Temburong - Separated from the rest of the Sultanate by the Brunei Bay, the Temburong District is the second largest district after the Belait District and is surrounded by the Malaysian state of Sarawak. Pekan Bangar is Temburong District's main town and centre of administration.
Rich in beautiful and unspoiled natural heritage, the Temburong District, some time ago could only be reached by boat.
Travelling there by car is now possible by means of a ferry ride between the district's small village of Puni and Limbang, Sarawak.
On the other hand, a speedboat trip from Bandar Seri Begawan to Pekan Bangar takes only about 45 minutes by which a one-way ticket costs B$6. There is no fixed departure schedule and the first boat could leave as early as 6.15am, depending on the number of passengers, while the last boat usually departs Pekan Bangar at around 4.30pm.
The boat trip is still the No 1 choice for many residents, including day-trippers who want to avoid the rather long drive to Temburong via Limbang.
The speedboat is usually fitted with either one or two high-powered engines. Able to accommodate as many as 35 passengers, the boats are made of fibreglass and timber with two front-facing cushioned seats on each side and an aisle in the centre.
Some of the speedboats, however, have a seating arrangement of a long cushioned-padded seat on each side where passengers are seated facing each other.
There is no air-conditioning on board, but plenty of air is available with a simple slide of the plastic window at the side!
There's usually a small cargo compartment at the front of the boat, but most passengers usually keep their luggage with them. Excess baggage, on the other hand, will be kept and tied securely on the roof.
Ticket booths for the daily boat service between the two towns are located in the vicinity of the Kianggeh food stalls, which is also the passengers' point of embarkation.
To avoid missing a boat, passengers occasionally arrive in Kianggeh as early as 5.30am as the ticketing booth opens at 6am.
Passengers who buy tickets have their names registered at the ticket counter on the day they are travelling. Generally, there is no advanced booking, except for when the whole boat is chartered by a group.
The 45-minute ride can be interesting and even enjoyable for tourists and infrequent passengers.
The journey includes slow cruising along the picturesque Sungai Brunei passing the world-famous Kampong Ayer located on either side of the river.
Thereafter, the ride winds through a fascinating scenery of very dense and mostly-untouched green jungle, mangrove, swamps as well as "Nipah" palms.
At times, the river is quite narrow and to avoid oncoming boats, the boat driver manoeuvres so close to the riverbank that you can almost literally touch the plants.
On a good day, passengers can see wildlife and activities of residents along the winding river.
Among the most common sights is the White Egret either flying past or perching on the Nipah trees.
During low tide, monitor lizards and crocodiles can be seen basking like still statues under the hot sun.
The boat will weave through the labyrinth of river channels at the mouth of both the Temburong and Brunei Rivers, occasionally slowing down when similar-sized boats and barges pass by to avoid hitting hard against the undulating waves.
Upon arriving in Pekan Bangar, the boat would dock at the main jetty and passengers would disembark at the arrival and departure building especially built for those travelling between BSB and Pekan Bangar.
The clean, air-conditioned hall, on the other hand, is certainly a perfect welcome for every passenger.--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin