Welcome to the wild side of Brunei! Brunei is often described as “a Sultanate in the jungle”… and the best way to experience it is going to the country’s green jewel: Ulu Temburong National Park.
Brunei’s first national park covers a large expanse of primary untouched rainforest, among the best preserved of Borneo. Believe it or not, it’s oil that saved these forests. Indeed, Brunei was blessed with offshore oil reserves and the small sultanate’s economy could grow without touching its forests.
In comparison, neighbouring Indonesia and Malaysia destroyed vast expanses of their tropical rainforests through (not always legal) logging and to make room for palm oil plantations.
Thus, if you want to have a glance at the original, pristine rainforest of Borneo, Brunei’s Temburong District is a good choice! Temburong is geographically separated from the rest of Brunei by the Brunei Bay.
To visit this national park, you will first need to get to the town of Bangar (speed boat from Bandar Seri Begawan). Bangar is the main town of the Temburong District and you can immediately feel the proximity with the jungle. A short car drive away, you are on the banks of the Temburong River. From there, you will penetrate into the lush rainforest on a longboat.
The main attraction of the Ulu Temburong National Park is the canopy walk and canopy tower, which I must say offer a really splendid 360-degree view over the pristine rainforest. To reach it, muddy paths and wooden staircases have been built. The size of some of the trees along the path was stunning.
No doubt this is a primary forest, or such giants would for sure have been cut down already.
I always love to find high spots to look over a landscape and this canopy tower did not disappoint me! I wish I had stayed several days in the park and watched the sunset and sunrise from there! But I just went on a day tour. It sucks. But it’s better than nothing.
I am also ashamed and disappointed to admit that I did shot a panorama from the top of the tower but without a tripod with a panorama head, the railings just won’t align properly and it makes the whole thing particularly ugly. So… I had to give up this pano!
Talking about panoramas, have you seen those at the top of this page? That’s where we are going now. From the main river, I followed this cool little jungle stream and arrived at the small waterfall.
Ulu Temburong National Park isn’t exactly overcrowded with tourists and following this stream all alone with my guide was quite exciting because I didn’t know what to expect, until I reached the waterfall and its pretty pond of (very cold) water surrounded by this wild forest. A nice conclusion for a nice day trip in one of the least disturbed jungles on the planet! It feels good to see such places still exist in today’s world.