A Grand Time at Temburong (Part 2)
A Grand Time at Temburong (Part 2)
by Shaf Said
As a person who grew up in Bandar and has never spent a day in Temburong, there was a sense of trepidation when I met up with the other media invitees at the Kianggeh Jetty to begin our journey to Temburong – but this city boy was ready for some adventure. The next three days and two nights were to be spent at the AZB2N campsite and the Freme Rainforest Lodge, a perfect blend of adventure and the great outdoors. Camping, hiking, waterfalls, canopy towers, and the rainforest – let the adventurous times roll!
A continuation from Part 1 – click here to read.
We went back to the campsite and filled ourselves up with a hearty breakfast before playing traditional games like Congkak and Terumpak and taking part in activities like rock painting and kayaking. After all that, we were still itchy for some adventure, so we visited another waterfall close to the campsite and took another dip in the crystal clear waters. It was noon by the time we floated back down to the campsite and it was time for another adventure at the Freme Rainforest Lodge.
The Freme Rainforest Lodge has an Adventure Park with all kinds of activities, like the Short Jungle Trail, Crow’s Nest, Flying Fox, Rock Climbing, Abseiling or Jacob’s Ladder at the Multi-Activity Tower. Since I’ve already conquered my fear of heights at the canopy bridge, it was time to push myself a bit further and try the Flying Fox. We climbed up a 300-year old tree with an observation deck overlooking the lodge, and we crossed a smaller-scale version of the Keruing Hanging Bridge that connects the lodge to the nature trail, observation deck and starting point for the flying fox. The trip to the top was more nerve-wracking than the ride itself – zipping down a rope with a marvelous view, what’s not to like? All in all, it was a very fun afternoon.
Not for the faint-hearted
Another fear conquered!
It started drizzling when we tucked into our barbeque dinner later than evening, which meant that our Night Walk on the Freme Trail was cancelled. No matter, with a majority of our activities spent outdoors, we decided it was high time to indulge in a little culture. Our guide at the Freme Lodge helpfully organised a visit to the Sibut Iban Modern Longhouse for us.
One of the comfortable living-rooms in the modern longhouse
Displays of traditional Iban handicrafts adorn the walls
When we arrived at the longhouse – a very long house shared by 10 families all living under one roof – we were greeted by the Head Iban’s wife and her adorable children. We were given a quick tour of the house and an introduction to the families there. For anyone interested in experiencing Iban culture and their way of life, the Lubuk Batu Mas Homestay is located in the longhouse.
Lubuk Batu Mas Homestay is located in the modern longhouse
On the walls are pictures of past events and tourists who visited the homestay
Me and my travel buddies killing it in traditional Iban clothing
After a little fun playing dress-up in traditional Iban clothing and taking some photos with the families, it was time to leave. It had been another long and eventful day, and I was already feeling a little sad at the thought of leaving the next day. All good things must come to an end, unfortunately.
We enjoyed a heavy breakfast in the morning before we went to my first ever cooking lesson – learning how to cook a traditional bamboo rice and bamboo chicken meal! There was a heavenly smell as the rice and chicken cooked in bamboos over a fire, making me look forward to lunch despite my big breakfast.
Prepare the rice
And the chicken
Stuff them into bamboos and let it cook over the fire
While waiting for the food to cook, we had a go at water rafting. This was my first time water rafting, and I can promise you that this won’t be my last – riding our rafts against the rapids was such an adrenaline rush. Once we were done we were told to jump into the river and float down the stream to the lodge in our life vests. Floating in the river, with that amazing view of the jungle surrounding us was an indescribable experience.
Water rafting down the rapids!
An easy float back to camp
We were ravenous by the time we arrived at the lodge. Our Bamboo Rice and Chicken were ready for us, and they smelled and tasted delicious. A few other dishes complemented the meal, from aubergines to local fish cooked in soy sauce. I couldn’t move by the time I had finished wolfing everything down – there was just too much good food in one sitting.
Our Bamboo Chicken meal
We checked out of the Freme Rainforest Lodge at noon, and I bid a sad farewell to the rainforest. To think it was only two days ago that I was dreading my trip here and now, I’m already missing the smells and sounds of the rainforest.
Back in Bangar, we set out to accomplish my one personal mission for my trip to Temburong, and that was to go to the DJYF Corner stall at Tamu Temburong and sample their famous Udang Galah Burger – a burger that comprises a patty made entirely out of ‘udang galah’, or large freshwater prawn, which is then grilled and topped with fried shallots. The result is a meaty, tender, chewy taste that is delicious beyond words. Don’t leave Temburong without sampling this.
My travel buddy Gzul trying his hand at grilling the Udang Galah patties
Mouth-watering Udang Galah Burgers
Three days and two nights in this green jewel of Brunei went by like a dream. Backpacker, city dweller, urbanite, luxury traveler, whatever kind of traveler you are, Temburong will have something for you. You don’t need to leave the country to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, just hop on a water taxi for a life-changing experience. It is truly the dream holiday within your reach. As for Temburong itself, all I can say is: I’ll be back!
A special thank you to our lovely hosts, AZ Back to Nature and Freme Rainforest Lodge, for letting us try their fantastic Campsite Experience package, and to those kind folks over at Brunei Tourism for arranging it. Go here for more information on the Temburong Tour Packages or visit the Brunei Tourism website.