Sunday, 6 August 2017

Brunei Share : The legends surrounding of Bukit Tempayan Pisang

The legends surrounding Bukit Tempayan Pisang can be promoted to attract tourists.
This suggestion was yesterday made by Minister of Home Affairs Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Hj Awg Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Hj Awg Othman when he officially launched the Bukit Tempayan Pisang Recreational Park in Kg Kapok.
The hill (bukit) and the caves in the area are a source of interesting folk tales, which he said, could be researched and told to tourists and also young children.
According to local legend, Bukit Tempayan Pisang in Kampong Kapok was once believed to be the home of Bunian princesses, the supernatural beings who on the 14th day and 15th day of every month and during full moon, played with ‘kemala’ stones that emitted a bright light and held ‘celestial’ powers.
It was because of the supernatural powers of the stones that a feud broke out between the Bunian princesses and the guardian of Mount Kinabalu.
According to legend, in the battle to possess the mystical stones, the guardian of Mount Kinabalu used a mortar, while the Bunian princesses fought back using only banana stems which were placed in large earthen jars (tempayan).

It was the Bunian princesses’ use of the banana stems and earthen jars that led to the hill being named ‘Tempayan Pisang’.
The princesses only managed to keep two of the stones, while the remaining five were seized by the guardian of Mount Kinabalu. Despite that, the princesses continued to play with the two remaining stones during full moon.
Legend has it that up till the 1940s, residents living in the vicinity could see lights coming from the Bukit Tempayan Pisang every full moon.
The two caves – Radat Cave and Harimau Cave – located somewhere at the top of the hill are also associated with myths.
Radat Cave was named after Awang Radat, a resident of Kampong Serasa, known for his bravery and supernatural powers. It was believed he often, particularly during the full moon, went to the cave to meet a Bunian princess, who he later married.
Harimau (tiger) cave, as its name suggests, was once believed to be a home to two tigers. According to the legend, a newly-wed couple, Awang Mawar and Dayang Mawar were heading towards Tanjung Kemuning in Kampong Kapok from Kampong Serasa on foot, crossing the Tempayan Pisang Hill. During their journey, the wife had to make a stop but she insisted that the husband continue and that she would follow suit.

But after a while, after noticing that his wife had failed, to catch up, the man back-tracked, only to find his wife’s shredded clothes, droplets of blood and tiger paw prints on the ground. The paw prints led him to the cave where he saw two tigers devouring his already lifeless wife.

One day trip to Kuala Belait

Just back from a day trip to the most southern end of Brunei. Now I am relaxing at the Empire Hotel making use of its free wi-fi and delicious shakes. As I type I am sucking back a coconut and mango bomb. It would be a fantastic bomb if it had a shake or two of Malibu, but I am sure my liver is liking the break in this alcohol free country.

Kuala Belait (KB) is the 2nd city in Brunei and it is right on the border of Malaysia. My impression of it from my 2 visits there in the last 10 days is, Shell Petroleum is the heart and the oil is its blood pumping life into the surrounding areas. You cannot miss the Shell presence, from the oil fields to the pipes to the storage units to the Shell workers housing compounds and of course the petrol stations. Although ironically we nearly ran out of petrol in the Shell hub, thankfully we didn't have to dig in the ground to fill the tank, but we were close.

KB is a about 120 km from Bandar Seri Begawan (BSB), the capital of Brunei and the 1 road there is a smooth ride for most of the way. Once you get into KB there is a huge tea pot sculpture and from there you are able to navigate yourself into the city. Go straight and turn left until you hit the river. The main drag is one street and it is deceiving, you see it and think, hmmm is that it. Fortunately, that isn't it, there is so much more, you just need to walk down the little narrow allies off the main drag. Behind the main street you will find great little boutiques with fashions from Singapore and Hong Kong, knock off labels from various other countries, food halls and restaurants filled with locals on their lunch breaks having bowls of noodles for BND$2.00, tailors cutting beautifully flowing cloth to make baju karongs (the traditional dress for women), hairdressers playing with their hair, stall holders selling fresh vegetables and fish and people many people fanning themselves waiting for life to pass by or work to finish.

Away from the main drag are the beaches and the river. The water at the beaches is brown but apparently not from dirt, they are brown from the silt. So you can swim all you like but do ask the locals where the crocodiles are. There are places where they are and aren't, make sure you are in the aren't places.

KB is a nice little city with a real local feel. What you see is what you get, a relaxed, slow moving but perfectly functional city/town. It also has the the benefit of being close to Miri in Malaysia, close to shops which are cheaper and places for other forms of entertainment not offered in Brunei, like a quiet beer at the pub, or a rowdy drink at a club.

