Wanderings, travel, photographs and skiing…

Exploring Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, and ‘Venice of the east’

By on April 21, 2014 in Brunei

I had not been to Brunei before (well, OK, I spent 4 hours at the airport in the mid-90s changing planes to Perth) and so I was keen to have a look around, and one thing I had heard about was the ‘Venice of the east’.

P1130675Downtown mosque

P1130679Downtown mosque

P1130677First sign of ‘Venice of the east’

One of the amazing things is when you look at Google Maps you see all this ‘trails’, these are in fact the walkways through the ‘Venice of the east’.

IMG 6761Walkways in ‘Venice of the east’

However, there is no sign of them on Apple Maps.

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Sadly, the waterways around ‘Venice’ are a little polluted.

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And some parts of the area have seen better days…

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The village has its own schools, shops, food stalls etc. all out in the river on stilts.

P1130690Local school

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There are several of these ‘Venices’ around Bandar Seri Begawan, and they appear to be on both sides of the river.

P1130716Entrance to a second ‘Venice’

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In places there are jetties that head out to the river which have little covered seating areas on the end, and steps down to the river. Initially I thought these were communal seating areas, however, they are in fact places to catch the various water taxis that move along the river.

P1130728Water taxi pick-up point

P1130732More ‘Venice’ across the river

One thing that amused me (well, one of many) were the satellite dishes. Some houses had them on the roof, some on the side of the building, and a number of places had built little stands…

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As we are close to the equator in Brunei the dishes point almost straight up so as to catch the signals from the geostationary satellites in orbit above the equator. As you get further north (or further south of the equator) the dishes point closer to the horizon. In northern Scotland they are almost parallel to the ground!

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P1130756View up the river

One great thing about the place is if you get peckish you can just pop outside and throw a net in to the river.

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Although I must admit I didn’t see him catch anything…

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Kids coming home from school…

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Locals getting around by boat…

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The village even had its own group of bin-diving monkeys.

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Bikes, and in particular, tricycles seem to be a popular way to get around. The tricycles seem to be used for everything from shifting food and goods, to kids, around.

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Or failing that… Just walk.

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Of course, you do meet the occasional tourist. In fact, in the 2+ hours I wandered around the area the only tourist I saw was myself…

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Nick's continued wanderings can be followed on Twitter: @nickswanderings.
 

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