Water taxi passing through Kampong Ayer. Image courtesy of Brunei Tourism.
One of the popular tourist attractions in Brunei Darussalam that, Kampong Ayer is situated along the busy waters of the Brunei River. It is a settlement area that is built on water in the country and is dubbed as “The Venice of the East” by Italian explorer Antonio Pigafetta who at that time visited Brunei in the 16th century.
The modern day houses in Kampong Ayer are built using concrete stilts & walls instead of wood. These networks of houses are then connected by bridges locally known as “Jambatan” which is made of wood of about 4-5 feet. Kampong Ayer is also equipped with other modern amenities such as schools, convenient shops, mosques, clinics, police stations, postal services and fire brigades provided by the Government. The mode of transportation is by Water taxi or locally known as “Perahu Tambang” at nearby jetties charging a fee of only B$1. Water taxis are also common and convenient as a mode of transportation.
Modern innovations aside, Kampong Ayer remains a living, teeming artifact of the old Bruneian way of life, a life where river meant home.
For a guided tour of Kampong Ayer, approach the concierge at the hotel or look for the nearest visitor center. Solo travelers may enter the village from the city center and wander about at whim. Larger groups or couples should flag down a water taxi from the riverside for a unique and scenic excursion.
A mother and her child in Kampong Ayer. Image courtesy of Brunei Tourism.
Similar Southeast Asia Experiences
Many other water-based communities exist in Southeast Asia – see them when you visit Vietnam's floating markets in the Mekong Delta and Ha Long Bay; Bangkok, Thailand's Khlong Bang Luang marketplace on the riverbank; and the lakeside communities in Tonle Sap, Cambodia.