Kampong Ayer, located in Bandar Seri Begawan, is a historical settlement area in Brunei. Kampong Ayer literally means “Water Village”. The name “Kampong Ayer” is the old spelling of the Malay “Kampung Air”. Visitors of Kampong Ayer can find traditional stilt villages built on the Brunei River. Kampong Ayer is home to around 30,000 people, thus, it has become the principal settlement of Brunei.
Take Kampong Ayer Tour For Your Best Experience
1. Kampong Ayer Cultural and Tourism Gallery
Kampong Ayer Cultural and Tourism Gallery is a unique gallery providing visitors and locals a glimpse of Kampong Ayer's past glory. It was also established to preserve part of Brunei's heritage, rejuvenate the cottage industries, and diversify the local economy. Kampong Ayer Cultural and Tourism Gallery covers an area of 565 square metres, exhibiting history, traditions, society and arts as well as antique handicrafts and relics from the origins of the water village. It was officially opened on August 19, 2009 by His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince. Kampong Ayer Cultural and Tourism Gallery opens from Monday to Sunday, from 9 am to 5 pm. On Friday, the museum opens from 9 am to 11.30pm and 2.30pm to 5pm. The last admission is 30 minutes before closing time. The gallery is closed on public holidays. There is no admission fee to the gallery.
2. Exploring the 'Venice of the East'
Brunei is not only palaces and mosques. You can explore this floating water villages, said to be the largest such settlement in the world to immerse yourself with the locals' daily life and culture. You can witness how Kampong Ayer which has existed for over 1,300 years, is able to survive in the rapid development of Brunei. It is a wonder that almost half of the total population of Bruneians still prefer the lifestyle of the water village to living on dry land.
3. Fishing, Handicrafts
If you love fishing, you can try fishing in some villages of Kampong Ayer, such as in Kampong Saba and Kampong Setia. Fishermen use traditional fishing equipment such as balat (fish trap), tugu (enclosure) and andang (net). You can also visit some villages that specialize in the production of handicrafts.
How to Get Tickets?
There is no admission fee to visit Kampong Ayer.
How To Get Around?
To explore Kampong Ayer, the best way is travelling on foot. However, you can also take the water taxi if you want to explore the two parts of Kampong Ayer.
What Should I Wear?
To explore Kampong Ayer, there is no fixed dress code that you need to follow. Just wear something comfortable covering your arms and knees, since Brunei is a country where the citizens are dominantly Muslim; you need to respect their norms. Also, wear comfortable shoes or flip-flops so that you can walk around the villages in comfort. Always carry spared clothes and shoes as you might get wet easily when you take the water taxis.
Best Time to Visit
You can go to Kampong Ayer anytime you wish. There is no strict visiting hours to the villages. However, if you want to see the life of the locals, it is recommended to visit Kampong Ayer in the early morning or late afternoon. The villages seems to be deserted in the afternoon. Children go to schools and adults go to work.
Will I Need a Guide?
No, it is very easy to go around Kampong Ayer and you can also find signs in English there.
How To Get There?
From Bandar Seri Begawan's downtown waterfront, it takes some minutes to reach Kampong Ayer. Just go to the banked steps leading down to the river where numerous water taxis are available to rent at an affordable cost, one Brunei dollar to cross the river. If you want to go to the southern bank water villages from the northern bank water villages, you need to pay two Brunei dollars per person. If you want to walk from central Bandar Seri Begawan to Tamoi Tengah stilted village, take Sungai Kebun Bridge, which is in the Sungai Kedayan Eco-Corridor park, next to the Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque.
The villages that most visitors visit is not far from the Brunei river from Bandar Seri Begawan's downtown waterfront. This part is also the largest area of Kampong Ayer.