Thursday, July 19, 2012

Unspoiled Nature

Executive summary by darmansjah

Immerse yourself in the beauty of nature in bountiful Brunei

Brunei is well known for its abundant oil and natural gas resources, and this focus on the energy industry is the key reason why much of the nature in the country has been left unspoiled. This makes Brunei an absolute treasure trove for anyone with lover for tropical rainforest and wildlife.

Natural Beauty

When you need a break from the hustle of city life in a concrete jungle, Brunei is a great escape, as the lush greenery you seek is never far. One such place is the Tasek Merimbun National Park. Take a 90-minute drive out of Brunei’s capital to the Tutong District and you will find yourself at this National Park, which is listed on the Asean Heritage parks and Reserves. Tasek Merimbun National Park boasts the largest lake in Brunei, which is actually filled with waters from two other lakes – Sungai Meluncur and Sungai Bang Oncom.

The lake at Tasek Merimbun is no ordinary lake – take a closer look at its waters and you will notice that the water is jet black. The phenomenon behind Brunei’s only blackwater lake is caused by the peat swamps that the waters flow through before collecting in the lake. The lake is surrounded by lush green wetlands which are full of wildlife like waterfowls, giant beetles, the gorgeous Rajah Brooke’s birdwing butterflies, slow lorises, and red-leaf monkeys.

Another convenient stretch of Brunei’s nature is Pulau Selirong, which is just 45 minutes away from Brunei city by water taxi. A short river cruise will bring you past mangrove swamps and marshland – if you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of families of proboscis monkeys, which are a species of monkey native to the island of Borneo.

Explore a Rainforest

But the jewel of Brunei’s many green spaces is definitely the Ulu Temburong National Park. Covering over 50,000 hectares in the Temburong District, the Ulu Temburong National Park is home to some of the world’s most diverse ecosystems. The variety of habitats found here includes everything from lowland forests, to jungles and mountain forests. And of course, the Park is also teeming with native wildlife – gibbons, proboscis monkeys and hornbills are just some of the animals you might spot while in Ulu Temburong.

An activity not to be missed in Ulu Temburong is the spectacular canpy walk. Reaching the canopy is definitely a challenge: you have to climb over 1000 steps up a steep hill, then go up stepladders to get to the suspended canopy bridge. But the effort is well worth it, as the walkway soars high over the forest canopy, offering panoramic views of the National Park, as well as the Temburong and Belalong Rivers.

For a more immersive experience, check into the Ulu Ulu Resort, which is found right at the heart of Ulu Temburong. The resort has a number of comfortably furnished wooden chalets, where you can fall asleep and awake to the sounds of the rushing river and wildlife right at your doorstep. The resort ha guides who will bring you on walking tours through the area. Staying at Ulu ULu Resort for the night also gives you the opportunity to tackle the canopy walk at sunrise, which gives you an even more spectacular view of the rainforest in all its glory.

Sun, Sand, Sea

Brunei is found on the coast of the island of Borneo, which means there is an abundance of white sandy beaches all around the island. Muara Beach is a popular picnic spot for the locals, while kids love flocking to the nearby children’s playground. Another quieter but beautiful beach hideout is Jerudong Beach. This a great beach to enjoy the sunset and a favorite for water sports lovers.

And if exploring the underwater depths of Brunei’s waters interest you, you’ll be happy to hear that the well-preserved waters off Brunei is home to vast coral reefs and stunning marine life pranding excellent diving opportunities. Some of the best dive reefs include Brunei Patch, Princess Avenue and Clownfish wreck dives are found between Brunei and Labuan, a neighbouring Malaysian island. These include the 30-metre deep American Wreck (a US ship that sank during WWII), 55-metre Yuho Maru (a Japanese tanker sunk by an American submarine in 1944) and the Oil Rig Wreck, which contains fragments of an oil-rig sunk by Brunei Shell Petroleum in 1944.

Travel Essentials

Flight Connectivity – Royal Brunei Airlines ( flies direct from major destinations in thee Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Europe to Brunei. Singapore Airlines (, AirAsia ( and Tahi Airways ( also operate flights into the country.

Climate – Brunei enjoys and equatorial climate, with year-round average temperatures ranging from 23’C to 33’C. there is no distinct rainy season, but there tends to be heavier rains between the months of October and January.

Culture – Brunei is an Islamic country, and sale and public consumption of alcohol are not permitted in the country. Non-Muslims above 17 years of age can import a duty-free quota of two bottles of wines or spirits, and 12 cans of beer per entry for private consumption.

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