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.
How can you find Kampong Ayer, Bandar Seri Begawan
Once you’re in Bandar Seri Begawan head down to the waterfront area and you will gaze across at Kampong Ayer. You’ll be approached by guys on boats calling you over asking if you want a boat, which you do. Just tell them you are going to Kampong Ayer across the water and hop in. It’s that easy!
How much 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 is there to 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. The Houses – The Houses on Kampong Ayer are fantastic. They are all built on water and are a work of art in themselves. You can walk all around admiring them and taking photos. They are a range of colours and sizes and if you’re lucky you might be able to get into a house by asking a local.
2. The Mosques – Being a staunch Muslim State, Mosques are what you will see a lot. Kampong Ayer has at least two Mosques, both floating on water making them an excellent attraction.
3. Meet the Locals – People in Brunei are mostly friendly, welcoming and approachable. We met the locals and these lively folk even posed with my travelling Northern Ireland flag. A great place to get off the beaten track on your travels.
4. Buy Sweets – This might seem like an odd one, but there aren’t many shops in Kampong Ayer, one which stood out was a traditional Sweet Shop!!
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 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.