Kampong Ayer, or the Water Village (Malay: Kampong Ayer) is an area of Brunei's capital city Bandar Seri Begawan that is situated after the Brunei Bay. 39,000 people live in the Water Village. This represents roughly ten percent of the nation's total population. All of the Water Village buildings are constructed on stilts above the Brunei River.
Built entirely of stilt houses and wooden walkways, this cluster of 42 villages housing more than 30,000 inhabitants is the World's largest water village. Some people refer to it as the 'Venice of the East'. The Water Village is really made up of small villages linked together by more than 29,140 meters of foot-bridges, consisting of over 4200 structures including homes, mosques, restaurants, shops, schools, and a hospital. 36 kilometers of boardwalks connect the buildings. Private water taxis provide rapid transit. Most of these taxis resemble long wooden speed boats. From a distance the water village looks like a slum. It actually enjoys modern amenities including air conditioning, satellite television, Internet access, plumbing, and electricity.
In order to preserve Kampong Ayer as Brunei Darussalam's most valuable heritage, the Government through the District Office has provided it with numerous facilities including foot-bridges, concrete jetties, piped water, electricity supplies telephones, a school, mosques, clinics, a police station and a marine fire station. All of the six water village mukims (districts) are collectively known as the water village (Kampong Ayer) but are identified as separate mukims for administrative purposes. Visitors can have a personal experience of this heritage by taking one of the many water taxis that ply daily between the water taxi jetty in front of the Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah in the centre of town and the water village itself.