BRUNEI-MUARA – Serene and tranquil are the first words that come to mind as you step into the Joyful Garden, located at a private residence in Kg Subok.
The 0.39 acres of land is surrounded by vines and a plethora of plants with wooden swings, gazebos and furniture, lanterns and marble statues, inspired by the Chinese culture.
Appropriately named, the garden aims to bring joy to visitors from all walks of life, while at the same time promoting wellness and well-being.
“I want people to come here to relax, to feel therapeutic and release stress,” owner Wilson Lim told local media on Monday.
The garden was built to honour his late wife, who died of cancer back in 2012.
“I want memories of her to live on; this is my way of paying homage to her, by giving joy to others,” said Lim, who was married to his wife for 22 years.
To promote healthier living, the 54-year-old holds regular Qi Gong sessions – a Chinese system of physical exercises and breathing control related to Tai Chi.
“I stayed in Malaysia for a year with my wife and Qi Gong was a proven method to help alleviate pain.”
“While it doesn’t completely cure you, it helps lower the risks and I thought it was important to learn more and bring it back to Brunei.”
Lim then acquired a certificate from Malaysia to be a Qi Gong instructor and now teaches classes every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 8.30am and 4.30pm.
“Everyone is welcome to join. Just come over. I hope it helps them as it has for so many people.”
Construction of the garden took five years to complete as most of the decorations were brought in from China.
“This is also an opportunity for people to learn [more] about my culture without having to pay for an airplane ticket. They can get a glimpse of China’s beauty at my garden.”
To draw in more people, the businessman plans on adding more activities in the future such as bringing in traditional Chinese clothes and halal Chinese food for visitors to try.
“I’m also hoping these activities will also attract more tourists,” said Lim ,who was recently approached by the Tourism Development Department to turn Joyful Garden into a tourism destination.
“I have no objections to this. However, as of this moment, the parking space can only accommodate a certain number of vehicles,” he said, adding that he is currently working to expand the space for the convenience of visitors.
Schools that are looking to organise trips are also welcome and are advised to inform him in advance.
On weekdays, he receives roughly 100 visitors per day while on Fridays and Sundays, the number of visitors can reach up to 200, made up of mostly families and couples.
“We’ve also had people have their wedding photoshoots here. I feel very happy to see people enjoying the garden and activities and hope it benefits them.”
“Entrance is free. Visitors are just advised to keep the area clean, not bring any food and take off their shoes at certain areas. I hope everyone will enjoy visiting this joyful place.”
The Joyful Garden is located at No. 40, Simpang 214, Kampung Subok and is open daily.
On Monday to Thursday and Saturday, the garden is open from 7am to 6pm. Meanwhile on Friday and Sunday, the garden is open from 7am until 6.30pm.
This article was updated on December 11, 2018 at 12.17pm to reflect a correction to the acreage of the garden.