BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Visitors can now experience Kampong Ayer, the “Venice of the East”, and take in its heritage and charm by strolling along the newly-launched Kampong Ayer Walking Trail.

Launched on Thursday, the walking trail is the latest project from the Tourism Development Department, following the ‘Discover Muara’ package and Brunei River Heritage Trail.

Pg Hj Kamarudzaman Pg Hj Ishak, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism, said the tour aims to educate visitors about Brunei’s historic settlement.

“[Kg Ayer] is a very important part of Brunei history, heritage and culture… We must aim to preserve and protect this so that we can educate our future generation to do the same,” he said.

The walking trail will also support community-based tourism products and services in Kampong Ayer, Pg Hj Kamarudzaman added.

Tour guide Muhammad Nur Syu’aib (R) leads a government delegation including MPRT Minister, YB Dato Hj Ali, on a walking tour in Kampong Ayer. Photo: Rasidah Hj Abu Bakar/The Scoop

The walking trail begins at the Kampong Ayer Cultural and Tourism Gallery and will bring visitors to interesting sights in five villages — Kg Lurong Sikuna, Kg Setia ‘A’, Kg Tamoi Ujung, Kg Peramu and Kg Bakut Berumput.

Some of the attractions include “House Jabal Rahmah” in Kg Peramu, which houses antiques collected by Hj Mohamad Sufri Hj Mohd Zain and his family for generations.

Just a few minutes walk from there is the “Pottery House”, a colourful home belonging to Ahmad Hj Timbang, eccentrically decorated with flowers and potted plants.

This brightly- coloured house in the water village has been dubbed the ‘Pottery House’, and is one of the attractions found along the Kampong Ayer Walking Trail. Photo: Rasidah Hj Abu Bakar/The Scoop

Licensed tourist guide from Freme Travel, Muhammad Nur Syu’aib, told The Scoop that the walking tour is a good cultural introduction to the water village.

“The trail is designed in a way that anyone can do it, with or without a tour guide. Everyone who has opened up their home for this trail are just regular residents who want to showcase their lives,” he said. “The trail shows Brunei’s hospitality at its best.”

Kampong Ayer has been continually inhabited for several centuries, and was the principal settlement of Brunei until modern times. More than 9,000 people live in the water village with residents spread out over 30 villages which are connected via wooden walkways.