Kampung Ayer (kampung = village, ayer = water in Bahasa) is a water village in Brunei’s capital city – Bandar Seri Begawan and is situated along Brunei River. The village is the home of 39,000 people of Brunei which is around 10% of the population. Built entirely on stilt houses connected with wooden walkways, the village also has hospital, schools, mosques, restaurants and retail shops. They even have a water system.
The people started to live here 1300 years ago. When the fleet of Ferdinand Magellan visited in 1521, Antonio Pigafetta tagged this village as “Venice of the East”. This village is considered as the real core of Brunei historically and one of the most important trading point in Borneo.
After I visited the Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque, I tried to find some foods for lunch in the Yayasan Mall opposite to the mosque. I know Jollibee is there. After lunch, went to the most popular dock to hail a water taxi to the water village. The dock is just behind the mall.
There were few touts in the dock offering for a tour around the village and to the spot where you can see the Proboscis monkeys. One offered for BND 40. I found it expensive. Honestly, I didn’t plan to take a water taxi tour. Instead, I just wanted to go the village and wander. I wanted to see the real community inside the village.
I took a water taxi to cross the river for only BND 1. The moment I disembarked from the water taxi, I felt amazed as I was in that portion of the village with high end houses, still stilt on water. I strolled and wandered.