Bandar Seri Begawan

capital of Brunei


we will see

Kampong Ayer

The water village is a beautiful sight to see hundreds of houses seemingly floating on water. The village, which is the world's biggest settlement on stilts, has been on the river for over one thousand years and was the capital of the Bruneian Empire. The water village people are very friendly and many open up their homes to visitors year-round. For a tour by boat, water taxis can be found by walking along the Brunei river or the main market in Bandar Seri Begawan and waving one down. Try to negotiate the price down—you shouldn't pay more than B$30 for an hour-long tour (B$15 for half an hour) of Kampong Ayer. Even though the water taxis are not wheelchair-friendly, their drivers are very willing to lend a hand and even team up and carry a person in a wheelchair on board; ask for a larger boat though.But to really experience the water village, you've got to walk around and explore it. You can take a water taxi across for $1 per person (a 2-minute ride). Ask the driver to take you to the gallery (4.884202114.9446451 Kampong Ayer Cultural & Tourism Gallery), which has a detailed exhibition of the history of Kampong Ayer and some lovely artistic souvenirs for sale. The gallery is open 9AM–5PM, but closes Friday 11AM–2:30PM for Friday prayers. The observation tower next to the gallery has views of the water village and the city center. Then don't just stay at the edge of the village near the gallery – go into the village and walk around. Not many tourists seem to go in, so you may get curious hellos from residents, especially children. You'll see people going about their ordinary routines, which feels almost surreal since it's all suspended a few meters above the river. If you look around you might spot a mosque, schools, whimsically colorful buildings, and even chickens. The boardwalks might make you nervous, but there's no reason to worry – just watch your step. They're more stable than they look, and even if you did somehow lose your balance and fall in, it's just a short swim to the nearest ladder – in a way it's safer than walking next to a busy street. Don't wear high heels though.If you don't want to shell out for the ride, you can also walk into the village – start from behind the Sultan's Mosque or from the other bank in Batu Satu.