Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Kampong Ayer Village On Water In Brunei

By Jonny Blair


Right so you've heard the term "Venice of Asia" a load of times, in fact you might even have read about it twice on my blog as I visited Tai O (Hong Kong's answer to Venice) and Pingjianglu in Suzhou, China. But there are so many places dubbed the Venice of Asia it gets a bit ridiculous, today I'm talking about Kampong Ayer. Where? Exactly! I hadn't heard of it either but while staying in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei's capital city, I had to make the short boat trip across to Brunei's answer to Venice - known as Kampong Ayer and WELL worth the trip.

How to get to Kampong Ayer, Bandar Seri Begawan

In the capital city, Bandar Seri Begawan there is a place called the waterfront so go there and hang around at the water and you will see guys on boats. They will probably shout up at you if you want a boat - which you do so head on down and jump in, explaining that you are going across to Kampong Ayer.

What price does it cost to get to Kampong Ayer?

Each single journey costs $1 Brunei Dollar one way per person so that's all you need to pay to get to Kampong Ayer. You'll have to do the same on the way back. Never pay any more than $1 Dollar for it. It's a standard rate. No tickets - just pay the guy on the boat.

What can you do at Kampong Ayer?

It's a completely free tourist attraction which is great so you just walk around at your leisure taking it all in. There is no set route and you can really do as you please. Here is my list of things to see and do there.

1. Visiting Houses - Every house in Kampong Ayer is literally a house on water! They are fascinating and you can walk round and explore a range of cool looking houses. It's perfect for those into photography as the houses are in all shapes, sizes and colours. You might be able to go inside some of the houses too if you ask the locals.

2. Mosques - Brunei is a staunch Muslim State and Mosques are everywhere - even built on the stilt villages at Kampong Ayer. We found two Mosques but there may be more.

3. Get to know the locals - the people of Kampong Ayer are approachable and friendly. They will stop and have a chat and join you for photos.

4. Buying Sweets - Although Kampong Ayer doesn't have many shops, it has the unusual option of an old fashioned sweet shop! A great place to buy cheap sweets and candy and reminisce your childhood.

At the old fashioned sweet shop on Kampong Ayer they sell lots of traditional candy and sweets which reminded me totally of my childhood days buying 10p mixes in Bangor in Northern Ireland. They are also very cheap - you can pick up a lot of sweets for just 1 Brunei Dollar.

It also helps with the local economy if you buy something as the entrance to Kampong Ayer is free.

5. Strolling around - You should just take some time out to walk around the area of Kampong Ayer. It's very picturesque and you'll be in for a surprise at how amazing this village on water really is.

So that is my top 5 for Kampong Ayer in Bandar Seri Begawan. It is a great place and lives up to it's "Venice of the East" moniker. You will enjoy it and it's cheap. After you've seen Kampong Ayer, head back to the main part of Bandar Seri Begawan where you can explore the rest of Brunei.




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