The Water Village of Kampong Ayer

Mar 14, 2016 1 comments

On the banks of Brunei River, which flows through Brunei's capital city Bandar Seri Begawan, is a settlement consisting of 42 contiguous stilt villages called Kampong Ayer, or the Water Village, which has been inhabited for over 1,300 years. Half of the city’s population live here — about 30,000 people, which is nearly 10% of the entire population of the country. Kampong Ayer is the world’s biggest settlement on stilts.

Apparently, things are quite nice here. There are schools, police stations, fire stations, clinics, markets and mosques, all constructed on stilts and linked together by 36 kilometers of walkways and footbridges. Houses are simple but modern and built with concrete and wood, while older houses are being continually repaired with modern materials. Each house is supplied with electricity and clean water. Transport lines, sanitation, garbage disposal system, internet access and postal service are some of the amenities available.


Photo credit: Bernard Spragg/Flickr

The banks of the Brunei River was first settled probably in the 8th century. From the 15th to the17th century, during the Bruneian Empire period when the Sultanate ruled much part of Borneo including the southern part of the Philippines, the water settlement became the center of the administration and an important trading center. Kampong Ayer’s fortunes declined when the Sultanate rule came to an end in the 18th century due to the arrival of western powers such as the Spanish, Dutch and the British.

Originally, Kampong Ayer was situated much closer to the mouth of the Brunei River at Kota Batu. It moved inland to its current location most likely in the 17th century during the civil war between the 13th and 14th Sultans of Brunei.

Today, Kampong Ayer is a national heritage and efforts are being made to preserve this lifestyle.


Photo credit: thintruman/Flickr


Photo credit: Bernard Spragg/Flickr


Photo credit: Ron Knox 2001/Flickr


Photo credit: e_chaya/Flickr


Photo credit: MyBukit/Flickr


Photo credit: Wilson Loo Kok Wee/Flickr


Photo credit: Wilson Loo Kok Wee/Flickr


Photo credit: Wilson Loo Kok Wee/Flickr

Sources: Wikipedia / The Hindu / Wikipedia / / Brunei Times


  1. This is so incredible and cool! I would love to travel there and experience this place! To actually live there would be my dream. Simplicity at its best!


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