Off an adventure into Temburong National Park with an exhilarating boat ride into the jungle followed by a walk along harrowing scaffolding. Then Proboscis monkey hunting by boat and ending at the Empire Hotel.
I woke up and checked the time 6:45 am. The hotel didn’t give me a wake up call as requested. I was supposed to be picked up at 7 am. I got dressed and packed my bags in a flash. Then the reception called to say my driver was here. I asked them to make my breakfast to go. The tour driver was waiting for me when I got downstairs to check out and drop off my bag. With my hot breakfast in hand, we headed to the ferry terminal.
Speed Boat to Bangar
The ferry left from right next to where I had dinner last night. The guide was a friendly jolly guy who treated me to a Teh tarik (milk tea) where I had my breakfast to go, before we boarded. As the ferry traveled through Malaysian waters, I had to fill in my name and passport number on the form of what I assume was a passenger list.
The ferry to Bangar was a fun 45-minute ride through the bay and river systems of Brunei. Speeding through the narrow rivers with jungle overhanging on both sides was exhilarating.
A smiling local introduced himself as our guide for the day. I was with a group of seven for the day in two separate cars. We first went for breakfast (again) while we chat and got to know our fellow tourists. We had a Chinese group and a French couple from Dubai.
After breakfast we piled into our vans and headed to the river. On the way I asked the guide to stop at a shop where I could pick up a pair of swim trunks (since our hotel didn’t mention that we would be swimming). The trunks 4 sizes too big for me would do the trick.
Our guide told us about the traditional long houses that were occupied by single large families. It was interesting to hear that they simply built another house on the end when a new family is formed.
After about 20 minutes or so, we were there.
Ulu Temburong National Park
Then after another short ride we arrived at the base of the hiking trail. We were given bottles of water and a brief intro of the climb ahead.
Some people didn’t climb to the top of the canopy, which could be due to a fear of heights. I can’t blame them. After walking around for 20 minutes or so, we headed back down the way we came. A short boat ride away, we stopped for lunch at a picnic area where we could also swim.
Lunch was a welcome break as I had worked up quite an appetite. We had rice with chicken, sweet and sour fish, and a vegetables dish. Then we had some time to relax and swim. Finally I could make use of these awful swim trunks. We were given large inner tubes to float on in the water. I actually fell asleep giving myself a nice rosy sunburn and an outline of my sunglasses around my eyes…
The boat ride back was uneventful as we were going with the flow of the river making the rapids easily navigable. We then headed back to the ferry terminal by van.
At the terminal we registered for the trip and bid our guide farewell. Soon enough we arrived back in Bander Seri Begawan. I was a bit disappointed I didn’t spot any monkeys on my jungle trip, so I decided to go hunt them down.
Proboscis Monkey Tour
Going to the same water taxi area, I found a boatman who took me to see the monkeys for BND 15. We headed the same direction towards the palace.
Having seen the well-known long nosed monkey, my driver took me back to port where I stopped at the waterside restaurant for dinner. Then using a friendly local’s phone, I called the Empire Hotel and asked for a pick up from downtown. The driver soon arrived and took me first to Trader’s Inn to pick up my luggage then to go directly to the hotel.
Arriving on the hotel grounds, the driver made a point to welcome me to the property. The staff was very friendly and the manager at the reception upgraded me to a seaside view. The room was a few-minute walk from the lobby. I then spent some time exploring the pool area that was well lit, but completely deserted. This could be due to the fact that the pool was closed, but it was still warm enough for a nice dip. Then I relaxed in the whirlpool that was still on as well.
Back in my room, I relaxed with a bath before researching and writing a bit before bed. What a perfect way to end my day!