Temburong and the Ulu National Park.

Temburong Travel Blog

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Getting off the ferry at Temburong.
Our gracious hosts arranged for us to go on a day trip to Temburong and the Uku National Park shortly after our return from KK. My legs still felt like lead, and movement frequently caused me to emit an exciting series of squeaks, yelps and occasional moans. We were assured however that this trip would involve an exciting ferry ride, a chilling boat jaunt and minimal physicality. I enthusiastically signed on. Hmmm.

We started by taking a 'ferry' to Temburong - a place we'd stopped briefly at on our way to KK. The ferry was more like a speedboat, and zipped, crashed and bounced down the river and across to Temburong in an alarmingly quick time. The views were interesting, if brief due to the velocity of our travel.
The shopping centre in Temburong - there are instructions in the toilets about how to sit on them correctly...
I'd certainly never been on a ferry like it!

When we arrived at Temburong we emptied our bladders - leading to an interesting piece of Brunian education on how to use a toilet (apparently you should sit, not stand, squat or perform a headstand on the cistern as a helpful sign explained to us). We met our guide and piled into a dilapidated car before roaring off into the jungle. We stopped on the way at a zoo. It was free, and featured a variety of native animals housed in some of the poorest conditions I'd ever seen. Tiny cramped cages full of large animals that would rather be anywhere else. I knew the feeling, it was one of the most unsettling experiences of my travels. There were no visitors apart from us, and our guide appeared to be faintly apologetic about the whole thing.
The jungle.


Our next stop was far more pleasant and more interesting. We went to a Iban long house. The Iban are formally known as headhunters, which was slightly disconcerting. Luckily the headhunting ways are long gone, and they were very welcoming and friendly. The longhouse gave a new meaning to communal living - a series of about twelve flats upstairs all linking onto a communal corridor and living space. Each of the flats were beautifully decorated - some had made mobiles and firezes out of tickets and leaflets, others had colourful posters and mats. It was pleasantly cool and the people greeted us warmly. While the Iban are becomming more urban and 'civilized' (for want of a better term), it was nice to see how much of their original culture, beliefs and practices still remained.
A traditional Iban longhouse. 15 families live here in a very long, very wide house. It looked very communal and like a very nice place to live. Quiet and relaxing.


After the long house we took a trip up the Temburong river in a motorised canoe. The views were spectacular, as the banks rose on each side of us and giant trees soared into the the sky. I felt utterly relaxed, and sat back enjoy the scenery and the sun on my face. That was until I noticed the pool of water steadily increasing by my feet, and I heard the muffled oath of the guide and the sound of furious bailing. This meant a little uncertainty - I wasn't dressed for swimming, but we managed to reach a bank in time, with only minimal dampness of the rear and feet.

Ahead of us stood a path. It wound up the bank at an alarming gradient. My legs made a muffled protest. I made a louder one. My companions and I looked up. And up. And up some more.
The Iban longhouse.
I guess this would be slightly more strenuous than I had initially thought. Sigh. Considering the benefits for a) my health and b) my waistline we started up.

I wont lie. It was hard work. Bloody hard work. Our guide cheerfully told us that there was an easy path, but it had been washed away by raining leading to an interesting and exciting landslide. He went on to add, with a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his lips, that this path was an emergency route and was a lot (and he repeated the word lot) harder. Sigh.

After a few metres my legs were screaming, their mute agony that I'd learnt to live with whenever I did something simple like climb into a car or walk up a flight of stairs to bed gave way to an agonised scream with each step. But I continued.
The view - straight into the jungle.
I was not to be denied this time, my failure on the mountain still fresh in my mind. We ascended slowly but surely and eventually a tall metal structure came into sight. This was the Ulu Park's tree-top walk. It resembled a large scaffold that wobbled alarmingly in the breeze. And it was high - flippin' high.

We stood at the bottom as I wheezed and stared up. I'm ok with heights generally, but this was tall. It rose majestically towards the tops of the trees, a stark metallic contrast to the natural greenery omnipresent on all sides. Our turn came and we wound up and up. A sudden gust of wind rocked the tower and we wobbled with it. My heart beat a staccato rhythm in my chest. The wind subsided, and we continued.

The view at the top defied words.
The proximity of the houses.
It was amazing to look down on the trees, to look down on the birds and monkeys cavorting in the tree tops. The wind was now a pleasant breeze cooling us in the humidity. Cameras came out and were snapped in all directions. We walked from tower to tower on narrow, erratically wobbly platforms staring at the view open mouthed and gaping. It was, well, stunning. I ignored the pain in my legs and appreciated the natural beauty. Later, when I looked at the pictures I took, they didn't do it justice. It was one of those experiences when the light is right, the temperature is right and the time is right and they can't be captured no matter how hard we try.

It was a fantastic goodbye to Brunei, and a place that defied belief.
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Getting off the ferry at Temburong.
Getting off the ferry at Temburong.
The shopping centre in Temburong -…
The shopping centre in Temburong …
The jungle.
The jungle.
A traditional Iban longhouse.  15 …
A traditional Iban longhouse. 15…
The Iban longhouse.
The Iban longhouse.
The view - straight into the jungl…
The view - straight into the jung…
The proximity of the houses.
The proximity of the houses.
The stairs to the longhouse.
The stairs to the longhouse.
The Temburong river.  Low rains me…
The Temburong river. Low rains m…
The view from the traditional Iban…
The view from the traditional Iba…
A view of the jungle.
A view of the jungle.
The amount of water in the bottom …
The amount of water in the bottom…
The death of a forest giant.
The death of a forest giant.
The canopy walk scaffold.  Its hi…
The canopy walk scaffold. It's h…
Yeah, I told you it was high...
Yeah, I told you it was high...
Slightly daunting.
Slightly daunting.
Great view though.
Great view though.
Long way down.
Long way down.
Fantastic view.
Fantastic view.
Stunning scenery up here.
Stunning scenery up here.
Yet another attempted panorama.  T…
Yet another attempted panorama. …
Me at the top - looking a little f…
Me at the top - looking a little …
It was more scary coming down.
It was more scary coming down.
The sheer trail down!
The sheer trail down!
Trying to capture the reflection o…
Trying to capture the reflection …
Temburong
photo by: borneonikieta