14.05.2012 - 18.05.2012
BSB - Temburong - BSB,
May 18th 2012
According to my research on the internet and to my bank account, a tour to Temburong is costly. I also asked my hotel's staff whether there would be a group tour in which I would possibly join in. None.
I had planned to leave earlier so that I could take pictures of the charming birds I saw along this pathway yesterday morning. Nevertheless, I overslept. I regretted myself because this was my last morning in Brunei. But when I arrived on this pathway, there was not much to regret. The birds apparently were still asleep.
I was semi-running for fear of not catching up the 6:30 boat. Hah! My boat is still there. After purchasing a ticket, I sat by the side of Brunei River and enjoyed a brief breakfast of oat biscuits. Interestingly, there were frequent Filipino passengers. I knew, because to purchase a ticket, you have to write down your name and nationality.
The ticket cost 6 BND per way. Quite a reasonable price, I think. The whole boat was not overcrowded, but full. I had just enough space to lay my butt and camera backpack on my lap.
I sat in the middle and I regretted that. It became a challenge to take pictures through the window behind me as not to bother the passengers next to me. Eventually, I managed to reach out for my G12, but it was too late. We already passed the water village and surely enough G12 couldn't compete with the dashing speed of my boat, as 7D would have. Blurry, blurry, mostly. The golden morning sunshine over Kampong Ayer was awesome, I tell you.
A significant thing of this boat was the gasoline smell, just like the ferry to Labuhan yesterday. It seems that the smell of gasoline for Brunei people is like the smell of perfume. It's a smell of wealth.
Welcome to Temburong! By this time my hair was stiff like a dirty wig due to the harsh wind while Seri Temburong 'flew' on Brunei River.
I stopped by at a food stall outside the boat terminal for a real breakfast.
Several meters away from the food stall was a small garden park. A perfect place for breakfast.
Live music filled the air, birds. Wonderful, really. I could spot out one two of my brown black favorite bird, but they always flew away every time I pointed my camera at them. They weren't as tame as the ones along the pathway in Kampong Ayer, BSB.
Another view of the garden. Except me, there was nobody here. But the garden seems to be well taken care off.
As I enjoyed my breakfast, I watched the road across me. No buses, no taxis. I had expected Temburong to be like Bandar Seri Begawan. Even without joining a tour, I can take a bus, I thought. O, ow... The only bus I saw was a school bus, painted in yellow, exactly like the school bus in The Sims. I think it sounded exactly the same, too.
"Rumah Persinggahan Kerajaan Temburong", it says. Can you believe that? I can't. This is the royal vacation home? The royal family of the ... let me quote for you about Brunei from Wikipedia:
"Brunei has the second highest Human Development Index among the South East Asia nations after Singapore, and is classified as a developed country. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Brunei is ranked 5th in the world by gross domestic product per capita at purchasing power parity. The IMF also states in a 2011 estimate that Brunei was one of two countries (the other being Libya) with their public debt at 0% of the national GDP. Forbes also ranks Brunei as the fifth richest nation out of 182 nations due to its extensive petroleum and natural gas fields."
My fascination of this Royal Vacation Home was as of the Royal Cemetery. And then the houses on land and on water e.g. Kampong Ayer, you call that rich? If you go to Singapore, no one would need to tell you Singapore is rich. But Brunei? I went to Seria the other day, merely out of curiosity. Nevertheless, my Indonesian eyes and my Jakarta mind, still couldn't grasped how rich Brunei is. So far, no other country arouses my curiosity like Brunei.
Sadly, the Tourist Information Centre was closed. About an hour later, I returned, but it was still closed.
Ulu Temburong National Park is the highlight of Temburong and always mentioned in tour packages (which cost double my air ticket). "50 m. Great," I thought to myself. Because according to Google Maps, the national park is some kilometers away from the boat terminal.
I followed the direction. Walked. Walked. Walked. 50 meters? This feels like 200 meters already, and yet no sign of the national park at all.
Okay, let's try the amusement park, Bukit Patoi. Maybe this one is really 50 meters. I walked back the opposite direction. Walked. Walked. Walked. Nothing amusing came to sight. On the contrary, buildings on the both sides of the road lessen and lessen, until none but trees. Aye.
Maybe that "50 m" meant to "Pos Kawalan Labu" and to "Feri Ujong Jalan". "Feri Ujong Jalan" is the ferry terminal? Aye.
Sungai Temburong or Temburong River, is where I had come from. There's the boat deck below.
Did I say "Brunei River" just now? Yes, I did. Temburong and Bandar Seri Begawan is actually seperated by Malaysia. Therefore, from BSB, I cruised Brunei River, came out in Brunei Bay which is part of South China Sea, passed by Malaysia, and then cruised into Temburong River. That's another reason why I put Temburong in my itinerary. Silly, you might think. Hahaha, I just find it interesting cruising a river into the sea and then back into another river.
From BSB, you can go to Temburong on land which means you would have to do border crossing. But somewhere in the internet I read, besides that it takes more time, it's considered not safe.
Oh well, so no public transportation, and that's it. At least, I got that unique boat cruising, I comforted myself. Before returning to BSB, I decided to explore the area. Across the boat terminal, near that Tourist Information Centre just now, there was a block of shops. All the owners were Chinese. This area looked more Chinese than the shops in BSB. The shop signs was one thing. Not just the huge Chinese characters, but the way the sign is hung on the wall. Not flat on the wall, but half slanting down, and with thick borders.
I went into one shop to buy a bottle of ice coffee, and oh my... the owner spoke no Malay! She spoke in Mandarin and I had to force myself once again, shopping like the way I did in China. She didn't seem quite happy. Or maybe she was just having a toothache.
The Malay and English translation, in my not so humble opinion, doesn't seem to connect well. "Taman dan Rekreasi". That's not mentioned in the English translation. On the other hand, "Air Quality". Where's that on the Malay translation? But, it was not that why I took a picture of this. Can you guess? It has something to do with me. Wink, wink.
I enjoyed free and fast WiFi at the boat terminal. While Facebooking, a sentence above the exit door to the boat deck caught my attention. I don't remember the exact words. It was in Malay and Arabic. Translated in English, it would be something like this: "By Your might only, Lord, we are capable." Amen, I whispered.
This time I took care to take a seat at the end of the front boat so that I could take pictures with ease.
Here's Temburong River on the cruise.
Speed boats going from BSB to Temburong back and forth are quite frequent. It's like every half an hour, if I'm not mistaken.
We are dashing on South China Sea now... woohoo!
Just a close up of the estuary.
Blue, blue! Hold tight! Don't jump into the ocean!
Back in Brunei River, back to the water village.
Hello, Kampong Ayer! I'm back!