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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Ulu temburong Canopy Walk, Brunei

brunei attraction


Ulu temburong

As stated by lonely planet and other guides, It really is not advisable to enter ulu temburong independently. But hey presto! according to the lonely planet website- here

Tour companies in BSB offer a variety of packages. The standard rate is around B$245 per person for a two-day trip to the park, including an overnight stay at a Murut village on the way up the Sungai Temburong. There’s plenty of scope for group rates and other discounts, though it’s cheaper by far to get the boat to Bangar and either book at the tourist office (B$85) or hang around and try to negotiate a ride-along with an existing group.

It turns out that this is the current situation here. (from my personal observations)

there are 4 operators.
only Ulu-ulu has a resort within the park.
Those located outside the park are Freme, Sunshine, Trandie Marina

Trandie is the oldest, running the tour for 12 years

trandie marina resort-they have an obstacle course for the adventurous individual/ teambuilding exercise

Trandie Marina Resort
The others are quite new, but they all have additions such as the rapid rider service ($15)

The boat ride up from BSB is still $6. The Water Taxi takes around 45minutes to arrive at the new jetty in Bangar. You can find the Jetty easily. Its a 5 minute walk from the local bus terminal.. just walk towards the big body of water and turn left.. just after a row of kedai makan, you'll arrive at the jetty. There are 2 companies running the water taxi, however the price is the same. the red taxis arrive slower, I heard. but the difference isn't that much ~5-10 minutes

Once you get to Bangar,
-the new bangar jetty
Bangar Jettythe tourist office is located just across the road.. in a non-descript building. Flanking the office, is the youth centre. (you can stay @ the youth centre by informing them before hand)

Your choices at this point is-
1) enquire at the Tourist office (they have pretty weird opening hours.. on some days they open at 10 and close at 2?!!)

2)Wait for other tourists groups to arrive and see whether you can tag along. But its quite a gamble. You need to pre-book your stay in the park, and from my experience, the price is the same- ie you won't be able to get the group rate by virtue of "joining" the group.

3)You can push your luck even further, though that will inadvertently making it even harder to turn back, by hitchhiking/ finding a taxi to send you to Batang duri (around ten minute's drive)
If you're all for adventure, I think the distance is fairly walkable. you can visit one of the few remaining longhouses- AMO longhouse- along the way. I estimate walking will take 30 minutes. Once you're there, you may book your stay/ day trip with Freme/ Trandie Marina Resorts.

4) Other options to get into ulu temburong is via the Outward Bounds Brunei (below is the yet to be completed OBB building)
outward bounds brunei or via The Universiti of Brunei Darusalam, Biology Department... and book your stay at the Kuala Belalong Field Research Centre. You need to contact Dr Zora, The lecturer in Charge.
It will be possible if there is a concurrent research group going though, they won't be able to cater to an individual going there. the research centre is located 1km upriver away from the park HQ..

What type of activities to do while in there?
1) Waterfall tours- there's Mr Small waterfall (where you can swim) and Mr Big waterfall ( photography only!)
Sungai apan waterfall

2) Canoeing
3) Suspension bridge walk..
5) Drift down river on floats, back to park HQ.

do discuss with the tour operator and see whether they can include all of that into a cheaper package.

As my main aim to be here is for the Sunrise canopy tour: here's some additional info:

Sunrise tours to the canopy is better done by the Ulu-ulu resort as they are located nearer.
you should get up at 5 am and should be able to get to the canopy within 30 minutes.

For Trandie, you need a minimum of 4 pax before they consider taking you on the sunrise tour.

Its actually quite a hassle for the Tour operators who need to pay their own workers overtime (they usually start work at 730am)
Thus if they wanna cater for guests at 4, their workers need to arrive by 3! and the forestry officials need to be notified 1 day beforehand
regarding the need to sign guests in at ungodly hours.

These inconveniences will be translated into costs which will be transferred to the consumer.
riverine forest
That said, It is still recommended that you take a sunrise tour should there be one.
The magnificient sight of mist covered can only be seen that way.
The Animals rise with the sun. Especially gibbons and I gather that you can hear their calls crescendo and reverberating throughout the forest when they rise and shine.