I can't recommend any place in particular to go to in KB, as I was only there for a few hours and I will have to go back and investigate, but if you make it there, make sure you hit the back streets for a good local vibe and feel.

Brunei Bukit Shahbandar

The forest trail at Bukit Shahbandar, quite close to the UBD campus, is one of my favourite places for a hike. It's good exercise up and down the hills, and there are some splendid views over the South China Sea.

Just recently they installed some signs, showing how far the next pondok ('hut') is. Very helpful, except they are seriously flawed. Take this sign near Pondok 3. How far do you think it is to the exit?
It is not 23 metres. My guess it is about 800 metres, which is rather different!

In fact, some of the signs can be seriously misleading. Take this one at Pondok 6. It offers an alternative route to Pondok 8, apparently a nice gentle stroll for 538 metres.
 Well, I have taken that alternative trail from Pondok 6 to Pondok 8, and it is rather a lot more than 538 metres. It is quite strenuous, and it is almost certainly closer to 2 km.

In fact, at Pondok 8, at the other end of that path, you find this sign:
 Now, how can the trail from Pondok 6 to Pondok 8 be 538 metres, but the same trail from Pondok 8 to Pondok 6 be 1775 metres? It is the same trail, for goodness sakes!

These signs seem to have random numbers on them. Not only is that confusing, it is downright dangerous: I can imagine quite a few people setting out for a nice easy stroll on the alternative route from Pondok 6 to Pondok 8 and getting into serious trouble when they find it is far, far longer than 538 metres.

People who provide public information have a duty to make sure it is accurate.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Bukit Pagon Brunei

Bukit Pagon, at 1,850 meters Brunei's highest peak. It is situated on the border between Brunei and Sarawak in the remote southernmost part of Temburong District. Access to the mountain requires a 4-hour ride by 4x4 WD via logging roads from the Sarawak side.

Bukit Pagon (4° 18′ 0″ N, 115° 20′ 0″ E), Brunei’s highest mountain at a height of 1850m is located on the boundary between Brunei and Limbang in the State of Sarawak. This is the southern part of the Temburong District. Mt. Pagon is only accessible by 4x4wd via logging roads crisscrossing mountain range from the Sarawak side, commencing form the small town of Limbang.  Once you have passed through the logged area, the scenry opens up and the true beauty of the rain forest is revealed. The journey through to the Base Camp takes approximately 4 hours, dependant on the weather and the state of the logging roads.
Mount Pagon is only accessible by 4×4 WD via logging roads criss crossing mountain range from the Sarawak side,commencing from the small town of Limbang.Once you have passed through the logged area, the scenery opens up and the true beauty of the rainforest is revealed.The journey through to the Base Camp takes approximately 4 hours,dependant on the weather and the state of the logging roads.The lower undisturbed rainforest consists mainly of hardwoods of the Dipterocarpaceae family (two-winged fruits), with a transformation into montane and mosses forest as you climb up the steep path. The pitcher plant species Nepenthes lowii( also known as pitcher plant or monkey cup)can be found on the slope of this mountain.
The lower undisturbed rain forest consists mainly of hardwoods of the Dipterocarpaceae family, with a transformation into montane and mosses forest as you climb up the steep path. The pitcher plant species Nepenthes lowii can be found on the slopes of this mountain. The alternative is to fly in by helicopter. A helipad had been built on Mt Retak in a former expedition. However, there is very little published data resulting from past expeditions although lots of specimens are deposited with the Sungei Liang Forestry Department Herbarium. 

Research Potential

Watershed Management – important water catchment for most rivers in Temburong.
Ecotourism research – can serve as a self financing mechanism; tool for conservation. Level, type, and management of tourism appropriate with regards to carrying capacity.
Wildlife studies – with disturbances in adjacent area in Sarawak, will become increasingly a refuge for wild animals.
Carbon sequestration – Green lung, carbon sink for surrounding areas. Ideal area for establishing  a tropical rainforest research project focusing on carbon sequestration.
Gene bank/research – Vast biodiversity at Bukit Pagon, possible gene bank for rehabilitation.
Bioprospecting – vast biodiversity which means large number of medicinal plants.

Places to Visit in Brunei : Jerudong Park Country Club

Jerudong Park Country Club is the world’s first free amusement park, located at the north coast of Brunei Darussalam. It is the biggest artificially constructed recreational centre with over a hundred hectares of land area. It started in the early 70s with the establishment of the Polo Club and the Royal Stables. It has three playing fields with each having its own Grandstand. Members of the Royal Family, including His Majesty can be seen every now and then playing in one of these fields. JPCC is composed of the Jerudong Park Playground and the Jerudong Park Housing Estates. Today, Jerudong Park Country Club remains as one of the only family recreational centre in Brunei Darussalam offering total family entertainment.  is the world’s first free amusement park, located at the north coast of Brunei Darussalam. It is the biggest artificially constructed recreational centre with over a hundred hectares of land area. It started in the early 70s with the establishment of the Polo Club and the Royal Stables. It has three playing fields with each having its own Grandstand. Members of the Royal Family, including His Majesty can be seen every now and then playing in one of these fields. JPCC is composed of the Jerudong Park Playground and the Jerudong Park Housing Estates. Today, Jerudong Park Country Club remains as one of the only family recreational centre in Brunei Darussalam offering total family entertainment.


