Published: March 18th 2010March 11th 2010
I have spoken to a Filipino guy named Yusuf an elderly gentleman who works for Jesselton Express, one of the few bus companies that go to Brunei from KK, he gave me the schedule and promised to take care of me if I ride with their bus, so I did, the bus leaves at 8am, I bought a ticket at the counter for Limbang, 50 ringgits, Yusuf then spoke to the drivers(2) about me being dropped off at Bangar, a town in the Temburong district separated from the main Brunei bit by the Limbang district of Sarawak. Anyway the bus left on time, then stopped at Beaufort, Sipitang and anywhere the passengers want to get off, we left Sabah at the immigration post of Sandumin(?) we got stamped out and then in to Merapok, Lawas in Sarawak, they both are Malaysia but they have their own immigration control, confusing, I know...the guy wrote in the stamp I have 30 more days to stay in Malaysia, they usually deduct it from the length of time you have already been in the country, I got 90 days initially, why the heck I only get 30 more days??I did not protest since I will
re enter again after staying in Brunei for at least a week and maybe I get another 90 days. At Lawas the driver told me we stop for lunch for 1/2 hour, he wants me back in the bus at 12:30pm so I ruched to find lunch, I saw a KFC and ate there, Sarawak from what I see looks nicer, better roads etc, but I only see this part as of yet so..
From Lawas we proceeded again and have to cross a river by a transport ferry, 5 minutes, a huge bridge is almost done, being built as of now. Not long after comes another immigration post, we are exiting Sarawak now at Mengkalar. not 1 minute later stop again this time the Brunei immigration, the guy gave me 30 days in the stamp. From here on maybe 1/2 hour more and we are in Bangar, I got dropped off at the market plaza just past the bridge where boat terminal is, I saw then as we crossed, this is where the boat for BSB leaves from. the town is so compact, clean and simple, reminds me of US army bases, it has that feel, I don't
know why, maybe everything is well marked, roads are good.. I asked people from the market where the Bangar resthouse is, it was just the next street over from where I got dropped off which i think is the main road, about 5 minutes walk is the Bangar resthouse, the sign says "Rumah Persinggahan something something..." bungalow style chalet, looks really nice, I went in the reception everyone is so hospitable, big smiles, I filled up the registration then asked later the price of the dorm, 25 Brunei$ !! about roughly $18, I told them I can't afford it, they referred another hostel called "Pusat Belia" a youth hostel and here the dorm bed is only B$10, It was just across the main road right in front of the bus drop off point. This town is so small and compact you don't get lost really. I talked to Mumtaz the caretaker, I looked at the dorm looks clean and nice so i told him I will take one bed.
First up is to check in with the Tourism Info Ctr. right across the youth hostel. I met Lisa and she explained to me the things I can do in
the area. I can do the Perdayan Forest reserve, 3 hours roundtrip, I saw the map and it stops at the viewpoint in Bukit Patoi, I told her I want to continue on to the very end of the trail but she said no one does that nowadays and she can't explain to me clearly why, the trails could be bad or not well maintained, I haven't a clue, I did not protest anymore, this I can do on my own, I get dropped off and picked up to the entrance, the hike is easy apparently, one person can do it solo. The next thing I want to do is the canopy walk at Ulu Temburong National Park, problem is there has to be at least 2 persons minimum, if not you pay B$150! If more than 2, B$95 only per person, so we made an agreement that if there will be more people signing up for the Ulu trip I will go with them, mostly tours coming from BSB so it could be tomorrow or the next day, in the meantime I can do Perdayan. She was also pitching the Sumbiling Eco Village hike 2d/1n or 3d/2n but is
too expensive for me, the photos look cool but to steep a price.
Returned to the hostel and checked in, fetched my big pack from Bangar resthouse. I took a shower, the restrooms are nice, 2 shower stalls and 2 toilets, there is a washing machine you can use, just buy your own washing powder, Mumtaz is a very nice guy he showed me around the youth center. The shower is very good, strong water pressure, cold and hot water, though you'd be crazy to have a hot shower in this stiffling heat. This afternoon is chill out time, walk around town, no other guests here but me yipee!!
I had a big nap after a walk into town, it's so hot, I need to get inside, so came back to the Youth hostel. I got up at past 8pm! I went out to buy food at the Tamu market place and it's already shut, f@#k I am famished, I need something to eat. I went back to the minimall thing and found a small restaurant still open, they only have a set meal, so I told them give me what you got even if I don't
where the bus dropped me off, front of the Tamu, a local open market
know what it is. Turns out to be fried curried chicken, some dried anchovies and a soup and rice, not bad for B$4. Oh btw 1 US$ is 1.40 B$, for me it's a bit but hey I knew Brunei would be expensive. I went to the internet a bit after dinner then back to the hostel. There is no tv and am bored so I watched "Simpsons" the movie from my netbook,cracked me up! dialogues like "2 shakes is ok, 3 is playing with yourself already" classic! I was laughing my heart out, when the movie finishes I went out to take a leak and when I got out of the room all these people were staring at me, my room has 2 doors one from outside the other from inside, the inside door opens up to a conference hall when you get out, there is a gathering of locals, with food and all and they must have heard me cracking up, I played it cool and went straight to the restroom. i could not sleep that night, my room is next to Mumtaz, the caretaker and he has his tv on loud, the whole
freakin' night! I tossed
my hostel, so cheap for Brunei, B$10 a night
and turned and what do you know before I realized it it was 5am, time to get up for my hike today!
