors, you can see why this hotel has been given a severn star rating. Severn foot paintings of the Saltan and Queen of Brunei are displayed as you proceed to the three level escalator taking you pasted gold leafed columns.
After our lunch which outlooked the blue sea and near white beach we drove back to my Uncle and Auntys house to sleep off a little bit of jet lag before going for a drink in Malaysia. Thats right, we had to drive through boarder control to drive into Malaysia, people do this
every day and night for work. This gained me a few extra stamps in the passport. I can only discribe the pint we had on the waterfront as magical, we sat down watching the sunset into the sea with a pint in one hand and well probably the insect repellent in the other lol.
After a day of rest and welcoming my Aunty back from her trip back from England, they had organised for me to experience the Jungle first hand, by a guided trek up through the Jungle and to a canopy tree top walk. As we travelled by long boat up to the river bank for our hike in the Jungle we passed amazing views and the valley we were travelling in seemed to adventure deeper and deeper into the unknown. For me it felt like we were somewhere undiscovered and so natural that we were going to be exploring untouched soil lol. One of the pictures (included in this blog) I took captures the respect you have for the Jungle's preserved nature. We moored up and walked up a natural path created by the tree roots, and then onto a wooden platform created for walkers. After
about 10mins I was then reminded of the heat Brunei hosts, sweating the most I've done in a while we continued to our destination of the tree top canopy walk. Our guide was very knowledgeable and gave information along the way about the trees we could see, the smells we were smelling and everything else in the middle. As we reached the scaffolding which would take us up above the Jungle, I was getting very excited, even the visible swaying of the scaffolding didnt put me off. The views at the top were outstanding, you could see the raise of the sun hitting the top of the tree line and hear all types of animal calls. This is the sort of thing you see on a nature program with the naration of David Attenborough on the BBC, Id never imagine I could experience it first hand. One thing that did make me laugh was the spirit level attatched to the metal just showing how much we were unbalanced. After taking in the views we made our way back to the long boat for a short ride to our next adventure into the Jungle to find the appropriately named "Fish Doctors".
These little fish are responsible for the many hours people have spent laughing and giggling as the dry skin is nipped off your feet. They are located under a waterfall so another hike was underway, this time it was only a short distance but the walk up really did remind me of a scene from Jurassic Park, with all the fern leafs and fallen tree trunks laid across our path. Also the steady stream flowing to the main river from the waterfall added to this childhood dream of exploring such a place like Jurassic Park. We arrived at the waterfall and the fish doctors were soon put to work with my feet in the water lol It was a weird experience, which was kind of addictive, probably because it cost nothing and was doing me some good lol Afterwards we made our way back to a midway camp site to have lunch. After we were attacked by the insects during lunch we continued our journey back to our van to drive home.
I loved my time in Brunei and the sights I saw were so surreal. Thanks Aunty and Uncle your plans for my time with you were
much appreciated and hopefully by reading this you can see how much I enjoyed myself :)
There are more photos below