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Water Village: Kampong Ayer

Kampong Ayer is the Water Village in the capital city, Bandar Seri Begawan, of Brunei Darusallam. It is situated in the middle of the Brunei River and is the largest and most famous water settlement of South East Asia. 10% of the total population, that is 30,000 people, live in timber homes built on stilts.

There is evidence that people have lived in Kampong Ayer for over 1300 years. There are over 4200 structures including homes, mosques, restaurants, shops, schools and a hospital. Many of these are joined together by a maze of wooden walkways and bridges. The village has 28 primary schools and one secondary school. All of the water village buildings are built on stilts.


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1.
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2. This home leads onto a wooden walkway. Walkways and bridges join many homes and other buildings in Kampong Ayer. What information does this picture give you about the people who live in this house? How are their lives similar to yours?
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3. Most of the houses are built around a square, as homes often are in towns everywhere.
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4. Fresh water is delivered in pipes from the mainland.
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5.
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7. A primary school
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8. People use speedboats to get from one place to the next.
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9. A fire station.
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10. The fire station.
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11. A mosque
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12. A mosque
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13. This is the Grand Mosque in Brunei Darusallam. The dome is covered with gold leaf and the walls and floors are made of marble. The mosque stands next to the water village.
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14. A local fruit and vegetable market on dry land.
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15. A local fruit and vegetable market on dry land.
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16. These houses were built by the government with non-combustible materials. All the houses are the same colour and built in straight lines and rows. The government is trying to move everyone into one of these, however, the villagers don't want to live in them.
Photographs by John Thompson
Kampong Ayer
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