One of Brunei Darussalam's more visible nature attrations is its forests, which cover about 80 per cent of its total land area. Some lovely parts of the forests have been turned into parks or recreational forests.
The Bukit (Hill) Peradayan Recreational Forest is located in Brunei Darussalam's most verdant district, Temburong, which one can reach either by helicopter or boat. The latter, of course is the more conventional mode of transport as it has been since bygone age.
The boats, known as perahu tambang, or water taxis, are available at a jetty near the Kianggeh Bridge, along Jalan Residency in Bandar Seri Begawan. The fare is negotiable, but B$10 is the usual sum the boatmen expects.
The journey to Bangar, Temburong's capital takes about 45 minutes and passes through a picturesque route lined on boths sides by nipah palms and mangroves.
The recreational forest has been developed within the 1,070 hectare Peradayan Forest Reserve about 15 km from Bangar. The best way to go there is by car, but only as far as the edge of the forest reserve. From here visitors travel on foot to get to the designated recreational forest.
The hike does not only provide an exhilarating physical exercise but also an excellent opportunity for the visitors to appreciate the natural beauty, sernity and coolness of the forest, as it takes them along undulating path that leads to the Bukit Peradayan Summit about 410 meteres (1,225 feet) above sea level. There is also another hill nearby called Bukit Patoi, which rises 310 meters (950 feet) above sea level.
The recreational forest, which has an area of 997 square hectares, never fail to impress visitors with, apart from the hills, its naturally abundant flora and fauna as well as the unusual geological formation of its limestone and caves.
On top of rocky Bukit Patoi there exists an open, flat land where, amid invigorating air, the visitors can have a breathtaking view of the surrounding areas including a magnificent range of mountains, villages, farms, part of neighbouring Sarawak, and the South China Sea.
Due to its natural richness, the recreational forest is also visited by scientists and geologists from within and outside the country to carry out various research.
As the forest is not merely confined to the provision of recreation but is also for other purposes such as conservation, education and research, leaving it in the raw is extremely important. With this in mind, the Forestry Department, which is responsible for all aspects of Brunei Darussalam's woodlands, has restricted development to a handful of shelters for the weary and picnickers to sit and relax.
Article written by: Bolhassan Haji Abu Bakar, 1994
Source: Brunei Today published by the Information Department, 1994.