Brunei’s Kampung Ayer. The Venice of the East.

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.

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The Kampung Ayer from afar. See the billboard?

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.

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Yayasa Mall with Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque in the background.
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Yayasa Mall viewed from Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque

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.

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The high end and low end houses in the village.
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The water taxi.

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.

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Waiting shed for the water taxi.
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The new high end houses.
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Some new high end houses.
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Locals on their daily routine.

 

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