BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
BEFORE you visit forest recreational parks in neighbouring countries, why not experience the beauty of our very own parks here in the Sultanate.
The forest recreational parks in Brunei Darussalam have been designed and developed by the Forestry Department under the Ministry of Industry and Primary Sources as an ecotourism industry to serve the public with a dual purpose to provide the public with venues for outdoor recreation and also to promote awareness and appreciation of the surrounding Mother Nature.
In conjuction with World Forestry Day, the following are some of the forest recreational parks that the adventurous trekkers should try:
One of the amenities in the park is the Canopy Walk where visitors can climb all the way up and see the beautiful scenery of the top of the green giant forest. To reach the canopy, visitors can choose between the environmentally friendly broadwalk or a challenging forest walk.
Located about 66km from Bandar Seri Begawan (BSB), the area contains a number of unique and interesting species of trees, such as Penaga Laut (Callophylum inophyllum), Ketapang (Terminalia catappa), Kulimpapa (Vitex pubescens).
Situated some 70km from Bandar Seri Begawan, it consists largely of undisturbed lowland forest. The park provides good visitor facilities such as sites for picnics, jogging, hiking, and nature appreciation trails providing access to various spots within the park. Other attractions to this park include a mini lake, floating hut, shelters huts and open areas ideal for outdoor recreational activities.
The park is southeast of Brunei Bay and comprises a large mangrove forest. The only access to reach the park is by motor boat. The meandering water channel in the park is lined with mangrove trees reputed to be the largest in the region propped up by a labyrinth of stilt roots and laced by patches of nipah palms.
The island also harbours a wide variety of interesting wildlife that includes unique mammals, colourful resident and migratory birds, rare reptiles, fishes and crustaceans.
In drier months, the water level usually recedes drastically, and the valley is covered by a field of sedges, mainly Lepironia species.
There is a two-kilometre trek going up and down. From the vantage point of the park, visitors can take an exhilarating view of Kampong Ayer including the capital and the palace.
A visit to the park is highly recommended especially for photographer enthusiasts.
Aside from the usual facilities provided, this park boasts fish ponds, a multi-purpose open arena which can be used for top spinning competitions, remote control car racing and other recreational activities.
An interesting feature of the park is the observation tower at the summit of the hill, from which one can savour the panoramic view of the South China Sea and coastline to the north, Bandar Seri Begawan and suburbs to the Southwest, the Istana Nurul Izzah and Jerudong Park to the west, and wide tracts of green land (Kerangas Forests, Belukar Forests and farm lands) elsewhere.
At the rocky summit of Bukit Patoi, there is an open and flat patch which doubles as a helipad and a lookover point.
From this vantage point, amid a pleasant breeze, visitors can take an exhilarating view of the green and blue panorama that extends to the horizon, including the scenery in neighbouring Lawas, Sarawak coastlines and the South China Sea.
Located beside the South China Sea, some 18km from the capital, the park comprises Kerangas trees that had endured forest fires several times. There is also a number of unique and interesting species of trees, such as ‘Sindok-sindok’ (Endospermum sp) and ‘Selunsor’ (Tristania sp).
The department’s statistic record showed the number of visitors to the forest recreational parks have sharply increased from 145,216 people (2000) to 2,367,083 (2010) or around 16.3 per cent.
The Forestry Department also considers to add more forest recreational parks. Under the 7th National Development Plan, the department has lined up the following strategic sites for development, namely Bukit Saeh near Kampong Ayer in Brunei-Muara, and two parks in Belait: Bukit Teraja in Labi and Badas in Seria.
The Brunei Times
Tuesday, March 22, 2011