Lying on the northwestern coast of the island of Borneo and sharing a border with Malaysia, Brunei is not on many traveler's radars, but it is a great place for nature, hiking and culture.
Here are a few tips to stay safe while hiking in Brunei's tropical rainforest.
While it's tempting to wear as little as possible in the tropical heat, there are a few key reasons to wear appropriate clothing while hiking here.
The first reason is cultural: most locals would find this offensive if you were to wear short-shorts or a revealling singlet. But the second set of reasons are about safety. You risk getting sunburnt, scratched by twigs and brances, or bitten by insects.
Here are a few packing tips for hikers in Brunei.
It goes without saying you should never leave marked trails anywhere you are in the world, and you should always let someone know where you are going, when you expect to return and when you have returned safely. Carry enough food and water for the expected trip, plus extra – you never know if you might get a bit lost, or if there's a hold up. Also, allow for extra time in the tropical heat, take it easy and conserve your energy.
Tropical rainforests attract visitors and poisonous creatures in equal numbers. Insects often don't leave a good impression on travelers. To avoid nasty bites and stings wear long trousers when hiking and sturdy footwear. Also, watch out for macaques (a type of monkey) who live in rainforets – you must never leave leftover food in your unattended backpack or lying around, as macaques are cheeky animals, and will steal any left over food and water from you.
The National Parks offices in East Malaysia and Borneo can provide detailed information of what to expect. If you are going to do any treks in the wilderness, do not set out without checking the current conditions with a local ranger first. Bring a compass and a map and listen to any instructions or warnings rangers give you. They are looking out for your safety.
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