Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Brunei's Kampong Ayer Cultural and Tourism Centre











REBECCA OI
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
Sunday, April 19, 2015

LOCATED at the famed and historical water village of Brunei Darussalam is the Kampong Ayer Cultural and Tourism Gallery.

This unique gallery — with an enclosed area of 565 square metres — was established to provide visitors and locals a glimpse into Kampong Ayer’s celebrated past while preserving part of Brunei’s heritage as well as to assist in rejuvenating the cottage industries in the area and diversify the local economy.

The $3 million centre was inaugurated by His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office in August 2009.

The gallery is built in the style of a grand house and is managed by the Tourism Development Department, Ministry of Industry and Primary Resource.

The historical reminders of Kampong Ayer are exhibited in five mini galleries within the building stretching back to the 10th century and this also includes modern transitions which the Sultanate has experienced over the years.

The galleries showcase history, traditions, society and arts as well as antique handicrafts and relics from the origins of the water village with information in both English and Malay.

Gallery One comprises exhibits of Kampong Ayer from the 10th to 13th century, second gallery is from 14th to 16th century and the third is from the late 19th to early 20th century.

Meanwhile, the fourth gallery houses information regarding contemporary Kg Ayer Economic development and the fifth gallery comprises contemporary Kg Ayer Social development.

Located in the middle of the room is a small stage called the Sunken Gallery where visitors can take a glimpse at live, traditional weaving of the Sultanate’s iconic fabric, Kain Tenunan, along with cultural performances.

Other features include a souvenir shop where traditional handicrafts can be purchased, multimedia display which provides information on various tourists’ sites in Brunei and an AV room where video presentations of archived footage of life in Kampong Ayer are screened.

There is also an observation tower, which gives visitors a panoramic view of the water village and the capital’s skyline. Visitors can also identify famous landmarks and tourist attractions, which are marked on photographs at the tower for easy reference.

Project supervisor of the gallery Mohamad Asulhamhaidi Hj Mohd Ashrane said there has been an increment of tourists especially from China to the gallery since it first opened.

He urged people to visit the gallery as it brings together a mixture of maritime relics and antiques of Kampong Ayer’s past.

To get to the Kampong Ayer Cultural and Tourism Gallery, take a water taxi from the Royal Wharf. The fare only costs 50 cents.

The gallery opens from 9am to 5pm from Monday to Sunday with the exception of Friday, which opens from 9am to 11.30pm and 2.30pm to 5pm.

It is closed on all public holidays and last admission is 30 minutes before closing time.

Courtesy of The Brunei Times

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