Dear family, friends, and readers of my blog,
It was a while ago, but I’m still on earth. I have found a gorgeous, green paradise in the heart of Borneo: Brunei! What an amazing place and definitely the place to be in Borneo. Do you want to know why? Please read and look further.
And do you have time left? Then please read the November issue #11 news letter.
Brunei the green heart of Borneo
I call Brunei like this, since it really is pristine, clean and green. The vast primary forest of Ulu Temburong NP can only be reached by longboats that navigate the small rivers. Mangrove forest, rivirine forest, secondary forest, primary forest… everything passes by. The primary forest towers above me, showing her 4 layers of consistency. It is worth seeing these things after having studied this from books. Now it comes alife.
Bandar Seri Begawan
I start in the capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, which is good to explore for 1,5 days. The museums are free and have a good range of Islamic arts. One of the coolest things were probably the illuminated Qurans. The sultan shows his collection and gifts in the Royal Regalia Museum. Big, bigger, biggest. Rich, richer, richest. That’s how I experienced it. The Omar al Suffiedien Mosque is another example of grotesque. Although, BSB remains a small quite capital where walking is paradise. Cars even stop when you traverse the streets! People are very generous and friendly. A men stopped by when we were waiting for the bus. Brought us to the museum, waited for us to finish, and brought us back to BSB. To my surprise we stopped at a lunch place where he insisted on paying our lunch and showing us further around town. In Kampung Ayer, the biggest village on the water, he explained daily life. Many house connected by bridges, and where bridges are non-existant, boats fill up these gaps. It’s an old neighbourhood dating back more than a centuray ago. Complete with a police station, fire station, and hospital.
Ulu Temburong NP
The rest of the days I choose to stay in sumbiling Eco Village located near the town Bangar. This, province Temburong, is basically one big secondary and primary rain forest. The secondary forest is still used by the Iban tribe for hunting, gathering food, and camping. We came along some traps and some small cultivated areas.
Most of the secondary is even untouched now, so that can grow to primary forest.
On the trail we found many insects, but large mammals or reptiles are well hidden, since they know the Iban people catch them. It is sustainable and that was just the point. Birds can always be seen, such as the Rhinocerous hornbill, stork kingfishers, white eagles, bee eaters, and swiftlets. The insects most seen were some awesome spiders and stick insects I had never seen before. These stick insects can even fly despite they grow u to 90 cm!
The day ended with a visit in a longhouse of the local Iban tribe. They know some old stories of the forest and talk about the change of their lifes. The government placed them at the edges of the secondary forest in order to protect all primary forest and almost all secondry forest. The people are happy that there income is replaced by eco tourism. It might be the future for this oil state when oil is due to be phased out or run out. The best part is there hunting gear, which is passed through generation after generation.