Hiking gains popularity amid COVID-19

Lyna Mohamad

Hiking has been gaining more currency among the local community, particularly with the discovery of new trails in Brunei’s hilly jungles, which offer countless challenging routes.

An increasing number of people are motivated to take up hiking for health, training or as a casual activity, while taking in the sights and sounds of nature.

Given its popularity among people from all walks of life, from senior citizens to young children who follow their parents, the Bulletin recently spoke to some active hikers at well-known hiking spots.

Former Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) senior military officer Pengiran Haji Rudi Halyamin bin Pengiran Haji Chuchu said, “Hiking is my own physical therapy to strengthen my footwork and cardio.

“It’s great to be able to do so, especially with Bukit Sipatir offering a nice moderate elevation where even entry-level people such as kids can go there as there’s an option of going on long strenuous trekking distances or just at a less ascending level.

“COVID-19 has brought about a sudden rise in hiking. Those who are used to going outside Brunei now don’t have to go far for fun and excitement, with the new hiking and nature trails being discovered all over the country.”

ABOVE & BELOW: Pengiran Haji Rudi Halyamin bin Pengiran Haji Chuchu with fellow hikers at Bukit Sipatir; and Zaitul Khadijah binti Haji Mohd Zaidi and trekking enthusiasts at Bukit Bujang Pahang. PHOTOS: LYNA MOHAMAD

Government employee Zaitul Khadijah binti Haji Mohd Zaidi, meanwhile, shared that she uses hiking to improve her stamina and endurance, while at the same time aiding in
weight loss.

“It’s also a family-oriented sport, where hikers can tag along, regardless of their age. Even if they are first-timers, we can still do it together, and it’s much more fun and enjoyable if you do it with loved ones,” she said.

Zaitul usually goes hiking during the weekends, in a group of two to 10, or even more. At times, she just tags along with first-timers or intermediate hikers.

“I’ve already hiked at Bukit Sipatir in Subok, Bukit Bujang Pahang in Menunggol, Bukit Shahbandar in Jerudong, Tasek Lama in the capital, Bukit Teraja in Labi and Bukit Subok,” she said.

“Bukit Bujang Pahang has yet to gain much exposure, as you need to travel by boat to get there. That’s why not many people really know about the place.”

Melissa Catherina Boyd Abdullah told the Bulletin that she enjoys going on random hikes when back onshore. An employee of Brunei Shell Petroleum attached to the Champion Oil Platform, she at least has several hiking activities with her work mates and friends during her 14 days off.

“Hiking gives me that extra strength in terms of endurance, as I am an avid Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner,” she said.

“Going for that extra outdoor training, surrounded by the beautiful nature is a bonus, as it also helps me to maintain my fitness level.”

To date, Melissa has only hiked across Bukit Ambok, Wasai Janggut and Tasek Lama, but hopes to go to more hiking spots in the future.

Amalinie Sulaiman, another active hiker, said, “It helps me stay fit and healthy, and it is an alternative to spinning, as I need to balance my indoor and outdoor workouts.

“Depending on the group and weather, my hiking spots include the popular Bukit Sipatir, Tasek Lama and Bukit Dadap.”