Kampong Ayer Reviews
Kampong Ayer - Venice of the east Dec 12, 2008
One of the main tourist attractions in Brunei is an old settlement area called Kampong Ayer. Dubbed as The Venice of The East by Antonio Pigafetta who visited the country in the 16th century, Kampong Ayer is one of the oldest yet functional settlement area in the asian region.
Kampong Ayer means "Water Village". It is one of the biggest settlement area in the country and the biggest one ever built on water. Most of the houses there are made of wood however some have given some modern touches to their houses for example concrete stilts and walls. The houses are connected by a network of bridge they call "Jambatan". These bridges are made of wood of 4 to 5 feet wide and some can be around 2-storey high. Some of the oldest parts of the bridges might sway a little bit so do becareful when you walk along these bridges. You be amazed by how comfortable the villagers walk on these bridges while carrying heavy stuff...you can even see the children running around playing kites on these bridges! Talk about a very well developed sense of balance.
Kampong Ayer is located right in the middle of the city of Brunei, Bandar Seri Begawan on the Brunei River. The closest hotels to this area are The Sheraton Hotel, Brunei Hotel and Terrace Hotel.
How to get there:
It is not difficult to give this area a tour as you can get the "Water taxi" (locally known as "Perahu Tambang") from the jetties. You can either get down from the jetty infront of the SHHB Foundation (Yayasan) or any of the nicely built jetties along the Residential Road. Normally they would charge you around 20 to 30 Brunei dollars for the whole trip.
Otherwise you can join a tour (ask your hotel for this service) and get a special long boat that would take you around the Kampong Ayer. If you are lucky, you might get to see the school where I teach :)
Fare for this tour will vary from one travel agency to another.
Things to remember:
As the people in Kampong Ayer use motorboats as their daily mean of transportation, the water in Kampong Ayer is never calm. You should tell your boat driver to slow down if you feel the speed is too much. They would be happy to do that for you.
What to wear:
No high heels...unless you want to go for a swim.
Dress modestly...unless you want to be the main attraction of the locals.
Not to worry, almost everyone in Kampong Ayer can talk or understand a certain level of English.
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