mel E-mail  

How would you like living in a traditional stilted wooden house and being surrounded by water everywhere you look? The colourful wooden houses look like floating abodes and are connected one to another and to the main roads via vulnerable-looking planked walkways zigzagging in a haphazard yet orderly manner.

This is Kampung Air Patau Patau 2, established in the 1930's; the whole village was wiped out by a Japanese bomb during WWII.  The resilient villagers rebuilt the village from scratch once the war was over.  The architecture and concept of the water village dates back to their ancestors in Brunei.  To this day, the water village residents incorporate their Kedayan Bruneian culture and customs into their daily lives.  

Lest you think that these homes are not for the sea-sick, you can be rest assured that the houses are remarkably stable – even the ones that were built over 60 years ago.  The secret was in the belian wood used as the house's foundation which can stand strong for centuries to come.

The friendly host families will be all too glad to serve you with some of their traditional delicacies including ambuyat, traditional Bruneian sago dish that goes well with a sour and spicy sambal dip made with young mangoes, chilli and dried shrimps.

In the afternoons, you can observe the village children playing kites or if you so fancy, indulge in catching a fish right at your home's backyard – for a nominal fee, of course.  Imagine relaxing on the wooden bench, a cup of coffee in one hand and a fishing line in the other.  Every so often, your line heaves and strains.  When you excitedly pull it up 9 times out of 10, it will be a catfish rather than some old discarded clothing.  Traditional dance performances can also be arranged upon request and you can definitely participate in some fun village games.

Kampung Air Patau Patau 2 comes equipped with water and power supply, telephone and sewage lines, streetlights, water taxi jetty, grocery shops, handicraft shops, clinics, schools and surau (a place of worship for muslims that is smaller than a mosque).  Being surrounded by water, the main mode of transportation is the boat and most of the houses own one. These houses can be rather spacious and well decorated with heavy antiques and every living comfort imaginable on the inside.   

Staying at this delightful and charming traditional water village is certainly an incomparable experience.