Experience world class facilities right at your doorstep. Come and enjoy the family rides and attractions.

The magic of love is in the air. Share the moment with your loved one while being serenaded by the Musical Fountain in the Garden of Dreams.

Live the life of style and simple elegance at our Housing Estates, where a theme park is just a hop, skip and a jump away!

We are the venue of choice for local events and shows with our Amphitheatre and Mini Amphitheatre. Our venue is available for booking – just contact Jerudong Park for more details.

Attractions In Jerudong Park

JPCC maintains the standard of bringing attractions that are a first of its kind in Brunei. The first Mini Golf course, a perfect venue for corporate events, team building activities and friendly competitions. The Water Park is another first in Brunei, a perfect place to beat the heat, splash and slide with fun all day and night in the biggest water park. Fall in love with our family friendly attractions brought to you by Brunei family friendly park.

Playground Rides in Jerudong Park

Come and enjoy our new family rides and attractions. Touch the sky in the new Ferris Wheel. Feel the rush in Ye Old Mine Cart Family Junior Coaster, Play with your family or compete with your friends at the JP Mini Golf. Visit the show horses at the Double Decker Carousel. See the water dance and enjoy the splash in the New Water Park. All these brought to you by Jerudong Park Playground.

Kids and adults of all ages will love riding on the horses. The carousel shapes are diversified, including ponies, lions, giraffes and gondolas.

It's a great fun for all ages - the Junior Coaster offers an amazing ride experience for small guests, but the older ones will enjoy the ride, too.

The Jumper is a trampoline, for small children who are seeking to have a fun airtime!

Suitable for all ages - from children to seniors around, Ferris Wheel allows the guests to see the whole view of the playground once the cabin has reach it's top peak.

Boats propelled by a paddle wheel - a water vehicle to cruise around the Jerudong Park's lake.

For the convenience of the Playground guests from one side of the park to another - the train station is specially transporting the guests .

Junior guests would enjoy the sensation of spinning around the air on the classic Sky Diver ride.

Bumper cars are one of the fun rides to play amongst your family and friends.

Come and ride the pirate ship - younger guests appeal for a ride to swing on.

Spin and control your car for fun, with family and friends.

Catered for the more older guests who are seeking to have a bumpy ride with other park guests.

Younger guests would have fun towards the classic Jerudong Park Caterpillar. .

Brunei Darussalam Agro-Technology Park

it’s time for a new eye candy. Just 18 minutes’ drive from BSB is Kampong Tunhku, Mukim Gadong where the famous 500 hectares Agro-Technology Park is located. The park was officially opened last 2011 to the public and has become a big hit among plants and landscape enthusiasts due to its greenhouse and beautiful manmade landscapes. The park features not only plants but animals as well, so it’s like going to a “zoo” in a “botanical garden” setting.  Entrance is free and you can choose to take in the scenery by riding a buggy or a bus, which are all provided for.

The main entrance is decorated with a huge welcome sign on pillars embellished with colorful and beautiful flowers.  If you are a plant aficionados then you will definitely be enthralled by the sight.
To the left is a wooden hut that is connected to a bridge that where you can walk on to see a spectacular view of the entire park. This particular area is also decorated with different types of imported plants from Japan and other countries with similar climates. This is a good resting place if you are already tired of walking and exhausted from the heat. As there’re no trees along the path that would provide shade as you stroll.

The main feature of the park is the greenhouse, one for flowering plants and one for vegetables and crops. The majority of the flowering plants that can be seen here are those that normally grow in cooler parts of the world – plants that cannot be grown in Brunei’s weather, but can thrive inside the greenhouse.  Like tulips, orchids, roses, and other types of four- season floras. They flourish perfectly filling the greenhouse with bursts of vibrant colors. Some are even for sale!  I encourage you to buy if you have a green thumb that is. Since these plants are not that easy to maintain.

 The animal farms feature different types of animals that are not native to the country such as ostriches and deer. The space for these animals to roam around is really big making the animals feels that they are in their natural habitat. I’ve noticed that children who go to the park seem to enjoy looking at the animals from a safe distance. Though, this might not be a fascination to most adults.

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