Kampong Ayer: Water Village in Brunei

At this charming historical settlement which was a major port almost 600 years ago, you can discover stilt homes occupied by more than 10,000 people. The area spans across 30 villages which is connected with a 30-kilometer wooden walkways. For many, this is a cherished landmark which has gloriously stood the test of time and modernisation.

Kampong Ayer is the world's biggest water town. It is located in the heart of Brunei's capital of Bandar Seri Begawan. Established along the banks of the Brunei River, it is dubbed the "Venice of the East". "Kampong" means village and "Ayer" means water in the local language.

Read this article to discover all that you need to know about Kampong Ayer along with the top must-see attractions here.

    visiting kampong ayer brunei
    Kampong Ayer: Water Village in Brunei

    Kampong Ayer: Water Village in Brunei

    History of Kampong Ayer Brunei

    Half of Brunei's Malay population resided at Kampong Ayer over a century ago, where they depended their livelihood on. Many of those original wooden homes have fallen into disrepair, giving way to sleek and new residences sprouting around the wooden boardwalks. The town, which dates back at least 1,000 years, is the world's biggest stilt community.

    You might wonder how today’s modernity is incorporated into the way of life here. Electricity, cable for television, and even WiFi are available in Kampong Ayer. In fact, many people drive their cars to work. Despite that, water taxis are still a popular mean of transportation.

    Today, Bruneians still appreciate the sense of togetherness that comes with living in a close-knit community over the water - the same way their ancestors once did.

    Kampong Ayer brunei
    You can still see many original wooden houses which was built in Kampong Ayer many decades ago.

    Things to do at Kampong Ayer

    If you’re visiting for a holiday, don’t miss out on the river cruise which gives you a rare glimpse of the daily lives of the villagers. Whether it's the colourful timber cottages that line the river, the friendly and hospitable inhabitants, or the breath-taking vistas - a visit to Brunei's Kampong Ayer will leave a truly indelible impression.

    While you are here, remember to swing by the Kampong Ayer Cultural and Tourism Gallery. This exhibition showcases Kampong Ayer's rich cultural history, including the town's illustrious past as well as the unique way of life of the people living in this water village. The gallery also has an observation tower which gives visitors a panoramic view of Kampong Ayer.

    You can further explore the mangrove jungle and see native Bornean animals such as proboscis monkeys and crocodiles. You can also marvel at the majestic Istana Nurul Iman – the world’s biggest residential palace.

    Istana Nurul Iman brunei
    From Kampong Ayer, you can marvel at the majestic Istana Nurul Iman – the world’s biggest residential palace.

    Kampong Ayer Population

    The most recent data from 2016 shows that there are about 10,250 people living in Kampong Ayer in Brunei. It is believed that the number continues to increase to this day. The majority of the population here are made up of fishermen. There are also government officials and others in the public sector who have made this place their homes.

    How to Get to Kampong Ayer

    From the city centre in Bandar Seri Begawan, you can take a short water taxi ride to Kampong Ayer. On the riverbank located directly opposite the Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Retail Centre, you can find the main water taxi jetty. It costs only 1 Brunei Dollar to get from the jetty to Kampong Ayer.

    You don’t have to book in advance as there are many water taxis or boats available. Additionally, there are several jetties on the outskirts of Kampong Ayer which also provide transportation to this popular tourist attraction.

    Kampong Ayer brunei
    It costs only 1 Brunei Dollar to Kampong Ayer via water taxi from the city centre.

    Travel Tips for Visitors

    1. While making your way across the elevated wooden walkway over the river, keep an eye on where you step as there are a few damaged, unrepaired planks.
    2. Make sure to wear appropriate attire as you will be entering a Muslim-led community space. Avoid revealing clothes and keep in mind to be presentable and respectful.
    3. There are no dining options or restaurants open to the public in the village, so it is advisable for you to fuel up before the visit or simply pack some snacks with you.

    Contact Information

    Address: Kampong Ayer, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei

    The historical water village of Kampong Ayer is something is a must-see attraction when you travel to Brunei. Being the world's largest floating village, Kampong Ayer is indeed one of Brunei's top sights. To elevate your experience, book a night at any homestay during your visit to get a taste of life here.

    Don't forget to share your travel & dining moments with us on Instagram by tagging @rollinggrace or #RollingGrace. Happy travelling!


    1. never been to Brunei.. but this place looks like historic... once in Brunei must visit this place

    2. Seronok tengok perkampungan di atas di Brunei ni. Bersih dan tenang je. Kita patut jaga kebersihan perkampungan air di Malaysia mcm ni juga. Sama ada air pasang atau surut. Ia indah di pandang.

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