Brunei Darussalam

Hiking Bukit Shahbandar on First Day of 2015

I couldn’t think of anything better to ring in the new year than a group hiking activity with like minded enthusiasts. So a few days ago I sent out casual invites to friends on Whatsapp, followed by a quick Facebook post on the eve. At the same time I was worried about bad weather ruining the plan (we’ve had good sunny weather in between). Came Dec 31st, my family and I had Thai cuisine for lunch, wife and I squeezed in a 4.75 km hike in Sungai Liang (Jewel had weekly track training while Jamie was at the cinema watching Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb with a friend) before we all got ready for for dinner at Kaizen Sushi (deviating from our regular haunt, Excapade Sushi)

Excited about the hike, I slept early only to be woken up by looping sounds of relentless rain. Half dazed, I went back to sleep with great hopes that rain would stop by dawn — it never did. In fact it had rained non-stop since midnight and I was pretty sure the trails would be soaked, muddy and expectedly slippery by now. I was close to calling the whole thing off but Eric was going ahead with the hike with his staff from various Mr Baker’s Bakeshop outlets I wasn’t going to miss this opportunity especially when rain had finally stopped. Woke everybody up, grabbed breakfast and made a beeline to Bukit Shahbandar despite the persistent gray weather.

14 of us in total comprising mostly staff from Mr Baker’s Bakeshop led by owner Eric Pui, including Joe and my family of 4. Both Jamie and Jewel are wearing their new Skechers Go Run Ultra. I’m happy to report that in spite of the muddy and slippery trails, the Ultra’s outsole lugs have been proven effective in handling the unforgiving trail conditions.
As soon as I took the first picture (above) battery indicator went from full charge to blinking red. (second battery after Singapore holiday). Mistake of not packing a spare and I wasn’t sure how long the remaining charge would hold but surprised I was still able to shoot many more, with flash!
The break away intersection to Pondok 7 is one of my favourite photo spots although not the easiest to set up, more so when the surface is wet and slippery. The Canon G11 is set up on the Lollipod with 10 second timer activated shutter to fire 3 shots.
The scenic lookout between Pondok 4 and 5 is another popular photo spot. Flat ground makes it a lot easier to set up camera. Behind us is part of the extended landscape that stretches the Shahbandar trail by another 3km. A leisure hike that includes the extended trail would take up to 4 hours to complete.
I’ve crossed this bridge located between Pondok 5 and Pondok 6 countless times but this is the first time I took this shot from a higher vantage point — 13 people on the bridge makes the picture more interesting than usual.
Here’s a photo on the slope before Pondok 7 where the group stood randomly. Every photo op was an opportunity to rest for those who are exhausted from the steep hills.
Another picturesque landscape tucked away in a corner of the rocky trail before Pondok 9.
Slowly but surely every one of Eric’s staff made it to the final pit stop, the observation tower. From here on back to the starting point, it’s downhill and flat all the way. Well done first timers!

Aerial view of Shahbandar Hills | see MapMyHike for map details and workout stats.

My workout stats for this hike and the longest time I’ve done for a 9 hills hike. The upside of staying in the forest longer is higher calories burned. I’m sure it’s not a linear computation and MapMyHike algorithm takes into account movements tracked by GPS and time it took to work out the burn rate.
So I finished and tracked a year and four months of my workouts recently adding badminton to the stats and ended 2014 with some hard working numbers to reflect on. 2015: Burn more calories! 🙂

4 thoughts on “Hiking Bukit Shahbandar on First Day of 2015

    1. Or, you could just join us to build your fitness and stamina. A group of us locals and a couple of friends from Miri trained exclusively at Bukit Shahbandar (with the exception of one occasion when we added Tasek Lama after Shahbandar on the same morning) … 4 months later our training got us all the up to the peak of Mount Kinabalu at 13,000 feet 🙂


      1. What an accomplishment! Congrats and good job! So when do you guys usually go hiking? That is a one of the ‘things I’d like to do before I die’ .


        1. There is no hiking schedule per se. In the interest of more people being generally available for hiking activity, we normally have it on Sunday or on a public holiday and it’s usually in the mornings, either 8 or 9 am. The time it takes to complete 9 Pondok (affectionately called “9 hills”) trails ranges from an hour to 2.5 hours as we recently timed with this group. My personal best time is 41 minutes but that also means I burn much less number of calories doing so.

          When you replied to my comment, we had just finished another 9 hills hike 🙂 Kid you not, we did it again but fewer people this time and joining us was a Mirian, the one I mentioned who drove from Miri to Shahbandar to train exclusively. It was great catching up with him.


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