There wasn’t a lot of information online about how to get close to these monkeys except the popular tour agencies. So I asked our driver how he as a local, would be able to see these monkeys. His response was that he would look for a boat or “water taxi” that would bring him to the mangrove where these monkeys inhabit.
So with confidence and hope that we would find one ourselves, we set out to the dock. There were boat owners sitting and waiting for passengers when we arrived. We told a man that we wanted to see the proboscis monkey. He offered to take us to the mangrove and try to find the monkeys for 50 BND (36 USD, 1,200 THB) in an hour for 2 people. We agreed because if compared to the tour of 50-80 BND per person, his offer was way cheaper. We tried bargaining for 40 BND but he wouldn’t budge, so 50 it was then.
The first part of our short trip was the mangrove. We got on the water taxi which was spacious for two. We saw white colored birds flying around us. It took about 15-20 minutes
We still didn’t see them very clearly, only their backs and tails. So, we moved to another spot and waited again. From the new location, we found two monkey families. One monkey was at the top of a tree eating and two baby monkeys on a lower branch playing.
We weren’t able to get a closer picture because our camera lens wasn’t well suited for long-distance photography.
I observed that these monkeys were not used being near to people. They kept their distance and did their own animal thing in their animal world, unlike the monkeys I’ve seen in Thailand and Bali which is fine with me because I don’t think I want to get too close with them yet after my experiences with its kinds.
After a few minutes of monkey watching and getting itchy insect bites, we were ready to move on.
Kampong Ayer or Water Village
Our next destination was the Kampong Ayer or also known as the “Water Village”. It consists of villages built on the Brunei river. Historically, Kampong Ayer has been the principal settlement of Brunei. We toured around and saw different types of houses in the village. To my surprise, I’ve seen some houses already modernized. They have air conditioners and tv cables installed.
We saw a school and the students waiting at the pier for their “school water taxis” to send them home for free. It’s a community of people living together harmoniously. They have their own fire station and police station. Even our boat driver shared that he himself lives in the village. He grew up there and will probably grow old there too. He said he doesn’t have any reasons to move away from the village.
The tour took a little more than one hour. Back to the dock, we paid the water taxi owner what we owed him which I still think was a little too much. Anyways, he was very accommodating and friendly to us.
My advice for those planning on doing this kind of independent tour is to be patient in searching for the best offer. In our case, we agreed right away with the first person we talked to. I had a feeling that we could had gotten a better offer if we tried negotiating more.
Thank you for reading another one of my Brunei posts.
Keep posted for more. =)