Hornbills, if they do fly in front of you,
hornbill silhouettewill do it early in the morning as well!- from what I heard.

however, the climb to the canopy isn't that tiring, if you make it the first event of your day,
instead of some ppl opting for the waterfall first. "Sheesh!"

In my case, I had to tag along with another group, and they went for the Sg Apan waterfall.river rocks After that, my legs became wobbly due to the uneven trek to the waterfall had my legs contorting into different positions, straining rather untrained muscle groups.- photos along the way to the waterfall:
river rocks
streamUnique rock patterns
rock pattern
The canopy walk is extremely safe, I did not experience any sway with the wind, maybe because there was no wind at 11am!!
the way up to the canopy walk

ulu temburong
Tension cables holding the tower in placetension cablesNote one single unit of the aluminium tower is about 2m in height

ulu temburong canopy walk
multiply that unit by 20-30
brunei Canopy walk

do climb up the observatory instead of going up and down the aluminium towers straight without once looking down, like some did! It defeats the purpose if you make the event a who gets down the fastest sorta test

It's a looooong way down
canopy walk, brunei
BangarDo you have fear of heights?
canopy walkbring a pair of binoculars..
but if your cam lens has a zoom function of at least 400mm equivalent, you'd do just fine.

canopy walk view
brunei forest(as I was on the tower @11am.. there were no misty sights, no hornbills, no gibbons, just swiftlets, bees and the occasional fly..lol)

pack at least 1 litre of water, you'll need it.

You won't get to see mount kinabalu though! Despite the sign.
Mt kinabalu
Now the boat ride into the National park is really something to be savoured.
you get 3 different types of experiences
Riding in the cool wind, with water splashing onto your face now and then,
boat rideriding into some turbulent waters... giving you lil pumps of adrenaline

river rapidYou'll see different species of riverine plants... some stretching up to 50 metres into the air...

towering forest
you'll feel that you're in a canyon sometimes, boxed in by the two riverbanks that climb straight up into the air.

The air is fresh, you'll want to remind yourself to take in a few extra breaths!
Sungai temburong
If you're really lucky, gibbon/monkey troupes would swing past and hornbills will fly over head.

river confluence
Its pretty safe to carry a DSLR on this boat trip, just make sure that you point it downwards and use the person sitting in front of you on the longbaoat as a shieldm Like I did!

You do not need a stabilizer in the form of a tripod/ monopod on the canopy, so save yourself the trouble of lugging it in, @$#$@&%&*. Yeah I did just that.

wear sleeveless clothing if you're not too fond of your own bong, and lather on some sunblock unless you wanna have JAX like arms like me () ()

Get a pair of amphibious shoes like this pair of ZABA northface trainers- sans socks.
Northface shoes
Alternatively, your tour operator will provide you with a pair of Jungle adidas- One piece Rubber shoes that have magnificent grip although not something you'll want to appear with in KLCC.

Rapid Rivers should be fun!

The river currents aren't that turbulent that they will throw you off. and the water isn't that deep at all. Still, should the conditions be less than ideal, the operators shall withdraw the event, and money back guaranteed.

Mosquito repellants aren't that high on my list- I don't think they really work anyways.

DON't forget to SWIM in the river! you must. once the equilibrium between your bodyweight and the downstream current is achieved, you'll find yourself slowly drifting underneath the canopy,looking at the underside of gigantic leaves.. an extremely soothing sight.

Fishing can only be done by locals, so don't think about it.
Here's a map for you!
map of ulu temburong

stay the night at Batang duri/ Go straight it for a night at the cabins of ULU=ULU.
I heard that there are cabins in the park, but since the tourist office has since moved from the general post office, I couldn't find it, and couldn't book a night there.

Maybe you can save more by informing the tour operators that you wish to camp instead of chalets, you'll be bringing your own meals etc.
I chose to camp instead of staying in the chalets
camp,tent It depends whether you've tasted local food. Trandie's fod is yum yum!!Trandie Marina Tours
For more photos of Brunei/ Ulu temburong, please visit My facebook album (1), (2)

I hope what I shared here has been useful, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me at willow.by.the.well@gmail.com


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