With its own mosques, schools and police station it’s the largest stilt settlement in the world.
Built entirely of stilt houses and wooden walkways, Kampong Ayer in Brunei is a collection of 42 villages housing more than 39,000 people. It is the world’s largest water village. I was lucky enough to visit Kamopong Ayer a few weeks back, and it was probably the highlight of my most recent trip to Borneo.
From a distance, the water village looks like a slum, but many of the houses actually have modern amenities like air conditioning, satellite TV, internet access, plumbing, and electricity. There are homes, mosques, restaurants, shops, schools, and a hospital – all connected by 36km of boardwalk. Private water taxis are how people get about, and while there are dedicated jetties where you can be sure to get a ride, you can basically just flag down a boat no matter where you are. A trip down the river costs just one Brunei dollar (£0.50)
Walking about Kampong Ayer reinforced what I love about travel – that is walking about local communities, not seeing any other tourists and basically just experiencing what other people experience in their own part of the world on a daily basis. I was invited to chat with locals, and at one point even came across the village school closing for the day. Check out the video below, it will give you a feel for the place. And make sure you visit if you are in Brunei.
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