Discover Brunei: Canopy Treetop Walk, City Cultural Tour and Snorkelling Trip

Time checked. It was 4.15 am in the wee hours of the morning. I was already up in bed and getting prepared for the morning canopy walk later.

At 4.30 am, Tom came knocking on our doors to wake us from our deep slumber as we snuggle out of our bed covers.

At about 4.45 am, we had some hot Milo with biscuits before we grabbed out torchlights and life jackets  to get onto the long boat which ferried us to the canopy walk site. Oh, spray layers of insect repellent on yourself before you set forth just don’t intoxicate the person next to you with the scent of the repellent.

It was 5.30 am and it was still pitch dark. We trudged through muddy grounds before taking the never-ending flight of steps up to the canopy treetop walk. The vertical challenge of climbing up the steps made of wooden planks had left us panting quite heavily.


Fallen tree logs gives the rainforest a different dimension with its new growth of plants feeding on decomposed tree bark.

Have you heard about the children’s story called Gruffalo? I don’t know about you but I would visiting Ulu Temburong would make an excellent education field trip for the kids. Then I would whipped out the book on Gruffalo and read the story about this fictitious creature which lives in the deep dark woods to the little ones. I could already imagine their eyeballs bulging out from their eye sockets as the story continues to unfold.

Take a deep breath and smile. You’re in one the most pristine rainforest in the world which might be one of the rarest vegetation on Earth in the future if global temperatures continue to rise.
Not quite there yet! To enjoy the canopy treetop view, you will have to climb up these…steel scaffolding which you often see at construction sites? I am not kidding as you would need to climb the small steps which resembles like a mini ladder at each tier of this high scaffolding. It might be a little challenging for those who have phobia with heights but once you are up there, you will never regret for sacrificing your sleeping time to just get onto the canopy walkway to feel what it’s like to be 40 metres high up from the ground.


Though you might be feeling rather breathless and exhausted at some point of the arduous climb, just tell yourself to keep moving forth because the ending point is nearing. Remember – mind over body. It wasn’t too exhaustive for me but I was sweating profusely by the time I had reached to the very top. I could actually go on like this for hours til I reach exhaustion.

Are we there yet? Yes, nearing!

Look at that soft hues of pink in the sky!

Half way up. Still not there yet! I felt like a monkey climbing up the tree. Oops, I’m literally ‘brown’ that day!

The Sunrise

Enjoy a magnificent horizon view of the sunrise from the high vantage point.

Indeed, every morning is the start of brand new day. The colour of skies resets to this monochrome colour of baby blue. Waking up early in the morning to just enjoy this paranomic view of the canopy tree top and listen to the cacophony of the rainforest’s animal calls did reminded me of how I should
really take a step back from reality and retreat into this realm of nature.

Spotted any residents or denizens of the forest? The clouds of mist looks like soft white marshmallows bobbing among the treetops.

I was just trying to choke myself with the abundance of fresh oxygen at the canopy top (as I was afraid I would never be able to do this again) when Andy,who was about 6 metres above of me, shouted across the canopy walkway that my blog was selected as one of the finalist for the Best Lifestyle Blog category for this year’s Singapore Blog Awards. At first I was like “hell,yeah” and was harbouring this non-chalent attitude,thinking what he said was a joke. I mean like “What? You have 3G connection on the canopy walkway?”
But on second thoughts, what I come to know of this trip is that Andy hardly crack jokes so logically-speaking, that would mean he was perhaps telling to the truth. At that instant, I could not ascertain the truth unless I had access to the online world. But he was right. What a lovely news from the Universe while doing the canopy treetop walk in the Bruneian jungles! What better way than to spread the good news which made me felt really thankful about everything which has come in my way?

Photo credit: Karen Ashley Ng
Yeah, we did it!


We made our way back from the canopy walkway to our long boats by the river bank. More adventure awaits as we are heading back to the capital for more city tour and sea water activities.


This hanging bridge is no longer in use because it was now left in the ruins.


Time check : 8.30 am. We are now rushing for time to get back to the capital as we have a full travel itinerary ahead of us to be covered.


Since we are rushing for time, we can’t have our breakfast at the resort itself so we had breakfast on the long boat.


Picnic in Batang Duri River Bank
Our meals onboard the express boat while riding along with the river rapids. 


Back at the capital.
We took the watertaxi to the Kampong Ayer, Brunei’s well-known water village for a short tour and a local family home visit. Kampong Ayer is, by far, one of the largest water settlements I have come to know of. This water settlement in Brunei is unique in the sense that the residents here live by a eco-friendly lifestyle and the so-called “Kelongs” or houses built on stilts in water might not exactly have a grand exterior but you could find modern furnishings and equippment in each house.


Once we’ve reached the jetty, we made a quick beeline to Kampong Ayer Cultural and Tourism Gallery.


Newly-built housing for the residents of Brunei

The water village consists over 40 sub villages and has a bustling community of over 30,000 Bruneians.


Kampong Ayer Cultural and Tourism Gallery

This tourism gallery showcases the different facets of Kampong Ayer, beginning from the 10th century up til today. 


We received these cute “I heart Brunei” badges!

Featuring Karen Ashley Ng frm Renzze

A great touristy accessory to spruce up your outfit.


Daily usual sightings at the water vilage.


A dried fishy “slice” of their everyday life.


The water village is another version of Sentosa Cove in Singapore except that things here are less polished but homely.


Transcending to another era – a nostalgic place with a rustic feel


A little pussy cat peering through the long cylindrical tubes.


