On Day 4 before we headed off to Kuala Belalong Field Studies Centre (KBFSC), we were brought to the Botanical Research Centre (BRC) at UBD (Universiti Brunei Darussalam), where we were introduced to some of the tropical rainforest trees and many plants that have edible leaves. We even got to try some of the leaves!
We also passed by a bee farm and were allowed to try some of the honey straight from the beehive. I expected the bees to attack us as we took the honey from the hives but was surprised to see that they remained calm and continued with their work. Feeling quite confident, I took a spoon and obtained some honey straight from the hive too. After looking around the garden, we had some refreshments before heading off to our next location to board our boats.
After a long bus ride, we finally headed off to KBFSC on a long boat (called “temuai”) into the middle of the forest to stay for the next 3 nights. After arriving at the centre, we dropped off our bags at our accommodation and had our first look of the area. It was definitely a more luxurious accommodation that I expected it to be, with bunk beds, clean toilets and even washing machines and dryers. None of us expected such facilities in a place where we could not even get any mobile connection.
Our first trip out was to a viewpoint 400m high up to look at the scenery of the forest. The trek up the long never-ending stairs was exhausting but we pushed on knowing that the view at the top will be a reward. Once we reached close to the top, we faced a tall metal structure with ladders, and we were told to climb up in order to reach the viewpoint. It was one of the most terrifying experiences I have had as the structure was shaky and I do have a slight fear of heights, but the view at the end was ultimately worth it. The rest of the day was spent settling into our new accommodation. As the electricity went off at 11pm, I lay in my bed, slowly starting to feel the sweat droplets appearing, and looked forward to the next few days in the forest.