Sultan tours Hadfa Recreational Park
By Aziz Idris

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam spent almost an hour yesterday touring the exciting landscapes of Hadfa Recreational Park, which is located at Phase 4 of the Horticulture Centre, Rimba Agriculture Development Area.

The two-hectare area, which used to be thick forest a decade ago, is now a beautiful paradise within the vicinity of Brunei's capital, Bandar Seri Begawan.

His Majesty walked along the interconnected pathways to take a closer look at facilities available at the park such as SPA rooms, multi-purpose halls, accommodations (home stay), 'Relaxing Huts' and fishing ponds, where His Majesty tossed some bread to feed the fishes.

An array of locally-made handicrafts and decorations were also on display.

Hjh Halus bte Haji Karim, the sole proprietor of Hadfa Recreational Park, described His Majesty's visit to the park as extremely surreal and overwhelming, as the caring monarch expressed his approval over development initiatives in the area.

Hjh Halus, 63, a retired teacher, noted that the concept of the park was based on three key elements - wood, rattan and bamboo.

According to her, visitors to Hadfa Recreational Park can see for themselves these three elements incorporated into the park's huts, rooms and furniture. This park has a different kind of ambience - one that is closer to nature, she added.

Hjh Halus noted that public response has been encouraging, as she has received bookings from schools interested in organising camping and other outdoor activities at Hadfa Recreational Park. The park has welcomed tourists from as far away as Germany, England, US and Australia, to name but a few.

Due to financial hardships and other things that were beyond her control, Hjh Halus conceded that it took her 12 long years to develop the area into what it is today.

"It's been a long road ... slowly but surely, I took small steps to upgrade the park," she said.

When asked what the future has in store for the recreational park, Hjh Halus revealed that plans are currently under way to construct a 'Butterflies Corner', as well as a 'man-made beehive' that would harvest natural honey.

The 'Herbal Plantation' that is located in the vicinity of Hadfa Recreational Park, meanwhile, will help educate the younger generation in Brunei on the significance of the Sultanate's traditional medicines, she added.

Admission to Hadfa Recreational Park is free. - Borneo Bulletin (18th March 2011)