headerbrunei2

Monkey Business in Temburong National Park

Malaysia and Brunei in a Week: Day 4
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.

Boarding the ferry to Bangar

All aboard!

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.

Ferry ride to Bangar in Brunei

The driver must have had memorized his lanes since there were no signs whatsoever.

Ferry to Bangar in Brunei

Felt like I was in an Indiana Jones movie speeding through the jungle.

Arriving at the ferry terminal of Bangar.

Arriving at the ferry terminal of Bangar.

Bangar

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.

Strong local coffee and roti dipped in curry was to be our sustenance for the morning.

Strong local coffee and roti dipped in curry was to be our sustenance for the morning.

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

We found our long boats and drivers waiting for us. Each boat held three or four passengers not including the driver.

We found our long boats and drivers waiting for us. Each boat held three or four passengers not including the driver.

Not quite sure what to expect on this journey!

Not quite sure what to expect on this journey!

Longboat ride in Temburong

It was low tide so the ride upstream was challenging with our boat getting stuck on rapids three times. Luckily we didn’t have to get out and push as our guide mentioned a few times… jokingly?

We passed a few other long boats but for the most part we felt like we were alone on the river.

We passed a few other long boats but for the most part we felt like we were alone on the river.


The ride in was serine besides the engine cacophony.

The ride in was serine besides the engine cacophony.

Made it…

Made it…

 The park welcome center was where we had to sign in with our passport numbers again and where our guide paid our park entrance fee before continuing.


The park welcome center was where we had to sign in with our passport numbers again and where our guide paid our park entrance fee before continuing.

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.

The walk up is not that difficult with the stairway path and seems to go by quickly as you explore the jungle around you.

The walk up is not that difficult with the stairway path and seems to go by quickly as you explore the jungle around you.

Collapsed bridge Temburong

This bridge was destroyed by a huge tree falling over it. I noticed a lot of damage along the trail of trees and branches crushing outhouses and rest areas, which were left in the collapsed state and not repaired or removed.

We saw a bunch of giant ants, butterflies, lizards, and caterpillars like this one.

We saw a bunch of giant ants, butterflies, lizards, and caterpillars like this one.

Canopy Walkway

At the end of the climb I was surprised to see the walkway was basically 50m of scaffolding built straight up to provide a view over the trees.


It’s a long way up.

It’s a long way up.

But the view from the top is worth it.

But the view from the top is worth it. Notice how my camo sunglasses and light green “Brunei” shirt allow me to blend in seamlessly with the environment.

View of the whole walkway. It doesn’t go very far.

View of the whole walkway. It doesn’t go very far.

Metal clanking against metal as you walk across the bridge.

Metal clanking against metal as you walk across the bridge.

It’s a long way down.

It’s a long way down.

The canopy scaffolding rising above the trees.

The canopy scaffolding rising above the trees.

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.

Gas is so cheap in Brunei due to government subsidies. A liter of diesel gas sells at BND 0.32 or EU 0.20, USD 0.27, RMB 1.625. That's about one US Dollar per gallon!

Gas is so cheap in Brunei due to government subsidies. A liter of diesel gas sells at BND 0.32 or EU 0.20, USD 0.27, RMB 1.625. That’s about one US Dollar per gallon!

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.

It was still light out so I had a good view of Istana Nurul Iman.

It was still light out so I had a good view of Istana Nurul Iman.

The docks of the Sultan’s palace.

The docks of the Sultan’s palace.

We weaved between huge transport ships that were using the same rivers the tiny water taxis used.

We weaved between huge transport ships that were using the same rivers the tiny water taxis used to transport from the stone quarry.

Checking a mangrove for monkeys.

Checking a mangrove for monkeys.

Water monitor resting on a branch.

Water monitor resting on a branch.

Success! At the third stopping point, we finally had a good look at the Proboscis Monkeys.

Success! At the third stopping point, we finally had a good look at the Proboscis Monkeys.

Unfortunately I didn’t have the machine-gun sounding pro cameras that other tourists had and my Nikon Coolpix ran out of battery, so I had to rely on the no zoom iphone cam.

Unfortunately I didn’t have the machine-gun sounding pro cameras that other tourists had and my Nikon Coolpix ran out of battery, so I had to rely on the no zoom iphone cam.

Proboscis Monkeys are known as “monyet belanda” in Malay meaning “Dutch monkey”. This is apparently due to the Dutch colonizers viewed to have similar large noses and bellies. lol

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!

David De Clercq

About David De Clercq

Founder and writer at World-Adventurer.com. David is on a mission to travel to every country in the world and recently surpassed 100 countries! As an adventurer, he craves new experiences while documenting them on multiple medias.

4 thoughts on “Monkey Business in Temburong National Park

Leave a Reply