Kampong Ayer, Venice Of Asia In Brunei

Filed under : Boating

Well you’ve heard the phrase “The Venice of Asia” a lot of times, you might even have read about it twice on my blog when I visited Tai O (Hong Kong’s Venice) and Pingjianglu in Suzhou (China’s Venice). A lot of places get given this Venice of Asia moniker and today it’s all about Kampong Ayer in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei.

Getting to Kampong Ayer in Bandar Seri Begawan

Head to the waterfront of Bandar Seri Begawan at any time during the day and guys on boats will shout up at you asking if you want a boat. Tell them you’re heading across the water, directly to Kampong Ayer. They all speak English and rely on tourists so you’ll have no problems. Failing all else just point to where you want to go.

How much should you pay to get to Kampong Ayer?

A single journey across to Kampong Ayer from Bandar Seri Begawan will cost $1 Brunei Dollar and that’s it. You need to pay exactly the same price on the way back. It’s a set and fixed fee so don’t be paying any more than that. There are no tickets – it’s pay in cash on the spot.

What can you do at Kampong Ayer?

The best thing about visiting Kampong Ayer is it’s totally free! You arrive there and then have the place to yourself to walk around and enjoy it. It’s a great place!

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. Muslim Mosques – Brunei Darussalam is a strict Muslim State and Mosques are all over the place, you can view two great Mosques at Kampong Ayer, Mosques on water!

3. Get Talking to the local people – the people who live here on Kampong Ayer are all very friendly and willing to talk to visitors. You’ll be able to join them for a chat and a photo.

4. Sweet Shop – There is a magnificent old style sweet shop on Kampong Ayer. This is a great chance to pretend you are young again and buy some tooth destroying candy and sweets!

I grew up in Bangor in the 1980s and when I was a kid, every week my Mum and Dad would take me to the local newsagents for a “10p mix” – basically loads of sweets in a bag. Bad for your teeth I know but I used to love it. That childhood trait has continued into adulthood, and aged 33 I took great joy in paying less than a pound for a load of sweets here!

It’s also a nice touch to pay for something on your visit to give the locals some money. It was free for you to visit their village on water so leave them with something.

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.

For further great articles on Backpacking in Brunei check the backpacking and lifestyle website from Jonny Blair

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