Kampong Ayer in Brunei also known as the Venice of the east is a water village in Banda Seri Begawan. This is probably a unique way to see the locals’ way of life. Yes, there are still people living in the water village and it is amazing to be able to witness this with my very own eyes. Hail a water taxi is one of the coolest things to do in Brunei aside of course from crossing like a boss on the road.
Several tours offer an excursion to the water village, but we simply head over to one of the boatmen waiting by the pier. We scored 10BD each with an inclusive tour of the monkey river safari. It is way cheaper compare to the package tour. It does not include any food & beverage, though, but it’s a great deal since we just had Nasi Katok Meal before taking the tour. We trust our instincts in hiring a boatman. It surely was an incredible tour.
I had no expectation in Brunei, but the water village is one of the main highlights of my tour. The wooden houses are on stilts and it is interconnected to the bridge for locals to gain access to schools, hospitals, restaurants, gym, police station and public halls. It’s fascinating that this kind of community exists. It is in fact, one of the largest water villages in the world! The boatman is very friendly and is very knowledgeable about the water village. I liked that he was able to point all the major interesting spots along the way.
I also liked the mangrove tour where we came across some Probosci’s monkeys and crocodiles. Although we only see a crocodile twice in the entire trip, the tour is worth the trip. What I liked most about our tour was to see the Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque or other mosques in a different angle and most importantly, seeing how the locals live their everyday lives.
Cruising around the water village of Kampong Ayer is definitely a must in Brunei! I must say, this is a great way to see everything including a real exposure to local life.