The Launch of the Kampong Ayer Walking Trail
The historic settlement of Kampong Ayer – the township of multi-coloured houses built on stilts over the Brunei River – remains as vibrant today as it was when the famed water village was a major port 600 years ago. This is a tourist hotspot now home to more than 10,000 people across 30 villages connected via wooden walkways, and remains a treasure for the people in Brunei Darussalam.
Last week, the launch of the ‘Kampong Ayer Walking Trail’ took place at the Kampong Ayer Cultural and Tourism Gallery on 2 May 2019. The walking trail hopes to acquaint locals and visitors alike with the highlights of Kampong Ayer, by taking them along five different walking trails that will make the most out of a visit to the water village.
The event was officiated by guest of honour Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Apong, the Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism, and was attended by State Legislative Council Members, Foreign Dignitaries, Senior Government Officials, members of the Brunei Tourism Board, along with Heads of Villages and Penghulus.
Pengiran Haji Kamalrudzaman bin Pengiran Haji Mohd Ishak, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism, welcomed the guests with an opening speech.
“Historical accounts of the existence of Kampong Ayer during the Brunei Empire, date back to more than one thousand years ago and was discovered as a major port and trading hub some six hundred years ago by Chinese merchants and Eurpoean explorers in the 15th Century, who then dubbed Kampong Ayer as ‘Venice of the East’,” Pengiran Haji Kamalrudzam said in his speech.
“The ‘Kampong Ayer Walking Trail’ aims to educate and welcome both local and foreign visitors to Brunei’s historical settlement and pride,” Pengiran Haji Kamalrudzaman continued. “It is a very important part of Brunei history, heritage and culture – and of how Bruneians came to settle here and we must aim to preserve and protect this so that we can educate our future generation to do the same.”
After a stirring performance of a syair recitation by Nur Syaziyani from Sultan Sharif Ali Secondary School, guest of honour and Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Apong officiated the launch of the Kampong Ayer Walking Trail.
Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Apong then took a tour of the Kampong Ayer Cultural and Tourism Gallery at the various tourism products showcased by 10 exhibitors for the event, consisting of tourism service providers and the local community.
Guests were then taken on the walking trail to see some of the attractions provided in the Kampong Ayer Walking Trail.
The five walking trails take place in Kampung Lurong Sikuna, Kampung Setia ‘A’, Kampung Tamoi Ujung, Kampung Peramu and Kampung Bakut Berumput. Along these trails are highlights that provide insights into the community still residing the historical settlement today, which includes a stop and a chat at the houses of the Heads of Villages, a visit to some of Brunei’s most popular Malay kuih makers, the sight of a majestic and colourful house standing out from its neighbours, a chat with local woodcrafters and boatmakers, and a restaurant that serves delicious bowls of soto with a splendid view of the Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha Bridge.
Aside from the sights highlighted on the trails, is the experience of walking down the wooden walkways above water while taking in the water village’s charms, while catching sights of the many cats that call the settlement home, at happy children playing, at fishermen at work, and at the welcoming residents willing to tell you a story or two about the water village’s history while you’re there.
After launching the Discover Muara package and the Brunei River Heritage Trail package earlier this year, the promotion of the Kampong Ayer Walking Trail is another initiative of the Tourism Development Department to showcase tourism products available in the country. The Walking Trail aims to educate and welcome both local and foreign visitors to Brunei’s historical settlement and pride.