Local Home Visit

I really wonder what’s their lifestyle on water like?


We entered a very spacious home with a huge open space to house 3 sets of living room furnishings! They had 3 full sets of sofas housed in the living room and that’s how BIG this place is.



Experiencing our muslim counterparts’ way of life in tudongs. 



We had lots of tea-time and breaks during our four day trip in Brunei.

Huff, puff, huff, puff.

Tom was in a mad rush to get us out of Kampong Ayer so that we could complete the itinerary for the day.

It started to drizzle when we left the water village.

Royal Regalia Museum 

At the centre of the lobby, you will see this grand royal chariot which was used during His Majesty’s coronation.
The Royal Regalia Museum, which was opened in 1992, houses a huge display of the Royal Regalia    (ceremonial items associated to the Royal family) that had been passed down from generation to generation. You would also find replicas of the royal throne, robes, crowns and gifts to the Sultan displayed in the museum as a tribute to the life and times of the mornach.


When will the knight with a shining bright armour appear?


I was flipping through the stack of brochures and magazines distributed by Brunei tourism when I came across an article which talks about an infamous quote from Audrey Hepburn, a legendary beauty who in one way or another inspired the way I live and think.

“Living is like tearing through a museum. Not until later do you really start absorbing what you saw, thinking about it, looking it up in a book,and remembering – because you can’t take it in all at once.”

– Audrey Hepburn
Lunch at Tarindak Restaurant 


Tarindak d’Seni
Brunei Arts and Handicrafts Centre
Jalan Residency,BSB
Tel: (673) 224 0422
Tarindak is one unique restaurant where you get to sample the different traditional Brunei-Malay specialities all at one go and admire the local crafts like silverware and keris (ornamental dagger) where were showcased in the restaurant itself. It’s almost like a museum enclosed in a restaurant where you get to eat and appreciate the arts and crafts at the same time.


There’s so much to eat and so much to try. I wonder, where should I start first?


Lunch for the day. Again, I only aim for the greens.


This is another local speciality served in Brunei and some parts of Malaysia. It’s like this starchy substance which have to be eaten with chopsticks or bamboo fork called Chandas. It is usually eaten with a dipping sauce. It tasted rather queer and it’s rather difficult for my tastebuds to handle but if you happen to be a fan of this gluey and starchy delicacy, you ought to check out the Ambuyat Fan Club Facebook Page.


For desserts, I had fruits and ice-cream. Who could resist ice-cream ? 
One of the most sinful food inventions on earth.

Snorkelling Trip at Poni Divers


I had no idea where we were after a short nap during the long car ride to this place which was quite a distance from the city centre. All of us emerged from the car feeling all groggy but when we are about to be brought out to the sea, I tried slapping ourselves wide awake so I could regain my senses before swimming in the water and subjecting myself as an easy target for the fish to nimble my flesh which they kind-of did it – Ouch!


Signing of indemnity and assumption of risk forms.

The waters off the Brunei’s coasts are blessed with vast coral reefs and spectacular marine life. Karen, who is a frequent traveller and diver, shared that Brunei is well-known for its wreck-diving sites. That was my first time hearing about such a thing called ‘wreck-diving’ where you basically dive through shipwrecks to discover the soft technicolour corals where many marine fishes like red snappers and yellow-tailed barracudas could be spotted in the wrecks. I couldn’t help but to think of the blockbuster movie called “Titanic” and it’s after-math. It could be cool to do a wreck-dive in the wrecks of the Titanic ship though!


Grabbing our snorkelling gears


Hello, Mr. Penguin!


That’s our sailor – no, driver, maybe? – in his hot colourful stripy pants which “photobombed” some of our group shots. Hmm… looks like the colourful 9-layer cake, isn’t it?


After a bumpy water ride with crashing waves and speedy winds, we stopped over at this islet. We jumped right into the cold waters and snorkelled around the rocks but we couldn’t get to see much sea creatures or corals as the water was shrouded with sendiments from the ground. With reduced visibility in the water, we also couldn’t capture much underwater shots with both Andy’s and Karen’s underwater cameras.

While snorkelling, I suffered quite abit from “fishy” bites which started to itch after a while in the waters. I really dislike those fishes here which pricked our skin with their teeth. 

Oh, stop nibbling you crazy fishes!

How cute ! The five of us happen to swim in a row, side by side except one. Oh, was that me?

Brunei may not be be as popular as Maldives or Pulau Redang in Malaysia as a diving site but Brunei waters do hold more than 400 species of coral, that is about as many species of coral as the largest reef in the world – the Great Barrier Reef.


It was a great relief when our snorkelling guide beckoned us to go onboard. We were suppose to head over to another snorkelling site but some of us, including myself, wasn’t very enthusiastic about the aquatic wildlife here who were so mean to us. Oh well, maybe we had stepped into their territory or perhaps they were just purely hungry and they thought we humans were their food?

Anyway, the itch on my skin subsides when I smell curry puffs in my vicinity. They had this box of refreshments onboard for us which is enough to feed us for dinner. There were packets of rice, curry puffs and some other delicacies which I can’t really recall.


This was how we looked after being “salted” by the seawater. A little tanner and saltier.
Malcolm’s hat flew into the seawater but thank goodness our snorkelling guide was able to retrieve it!

Our jam-packed day of activities didn’t just end here. Right after our snorkelling trip, they drove us to a place which has lots of beautiful gold-plated embellishments… Going there was like a dream come true for those who which to live like a Prince or Princess. Be astound by the opulence of the Empire.

Stay tuned.

With special thanks to Royal Brunei Airlines,

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