When people think of Temburong District, the first thing that comes to mind is most likely the Ulu Temburong National Park and its infamous canopy walk. However, at the northern tip of Temburong lies a hidden gem – Selirong Island, the mangrove paradise.
The Sutera team was given a chance to take a trip to Selirong and learn more about the lush flora and fauna, turning it into a haven for researchers of mangrove biodiversity.
The journey is a treat in itself. Starting from the Temburong Jetty located near the Sungai Kebun Bridge, our tour guide, Mark Putera Delima Tours, provided various information about the sights along the Brunei Bay, such as Pulau Cermin, a historical site for Brunei’s Civil War, the soon-to-open Temburong Bridge, and if you are lucky, a rare sighting of the Irrawaddy dolphins playing in the waters.
The name ‘Pulau Selirong’ translates to Mosquito Island in Malay. It is a reflection of the nature of its habitat, but don’t worry – it’s nothing a good mosquito repellent can’t handle. Don’t let the name prevent you from missing out on the wonders that can be found on the island.
Walking along Selirong’s two-kilometre elevated wooden walkway, you can already see the island’s rich flora and fauna. One of the largest mangrove forest reserves in the world, Bakau kurap (Rhizophora mucronata)and Bakau minyak (Rhizophora apiculata) are the most prominent species of mangrove that can be found there.
Part of the fauna of Selirong includes the orange-brown proboscis monkeys of Borneo and the mangrove yellow-black cat-eyed snakes. The island is also a great place for birdwatchers to catch sight of the colourful feathered birds in the region.
As one of the 33 islands that has become a tourist destination around the Brunei Bay, it was classified as a forest reserve in 1948 and was only open to the public as a forest recreational park in 1994. As the island is only accessible by boat and only with permission from the Forestry Department, it is recommended to hire a tour agency to take you on the journey.
With its magnificent habitat, flora, and fauna, Selirong Island provides a relaxing atmosphere making it perfect as a holiday retreat for those who desires a break from their daily lives. So if you have a chance to go there, please do so and allow yourself to be mesmerized by the uniqueness of the forest.