When in Brunei: Kampong Ayer

Kampong Ayer, known as the village on stilts, is one of the unique sights that you must see in Bandar Seri Begawan. Bruneians have been living on stilts for over 1300 years and so it's considered part of their culture and history.
Although modernized by commercial buildings and residential apartments, Kampong Ayer contributes to that peaceful and quiet mood of the city. In this village, houses sit above water with the help of huge and strong stilts while wooden planks connect everything together. Some people coin this place as the "Venice of the East."

Kampong Ayer can be reached by water taxi, a small motor boat that the people use as daily public transportation. It is a cheap ride and may be considered as an alternative to go around the city.


A local friend accompanied me to Waterfront, the nearest station going to Kampong Ayer. A short distance one-way ride costs BND 1 (around PHP 33). The ride only took 2 minutes.
We first went to a small museum called Kampong Ayer Cultural and Tourism Gallery. In this museum, you can read information about early Bruneian life especially Kampong Ayer. You can also see a small collection of artifacts and play with a few Bruneian traditional games.

Look! They also have the interactive game "sungka." But they call it "congkak."
There is a viewing deck upstairs that gives you a 36-degree view of city.

After that, we walked around the village to check out the houses up close. Most of the walls are painted in striking colors. Some houses have a lot of decorations. They really attract attention.

This village is self-sustainable. They have their own school, fire station, gas station, mosque, etc. And of course all of them are on stilts.
So instead of a fire truck, they use a fire boat. Cool.

Lately the government has been replacing wooden houses with concrete houses that do not get any different at all from a typical house set on land. They sure look more stable but I hope those old ones won't get totally torn down. Its vibrant colors, oldness and oddity will not only keep tourists from coming back and checking it out, but also it's something that Bruneians may keep as a piece of their history.



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