Kampong Ayer – Brunei

Kampong Ayer, also known as the Water Village, is the world’s largest stilt settlement located in Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital of Brunei. This unique village is built entirely on water, with houses, schools, mosques, and even a hospital all perched above the Brunei River. Kampong Ayer has been inhabited for over 1,300 years, making it one of the oldest water settlements in the world.

Initially established as a strategic location for trading and as a defense mechanism against potential invasions, Kampong Ayer has evolved into a vibrant community that is home to over 30,000 residents. Despite its historical significance, the village has faced challenges in recent years due to rapid urbanization and modernization in Brunei. Efforts have been made to preserve Kampong Ayer’s cultural heritage and maintain its distinct identity in the face of development pressures.

One of the innovative solutions implemented to address the challenges faced by Kampong Ayer is the construction of modern facilities within the water village. The Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, for example, built a research center in Kampong Ayer to foster education and research opportunities for the residents. This initiative not only provides valuable resources to the community but also helps to showcase the cultural richness and historical importance of Kampong Ayer to a wider audience.

Despite its challenges, Kampong Ayer remains an integral part of Brunei’s cultural landscape, attracting tourists and researchers alike with its unique architecture and way of life. As efforts are made to balance modern development with the preservation of traditional values, Kampong Ayer continues to be a symbol of resilience and adaptation in the face of change.

What is Kampong Ayer in Brunei and why is it worth visiting?

Kampong Ayer, also known as the Venice of the East, is a unique water village in Brunei that offers a glimpse into traditional river village life. This historic settlement is built entirely on stilts above the Brunei River, and is home to around 30,000 residents. With its wooden walkways, colorful houses, and bustling markets, Kampong Ayer provides visitors with a captivating cultural experience unlike any other. To learn more about the history, attractions, and significance of Kampong Ayer in Brunei, continue reading below.

Kampong Ayer, located in Brunei, is one of the largest water villages in the world. It is a cluster of traditional stilt villages built on the Brunei River, where approximately 30,000 residents call this unique settlement home. The name Kampong Ayer translates to “Water Village” in Malay, reflecting the village’s reliance on the river for transportation, livelihood, and community.

**Historical Significance**

Kampong Ayer has a rich history dating back over 1,300 years when it was first established as a settlement. The village has evolved over the centuries, adapting to changes in technology and infrastructure while maintaining its cultural heritage. Traditionally, the village was built entirely on stilts to protect against flooding and provide easy access to the river for fishing and transportation. Today, Kampong Ayer blends traditional architecture with modern amenities, offering a unique glimpse into Brunei’s past and present.

**Community Life**

The residents of Kampong Ayer lead a vibrant and close-knit community life, where neighbors know each other and support one another. The village is divided into several smaller communities, each with its own mosque, school, and community facilities. While many residents work in Brunei’s capital city, Bandar Seri Begawan, they return home to Kampong Ayer in the evenings to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and scenic views of the river.

**Tourist Attractions**

Kampong Ayer is a popular tourist destination in Brunei, attracting visitors from around the world who are eager to experience the village’s unique way of life. Tourists can explore the waterways by boat, visit the village’s shops and markets, and learn about traditional crafts and cultural practices. The village is also home to several museums and historical sites, providing insight into Brunei’s heritage and traditions.

**Challenges and Opportunities**

Despite its cultural significance, Kampong Ayer faces challenges in terms of infrastructure, sanitation, and economic development. Efforts are underway to improve living conditions in the village, including upgrading water and sanitation systems, building new housing facilities, and promoting sustainable tourism. With proper planning and investment, Kampong Ayer has the potential to become a model for cultural preservation and community development in Brunei.

**Statistic:** According to recent data, Kampong Ayer attracts over 100,000 visitors annually, contributing significantly to Brunei’s tourism industry.

What is Kampong Ayer in Brunei?

Kampong Ayer is a traditional water village in Brunei Darussalam, often referred to as the Venice of the East. It consists of a cluster of houses, schools, mosques, and restaurants built on stilts above the Brunei River.

How old is Kampong Ayer?

Kampong Ayer has a history that dates back over 1300 years, making it one of the oldest water villages in the world.

Is Kampong Ayer a tourist attraction?

Yes, Kampong Ayer is a popular tourist attraction in Brunei, attracting visitors from around the world who want to experience the unique lifestyle and culture of the water village.

Can visitors take a tour of Kampong Ayer?

Yes, visitors can take guided tours of Kampong Ayer to learn more about its history, culture, and way of life. These tours often include visits to local homes, mosques, and schools.

Are there accommodations in Kampong Ayer?

There are some homestays and guesthouses in Kampong Ayer where visitors can stay to get a more authentic experience of living in the water village.

Is it safe to visit Kampong Ayer?

Yes, Kampong Ayer is a safe place to visit, with friendly locals who are accustomed to having tourists in their community. However, it’s always a good idea to exercise caution and respect the local customs and traditions.

What activities can visitors do in Kampong Ayer?

  • Take a boat ride along the Brunei River
  • Visit local museums and galleries
  • Explore the narrow streets and alleyways of the water village
  • Try traditional Bruneian cuisine at local restaurants

Are there souvenirs available in Kampong Ayer?

Yes, there are souvenir shops in Kampong Ayer where visitors can purchase handmade crafts, traditional clothing, and other local products as mementos of their visit.

Is there a best time to visit Kampong Ayer?

The best time to visit Kampong Ayer is during the dry season, which typically falls between February and May. During this time, you’ll have clear skies and pleasant weather for exploring the water village.

How can I get to Kampong Ayer in Brunei?

You can reach Kampong Ayer by taking a boat ride from the main city of Bandar Seri Begawan. There are water taxis available to ferry visitors to and from the water village throughout the day.


Kampong Ayer in Brunei is a unique and fascinating water village that offers a glimpse into a traditional way of life that has been preserved for centuries. The village’s stilt houses, interconnected walkways, and vibrant community showcase the resilience and adaptability of its residents. Despite modernization and development in Brunei, Kampong Ayer remains a living testament to the country’s rich cultural heritage and strong sense of community.

Visitors to Kampong Ayer can immerse themselves in the local culture, sample traditional foods, and engage with friendly locals. The village’s proximity to the capital city of Bandar Seri Begawan means that it is easily accessible for tourists looking to experience a slice of Brunei’s history and charm. Overall, Kampong Ayer is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in exploring the cultural diversity of Brunei and gaining insight into the daily lives of its people.