Beauty, serenity all rolled into one

Azlan Othman

Brunei Darussalam has many great hiking and running trails for hikers, campers, nature lovers and people who want to burn fat and lose weight. These trails are spread across all four districts.

Hiking enthusiasts will be enticed with plenty of elevation changes, rocky paths as well as good views, and if you are lucky, you can even catch a glimpse of a ‘wasai’ (waterfall) and fruit plantation.

For safety, some trails have rooted climbs and are shaded to avoid overheating. One needs to wear appropriate clothing while hiking to avoid the risk of getting sunburnt, scratched by twigs and branches, or bitten by insects.

It goes without saying that you should never leave marked trails in any parts of the world and you should always let someone know where you are going, when you expect to return and when you have returned safely. Carry enough food and water for the expected trip, plus extra – you never know if you might get a bit lost, or if there’s a hold up.

The natural beauty and serene quietness of Brunei’s sustained forests is one of the many places to visit where you can experience a feeling of calmness, away from the hectic everyday life.

The view from the top of Bukit Mentiri Recreational Park. PHOTOS: AZLAN OTHMAN
Members of Duli Pengiran Muda Al-Muhtadee Billah College’s Hiking Club in a group photo

One of them would be Taman Riadah Bukit Mentiri (Bukit Mentiri Recreational Park), which is well-known for its mountain hiking trail along with its peaceful atmosphere.

A group of 28 hikers from Duli Pengiran Muda Al-Muhtadee Billah College’s (Maktab Duli) Hiking Club including three tutors recently ventured to the recreational park, where they were welcomed by Acting Village Head of Kampong Mentiri, Haji Bujang bin Sabtu and members of the Village Consultative Council (MPK) of Kampong Mentiri.

The hikers were briefed on the history of the setting up of the park, the types of trails available and safety aspects.

Bukit Mentiri Recreational Park is a small jungle-walking recreation park with loops of 3km (red trail), 2.1km (yellow trail), 1.7km (blue trail) and 1.2km (black trail). These fairly clear trails are easily accessible with huts and benches available for hikers to stop and rest after a gruelling expedition.

Interestingly enough, huts found along the trail are named after local plant names such as, Kuduk-Kuduk which is popular among traditional medicine lovers which is used as a treatment for scars.

Compared to other jungle walks in Brunei, Bukit Mentiri Recreational Park is more shaded, less hilly and provides a shorter route. Visitors can view lush and pristine tropical jungle as early as two minutes into any of the trails. Head towards the top and you will be amazed with the view atop Bukit Mentiri.

It provides a stunning view where hikers are able to see the panaromic view of the whole of Brunei Bay, Pulau Muara Besar, the new Temburong Bridge, Pulau Badukang (Badukang Island), Pulau Cermin, Pulau Keingaran and Pulau Berbunut. According to a member of MPK Kampong Mentiri, one might be lucky enough to see Mount Kinabalu at the far distance on a clear day. For the comfort of hikers, a parking area and toilet facilities are also available.

The hikers from Maktab Duli took the red trail covering a three-kilometre-loop and the view of Mengkubau Reservoir greeted them along the journey. Near the park entrance, one can see a small roofed enclosure called Pondok Galleri (gallery hut) where the village’s traditional crafts can be found.

This hiking expedition was the final excursion for Maktab Duli hikers for the 2019/2020 session. The hikers who joined shared that the end was perfect and that they had a wonderful experience.

The Hiking Club will continue hiking for more places in Brunei with the new 2020/2021 intake.