It was our last full day in Brunei and we already visited almost all of the tourist spots there is from the previous days. Compared to the other countries I’ve been, Brunei has fewer known tourist destinations. As per recommendations from other bloggers online, 2-3 full days will be sufficient to cover Brunei, in which I agree.
There was one more we did n’t want to miss while we’re at the country, the so-called virgin rainforest of Ulu Temburong National Park. And honestly, it’s because of this park that persuaded me to travel to Brunei in the first place.
The day tour isn’t cheap
There were doubts and second-thinking before the final plan was confirmed. For one, a tour isn’t cheap, for my standard at least. Upon searching online, I found the day trips range from 150-180 USD (5,000- 6,000 THB). Not very appealing just for a day trip. For several times, I asked the question, “Is this park really worth the money?”.
Second, there were only a number of agencies permitted to provide tours to the park. The moment I tried booking online, some websites wouldn’t allow me to book a trip a day before. My guess is because these agencies were already fully booked.
Affordable tour agency
I didn’t want to give up with my search though especially that I had all the intention to go. I just needed the right agency. To my amusement, I found one which was thankfully cheaper than the others. With Trandie, I only had to pay 130 BND (94 USD, 3,000 THB). We could trek to the canopy, relax in the waterfall and do the river tubing. Free breakfast and lunch were also included. Just what we wanted!
I was so thrilled after the booking was confirmed. I had to speak to the manager because of my trouble paying online but she agreed that we can pay in cash on the day of the tour.
Arrival at Bandar Jetty
She advised us to come early to Bandar Jetty. So we woke up at 5:30 AM and together with the manong driver we hired from the hostel the night before, drove us to the port. He charged us 10 BND (240 THB) and agreed on picking us up at 4 PM.
From Bandar, we rode a speedboat to Bangar. It is a medium-sized boat transporting passengers. We put on our life jacket for safety. The sun was just rising brightly and the air was still cold. Good thing I had my cap, sunglasses, and a scarf for protection. The ride took about 45 minutes.
Our tour guide met us at Bangar. Being on the first trip, we were very early so we waited for him for about 30-40 minutes. We traveled again by van to Trandie lodge and the ride took 20 minutes.
We paid our tour fees at the lodge. They prepared light refreshments and drinks before commencing all our activities of the day.
After a short introduction from our tour guide Iza, we rode on a local longboat, known as Temuai, up to the Ulu National Park. I would say that it was one of my best rides. It was very refreshing to see tall trees and hear birds singing. It took about 45 minutes. The weather was sunny and hot so before the ride, I already applied sunblock and covered my arms with a scarf.
We stopped in a small cottage where we wrote our names before entering the park.
Then, trekking time!
We arrived at the entrance of the trail. We started trekking which involved more than 1000 steps up. Some steps were slippery from rain so I walked as carefully as I could. After minutes of trekking, my legs started getting tired and shaky. A sign that my body was so unfit. Ahem!
Finally, the trek culminated up to the canopy walkway. The highest one according to Iza was 43 meters high where one can enjoy the panoramic views of the Temburong Rainforest. We climbed up again on a series of narrow stairs and walk across a bridge.
I can’t say that I am not scared of anything because, at that moment, I discovered my weakness in heights. I could feel my legs turning like Jell-O, unstable and shaky. The sound of the metal every time I step forward didn’t help my growing fear. I just sang to myself and prayed that I would still be alive after. Exaggerations, I know! I’m sure it’s safe and that nothing will happen to me. Puff!
Reaching the top was very exhilarating and nerve-wracking. I had almost forgotten about my worries and fears when I saw the view of the rainforest.
The view exceeded my expectations. Seeing it in photos was very different than seeing it with my own two eyes. I wanted to keep everything in my memory.
Time to go down…
We climbed down and trekked again until we reached where our longboat was. Our next agenda was to visit a waterfall where we could swim, relax and experience the natural fish spa. The falls weren’t that big with two sections; the first one is the fish spa and the second one was where you can submerge your body in the water. A dip in the cold water was what I needed after the trekking.
The last activity of the day was the water tubing which I haven’t done yet. Lying on our backs, we let the water push us around until we reached the lodge. It was very relaxing and it gave us more time to appreciate our surroundings. I especially enjoyed passing on the water currents. It reminded me of our water rafting in Cagayan de Oro. =)
Once back to the lodge, we changed our wet clothes and ate our lunch. All the activities we did drain us physically. Food was very welcome to our stomachs.
Return to the city…
After lunch and an hour of rest, we headed back to Bangar Jetty. We waited for the boat that would take us back to Bandar.
Finally, we arrived at a quarter to 4 at Bandar. Our driver was nowhere to be seen yet so we waited for him until he arrived at exactly 4 PM.
An Unforgettable Trip
This trip to Ulu Temburong Park is the highlight of my Brunei travel experience. I always believe that the farther the place you go, the more memorable it will become. It is a special and unique experience which is also close to my heart.
Since living in big cities for the past decade, seeing the view I’ve seen gives me a new sense of peacefulness and tranquility. I feel recharged and full, ready to get back to my normal busy life. Sometimes in our life, we also need to take a breather. Either a break from the routine of our everyday life or from the environment we live in.
I highly recommend Trandie to everyone planning to visit the park. They’re one of the cheapest tour agencies I found online, yet their service is outstanding. Our tour guide Iza is a young beautiful lady, who made sure we were well taken care of.
There is an option to stay overnight or in a few days too. Maybe if we had more time, we could have stayed for at least one night. But we needed to fly back the next day. Nevertheless, this experience is worth all my penny and time.
Thank you for reading!
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