I made arrangements with Lisa, the tourism person to get picked up at 6m to start the hike early so I have better chance of seeing wildlife, 14 kms away the Peradayan forest recreational park is supposed to be good and it's free, it used to be a longer trail but the forest reclaimed more than half of the trail because of disuse, not a lot of tourists come here to begin with and when they do they want an easy hike so now the trail goes only as far as Bukit Patoi lookout point, so forget what LP has to say. Rez, Lisa's husband picked me up and took me to the entrance of the park, it's free and am alone, I am a bit
intimidated, I hate snakes and am sure there are some here, It was still dark when I began, for a moment I waited 5 minutes next to the stairs, the trail begins with long stairs up and broken up intermittently by paths, when I gathered enough courage, I started, with a
head torch on I slowly trudged into the forest, the trail is quite good, only there is a lot of leaves in the path and it freaks me out, might step on a slithery one you know. It goes up slowly, some paths lead to some dark areas of the forest, I can hear lots of noises, birds, monkeys, like barking dogs, fruits falling on the ground, I know there are animals there but can't see them really. Lisa told me 3 hours roundtrip, I got to the viewpoint in half an hour! and that is taking my time too. Hmm what to do now it's only 7am, pick up time is 9am.
The sun is now up but there is a lot of haze in the horizon so can't really see much far out, apparently on a clear day you can see Sipitang and Labuan island from here but not today. I just sat there and listened to the noises in the forest as I can't see any damn animals. Stayed for an hour then started getting back, on my way I saw the only wildlife I will see, lizard! He got all my attention, he noticed it
and ran away. I am soaking wet in perspiration, its so hot and humid inside the forest. Rez the came back on time and dropped me off into town, I went back to the tourist office and paid Lisa B$30 for transport, then bad news, so far none confirmed for tomorrow for Ulu Temburong National Park, so have to wait some more, this is where the canopy walk is and I really wanted to do it, only it's too expensive for one person, have to pay for 2 people!
Am hoping for tourists from BSB to come and do it with me. Anyway I headed to the Tamu market and found lots of goodies, packed lunches of different sorts, I did my rounds and asked what food they have, everyone is friendly, I saw a strawberry like fruit but its from the forest with tough scaly skin, I was told it was sour and you eat it with salt, I can't remember the name. Then some wild aubergines and wild ferns, something different. Then spent most of my time in the internet cafe using their wifi.Had a nap again in the afternoon after lunch as I did not get
much sleep last night. In the afternoon I walked to see Lisa at
the tourist office but it was shut! just have to wait for the call then if the hike tomorrow is a go. Bored I decided to walk to the Civic Centre where a park is adjacent, called Kuala Belalong mini park, it features a mini waterfall, well manicured gardens, huts for relaxation and a pond. I got there and the pond is being used by old guys to play with their remote controlled play boats, quite noisy engines though, forget the waterfall its dry and the huts were falling apart, the path were tricky, made of wooden planks some have already disintegrated. So much for a nice walk in the park. Skip this one in case you come to Bangar. In front of the civic center is the parade grounds for occasions like when the King is here for a visit maybe. Oh there is also an off limits area next to the park where they have tanks and trucks for military use, maybe they have weapons here too, I think it's an army barracks and am sure it's well stocked, what with the wealth this country
has, in case Malaysia invades...
I tried to see the Canopy walk and do some forest trekking but I can't afford it, needs 2 persons minimum and while i was there no one turned up, even trips from BSB, tips though is if you want to do the Ulu Temburong Park, set it up here in Bangar it's cheaper, they charge B$95 i think, whereas from BSB with travel agents it's about B$125! It's only a 45 minute boat ride from BSB to Bangar. Bangar’s handy tourist office phone number is 522 1439 call them and tell them you want to arrange with them directly, Lisa who works there is very helpful and so is her husband, who will most likely be your guide, enjoy the beauty of Brunei's forests!
Temburong is the eastern-most district (daerah) in Brunei. It is an exclave, as it is separated from the rest of Brunei by Malaysia and Brunei Bay. Its capital is Bangar. The main town located in the district is Pekan Bangar.
Brunei's first national park, the Ulu Temburong National Park, is located south of the Temburong district, covering 550 square kilometres of the Temburong forest.
The national park has a scientific research centre facility, the Kuala Belalong Rainforest Field Studies Centre, which is only accessible by boat.
Recently, 25 hectares of the Kuala Belalong area had been allocated for joint venture research projects conducted by the Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Kuala Belalong Field Studies and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. It is called the "Belalong Rainforest Experience," and is funded by The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation: Brunei.
An Outward Bound centre can also be found within the national park.
Temburong has 67 km of roads connecting Bangar to interior villages. In addition a further 54 km of roads connect villages in the interior.
Bangar is the administrative centre of the Temburong District of Brunei. The quiet small town is relatively isolated as Temburong is separated from the main part of the country (where the capital Bandar Seri Begawan is located) by Sarawak's Limbang district.
Temburong is not very developed and as such, still has a lot of pristine rainforest. The Ulu Temburong National Park and the Batu Apoi Forest Reserve are excellent for experiencing the jungle.
There are more photos below