Just returned from a 2 day/1 night stay at the Ulu Ulu Resort in the Temburong rainforest. The adventure of getting to the resort and living deep inside the jungle was quite an experience. I would highly recommend the trip for those that are located in SE Asia although not something I would recommend to those coming from afar.
The journey began from our hotel in BSB where the resort shuttle took us from our hotel to the jetty in about 2 minutes. I expected a resort boat but my friends and I were put on a regular speedboat along with some locals, groceries, supplies, heavy machinery, and underground piping. The trip was a bit claustrophobic as you are sitting close to others with a very low ceiling surrounded by a bunch of randomness. The 45 min journey took us through the mangrove forests and into a smaller port city where we disembarked and got onto a waiting van. The group was driven about 20 minutes to a local dock where we boarded a long tail boat. It was pouring rain (so dress accordingly) but the guide provided us with ponchos and covered our luggage with garbage bags. As a side note, I would highly recommend that you pack VERY lightly. The long long tail boat ride up the river into the rainforest in the pouring rain was a highlight. We arrived at the resort 40 minutes later soaking from the rain but with big smiles on our faces.
After check-in we rested, had a surprising good BBQ meal and headed for our night hike with our guide. We followed a small river off the main river to look for wildlife. Unfortunately, we didnt see many 'exotic' animals, just insects, frogs, fireflies and some small guppy fish. We then headed back to the resort to rest up.
Our group of 8 people were put in one lodge set up like a college dorm. Four rooms with 2 bunk beds in each and shared bathrooms for the boys and girls. The rooms were decently clean, but the beds were comfy and the A/C strong. There are bugs/flying insects in the main area of the room but it was separate from the bed rooms so we didnt mind.
The next morning we were woken up at 4 AM to hike up to for the Canopy walk to see the sunrise. This hike was more difficult than we had expected but not what i would consider hard. The guides told us it was a walk on the board walk but in reality it's about a 1000+ step climb to the top that takes about 45 minutes, all in all a good work out.
Once you get to the top, we saw the 5 canopy stations. Climbing up to the top was scary! You have to climb up smalls steps snaking your way up to the top. It was very much worth it though as the stations let you see the vastness of the rainforest in all directions. We stayed for about 1.5 hours and headed back to our hotel to catch breakfast.
After breakfast we did the waterfall hike. This was also harder than expected as you have to navigate some slippery slate rocks. Many of us slipped and fell on the rocks or into the water. On person was holding a camera that got wet and unfortunately broke. We were told it was ok to wear flip-flops but that is HIGHLY not recommended. Wear water shoes with traction! Once we got to the waterfall, everything was worth it. We were able to scale halfway up the waterfall and at the end slide down the rocks. Be careful for leeches though, one member of our group found one when she got back to the lodge!
All in all a great experience being away in the jungle. The reason I am hesitant to recommend this experience to those traveling far is because Brunei itself is not a happening place. The capital has nothing going on (go to the nightmarket though) and we didnt see or experience anything out of this world. Those coming from America are better off heading to Costa Rica or the Dominican Republic to see the rainforests there.
Here are the bullet points:
friendly, helpful and knowledgeable staff
resort beds were clean
isolated location away from it all
food was surprisingly okay
very few mosquito bites
no cell/internet service
no exotic animals seen
no cell/internet service
you will get wet - dress/plan accordingly
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Ulu Ulu National Park Resort is the only rainforest resort in Brunei Darussalam, situated at the edge of 50,000 hectares of pristine rainforest of the Ulu Temburong National Park. A perfect destination for nature lovers, retreats, rejuvenation, meditation, team-building and personal growth programs, bird watching. The resort does not have mobile or internet reception and is void of these modern gadgets so our guests can have a total peace of mind experience to connect personally with one another. The resort also banned disposable plastic bottles replacing them with the non-profit sale of stainless steel water bottles at the resort, to minimize plastic pollution. The "must do" activities include the Sunrise Canopy Walk, the Waterfall Trek, and Night Frog Trail. Unexpected comfort in the heart of the Rainforest, at the Ulu Ulu National Park Resort, Temburong. ... more less