This sprawling "Water Village" built on stilts over the Brunei River, has over 30,000 inhabitants and although such fishing villages are relatively common along the coast of Borneo and Malaysia, there is nothing that comes close to the vast scale or history of Kampong Ayer.
The stilted city, which was described by early European travellers as the 'Venice of the East', is actually a collection of small kampongs each with their own names and their own Government-appointed leaders, or "ketua kampong" . The myriad homes, which have piped water and electricity and are bedecked by a forest of TV aerials, are interconnected by a maze of wooden walkways along which it is possible to walk from one end of the village to the other. This amazing community is almost self-contained. It has shops, mosques, schools, a police station, fire station and medical clinics.
Kampong Ayer is equally famous for the armada of water taxis which speed around the village transporting people and goods.
Hiring a boat and driver is very easy and costs around B$10 - 15 for half an hour or so. Just appear at the top of the steps across from the Yayasan complex and there will soon be someone there touting for your business.